Druid
Toward the Sun


4.5
superb

Review

by manosg USER (40 Reviews)
September 3rd, 2013 | 46 replies


Release Date: 1975 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A hidden 70s symphonic prog gem.

The 70s were filled with quality music and one genre that included some of the best bands that have walked the face of the earth was progressive rock. Giants such as Pink Floyd, Yes, Rush, Jethro Tull and Genesis have deservedly dominated the music industry, album sales and of course our playlists. Apart from these juggernauts, a variety of other groups created some very high quality music that survived through the decades and is still mentioned in discussions among music lovers. However, do you ever wonder what happened to those bands that even though had the ability and recorded great music didn’t manage to make it “big time” like their contemporaries? Was it weak management? Bad timing? Lack of focus? Inability to combine art with business?

One of those bands was Druid. Discredited at the time due to their high similarity to Yes, they managed to release two albums and called it quits in order to pursue other projects of theirs. Originally, they began as a “power trio” in the beginning of the 70s but shortly after decided to add a saxophone player and an organist. Those of you who are familiar with British television of the 90s might know a children’s show named “Rosie and Jim”. The presenter of the show for its last three years was Neil Brewer; founding member and bassist of Druid. A major reason as to why Druid were considered as Yes clones. A more important reason though, was guitar player and vocalist Dane Stevens who joined the band shortly after it was initially formed. Unaware if it was a conscious effort or not, his voice highly resembles that of Jon Anderson.

So, what does the album sound like? Is it that similar to Yes? Well, Toward the Sun includes several of the elements that made Yes one of the most well-known progressive rock bands of all time without duplicating an exact Yes song or album though. One fundamental difference is that their music is less complex and virtuosic compared to Yes. However musically proficient Druid are, they don’t indulge in 20 minute epics. The band’s focus is on melodic arrangements, soulful guitar licks and a mellow atmosphere. Some excellent vocal harmonies can be found all over the album and more specifically in tracks such as “Remembering”, “Dawn of Evening” and the closer “Shangri-La”. The latter, clocking at around 10 minutes, is also one of the highlights with its various twists and turns making it one of the most exciting tracks of the album. The listener will also find some sweet mellotron sounds such as in the opening track with its energetic opening sequence. The singer apart from doing a good job with his falsetto singing, demonstrates his lower registers in the title track with its Chris Squire-like bass. The guitar playing is also more soulful rather than virtuosic and this shows on “Remembering”, on the jazz influenced “Theme” and on “Dawn of Evening”. Some of the licks and the guitar tone can bring to the listener’s mind even Carlos Santana. Continuing the discussion about emotional music, the melancholic “Red Carpet for An Autumn” serves as an excellent classic passage before the closing sequence of the album and slightly reminds us of the band Renaissance. Overall, Toward the Sun sounds lush and relaxing, poetic and romantic. Additionally, even though one can listen to specific tracks, the album can be better experienced in one listen – as a single piece of music.

In a nutshell, Druid may lack originality and Dane Stavens’ voice might be an acquired taste but that doesn’t take away much from the album’s magic. Had it been released a few years earlier it could be considered a classic progressive rock album. Those of you who dig classic Yes and symphonic prog in general, do yourselves a favor and listen to Toward the Sun today.



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user ratings (13)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
manosg
September 3rd 2013


6529 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Prog fans unite! For those of you who like Yes this is a must. Full album here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zuBW1J5U21o

As always, communication is appreciated.

Digging: Witchfynde - Give 'em Hell

warlordfun
September 3rd 2013


398 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

70s symphonic prog metal? Wow, i can't wait to listen to this album! Your review is awesome as always, you're a great reviewer, keep it up and have a pos!

Digging: Acid Bath - When the Kite String Pops

slagun
September 3rd 2013


736 Comments


Gotta check this out

manosg
September 3rd 2013


6529 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@warlordfun
Thanks dude. Your input is much appreciated.

@slagun
Seeing that you're into Yes and Camel, I think you'll enjoy this album.

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
September 3rd 2013


20077 Comments


Sounds cool. Nice review as always manosg, pos'd.

Here's a couple small things I noticed.

"So, how does the album sound like?"

I think you should replace how with what ;)

"Well, Toward the Sun includes several of the elements that made Yes one of the most well-known progressive rock bands of all time without however duplicating an exact Yes song or album."

Maybe it's just me but I feel like the word however reads awkwardly the way it is placed. Maybe say without necessarily duplicating? Could just be me though, great write-up.









Digging: Circa Survive - Descensus

Keyblade
September 3rd 2013


15226 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

manosg you da man for reviewing this dude

Digging: Insides - Euphoria

demigod!
September 3rd 2013


45005 Comments


sweet review, this sounds like something i'd dig. Pos

Digging: Autechre - LP5

CaptainDooRight
September 3rd 2013


30251 Comments


Excellent review. I could'a sworn I've jammed this many times as I recognize the band name and art pretty well. However, I'm surprised I haven't rated this yet. I may have to jam it again sometime. Regardless, have a pos.

manosg
September 3rd 2013


6529 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@Atari
Thanks bud. You're right on both cases, I corrected the errors. Also, nice dig.

@Keyblade
Cheers dude, album rules!

@demigod93
Thanks man. Hope you enjoy the album.

@Captain
Thanks bro. This is right up your alley.

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
September 3rd 2013


20077 Comments


Sure thing man. Listening to the stream right now sounds pretty sweet

manosg
September 3rd 2013


6529 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Glad you like it man.

deslad
September 3rd 2013


379 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

POS from me as well manos; excellent review once more. The album is indeed great, I listened to it a while ago and I should definitely jam this again really soon.

Digging: Carole King - Tapestry

manosg
September 3rd 2013


6529 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks dude. I'm really glad to see people digging this stuff.

MrSirLordGentleman
September 3rd 2013


4766 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nice work manosg, nice to see 70's prog reviewed , pos'd

Digging: Jungle - Jungle

Jethro42
September 3rd 2013


12547 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Band is lacking one major ingredient: personnality.
Good review, posd.

MrSirLordGentleman
September 3rd 2013


4766 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

As I said once: 70's were full of Yes wannabes... (that doesn't mean they were bad tho)

Jethro42
September 3rd 2013


12547 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Due to the fact they play less complex and virtuosic than Yes, they sound too bland for my taste.

manosg
September 4th 2013


6529 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@MrSirLordGentleman
Thanks man. I think this is an album you'll like.

@Jethro42
I can definitely see where you're coming from. To me, this is the best Yes album that Yes never
recorded. From those that I have listened of course.

slagun
September 4th 2013


736 Comments


Yep the similarity to Yes is very striking. Oh and btw; pos'd.

manosg
September 4th 2013


6529 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks a lot dude.



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