MENU
Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography

STARCASTLE

Symphonic Prog • United States


From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Starcastle picture
Starcastle biography
STARCASTLE is a well known USA based band, but sadly they are better known for cloning YES, what is a real shame, because they are talented musicians that could easily be making albums with theirown ideas and style.

The history of Starcastle goes back to 1968, when Steve Hagler (guitar), Mike Castlehorn (Drums) and Paul Tassler (bass guitar) formed ST. JAMES, a cover band that had some success playing in local pubs and bars. Soon after Herb Schildt joined the band and with a keyboardist they were ready for greater things, but tragedy hit them, Mike Castlehorn died in a car accident and was replaced by Steve Tassler.

After years of practicing and writing new material, STARCASTLE released their eponymous debut in 1976, and even when they were cataloged as YES clones, the band was well received in USA and Canada.

Despite having several lineup changes, STARCASTLE managed to release three more albums, "Fountain of Life" (1977), "Citadel" (1977) and the mainstream oriented "Real to Reel" in 1978, after that, the band disbanded, but had several reunions for short periods.

In 2004 the band decided to make a tribute for Gary Stratter who had pancreatic cancer since 2003. They performed together with Gary (this was his last performance with the band). Gary passed away a year later, but not before recording enough material for their last record called "Song of Times" that was released in 2007.

Iván Melgar-Morey :::: Perú

Starcastle official website

STARCASTLE MP3, Free Download (music stream)


Open extended player in a new pop-up window | Random Playlist (50) | How to submit new MP3s

STARCASTLE forum topics / tours, shows & news


STARCASTLE forum topics Create a topic now
STARCASTLE tours, shows & news Post an entries now

STARCASTLE Videos (YouTube and more)


