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Galahad - Battle Scars (CD)

Genre: Pop/Rock
Release Date: 8th May 2012

Label: Avalon
Catalogue Number: GHCD10
Price: £9.99
Available: In stock


Galahad - Battle Scars

Battle Scars is the new studio album from established English rock/progressive band Galahad. Recorded, engineered and mixed by Karl Groom (Threshold) at Thin Ice studios, Battle Scars is Galahad’s seventh studio album and shows the band evolving from their well received and critically acclaimed 2007 album  Empires Never Last. Battle Scars is the first of two new studio albums from Galahad scheduled for release this year. Battle Scars contains a myriad of styles from rock and prog through to techno, ambient and dance sounds via classical arrangements.

Throughout, the production is modern and pristine, incorporating powerful, direct guitar riffs, lush keyboard arrangements and occasional quieter passages of subtle beauty, melding together to create an often massively epic sound.  Battle Scars is Galahad music for the 21st century: very much looking forward but also showing occasional and affectionate nods to the analogue past. In recognition of the band’s 25-year plus history, a new recording of their classic song Sleepers is included as a bonus track on the CD and download version. As always, the proof of the pudding is in the listening.

Go on, give it a whirl, leave your pre-conceptions at the door and play it loud! We know it’s our best album yet, and hope you agree. Battle Scars will be available on CD, Download and limited edition high quality 180gm vinyl LP in a gatefold sleeve.


Tracks:
1. Battle Scars (7.04)
2. Reach for the Sun (3.54)
3. Singularity (7.32)
4. Bitter and Twisted (6.58)
5. Suspended Animation (4.05)
6. Beyond the Barbed Wire (5.30)
7. Seize the Day (8.34)
8. Bonus track: Sleepers 2012 (14.07)

 



 Review: Belgian review of the Galahad Album


The English of Galahad, 25-year career already, we are back with a new studio album, the seventh, which follows " Empires Never Last " released in 200. This album also marks the return of bassist Neil Pepper, who had been substituted for "Empires Never Last" by Lee Abraham.

After this album darker, harder and heavier, they reintroduce here tones that come from the days of " Year Zero " (2002). Synths resume a little top heavy with electronic effects. For recording and mixing, they appealed to Karl Groom(Threshold). After the start of the symphony as"Battle Scars" , the song takes a turn much rock. We struggle against our fears, eliminating arrogance and ego. "Reach For The Sun" appears as a series, with a battle marked by drums and guitar riffs. On "Singularity" , the heavy riffs of the chorus verses contrast with more air. It is a mixture of tension and melancholy."Bitter and Twisted" provides us with keyboards toned "Year Zero" . The bass and drums like machine-gun during an argument torque. The riffs sharp contrast with the chorus melody that whips us. We also appreciate the great feel of the final solo. keyboards so "Year Zero" , we still find a "Suspended Animation" on vocals and guitar tense powerful.

Time is suspended for the visit behind the barbed wire ("Beyond the Barbed Wire" ). The tension was at its height. The chorus full of resentment us captive. This is a great moment of this album. "Seize the Day" is suspended at the start with keyboards to rhythmic repetitive. Again this electronic room so "Year Zero" . The melody will lead us inevitably into his net. Irresistible  !must take each day as it comes and enjoy the moment they tell us. Wise decision.The symphony will end as a return to the beginning of the CD.

For their 25 year career, they have pre-recorded their classic "Sleepers" . This version now very worth seeing. It is offered as a bonus. Presented in a digipak well thought out, the album comes with a nice book to browse while listening. It is clear, comprehensive and well illustrated. "Battle Scars" looks like a very good and Galahad is the first in a series of two. The second is planned for this year. This is an unusual rhythm for this combo English, but that will delight fans who do not want to miss.

http://www.musicinbelgium.net/pl/modules.php?name=Reviews&rop=showcontent&id=5667

 Review: Galahad review


Last Updated on Wednesday, 16 May 2012 22:16 Written by Ken Foster

Galahad are sometimes described as veterans of the UK prog rock scene, having released 7 studio albums and 3 live albums since 1985. Often mentioned in the same breath as IQ andPendragon, they rode on the stunted new wave of prog during the Eighties and Nineties.

