PLP's first album is surprisingly restrained and tasteful (for the most part). I was dreading a bad case of ELP-worship, but although there's definitely an element of that here, on Gothic Impressions the keyboard pyrotechnics don't come at the price of good music. The compositions are pretty good, and the playing is for the most part immaculate. I find myself particularly enjoying the bass work of Johan Högberg (of Änglagård fame; three of his bandmates make various contributions as well). He only plays on the second and fourth tracks, but it is immediately obvious that he's a great player, as those two are easily my favorites on the album, due in no small part to Högberg's contributions.
On the flip side, "Night on Bare Mountain", an arrangement of Mussorgsky's piece by Pär Lindh, gets a bit too much into the keyboard worship stuff that I dislike; and "Green Meadow Lands" is just kind of boring. Also, I find the male vocals a bit difficult to stomach - they are fairly technically accomplished, but rather heavily accented and a bit weak in places as well. The hint of Magdalena Hagberg's vocals on "The Iconoclast" is tantalizing, and her wordless singing in "Gunnlev's Round" is gorgeous. There's a reason that Lindh made Hagberg a full-time vocalist for the band following this album.
On the strengths of all but the two above-mentioned tracks, I would recommend Gothic Impressions to any symphonic prog fan. Of course, the recommendation is doubled for any ELP lover or keyboard fanatic.
Label: Crimsonic (CLSCD 101)
Year release: 1994
Genre: Progressive-symphonic rock
1. Dresden Lamentation — 2:06
2. The Iconoclast — 7:04
3. Green Meadow Lands — 7:24
4. The Cathedral — 19:33
5. Gunnlev's Round — 2:50
6. Night on Bare Mountain (P. Mussorgsky) — 13:50
Buy it / Cómpralo:
- Par Lindh Project website