Showing only random 3 | Search and add more videos to STARCASTLE

Buy STARCASTLE Music


Song of Times By Starcastle (2007-03-13)Song of Times By Starcastle (2007-03-13)
Progrock Usa
Audio CD$14.79
$12.00 (used)
StarcastleStarcastle
SBME SPECIAL MKTS. 2008
Audio CD$2.99
$3.95 (used)
Alive in AmericaAlive in America
RENAISSANCE 2006
Audio CD$7.96
$4.00 (used)
Reel To RealReel To Real
Import
RENAISSANCE 2009
Audio CD$2.66
$16.95 (used)
Fountains of LightFountains of Light
Import · Remastered
Rock Candy 2011
Audio CD$9.38
$9.38 (used)
CitadelCitadel
Renaissance Records 1997
Audio CD$11.00
$5.00 (used)
fountains of light 12fountains of light 12
EPIC
Vinyl$122.00
$5.99 (used)
StarcastleStarcastle
Import · Remastered
Airmail Japan 2011
Audio CD$35.18
$27.37 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
StarCastle "Fountains Of Light" 1977 Epic Record Album USD $3.00 [0 bids]
STARCASTLE - FOUNTAINS.. (LIM.COLLECTOR'S EDIT.) CD NEW+ USD $24.97 Buy It Now 1h 6m
Fountains of Light by Starcastle (CD 1997, Renaissance Records (USA)) prog USD $7.99 [0 bids]
2h 46m
Starcastle - Self-Titled Vinyl Record LP - PE 33914 - Rock - 1976 - Epic USD $7.67 Buy It Now 2h 55m
Starcastle - Citadel - Japan Mini LP CD New USD $30.00 Buy It Now 4h 55m
Starcastle - Starcastle - Japan Mini LP CD New USD $35.00 Buy It Now 4h 57m
Starcastle - Fountains Of Light - Japan Mini LP CD New USD $30.00 Buy It Now 5h 2m
Starcastle FOUNTAINS OF LIGHT LP 1977 Epic 34375 Lyric Liner USD $7.27 Buy It Now 6h 37m
STARCASTLE Starcastle (1976) JAPAN MINI LP CD USD $27.80 Buy It Now 8h 8m
STARCASTLE "HALF A MIND TO LEAVE YOU" 7" WHITE LABEL PROMO 45 PROG ROCK USD $2.39 Buy It Now 19h 20m
Starcastle by Starcastle (CD, Epic (USA)) USD $3.08 Buy It Now 19h 54m
STARCASTLE FOUNTAINS OF LIGHT PE34375 LP Dv7298 USD $0.99 [0 bids]
22h 51m
STARCASTLE / JAPAN Mini LP CD x 3 titles + PROMO BOX Set!! USD $175.00 Buy It Now 1 day
Starcastle: "Fountains of Light". A 1977 CBS Record. The record is NM. USD $5.94 Buy It Now 1 day
STARCASTLE - Citadel CD SEALED 1981 Prog AOR USD $9.99 Buy It Now 1 day
STARCASTLE 8 TRACK TAPE Real To Reel FULLY TESTED & GUARANTEED nw splice USD $6.99 Buy It Now 1 day
Starcastle USD $4.99 Buy It Now 1 day
STARCASTLE shine on brightly / same mono EPIC PROMO 45 USD $1.89 Buy It Now 1 day
1977 LP~STARCASTLE Fountains of Light~EPIC PE34375~NM Vinyl,VG+Cover,orig sleeve USD $10.59 Buy It Now 1 day
Starcastle ?- Citadel - 12" Vinyl LP Stereo White Label Promo - PE 34935 USD $9.60 Buy It Now 1 day
Starcastle Self-Titled Prog USD $1.28 [3 bids]
1 day
Starcastle - Real To Reel - LP Record NM VG USD $5.22 Buy It Now 1 day
Pop Promo 45 Starcastle - Could This Be Love / Could This Be Love On Epic USD $5.00 Buy It Now 1 day
ra0671 Starcastle Fountains Of Light AL34375 Vinyl LP Japan J4U USD $6.45 Buy It Now 2 days
Starcastle-Citadel CD NEW USD $17.91 Buy It Now 2 days
STARCASTLE-FOUNTAINS OF LIGHT-RENAISSANCE RMEDO128 NEW SEALED 2007 CD USD $12.98 Buy It Now 2 days
Citadel by Starcastle (NEW SEALED CD, Jan-1997, Renaissance Records (USA)) USD $12.98 Buy It Now 2 days
STARCASTLE-ALIVE IN AMERICA USD $8.68 [0 bids]
2 days
STARCASTLE Diamond Song 7" VINYL US Epic 1977 Mono/Stereo Promo (850348) USD $6.19 Buy It Now 3 days
Citadel by Starcastle. USD $48.78 Buy It Now 3 days
STARCASTLE 1976 EPIC RECORD ALBUM LP USD $14.95 Buy It Now 3 days
StarCastle "Citadel" Vinyl Record Epic PE 34935 USD $8.93 [0 bids]
3 days
ROCK STARCASTLE SELF TITLED LP RECORD PROMO DEMO EXCELLENT * USD $18.00 Buy It Now 3 days
STARCASTLE "Real To Reel" Original UK LP from 1978 (EPIC EPC 82916). USD $5.00 Buy It Now 3 days
STARCASTLE - Diamond Song (Deep Is The Light) (Promo) USD $7.00 Buy It Now 3 days
STARCASTLE could this be love / mono NEW OLD STOCK 45 USD $1.89 Buy It Now 3 days
Starcastle,Epic,"Starcastle",US,LP,stereo,classic 70's prog rock album, Mint- USD $5.99 Buy It Now 3 days
Lot of 3 Starcastle LPs (Self-Titled/Citadel/Fountains Of Light) Epic/CBS USD $16.00 Buy It Now 3 days
STARCASTLE-FOUNTAINS OF LIGHT 1977 EPIC RECORDS LP PE 34375 VG-VG+ PROG ROCK USD $4.99 Buy It Now 4 days
STARCASTLE FOUNTAINS OF LIGHT LP RECORD ALBUM LYRIC SLEEVE VERY GOOD VINYL USD $2.99 Buy It Now 4 days
STARCASTLE-FOUNTAINS OF LIGHT-JAPAN MINI LP CD Fi83 USD $27.50 Buy It Now 4 days
Starcastle Fountains Of Light Record LP Epic Psych VG+ 2 LP Set W/ Inners Promo USD $8.00 Buy It Now 5 days
STARCASTLE - FOUNTAINS OF LIGHT -EPIC AL34375 USD $11.99 Buy It Now 5 days
STARCASTLE self titled debut LP Record Prog Rock 1976 Epic Records Orange Label USD $9.97 Buy It Now 5 days
