Leon : Sometimes I get a CD sent for a review that just doesn’t work for me. The newest work of Excalibur, a project of Alan Simon, falls under that description. It’s already the fourth record under the name Excalibur but I had honestly never heard of it before. It’s not that strange, when you think of it, because even though it’s a ‘Celtic Rock Opera’ there isn’t much rock to be found. That’s why I think it’s a bit strange that the album was sent to us for a review, I suspect it has something to do with the list of guests that were part of the album, among them are Bernie Shaw (Uriah Heep), Jesse Siebenberg and John Helliwell (Supertramp), and Moya Brennan of (Clannad).
‘The Dark Age Of The Dragon’ tells the story of Merlin the sorcerer who finally escaped Morgana’s spell after a thousand years. When he sees what happened to the world, he casts the biggest spell ever seen that brings the mighty dragon back to life. In nineteen songs you are guided through the story, supported by your typical rock instruments like the mandolin, pan flute and saxophone. Musically it’s similar to what would happen if Clannad would work together with The Alan Parsons Project, and yes… I really can’t do anything with that. Because of this I am going to keep this very short. The albums is quite fine, vocally the performances are spot on and the melodies are easily recognizable. Sometimes there are some spoken words in French and I think that’s a bit silly, but luckily the music is much more logical. Nice record for those who love symphonic music with Celtic influences.