Battle Scars acknowledges this evolution with the odd nod to techno (Bitter & Twisted), much as IQ still do. Traditional prog fans may be slightly alienated by these themes but I believe we should embrace them. Throwing the odd curve ball is always useful to keep things fresh.

The Battle Scars theme running throughout the album is catchy and the press release claims of an epic album aren't at all pretentious. Suspended Animations's non straightforward time signature is particularly appealing to my ears but don't get the impression that this album is difficult to listen to. Far from it infact. It's an album that grabs you on first play and has enough nuances to keep you hooked for considerable repeat listens.

Singularity is just sublime and develops into a choppy riff (again anything but 4/4) and is perhaps the track most remiscent of IQ here. The 8:32 Seize The Day rounds off the album proper and again ventures into electro/dance territory - a powerful and fitting end to a fine album.

But that's not all... as a very welcome bonus the band have included a 25th anniversary treat in the shape of a new recording of their classic track Sleepers. It's a stunning and very welcome addition to a very fine album. I'd go so far as to say this track is worthy of the price of the album on its own!

Rating: 4.5/5

 Review: Great Galahad Review



It is a real skill for a band to be able to continually evolve, while still retaining a recognisable signature sound that keeps fans coming back for more - accepting, and being enthused that their favourite band will never be exactly the same from album to album. This is a skill that not only do Galahad have in their armoury, it is something they've mastered and thrive because of. The band's last album, 2007's Empires Never Last was a perfect example, with the winding storytelling style for which Galahad have always been known, being beefed up by a harsher, heavier attack that added a forceful, threatening bite to the more intricate style of previous albums. Battle Scars, the first of two new offerings we can expect from Galahad this year (Beyond The Realms Of Euphoria is slated for release towards the end of 2012) follows along similar lines, while, as expected, expanding the range of colours from which Galahad have to choose.

The five years between Empires and Battle Scars haven't all been plain sailing for Galahad, with the sad death of Neil Pepper coming at the end of the bassist's battle with cancer. Fittingly, not only does Pepper's bass playing feature throughout Battle Scars, but his fantastic songwriting is one of the key cogs that makes for Galahad's strongest album to date and the best CD I've plopped in the player so far this year.

Sliding into view via a beautifully arranged classical/medieval/keyboard introduction, the album's title track is classic Galahad. Brooding, hook laden, threatening, playful and downright catchy, "Battle Scars" sums up exactly what makes this such a captivating album - the ability to wrap intricate, expansive music round punchy, unforgettable choruses. Singer Stuart Nicholson, immediately draws you in with a whispered beginning, before the keys weave their way towards a bristling riff that smacks you between the eyes, before the insistent chorus chant of the two words that make up the song and album title, transfix you, making you repeat the refrain over and over for weeks to come. Eerie, aggressive and memorable, it is a mighty introduction to the album. "Reach For The Sun" continues the vibe with expansive keyboards and towering drums, alongside staccato riffs and vocals, highlighting the stunning sound the album possesses, courtesy of the band, along with Threshold mainman Karl Groom. Cleverly "Singularity" calms what has been a frenetic, aggressive beginning to the album, with a Jarre like keyboard wash and an intentionally narrow sounding stab of guitars, bursting into full bloom as the song progresses. Already, by this stage it is obvious that, as ever, Galahad intend to challenge the listener to keep up, promising glorious rewards for those willing to invest their time in getting to know the music and involving, uncompromising lyrics. In fact the whole album feels thematically linked, both musically and conceptually, with a deep dark despair, being contradicted with an inner strength that always offers up glimpses of light through the, at times, weighty themes.

