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Mandalaband - Mandalaband III - BC: Ancestors CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.49 | 22 ratings

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Symphonic Team
3 stars An appealing fusion of ancient and modern

Mandalaband is not so much a band as a "project", structurally similar to the Alan Parsons Project. The role played by Alan Parsons in that band is here played by David Rohl who is the leader, orchestrator, producer, engineer and the brain behind the concept of the album. David also sings and plays various instruments on several tracks. As indicated by the title this is the third album released under the name of Mandalaband, the first being from 1975 and the second from 1978. This means that it took more than 30 years for Rohl and company to release this third album (and as far as I understand a forth album is already in preparation)!

Mandalaband III - BC: Ancestors is a conceptual album but this is less obvious than you might expect. There are some vocals and spoken word passages in some ancient tongue, but there is no narrated story or such behind the album.

We find here an appealing and very pleasant mixture of World Music, New Age, (soft) Rock and Symphonic bombast with some more modern sounds like programmed drums and discrete sequensers. The instrumentation is a deliberate crossover between ancient and modern, mixing Rock instruments like electric guitars, bass, drums (real and programmed) and various keyboards with traditional and exotic instruments like uilleann pipes, various whistles, bazouki, Spanish guitars, mandolin, viola, dulcimer, marimba and a plethora of different percussion instruments. The vocals are shared among several male and female singers including Woolly Wolstenholme of Barclay James Harvest fame who also play keyboards and contributes a couple of numbers of his own. Woolly's songs are similar in style to those on his recent Maestoso albums.

Anyone expecting a Symphonic Prog album will perhaps not be fully satisfied by this, but anyone with a taste for Mike Oldfield, Barclay James Harvest, Vangelis (particularly his 1492 - Conquest Of Paradise album) and The Moody Blues will probably enjoy it very much. Some songs even remind slightly of Camel in their more relaxed and laid back moments. The production is flawless and the sonic quality of the album is really impressive. The biggest problem is that there are too many different singers involved which makes the album sound a bit incoherent. I am also not very fond of those tracks that have programmed drums.

Personally, I still think that this is a very enjoyable and highly pleasant album and it is better than Mandalaband II, in my opinion (I have yet to hear Mandalaband I). This is absolutely worth hearing.

Recommended, but not essential

SouthSideoftheSky | 3/5 |


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