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Product Format: CD               ** Regular Stock Item **

Price: £10.83 (exc) £12.99 (inc)


A Prog classic exclusive from the CDS Towers vaults, this 1996 comeback album for this legendary 70’s band re-emerges with head held high!

Back in 1996 it had been over two decades since this band had released anything, and with 20 years to make a new album, you might expect to get something a bit special, and ‘Echo’ was exactly that!
Written, performed and produced by skilful musicians - Old hands of the game with music in their blood, combining all their experience into creating one mighty album that features all the finest elements the melodic 'Prog-Rock' scene could offer.
There are 70's influences a-plenty within ‘Echo’s foundations, but this is really pure, semi-instrumental melodic rock with a definite 1990's sound, where guitars and keyboards meld together in quite spectacular fashion.
‘Echo’ is a shining example of the ‘Progressive’ genre at its very best - Wonderfully melodic at one moment, devastatingly powerful the next, and peaking in all the right places - A totally thrilling experience from start to finish!
The album features quite a stream of influences and styles that range from similarities to the GRACIOUS! of old, to others pertaining to anything between: PINK FLOYD early KING CRIMSON, GENESIS, STRAWBS and ELOY.

This legendary Progressive band was born in the early 70's when the term "Progressive Rock" was just being invented! Their contribution to the early days of the genre is well respected, as their first two albums: the Vertigo "swirl" LP ‘Gracious!’ and the Philips LP ‘This Is Gracious!’ are still highly collectable pieces of vinyl to this very day. The ‘Gracious!’ album is still available from CDS Towers, but say ‘This Is’ is deleted.
The band were one of the leading exponents of the Mellotron at the time with the: ‘Heaven’ track on the Vertigo album featuring one of the best examples of it’s use since King Crimson’s ‘In The Court Of The Crimson King’ LP was released in the late 1960’s. As to the line-up - Two of the original members remain: Robert Lipson (drums) and Tim Wheatley (guitars), although another original; Alan Cowderoy does have a guest guitarist slot on the album). The new member was multi-instrumentalist Sev Lewcowicz, handling keyboards, guitars and some vocals.
On ‘Echo’ the band have a maturity of sound, which is not really surprising when you consider that they have been playing together for 30 years!

‘Echo’ exudes stylish musicianship at every level, with a high-class fusion of keyboards and guitars sharing the workload on the instrumental passages and also serving as a perfect backdrop to the limited amount of vocal parts. The sound of the Mellotron still plays a vital part in the GRACIOUS! sound, especially during some of the magnificently slick instrumental passages where massed keyboards produce throngs of heavenly choirs, deep organ chords and sweeping string sounds to accompany stunning Dave Gilmour-like guitar leads. Some of these passages and themes build to epic proportions, at times coming to huge and deeply explosive conclusions, one of which has the potential to cause structural damage to your speakers J (don't say we didn't warn you!).
There is an epic thirteen-minute closing track to beat them all - A magnificent outpouring of raw emotion and high-class musicianship that will stun you into submission with a huge display of symphonic keyboard work that incorporates choirs, strings and horns, plus fantastic heaven bound singing electric guitar playing.
‘Echo’ is one of these albums that just gets better and better with each new track – It starts of well enough, but builds up to something absolutely stunning by the time it reaches it's dramatic conclusion.
GRACIOUS! are back, to show the world they are even better than before, with music that should draw a Rock and Progressive audience together in it's wake.

‘Echo’ track by track…
The album opens with opens with flashes of distant industrial chaos with Mellotron waves passing through the mix as if to echo the band's past work, and then starts building up into the disturbing 'Oil Pressure', a stark and descriptive track which paints a bleak, foreboding picture as it moves through several mood changes (and in good old fashioned KING CRIMSON style, it includes another internal track called: 'Orphans Of The Crocodile') and probably shows Sev's voice at it's most threatening.
Track 2 is a connecting electric piano interlude called: 'Spring' which passes into the slowly building: 'Faith', which features a great treated vocal performance and backing vocals to match. A dramatic keyboard theme drives toward fever pitch before dropping back to the original main theme for a while, and then pushes onward into a tremendous end theme where a huge build-up passage of ever-growing keyboards and drums are joined by old war speech samples of Adolph Hitler and Winston Churchill - All highly very effective indeed!
The 'Summer' interlude then precedes the magnificently slick instrumental: 'Mangroove' which in introduced by a throng of heavenly choral voices and then into a riveting passage where a driving bass line and powerful drums really gets it together before being joined by a barrage of brass style synths and more choir effects. There is a curiously futuristic "funky" feel to this part, especially when a guitar/synth dual starts up with the two fiercely fight it out for supremacy in superb style, and then it all fades upwards to the heavens on the back of some more Mellotron style choirs.
'Autumn' is another interlude track where a Richard Sinclair-style fretless bass sound forms a melody alongside Lewkowicz's keyboards and leads the band into the stunning entrance to a total blockbuster of a track!
'Cynics Gate' is just incredible, starting with a swirling synth intro that turns into a brilliant vocal passage where Sev's voice smoothes-out and goes into a lyrical passage that vividly recalls the 70's rock scene’. This leads on to a stunning Gilmour-like guitar lead (courtesy of another guest guitarist; Stuart Turner) which in turn develops into an amazing ELOY / FLOYD style female chorus section where the band switches into top gear with some incredible production work that almost blows away all other 90's Prog in it's path. The maelstrom builds up to a huge, deep explosive conclusion that will shake the floor and rattle the windows in your living room, even at lower volume levels - don't say we didn't warn you!
Then it's into the powerful instrumental: 'Homecoming', where massed keyboards build the theme up into a track of epic proportions with a tight rhythm section providing a powerhouse foundation to the main theme. As the track marches onward with a FLOYD style electric guitar soaring over the massed army of keyboards, cheering crowd samples infiltrate the soundstage and add to the overall “epic” effect the music is creating.
All quietens down for another interlude where the penultimate track: 'Winter' comes over as another short link piece where a majestic keyboard theme heralds the arrival of the title track; the album’s thirteen-minute finale.
‘Echo' is a piece of top class Progressive / Symphonic-Rock where all the bands' influences all seem to coverage into the last thirteen minutes and create a magnificent outpouring of highly charged emotional energy and high class musicianship. The track opens with an electric guitar singing out over a sea of choirs and string-synths with Mellotron samples firing in and out of the mix, and then Sev bursts into vocal action again over some of the hottest keyboard work heard on a progressive album for some time. This track literally has everything a Prog fan could possibly wish for in an epic piece of rock music (incl. two more internal tracks called: 'Comics' & 'A Cancer Called Rupert'), going through several mood and chord changes as it drives its strong and melodic course.
The multi-layered instrumental themes are totally riveting, changing all the time and driving the track to it's ultimate conclusion with screaming electric guitars blistering the airwaves, with all manner of keyboard sounds being thrown into the mix. A monumental backdrop of sound builds the track towards a huge climax, allowing the guitar to take over with a powerfully evocative STRAWBS-like theme and close the album on the highest level of progressive rock euphoria.


01. Oil Pressure {Orphans Of The Crocodile} (9:08)
02. Spring (0:53)
03. Faith (9:41)
04. Summer (1:00)
05. Mangrove (4:20)
06. Autumn (2:09)
07. Cynic’s Gate (6:35)
08. Homecoming (4:51)
09. Winter (1:34)
10. Echo {inc. Comics – A Cancer Called Rupert} (13:54)

TPT – 54:12