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It Bites - The Tall Ships CD (album) cover

THE TALL SHIPS

It Bites

 

Crossover Prog

3.82 | 158 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
4 stars Once bitten...

The original vocalist and guitarist Francis Dunnery is replaced here with John Mitchell of Arena fame. In Arena, Mitchell just plays guitar, and he is indeed an excellent guitarist. Here, however, he reveals himself as a fine vocalist as well. His voice would certainly not have fitted the much darker and more theatrical music of Arena, but it fits very well here. There are perhaps some slight similarities with the music of Arena here, but The Tall Ships is brighter, lighter, and more accessible. On some parts IQ comes to mind, but most of all it is just It Bites. A very worthy continuation of earlier It Bites.

The music is overall of high quality. The absolute highlight of the album for me is the eight minute The Wind That Shakes The Barley. This is probably the most progressive track on The Tall Ships and it is an excellent one! It starts with a good riff played on organ, on top of that a slightly hard edged guitar riff and a strong, up tempo first chorus. This then gives way to the more laid back main verse of the song, followed again by the first chorus. About three and a half minutes into the track there is a nice first instrumental break with fast piano that introduces a different chorus. The song then positively explodes into a second instrumental break constituted by a great guitar and keyboard duel between John Mitchell and John Beck to finally repeat the first part of the song before the end. Really terrific stuff!

Other highlights are the slightly symphonic title track and the 13 + minute closer, This Is England. For Safekeeping is a nice piano-based semi-ballad. Overall, it is a very strong album easily rivalling the best of the band's previous albums. This is accessible yes, but without sacrificing depth and substance.

Highly recommended!

SouthSideoftheSky | 4/5 |

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