A spiralling keyboard and busy drum beat offers up an almost dance-like feel to "Bitter And Twisted", although Nicholson's meandering vocals and the wonderful combination of Roy Keyworth's intricate guitar playing and Dean Baker's layers of keyboards actually makes this the song most reminiscent of Empires Never Last. Before the dense riff and layered vocals of "Suspended Animation" brings to mind latter day Rush. Pepper's bass comes right to the fore during this song, throbbing with intent alongside the ever busy drumming from Spencer Luckman. Another catchy chorus comes wrapped in a thoughtful challenging lyric, with "Beyond The Barbed Wire" conjuring up images of prison camps, oppression and closed confused minds, although again the excellent fret work rivals the amazingly varied vocals for supremacy. The album proper closes out with the contradiction of styles that is "Seize The Day", building like an atmospheric track from the catalogue of Fish, before an amazingly bright, yet deeply melancholic keyboard melody is coupled with a huge chorus and bouncing beat to make what in truth is prog-dance. As someone with no affiliation to the latter of those genres, take it from me that the results are nothing short of wonderfully and surprisingly uplifting! In a just world, this song would be not only a prog anthem, but a mainstream hit.

As if those phenomenal seven tracks aren't enough, a fantastic, updated and extended version of the title track to the 1995 Galahad album Sleepers is added to Battle Scars as a bonus. As one of the most interesting songs from the band's catalogue, there was always a risk that revisiting such a strong song would prove unwise. Instead it again highlights just how stunning this disc sounds, with the expansive, explosive production, mixing and mastering making a great song even better.

Put simply Battle Scars is a triumph. Bring on Beyond The Realms Of Euphoria!

Track Listing
01. Battle Scars
02. Reach For The Sun
03. Singularity
04. Bitter And Twisted
05. Suspended Animation
06. Beyond The Barbed Wire
07. Seize The Day
08. Sleepers 2012 (CD Version Bonus)


 Review: Galahad review


Battle Scars


Galahad – Battle Scars
Galahad
Battle Scars (Avalon Records, 2012)
British progressive rock band Galahad is one of the survivors of the second wave of British progressive rock bands of the 1980s. This was the era that some call neoprog. Galahad is known for taking risks and going in new directions in every new album.
I have mixed feelings about this release. The vocals and keyboards are outstanding throughout the album. However, the band seems to have been infected with the prog metal bug and has added hard rock and heavy metal guitar riffs, making the music less attractive for a progressive rock audience.
Battle Scars opens with beautiful symphonic keyboards, whispered vocals and mellotron. At around minute 3:30, the band switches to hard rock guitars that are of little interest.
Track 2, ‘Reach for the Sun,’ brings more of the hard rocking guitars, although you can also find superb keyboard and electronic music work.
‘Singularity’ uses captivating electronic beats and string synths as well as the same old hard rock riffs. However, at a certain point, guitarist Roy Keyworth breaks away from prog metal slavery and treats the listener to fine solo guitar work.
Track 4, ‘Bitter and Twisted’, sticks to you. It has a catchy hard rock feel with some interesting synth moments.
Some of the best vocal work appears on ‘Suspended Animation’, where you can also find notable organ passages and guitar melodies.
The highlight of the album is ‘Beyond the Barbed Wire,’ where once more we find outstanding keyboard dexterity and where the electric guitar breaks away from the hard rock mold.
Keyboards and guitars fight it out on track 7, ‘Seize the Day.’
The album concludes with the remake of one of the band’s classic tunes, titled ‘Sleepers 2012.’
I hope you like what we have come up with, and if you know us well you’ll realize that we try and make each album different from the previous one, but still include certain Galahad traits,” says vocalist Stuart Nicholson. “Plus, I’d like to thank all those who have shown patience and stuck with us – it is greatly appreciated by the band.”
The 2012 lineup of Galahad includes Stuart Nicholson on vocals; Roy Keyworth on guitars; Spenser Luckman on drums; Neil Pepper on bass, guitar & keyboards; Dean Baker on keyboards.

 Review: Galahad review


GALAHAD Battle Scars (2012)

Galahad
Do you ever wonder where your life goes? I was staggered when reading the press release for Battle Scars that 2012 was the twenty-fifth anniversary of Galahad - and by the sound of the outstanding music here, they've been building up to this moment for all of those years.

Although tinged with more than a little sadness (bass player Neil Pepper lost his battle with cancer shortly after completing his contribution), Battle Scars is nothing short of a deserved triumph for one of the hardest working bands in progressive rock.

