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Jadis - Fanatic CD (album) cover





3.29 | 99 ratings

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Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
3 stars The fifth Jadis album `Fanatic' is more accessible adult guitar-driven rock from the British band, but despite the typical beautiful and surreal proggy artwork - would have looked amazing on vinyl - make no mistake. What we have here is nothing to be confused with full-blown progressive rock, despite the band being given the Neo prog tag. This is more likely to do with the association of IQ and Arena members John Jowitt on bass and Martin Orford on keyboards, on and off in the band since their terrific earlier album `More Than Meets The Eye'. The truth is, Jadis could possibly be considered a more sophisticated and intelligent kind of AOR - I know, quite a concept! But don't dismiss them just yet, there's enough to interest prog fans all the same.

All the members have standout moments throughout (and, despite not sharing the recognizable status those above mentioned members do, definitely not overlooking the rock-solid contributions of long-term drummer with the band, Steve Christey), Jadis is undoubtedly a showcase for guitarist and lead vocalist Gary Chandler. Always a grand, heartfelt and sublime player, `Fanatic' also demonstrates how far even his vocals have come from the early days of the band. Where his singing voice used to be pleasantly dull yet perfectly serviceable at best, here his tone is smoother and more confident, with tighter melodic arrangements and restrained yet well-implemented instrumental passages overall very much helping the sound of the group too.

`The Great Outside' opens as a drowsy country plucker before the whole band kicks in delivering a punchy rocker, full of pounding drums, aggressive synths stabs and driving searing guitarwork with a nice Mellotron breeze in the middle. Despite being a pleasing commercial rocker with a triumphant vocal, listen to how well the band fill `Into Temptation' with murmuring bass, strong washes of synths, chiming sedate guitar passages, regal soloing and alternating time-changes that brings them close to a Marillion and IQ-like sound. 80's Genesis-influenced `Each and Everyday' balances cold electronic percussion with gentle synths and acoustic strums around a dreamy groove. `I Never Noticed' is a shimmering gutsy rocker with loopy synth soloing and relentless heavy guitars that fade into the ambient instrumental title track with a blissful synth and piano passage and stirring guitar cries.

`Yourself Alone' is all heavy brooding slow riffs and a stomping beat for the verses with a surprisingly upbeat compassionate chorus over humming Hammond organ and thick upfront bass. The poppy `Take These Words' is uptempo and jaunty with some crisp guitar soloing that's very pleasant. Prog highlight `What Kind of Reason' mixes a sorrowful and sadly romantic vocal with strident acoustic strumming over grand orchestral synths and extended guitar soiling through the course of it's 8 and a half minutes. This superb track should have been the closer, instead the band add the grinding `Who Can We Be Sure Of?', with it's streamlined Rush sound that fades out very abruptly, to end the disc with kind of a non-event. It would have been better If it had been placed before `...Reason', which would have ended the album in a more epic maner. The Special Edition comes with a further bonus track, `The Flame Is Burning', an average plodding and slightly monotonous commercial rocker.

Repeated plays reveal many little details and subtle intricacies to even, what appears on the surface to be, some simplistic and overly straight-forward pieces. There's no doubt that many of Jadis' albums have more or less the same sound, and I do feel that the band really should `play the prog game' a bit more and offer some extra extended, more complex pieces. After all, it is a prog audience the band are essentially supported by, so best to give them a little more of what they crave! But still, `Fanatic' is simply a fine collection of superbly crafted rock played with professionalism and style by a group of talented musicians.

Three and a half stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 3/5 |


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