Fountains Of Light by Starcastle LP PROG WHITE LABEL PROMO USD $11.99 Buy It Now 5 days
35 STARCASTLE, FOUNTAINS OF LIGHT ALBUM ADVERT 12X4 USD $8.68 Buy It Now 5 days
Starcastle Real To Reel JE 35441 USD $1.00 [0 bids]
5 days
STARCASTLE 8 TRACK TAPE PRE-OWNED UNTESTED USD $6.99 Buy It Now 6 days
STARCASTLE 12" VINYL LP RECORD FOUNTAINS OF LIGHT 1977 34375 EXCELLENT CONDITION USD $4.95 Buy It Now 6 days
12" Disco STARCASTLE Diamond Song NM PROMO ASF-322 EB494 USD $9.99 Buy It Now 6 days
STARCASTLE real reel LP VG+ WLP JE 35441 Promo WL Stereo EPIC 1978 Record USD $15.00 Buy It Now 6 days
STARCASTLE : STARCASTLE (CD) sealed USD $9.67 Buy It Now 6 days
Starcastle-When The Sun Shines At Midnight- Rock12" USD $9.99 Buy It Now 6 days
Starcastle (1992, CD New) USD $6.40 Buy It Now 7 days
Starcastle [CD New] USD $5.88 Buy It Now 7 days
Starcastle - Citadel [CD New] USD $13.46 Buy It Now 7 days
Citadel - Starcastle (2009, CD New) USD $21.90 Buy It Now 7 days
Citadel - Starcastle (CD Used Very Good) USD $11.46 Buy It Now 7 days
Starcastle by Starcastle LIKE NEW CD, Jun-1992, Epic (USA)) USD $8.75 Buy It Now 7 days
PROMO STARCASTLE SHINE ON BRIGHTLY MONO/STEREO 45 EPIC RECORDS 50518 USD $9.99 Buy It Now 8 days
VINYL ALBUM RECORD,STARCASTLE SELF TITLED ,PE-33914 EPIC RECORDS USD $7.20 Buy It Now 8 days
STARCASTLE (SELF-TITLED) LP 1976 PROGRESSIVE ROCK USD $7.99 Buy It Now 8 days
@ CD STARCASTLE - FOUNTAINS OF LIGHT / AOR POMPROCK - RENAISSANCE RECORDS 2007 USD $12.99 Buy It Now 8 days
STARCASTLE Song of Times CD 2007 PROG (Yes) 2007 NEW/SEALED USD $18.99 Buy It Now 8 days
@ CD STARCASTLE - SONG OF TIMES / PROGROCK RECORDS 2007 / PROGROCK USA USD $12.99 Buy It Now 8 days
Starcastle - (2011) USD $16.35 Buy It Now 8 days
Starcastle - Citadel (2009) USD $16.35 Buy It Now 8 days
Starcastle Fountains Of Light LP Record Album 1976 GNAL 34375 USD $20.99 Buy It Now 8 days
Starcastle-Citadel White Label Promo LP w/Timing Sreip and Gold Stamp Near Mint USD $24.28 Buy It Now 8 days
Starcastle - Starcastle Compact Disc USD $9.00 Buy It Now 8 days
Fountains Of Light - Starcastle (CD Used Very Good) USD $11.34 Buy It Now 8 days
Starcastle 827565057214 (CD Used Very Good) USD $11.59 Buy It Now 8 days
NEW Starcastle (Audio CD) USD $7.62 Buy It Now 9 days
Starcastle, Real To Reel PROMO USD $5.99 Buy It Now 9 days
Alpha Centauri Selftitled Avalon Zon Air Raid Roadmaster Styx Starcastle AOR USD $17.38 [0 bids]
9 days
Starcastle-Fountains Of Light CD NEW USD $17.91 Buy It Now 9 days
Starcastle [886972420424] New CD USD $7.83 Buy It Now 10 days
Starcastle - Starcastle 1976 Epic 12" 33 RPM LP (EX) **Progressive Rock USD $8.00 Buy It Now 10 days
Starcastle - Self Titled Debut - Progressive Rock - YES USD $4.99 Buy It Now 10 days
Starcastle-Fountains of Light US prog Japanese mini lp USD $28.99 Buy It Now 10 days
Starcastle-same US prog cd Japanese mini lp USD $28.99 Buy It Now 10 days
Starcastle- Fountains of Light 8 Track tape 1977 Progressive Rock Reo Speedwagon USD $6.99 Buy It Now 11 days
Starcastle, SBME SPECIAL MKTS. CD 2008 USD $5.89 Buy It Now 11 days
Starcastle, SBME SPECIAL MKTS. CD 2008 USD $13.98 Buy It Now 11 days
Starcastle Citadel Vinyl LP A1 B1 Pressing - EX USD $15.81 Buy It Now 11 days
Starcastle "Starcastle" 1974 Vinyl 33RPM LP Shrink Epic Records AL 33914 USD $13.50 Buy It Now 12 days
Starcastle Real To Reel JE 35441 US LP Inner Sleeve Near Mint USD $12.00 Buy It Now 12 days
Starcastle Citadel WL Promo Autographed Cover Excellent Condition LP USD $14.99 Buy It Now 12 days
STARCASTLE 1977 Citadel 12" Vinyl 33 LP EPIC Could This Be Love HARD ROCK VG+ USD $19.99 Buy It Now 12 days
33 RPM Vinyl WLP Starcastle Fountains of Light Epic AS 296 121514KME USD $13.99 Buy It Now 12 days
STARCASTLE Starcastle EPIC Stereo VG+++ USD $7.50 Buy It Now 12 days
STARCASTLE When The Sun Shines/Half A Mind vinyl 12 Inch 1978 Epic Records EX USD $7.95 Buy It Now 13 days
STARCASTLE Self Titled Lp 1976 Ex USD $15.31 Buy It Now 13 days
Starcastle LP advert 1977 RS-AITE USD $12.41 Buy It Now 13 days
STARCASTLE - Starcastle - CD ** Very Good condition ** USD $9.75 Buy It Now 14 days
STARCASTLE - Starcastle - CD ** Brand New ** USD $12.95 Buy It Now 14 days
Citadel Starcastle picture disc LP vinyl album record USA promo PAL34935 EPIC USD $66.97 Buy It Now 14 days
STARCASTLE 8 TRACK TAPE USD $9.99 Buy It Now 14 days
STARCASTLE [USED CD] USD $4.98 Buy It Now 14 days
Starcastle-Starcastle CD NEW USD $19.87 Buy It Now 14 days

More places to buy STARCASTLE music online Buy STARCASTLE & Prog Rock Digital Music online:
STARCASTLE has no upcoming shows, according to LAST.FM syndicated events and shows feed

STARCASTLE discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

STARCASTLE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.13 | 136 ratings
Starcastle
1976
3.36 | 118 ratings
Fountains Of Light
1977
2.90 | 70 ratings
Citadel
1977
1.49 | 39 ratings
Real To Reel
1978
2.99 | 51 ratings
Song Of Times
2007

STARCASTLE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.09 | 10 ratings
Concert Classics
1999
2.56 | 5 ratings
Shine On Brightly
2001

STARCASTLE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

STARCASTLE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.05 | 9 ratings
Chronos
2001

STARCASTLE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.00 | 1 ratings
Diamond Song (Deep Is The Light)
1977
0.00 | 0 ratings
Fountains Of Light
1977

STARCASTLE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Fountains Of Light by STARCASTLE album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.36 | 118 ratings

BUY
Fountains Of Light
Starcastle Symphonic Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

2 stars As the second album goes this was a disappointment. Few things differ from Starcastles debut album and this one. Fountains Of Light is another Yes clone album, no less no more. Very good clones, OK, but there was very little improvement over the first. Some reviewers here on PA say they added a few Kansas influences, but really, I canīt see a single one. Early Yes is their main source of input and the sole exception is their last track, Diamond Song, which is a little more commercial sounding, reminding me of Styx during the chorus (it was released as a single). Other than that Yes is the band Starcastle tries very hard to be. Everything here tries to emulate Jon Andersonsīs band to the max. Even the vocal harmonies are perfect copies of Yes style, tones and mannerisms And this happened in 1977! Not the best time for a new prog act, specially without a strong personality. If Fountains of Light was recorded some five years earlier it would surely made much more impact.

Well, on the album itself: good musicians, a Jon Anderson clone as vocalist, some decent compositions. Again their music appears like half baked Yes songs: nice melodies, underdeveloped arrangements, not very bold ideas and they simply donīt travel the places their idols travel. It is all too restrained, something Yes certainly was not, at least at the time. There are not long solos and instrumental passages, which reminds me of Yes (1969) and Time And A Word (1970) in a way. The LP running time is very short too, clocking on just the 36 minutes mark. The frustration is that, as nice as the songs go, they all leave you expecting them to fly sometime, and it does not happen. Only Diamond Song (Deep Is The Light) offers some changes, but then it is the closing track. Too little too late.

Conclusion: once again a nice Yes copy, but a second in a row without much improving. I wonder if their third is a winner.

Rating: 2,5 stars.

 Starcastle by STARCASTLE album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.13 | 136 ratings

BUY
Starcastle
Starcastle Symphonic Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

3 stars To say that american band Starcastle copied Yes is an understatement. They simply worshiped Yes and tried very hard to sound like them. Every mannerism, every instrument timbre and every vocal line is reproduced here as far as any human being could. And, in several ways, they did sound like Yes around the time of their first two albums and a even a little bit like The Yes Album, but not much. Obviously the musicians are very good, but they lack the overwhelming talent, technique and boldness of their idols. I guess at the time I would despise them as mere imitators, if I had the chance to get this LP back in 1976. But now they donīt seem so bad. At least they come up with a decent selection of songs that somehow capture a little of early Yes spirit. And surely gives us hope that they would eventually outgrew their obvious limitations to reach something of their own.

Iīm still amazed of how singer Terry Luttrell can reproduce Jon Andersonīs vocal style to the limit. Keyboardist Herb Schildt does a great Tony Kaye impersonation (Rick Wakeman would be too much), and Gary Strater bass is a fine bass player. They had two guitarists, Mathew Stewart and Stephen Hagler, that can do their Peter Banks numbers very well. Drummer Stephen Tassler is no Bill Brufford, of course, but he is good anyway. I guess they would play Yes covers better than most, like italian band The Watch can do excellent classic Genesis covers. The songwriting here is probably their most promising aspect. Although not one track brings anything new, they were not bad either. In fact, they did better than most Yes imitators, and they were many. Lady Of The Lake is almost a underground classic, but the best song here is Sunfield, a great lost Yes track of sorts. Production is also very good So, Iīm looking forward to listen their next works.

Rating: 3 stars. A nice Yes copy. Recommended specially for 70īs symphonic rock fanatics who like early Yes and donīt mind the almost total lack of originality.

 Real To Reel by STARCASTLE album cover Studio Album, 1978
1.49 | 39 ratings

BUY
Real To Reel
Starcastle Symphonic Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

1 stars So here we are

In only three years time and over the course of four albums, Starcastle went from Symphonic progressive Rock, through a kind of proto-Neo-Prog, to Crossover Prog, and finally all the way to not-even-Prog-related AOR. While their previous album still retained many progressive elements, the present album leaves us in the territory occupied by the likes of Journey and Boston. But while the latter bands at their best were rather good at what they were doing, Real To Reel is utterly bland and uninspired and sounds completely without identity. You get the feeling while listening to this that they didn't really want to do this at all, and the musical style adopted here fits the band about as well as the clothes they were wearing on the sleezy cover picture!

Starcastle committed "suicide" as a band with this album (or was it "murder" by the record company pressure?). Not until almost 30 years later would there be another Starcastle album released.

Real To Reel is an embarrassment and is best avoided.

 Concert Classics  by STARCASTLE album cover Live, 1999
3.09 | 10 ratings

BUY
Concert Classics
Starcastle Symphonic Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars Breath and thunder

This live album was recorded just after the release of the band's third studio album Citadel in the late 1970's, but it was released only much later under various alternative titles.

The album contains eight songs all in all, including the very best songs from each of their first three albums: Change In Time from Citadel, Fountains from Fountains Of Light, and the excellent Lady Of The Lake from the self-titled debut. Unfortunately, they also included the two worst songs from Citadel: Can't Think Twice and Could This Be Love. A tip would be to skip these two tracks on a first listen so that you get to the much stronger second half of the album where the better songs are concentrated. Here you will also find Breath And Thunder which is a number that was not included on any of the band's regular studio albums, and is interesting at least for that reason.

