The Eye of Wendor

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Arguably the most successful and listenable of the progressive rock era's declared concept albums, and certainly a rival to Yes' Close to the Edge and Tales From Topographic Oceans and more concise than Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds. The music encompasses classical and new age elements as well as folk influences, as it tells the story of the early history of the kingdom of Wendor. Justin Hayward, in excellent voice, sings the part of King Aenord, Maddy Prior makes a wonderfully expressive Princess Ursula, and Eric Stewart is an attractive Florian. Other participating musicians include John Lees, Woolly Wolstenholme, Les Holroyd, Noel Redding, Graham Gouldman, and the Halle Orchestra. There are lots of fluid synthesizer passages and loud guitar flourishes to keep things lively and interesting, and one need not necessarily know anything about the "plot" (a series of Lord of the Rings-style convolutions) to appreciate it. Some of the material meanders needlessly, but other passages are beautifully written and sung. (British import)

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