Ashes for the Monarch – 2015

 

 

 

Ashes for The MonarchAshes for the Monarch
Release Date: 9th February 2015

Line-up:
John Youdale – 6, 12 & Nylon Guitars, Vocals and FX
Dave Birdsall – Vocals
Mike Winship – Vocals
Dave Kidson – Keyboards
Bob Mulvey – Bass, Bass Pedals, FX & Voices
Graeme Ash – Drums
GUESTS
Gemma Elysee – Violin (2, 4 & 6)
Dale Harbron – Narrative (7)

Tracklist:
01. Whichone (4:35)
02. Hell And High Water (5:56)
03. Projection [I-III] (8:14)
– Part I Sweet Dreams (2:42)
– Part II From Ego To Id (3:11)
– Part III Another Day (2:21)
04. Garden Of Evil (7:03)
05. Lightwing (2:49)
06. One Man Alone [I-XI] (22:47)
– Part I Barkus (1:26)
– Part II Mooning About (2:39)
– Part III Going Nowhere (1:22)
– Part IV Boundless (1:00)
– Part V Crystal Balls To It All (1:43)
– Part VI The Great Ocean Of Lament (3:56)
– Part VII Epitaph For The Spirit (1:24)
– Part VIII Call To Arms (2:35)
– Part IX Come To A Conclusion… (1:20)
– Part X …In A Peaceful Movie Release (2:50)
– Part XI We Don’t Need Any ‘ELP and YES, It’s A Barkus Mad Mutation (2:32)
07. Isle Of Glass [Outro] (3:43)

Monument concluded with the Whichone (Outro) and using the idea put forward on the first three Queen albums, a sort of ‘taster’ track to leave you with a hint of what’s to begin the next one. Musically Whichone is a slight departure in that it is basically a triplet feel minor blues, lyrically a satire based around the idea of endless choice, the idea being, that if you have too much choice, or too many possible things to choose from, the choice becomes more difficult and less convincing.

Hell And High Water has a strange link to the Ridley Scott film ‘Bladerunner’ in that it was inspired by the view from a window overlooking the industrial scene one clear and dark autumn night. Both this song and the cinematic feel of the film came from that striking imagery. Towers of steel; flames rising into the night; orange and cold blue light; steam rising into the darkness – both a hell on Earth and still the financial lifeblood of Teesside through the 20th century.

Projections was originally a twenty five minute piece, but eventually found to work better in a streamlined version. The middle dream section, From Ego To Id, is about our pleasures and our fears, our pleasurable slumbers are dashed as the dentist’s drill changes the mood. There’s some whacky ideas in there…

The inspiration behind Garden Of Evil came from John Wyndham’s ‘The Day of the Triffids’ – one of Glacier’s most compact songs and is a seven minute journey into the story of the book.

Lightwing was originally written by John as he recovered from a long illness combining a number doodles on the guitar. The main theme comes from a piece called Nightwing (to appear on the next album) and has been transposed from its original D harmonic minor key into an A melodic minor with some other themic elements hidden within the arrangement.

The centrepiece of Ashes is the twenty three minute epic One Man Alone, a sprawling meander through 37 years of Glacier music influenced by ELP, Yes, Genesis, Camel, Focus, King Crimson and more. It tells the story of Lawrence Talbot, the Wolf Man as inspired by the 1941 film, starring Lon Chaney Jr. The track has the opening section being played in the style of ELP’s ‘Tarkus’ and the song is meant to be an affectionate homage to all of the bands who raised the prog banner in the early 70’s. The final outro section Barkus Mad Mutation… was fleshed out as being the ‘next wolfman….’ Using the original theme in 7/8 converted to a theme played in 6/4 and given a Yes (Steve Howe) type octave feel.

The Isle Of Glass (Outro) once again returns to the formula of offering a taster for the next release. A dense orchestration of e-Bows fleshes out the strings and choirs as it tries to convey the imagery of a windswept wake across the moors to a place of rest…