A pretty decent live album that in some ways is better than most of the band's studio discs.

 Diamond Song (Deep Is The Light) by STARCASTLE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1977
2.00 | 1 ratings

BUY
Diamond Song (Deep Is The Light)
Starcastle Symphonic Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
2 stars Interesting obscure single from this american band, takin from their second LP, 1977īs Fountains of Light. They were obviously Yes fanatics and their music is pretty much in that vein: vocalist Terry Luttrell sings like Jon Anderson, the bass player tries hard to be Chris Squire and so on. However, this song tends to slip to the AOR side, reflecting what bands like Styx were doing at the time, specially the well constructed chorus. Unfortunately it seems that, unlike Styx, no one paid much attention to them. And although the musicians were very good and the songwriting is decent, the timing was wrong for this kind of prog rock, specially for a band lacking a strong and/or unique personality.

The single has two versions of Diamong Song (Deep Is The Light): an edit one (maybe in hope of some radio play) and the album cut, almost two minutes longer.

Recommended for 70īs symphonic prog rock fans that donīt mind derivative bands.

Rating: 2,5 stars.

 Citadel by STARCASTLE album cover Studio Album, 1977
2.90 | 70 ratings

BUY
Citadel
Starcastle Symphonic Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

2 stars Change in time

On Citadel, Starcastle feels somehow more at home than they did on the previous Fountains Of Light which to me is best viewed as a transitional album between the Symphonic Prog of the debut and the more Prog related AOR style showcased here. The universally made comparison with Yes is definitely less natural here, and it would be better to compare the music on Citadel with that of other American bands like Saga, FM, and Kansas of the late 70's/early 80's. The downside of sounding less like Yes is that they sound more bland.

Citadel is a far cry from the band's excellent self-titled debut. But judged for what it is, it is not that bad. I think it is fair to say that Starcastle was ahead of their time and pointed in the direction that many Prog bands would take in the 80's, streamlining their sound and exploring more commercial pastures.

 Fountains Of Light by STARCASTLE album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.36 | 118 ratings

BUY
Fountains Of Light
Starcastle Symphonic Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

2 stars Welcome to the dawning of the 80's

Starcastle's second album Fountains Of Light is currently their highest rated album here, but I definitely like this one less than their excellent self-titled debut album released the year before this one. Much of the naive charm of the debut is gone and what we have here is much more streamlined. The result is that the album feels overproduced and too polished and cheesy.

The band was already going in a commercial direction here which is nowhere more obvious than in the closer Diamond Song - Deep Is The Light. This song could easily have been by Journey or some other AOR band. As such it was pointing to the future of the band and in some sense of the whole genre. Starcastle was ahead of their time (in the worst possible sense) as they began to develop an 80's sound already in the 70's!

There is still some good music here though, especially in the first half or so of the album. The opening track Fountains is the highlight, but even this one does not measure up to the powerful Lady Of The Lake from the debut.

My advice would be to begin with the debut which is a much better album in my opinion

 Starcastle by STARCASTLE album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.13 | 136 ratings

BUY
Starcastle
Starcastle Symphonic Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

4 stars "Set sail a crystal ship and you will fly"

It was certainly with some trepidation that I approached Starcastle given how often they are dismissed as doing nothing more than aping the style of Yes. This held me back for a long time from giving this band the fair hearing they deserve. That they are heavily inspired by Yes is undeniable, but that is hardly sufficient grounds for a quick dismissal. There are hundreds of bands following closely in the foot steppes of Genesis, for example, some of which are highly regarded. Ultimately the proof of the pudding is in the eating, and to my ears Starcastle's self-titled debut is actually highly appealing. The musicianship is strong and the result is charming and enjoyable.

I will not belabour the comparison with Yes, but I want to bring up something that is not often mentioned; how often the music found on this album evokes the jazzier Peter Banks-era and also Banks's post-Yes band Flash (whose debut also featured Tony Kaye). The production on the other hand is more in line with later Yes albums like Drama, and in that respect foreshadows Yes's own subsequent development. (Note also the very Keith Emerson-like keyboard solo at 4:18 into Lady Of The Lake.)

