Jade Warrior's first album following Tony Duhig and Jon Field's emergence out of the psychedelic July captures them abandoning the best of that band's whimsical moodiness in favor of a symphonic spirituality epitomized from the outset by the soaring guitars that ecstatically slice through the opening "Traveller." Reminiscent, in places, of a less-precious successor to Quintessence and the Incredible String Band in that moods and esotericism do sometimes get the better of the band's more conventional music impulses, Jade Warrior is nevertheless a remarkable album, all the more so since its makers could readily have given the likes of Jethro Tull and the Moody Blues some serious competition in the mellifluous prog stakes. Glyn Havard's vocals themselves can sound extraordinarily Ian Anderson-ish in places, with Field's wielding of the flute and some distinctly edgy tempos only furthering that impression. Elsewhere, however, the same tools combine to induce emotions that range from trance to terror, an accomplishment that means highlights of the album are difficult to single out. Although the ten tracks are clearly delineated, the song titles are little more than passing impressions of the music's own sensations, rendering Jade Warrior one of those rare albums that is best experienced as a seamless whole.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Dave Thompson