This record was a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Punk swept in just as this glorious swathe of prog rock appeared, even though it had been recorded a year earlier. A concept album based on the tarot deck, it features Robert John Godfrey's orchestral keyboards pushing against guitar work that ranges from the sublime to the metallic. Like so many prog bands, the classics raise their heads here, in influence if not in cribs, whether it's the Rachmaninov-style piano of "The Lovers," the Bartók harmonies of "The Fool...the Falling Tower," or the epic "The Last Judgement," where a rhythm based on Ravel's "Bolero" builds into a theme from a Latin mass before soaring to a climax. The title cut, on the other hand, is lazily pastoral and lilting, reflective until the heavier middle section, then slowly fading away. Really, the closest this band comes to rock as we know it is on "The Devil," where heads get down, but never quite bang. It's well worth noting that the CD version is different from the original vinyl, not only in tracks but even down to re-recording some tracks without some of the original members, which offers a different perspective. Comparing the two, it has to be admitted that the original version comes off better in its delicacy and freshness, although the newer recordings do make better use of the available technology.
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AllMusic Review by Chris Nickson