It should be remembered that Progressive Rock took off later on the other side of the pond with bands like Kansas and Rush reaching their pinnacles around the time of the release of this album (1976-1977), and Starcastle needs to be understood in relation to this. The American bands were generally not as original as their British and European forerunners, but that doesn't mean they are without merit. Starcastle's debut album should be regarded a classic of American Prog Rock and is much better than the albums of many American bands from around this time.

Excellent album!

 Starcastle by STARCASTLE album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.13 | 136 ratings

BUY
Starcastle
Starcastle Symphonic Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

2 stars I really dug Starcastle's Fountains of Light - yes, it's a slavish Yes clone, but it was an extremely well-accomplished one which nicely complements Yes's own work rather than merely being redundant next to it.

Listening to their debut album, however, I can totally see how people would be dismissive of the band. This first release is a Yes clone in all the wrong ways, blandly mimicing their Fragile-era sound but with a production and composition style which seems cynically tailored to make it as commercially accessible as possible. A pointless exercise from the point of view of today, maybe, but bear in mind that when this came out Yes had been a major commercial force a few years previously and they'd been on hiatus since Relayer. The idea of turning out a Yesalike album with a slightly more commercial and radio-friendly spin on their classic sound must have sounded like a good idea at the time, though of course musical trends would soon shift in the other direction hard, and when Yes came back with Going For the One this must have looked especially laughable.

It's a great shame that Starcastle put this out as their first album, rather than refining their style further to the more accomplished form achieved on Fountains of Light, because anyone hearing this album first would write it off as a cheap, plastic copy of Yes, and they wouldn't really be wrong.

 Starcastle by STARCASTLE album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.13 | 136 ratings

BUY
Starcastle
Starcastle Symphonic Prog

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

3 stars What a shame that American band Starcastle are mostly simply dismissed as nothing more than an uninteresting Yes clone. Listeners will have to make peace with that dilemma right away and decide whether to bother with them or not, but if you can move on from that, these guys are a fine little band with plenty of musical skill all their own. So the arrangements are not quite as complex or multi-layered as Yes, but there's an energetic charge running through their debut album, with an upbeat, joyful quality to the music and laser-sharp melodies and song-writing on display that makes it very pleasing to the ear, and the perfect prog album for an undemanding background listen.

Starcastle attack the 10 minute opener `Lady of the Lake' with an infectious optimism, the most Yes-like moment on the disc, especially thanks to Gary Strater's bass playing mixed fat, thick and upfront, while the guitar work of both Matthew Stewart and Stephen Hagler sounds like a more contained and controlled Steve Howe without his trademark occasional ragged outbursts. The band also surprisingly works up a nice grooving sound around snarling electric wah-wah guitar, much funkier than `the other guys' ever did! There's lovely shimmering harpsichord-like synths, loopy Moog spirals, hand-claps and sighing harmonies on the upbeat `Forces', the victorious `Stargate' is a nice electronic interlude with stop/start drums and bass interjections that announces and leads right into `Sunfield', a harder Kansas-style rocker with cute synth trills and plenty of group vocal positivity.

Funny that for all the accusations Norwegian band Wobbler received over their 2011 album `Rites at Dawn' for being a so-called Yes rip-off, it actually sounds more like what Starcastle were doing here on `Elliptical Seasons', and the similarities in the lead vocals are uncanny! Terry Luttrell could employ a deeper tone in his voice quite distinctive and very far removed from Jon Anderson, and the winning group harmonies couldn't be more sun-kissed.

If you like Yes, and if you enjoy well-played, catchy accessible prog with winning melodies and pleasant vocal harmonies, then you really can't go wrong here. As this self-titled album would prove to be their most truly proggy album, newcomers would be advised to start first here, as even from the follow-up `Fountains of Light', more emphasis was starting to be placed on vocal-based pieces overall, eventually leading to nicely played if somewhat anonymous AOR by their time their fourth album showed up. But breezy and tasteful symphonic prog is the order of the day here, and listeners who don't mind hearing a band who wore their influences on their sleeve should have a nice time with this one.

Three and a half stars.

Thanks to Ivan_Melgar_M for the artist addition. and to E&O Team for the last updates

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: JazzMusicArchives.com — jazz music reviews and archives | MetalMusicArchives.com — metal music reviews and archives