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BRAM STOKER - COLD READING (GREAT 2014 COMEBACK ALBUM/DIGI-PAK)

Product Format: CD               

Price: £10.83 (exc) £12.99 (inc)

Qty:

If you’re a big fan of the best of the keyboards (especially Hammond organ) driven Prog bands of the early 70’s - this album is a HUGE MUST HAVE!!!

Can a comeback album by a late 60’s/early 70’s Prog band work when the said album comes out in 2014? If this album is anything to go by… you betcha they can, because this is a piece of pure 70’s influenced Symphonic Prog of the highest order!

BRAM STOKER was one of the first Prog rock bands on the music scene in the 1970’s!
Like other similar groups from the early British Progressive-Rock movement such as: FANTASY, GRACIOUS and RARE BIRD, BRAM STOKER served up lavish helpings of stunning, semi-instrumental Hammond organ and fiery electric guitar driven rock.
Often compared to early GENESIS and YES, the band was formed by keyboard player Tony Bronsdon in 1969 and they soon built up a strong and devoted following at ‘live’ shows.
Playing the Marquee in London, they were once supported by a little known band called QUEEN!
As well as The Marquee, they played regularly spots in London at The Roundhouse, The Greyhound – Croydon and The Speakeasy, plus touring clubs, colleges and Universities in the UK and Holland.
They were appreciated by many well-known artists of the time and their bootlegged releases became real collector’s items!

BRAM STOKER’s reformation album came in 2013 with a CD is entitled: ‘Cold Reading’ - their first official band release since: ‘Heavy Rock Spectacular’ was released on Windmill Records back in 1972.
The new line-up features original members: Tony Bronsdon (keyboards), Tony Lowe (guitars / bass / additional keyboards/ drum programming) and Will Hack (vocals).
The band’s new self-composed music is in the vein of the same pure, classic, Symphonic Prog, played by some of the very first original artists and bands at the beginning of the Progressive Rock movement.
The two original members – keyboard player Tony Bronsdon (whose classically influenced Hammond organ leads BRAM STOKER’s trademark sound) and guitarist / bassist Tony Lowe, recruited talented drummer / vocalist Will Hack to co-write and record ‘Cold Reading’.
Original bassist Jon Bavin also collaborated in writing two of the new compositions on the album.

‘Cold Reading’ was produced by Tony Lowe, and he has worked as a musician with the likes of Julian Lennon, Roger Daltrey, Simon Townshend, Visage, PET SHOP BOYS and Phil Ramone, plus he has produced artists such as FLYING COLOURS, Toyah, John Foxx since BRAM STOKER broke up in 1972.
Tony has also just recently completed work on an album with David Cross (KING CRIMSON) who’s wonderfully evocative instrumental work has grown from the famous ‘Starless’ theme, and is now set to be heard on a new solo album due for release soon.

So, what has the 2014 reformation of BRAM STOKER produced? I’m here to tell you that ‘Cold Reading’ really delivers… BIG TIME!
It is a thoroughly engaging, top-quality piece of 70’s inspired, keyboards & guitar driven, at times Psych-edged Symphonic Progressive Rock that will appeal to a wide group of Prog fans already into the likes of: ATOMIC ROOSTER, CAMEL, CARAVAN, FANTASY, GREENSLADE, the NICE and RARE BIRD just to name a few.
However, the mellow edge to some of the tracks brings it into the fields occupied by bands like: BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST, the MOODY BLUES and the ALAN PARSONS PROJECT or maybe even a bit of later PINK FLOYD!

Yes, this is Symphonic Prog at its very best that straddles the sounds and flamboyancy of the early 70’s classics and the more recent melodic neo-Prog styles, but with a passion normally unheard of from a band making a comeback!
The keyboard work is wonderful to say the very least, with the Hammond organ driven tracks keeping the feel of the early 70’s always close at hand. The synthesizer sounds feel both current and in the time period of two or three decades back, and together with the Hammond and the electric guitar they often take off together into driving galloping instrumental work-outs. The keys are complimented by melodic high-end guitar flourishes that are incredibly tuneful and work beautifully with the keyboards, sharing the leads when best suited.
There’s even some Mellotron type choral sounds in there too and these help generate that epic, grandiose feel common to much of the classic Prog of the 70’s.

‘Cold Reading’ has dynamic power by the bucket load! The whole album is very melodic and gives off the sense that this is a bunch of true professional musicians at work. Some tracks are 100% instrumental, but equally there’s loads of sweeping instrumental passages on those with lyrics, speaking of which, the vocals are superb, but on the softer side of the rock spectrum. At times, they are maybe very slightly Gilmour-esque, but in the main, they are mainly verging on something more relaxed like Chris Rainbow or some of the other CAMEL or possibly ALAN PARSONS PROJECT vocalists with gentle vocal tones.

The overall dynamics range from vibrant and rocky to mellow and symphonic with occasional dark overtones that actually have a beautifully gothic feel, especially when the choral keyboards are being used, plus, you will hear tracks totally dedicated to a piece of classical music with flashes of familiar themes intertwined here and there.
There’s a timeless quality to much of what is in essence traditionally styled tracks, with influences of various 70’s bands coming through from time to time, but I found it hard to pinpoint exactly which bands I was thinking of, which means it’s not overly like any one unit and therefore keeps individuality in tact.
Given the facts right at the start of the review, who’s to say that BRAM STOKER did not originally influence some of the bands concerned – after all they were there right at the start of the Prog-Rock movement!

‘Cold Reading’ came as a real surprise for me – It really is an amazing achievement for a reformed late 60’s/early 70’s band! It has a warm, almost soothing production of real clarity that is right up there with the best.
It is easy on the ear, yet extremely exciting at the same time, and the music is obviously played from the heart.
It has been composed and performed with great levels of expertise by three extremely talented and professional individuals with huge levels of the skill and instrumental dexterity to call upon.

Yes, BRAM STOKER has given us an amazingly impressive semi-instrumental Prog album with ‘Cold Reading’.
It really hits the mark for me, and I know it’s going to give me many, many hours of listening pleasure for a long time to come, and equally I can say in all honesty, I feel it in my blood that it’s going to do the same for the vast majority of CDS Towers Prog customers too!

Like me, be captivated by the wonders of BRAM STOKER’s ‘Cold Reading’ - a 1st class Prog album…
Go on then… Just hit that 'Order' button now… You know you want to!


BRAM STOKER: COLD READING Track List:

01. Climbing The Gyroscope [instrumental] (4:47)
02. Cold Reading (4:24)
03. Fast Decay [instrumental] (4:35)
04. Calling Me Home (5:36)
05. Chasing Red (7:22)
06. Joust [instrumental] (4:46)
07. New Adventure (5:05)
08. Like Autumn Now (5:39)
09. Fingal’s Cave [instrumental] (6:40)
10. Light At The End Of The Tunnel [instrumental] (5:57)

TPT – 54:53