Engines Of Creation (2007) was the first album by the Swedish band Galleon that featured the drum parts of Göran Johnsson (Grand Stand, Spektrum). He replaced Dan Fors and joined forces with Göran Fors (bass, vocals), Ulf Pettersson (keyboards) and Sven Larsson (guitars). Engines Of Creation was also the eighth studio album by Galleon, but the first one they recorded using only digital equipment. For me, the album was a bit disappointing. Galleon released several outstanding albums in the past like King Of Aragon (1995), The All European Hero (1996) and From Land To Ocean (2003) just to name a few titles that proved Galleon to be a very professional band. Their brand of neo-progressive rock has a sound which I enjoy a lot. It's majestic, atmospheric and highly melodic with a touch of Swedish folk. These features were still present on Engines Of Creations, but for me the compositions were less good than on the aforementioned albums.
However, on the band's latest and ninth release In The Wake Of The Moon I heard the music I love so much again. The songs are all of a high level and are a real pleasure to listen to over and over again. The album opens with Stages, a rather heavy piece with an aggressive sounding guitar and up-tempo drum patterns. On the second track Wallflower the keyboards are more upfront and several short synthesizer solos create a song that moves towards the prog rock genre. When the third track starts you know that nothing can go wrong anymore: they pull out all the 'prog' stops. The instrumental piece Childs Play is of a very high level: the Hammond-organ and the Mellotron-samples create an atmosphere over which the electric guitar can play a fine melody line. Even the synthesizer gets a solo spot. The bombastic sound throughout this piece is just awesome. The title track is a brilliant piece of music either. It's rather mellow and the synth solo and guitar parts are breathtaking. The harmony vocals of all four musicians sound very mature which is something we could hardly notice on the band's previous releases. This development in the music of Galleon works very well.
War At Home is divided in two parts: the first part Woodland Creatures contains fragments that sound like the abovementioned track Childs Play; the second part Aftermath is a bit slower wherein Göran Fors sings mainly solo, but the harmony vocals strongly push the music towards that of Yes. The climax that follows is just brilliant ending the song in good style. Over The Hills And 3 Feet Under starts with the voices of children and the sounds of nature. The bass parts are great here and sound a bit the way Chris Squire handles his instrument. Together with the drums the bass creates an atmosphere for the keyboards and guitars to perform some fine instrumental passages. Mr. Murphy starts very bombastic with guitar parts in the vein of Allan Holdsworth. The last track Rain is the perfect song to end an album with in a mellow manner. The acoustic guitars sound very relaxed and the synthesizers play a fine solo melody. Towards the end the song gets more bombastic with a lot of Mellotron-samples and bass pedals. Genesis couldn't have done it better.
I can't think of any negative remarks about In The Wake Of The Moon. Therefore I'll end this review with my thumbs up for Galleon! The band again released a fantastic sounding album with only great compositions that have something to say music wise!
**** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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