The early years of the band were not that great, being generally regarded as a bit too derivative to push any boundaries - perhaps with the exception of the 'Sleepers' album (which caused some controversy at the time due to its cover depicting a young woman in a mortuary - which later transpired to be an actual photograph).
It's all change here though - this is cutting edge neo-prog at its very finest, pushing every boundary to its limit - from the use of lush orchestration to the inclusion of techno dance beats, from the angular guitars to the lush keys and poignant lyrics - nothing has been left to chance.

Nearest resembling Pendragon, whose latest album 'Passion' is a good touchstone, the band really give the impression of 'going for it'. From the opening title track, with its juxtaposition of strings, crashing guitar and evocative lyrics, the scene is set for a musical thrill-fest which never pales.
Second track 'Reach For The Sun' is as good a pure rock song as you'll hear this year and the anthemic 'Singularity' delivers in spades every prog-head's template for magnificence.

The album's finest track has to be 'Bitter And Twisted' which, whilst not winning any awards, lyrically speaking, for positivity, and including the greatest use of the aforementioned dance beats, rocks like an absolute bastard!

A re-recording of the title track from the 'Sleepers' album is included as a bonus track (all fourteen minutes of it) which, although welcome and an insight (for the uninitiated) into Galahad's past, is completely superfluous - what goes before it betters anything the band have previously done.
With 'Battle Scars' Galahad have crafted an intense and eclectic album that demands your attention. It's not easy listening at times (the finest albums never are) but it will restore your belief that there is still great music out there - it's just a matter of knowing where to look.

And look no further than this - absolutely outstanding.
*****
Review by Alan Jones

 Review: GALAHAD REVIEWED


http://www.69facesofrock.com/galahad_battlescars_cd.html

Galahad - Battle Scars (GHCD) ****


Galahad originally formed back in 1985, and they were many of the progressive bands coming out in England. The band continued, releasing records, playing shows, doing what they do best. Over the years their following grew, but can still be considered very underground in some parts of the world.

"Battle Scars" is a very solid effort by a band with a vast amount of experience. Galahad certainly developed a style over these years, that's certainly visible throughout their music. The songs on this record are well crafted. Despite at times lengthy passages, one almost want the tune to continue a little bit longer. Galahad has really cool groves, and they don't mind putting some good melody, and twist things around. Many of the songs have very heavy overtones, others tend to be more experimental.

When listening to Galahad one easily gets the impression this band has influences from the last four decades of progressive rock. Now that the movement is more popular than ever, many bands come up front showing what they've been doing for years. Only getting more attention these days. Galahad is very easy to follow, and their style will definitely prompt many followers. "Battle Scars" is a great record, it will make you think.

Mark Kadzielawa

Check out the Gonzo Artist Page for Galahad

 Review: GALAHAD: Review




http://blog.musoscribe.com/?p=855

File Galahad under that growing list of accessible progressive rock acts that had (up to now) escaped my notice. Apparently they’ve been around for some years; their debut In a Moment of Complete Madnesscame out way back in 1993. Of course, had I heard them at the time, I might have dismissed them entirely: in those days they sounded very much like Rush, a band that – for all their admitted talents – I’ve never been able to endure.


But on 2012′s Battle Scars, Galahad sounds like a completely different band. Flourishes of symphonic prog adorn the opening title track. Lyrically the song is a bit repetitive, but the playing and arrangement are exciting enough to carry the tune. Assertive yet breezy vocal harmonies, some nice touches of Mellotron, and an angularly percussive midsection all add interest.

The guitar figure upon which “Reach for the Sun” is built recalls – of all things – The Easybeats‘ 1966 hit “Friday on My Mind.” The track is mostly instrumental save for the odd “na na” and two lines of lyric that serve to link it thematically with the title track (isBattle Scars a concept album?) but it’s a dramatic piece nonetheless.

Some modern sounds blend nicely with more classic string-synth textures on “Singularity,” a tune that suggest that the guys in Galahad have been listening to Porcupine Tree. Not really derivative of Steven Wilson‘s peerless group, the track does bring together the elements that bridge the gap between classic and 21st century progressive rock: a propulsive, accessible beat and plenty of thrilling sonic variety.

The Porcupine Tree vibe is even more pronounced on “Bitter and Twisted.” A throbbing synthesizer line recalls Richard Barbieri‘s work on Fear of a Blank Planet, but once again, Galahad isn’t ripping off anyone; a strong melody, some dramatic vocals fromStuart Nicholson and precise/complex drum work from Spencer Luckman show that Galahd have plenty of good musical idea of their own. Halfway through the track, the band takes off on a brief prog-metal excursion that’s both doomy and tuneful.

Dean Baker‘s washes of distorted organ kick off “Suspended Animation; that leads into some rubbery bass work from Neil Pepper; and that leads into some Roy Keyworth stacked guitar overdubs that recall Steve Hackett‘s work with Genesis. The tune itself has a sinister, smoky feel.

“Beyond the Barbed Wire” has all of the tasty elements of the other songs on Battle Scars, and adds the hookiest melody to the mix. It’s an effective mix of crunchy, rockin’ out sections and ethereal synth-and-vocal washes. The anthemic album closer “Seize the Day” features a kinetic synth arpeggio and another accessible melody.

A 2012 remake of the group’s 1995 track “Sleepers” is included as a bonus track; I haven’t heard the original, but the 2012 version is very much of a piece with the other tracks on Battle Scars, though it does allow the players a bit more space in which to stretch out and display their impressive chops and tight ensemble playing. In places “Sleepers 2012” is reminiscent of another fine modern prog group, Knight Area.

Virtually free of the qualities that sometimes put listeners off of progressive rock – pretentious themes, over-emotive vocals, showy playing that calls attention to itself – Galahad’s Battle Scars shows that this UK band has learned a thing or two in the past twenty years. Recommended.

Check out Galahad at Gonzo

 Review: GALAHAD: Fireworks Magazine review


‘Battle Scars’ is the first of two new studio albums from Galahad due to appear in 2012, in support of which the band is about to embark upon some live dates, including the Progmotion Festival in the Netherlands at the start of September. (The second album, ‘Beyond The Realms Of Euphoria’ was recorded at the same time as the present offering, and both feature bassist Neil Pepper, who passed away last September. It will be reviewed here when available.)


The remaining members of Galahad (Stuart Nicholson (vocals), Spencer Luckman (drums), Dean Baker (keys) and Roy Keyworth (guitar)) have been together for the past thirteen years (thus earning themselves the title of “veterans of the UK prog scene”), so it is no surprise that

 

‘Battle Scars’ is a tremendously well-polished piece of work, and yet one where the band has
been prepared to take risks. To quote from the band’s web site (www.galahadonline.com) ‘Battle
Scars’ “takes the band further in to a heavy/rockier direction but mixing it up with a few more overt modern dance/trance and classical influences.” Lest that begins to sound alarm bells amongst the more traditional progressive rock adherents reading this, I can only say that it all works absolutely splendidly: not just musically - but lyrically as well, and will be another album in my collection jostling for repeat plays in the future.

 

Once again we are in what I term “Brit Prog” territory and the key thing is that as fully paid up
members of this union, they have – to my ears at least - a unique sound (you may find other reviews which suggest some Rush and/or Muse inflections) and in having Nicholson’s clear, precise and melodious stylings they are fortunate in having one of the genre’s great vocalists.
Lyrically the album is also very strong, and ‘Battle Scars’ oscillates in mood and focus between
the acerbic and rage-encrusted title track and what is in effect its coda ‘Reach For The Sun’ to the utterly delightful ‘Singularity’ which works on so many levels. ‘Bitter And Twisted’ sets us back into a mood of despair and distrust (more fabulous lyrics, by the way!), keeps us there via ‘Suspended Animation’ and digs the knife in deeper (‘Beyond The Barbed Wire’) only to leave us with a mini epic song of reaffirmation, ‘Seize The Day’ an absolutely fabulous, positive piece and including sections I have dubbed “techno prog” – oh yes!!

 

So there’s 43 minutes of some of the most phenomenal prog rock music released in 2012. But
there’s more: a bonus of 14 minutes more – a re-visitation of the title track of their 1995 album,
‘Sleepers’. Well, every time I hear it I am completely transfixed by this stellar work, now
magnificently updated and enhanced.

 

This is a remarkable album, no mistake about it and stands as a wonderful tribute to, and parting gift from the late Neil Pepper. Paul Jerome Smith

 


 

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