Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Mighty Bard

Good evening once again fellow progheads.  I made it back safely from Sweden and so my prog journey continues.  This week found me travelling back to the UK--a frequent haunt in my quest for all things prog-- searching for something different; perhaps a little off the beaten trail.  Many a great prog band originated in England, making me believe there would not be much hassle in my pursuit of good prog music here...and I was correct.  Wandering the aisles of the concert closet I recognized a band I have enjoyed listening to lurking in the corner.  This week I come back for a fresh take on The Mighty Bard.

The Mighty Bard is a band with a unique interpretation  progressive music.  I sense immediately the band has staked out a section of the prog universe not densely populated...just one of the reasons I chose to review The Mighty Bard in the first place.  I get a "Morrissey meets Marillion" vibe initially, with a hint of Falling Edge to make it interesting.  There are also dashes of Jethro Tull and  Alan Parsons Project in the mix just to give you an idea of how vast and varied The Mighty Bard is.

I began the week listening to a song called "Blue God."  The opening piano bleeds into some strong guitar work and then the song just seems to jump up and hit you--not too hard-- in the back of the head.  The keyboards have an almost theatrical feel as they take control.  The vocals come at you rapid fire as the song takes several twists and turns...and all you want to do is enjoy the ride.  The Mighty Bard went all-in on this tune; in true prog fashion the song builds on itself leading to a crescendo that drives the point home.  "Blue God" ran on high octane without screeching at the top of its lungs, and as it faded to black I got the impression The Mighty Bard wanted to keep up the pace...interesting first taste.

My next selection is called "I Know."  The opening is on the melancholy side, a bit dark but not sinister.  The acoustic guitar intro is followed by vocals that drip with emotion; the sadness and despair hang in the air like fog on a cold winter morning.  The drums and bass kick in to give the song a solid pulse that beats throughout, eluding to the possibility of a happy ending...until the darkness rolls back in.  This is a song about a soldier leaving his love behind only to discover he has nothing and no one to return to.  The keyboards are "church-like" if you will...a very poignant song.  The Mighty Bard play with their emotions on their collective sleeves, giving each song a life of its own.

Liner Notes...The Mighty Bard was formed in 2004 by Neil Cockle and Dave Clarke.  Having previously been in several bands between them, the objective with The Mighty Bard was to showcase their own personal talents and portrayal of the progressive genre.  Dave plays guitar and Neil keyboards, and The Mighty Bard has expanded with Mark Parker on violin and backing vocals, Mark Cadman on bass, Gavin Webb on lead vocals, and current drummer Ian Sands, who replaced Aleem Saleh.

My final cut for review this week is a song entitled "The Black Train."  The opening sounds of a train whistle and engine departing the station leave an eerie imprint on the ears.  As the guitar and drums move in like darkness, I get the feeling this is not a joyful holiday ride.  The echoing vocals of a child seemingly lost paint the picture of a ride into dread.  The black train is your final transport and loved ones left behind stand on the platform watching helplessly as lives are forever changed.  The Mighty Bard uses a lot of dark colors but they do paint a vivid picture.

The song posted below is called "No Flesh is the New Dream."  The opening is a bit crisper than the previous selections.  The guitar cuts right to the chase and Gavin has a voice soft as a steel wool pad;  gritty around the edges but the result is something extremely smooth.  The dueling guitars at the end gave me a Moody Blues feel--nothing wrong with that.  The Mighty Bard play with emotion; they make you part of the story that is the music.  Each song is but a piece of a life and you can't help but want to know how it turns out.  Learn more about The Mighty Bard at http://www.themightybard.com/

Well progheads, one more week has fallen off the calendar and one more stamp fills my prog music passport.  The excursion has thus far proved to be fun, intriguing, and educational, as well as extremely mind and eye opening.  Progressive music--like most things worthwhile--evolves without losing sight of its original intention. Bands like The Mighty Bard bring heart and soul to prog music; something that is often misunderstood and under-appreciated.  Take the time to savor what you're listening to and let it sink in a bit...

Now it's time to build up my frequent flyer miles...until next week...

1 comment:

  1. You can buy their new album on CD here: