Reviewed by Alex Figgis
Rick has taken some 25 years to return to the centre of the Earth; once again encouraging one and all to join him in a journey of breathtaking beauty, suspense, awe and wonder. Complete with stella narration at the hands of Captain Patrick 'Picard' Stewart, "Return." is a majestic blend of classic orchestration mixed with contemporary instrumentation to form a hybrid of crossover rock, which Rick has never been able to realise fully until now, Inspired by Jules Verne, Rick Wakeman has not only written the accompanying story, but has also composed, orchestrated and produced the album. Considering the intricacies involved within 'Return.' one can not but help but supremely recognise the Godgiven genius that he entrusted Rick with. Featuring the London Symphony Orchestra (conducted by David Snell), the English Chamber Choir (conducted by Guy Protheroe), with Fraser Thorneycroft-Smith (guitar), Phil Williams (bass) and Simon Hanson (drums), the albums also features guest vocalists such as Ozzy Osbourne, Bonnie Tyler and Trevor Rabin, who also supplies guitars on "Never Is A Long, Long Time". Rick has successfully created a work that engages the listener; where the various elements of the story are vividly brought before the mind's eye by astoundingly well produced, arranged and executed pieces of music. Whether contemporary classical compositions ("The Dance", "The Kill") or progressive rock master pieces ("Buried Alive", "Never Is A Long , Long Time"), Rick and band admirably deliver the goods. In my opinion, this is bound to be one of the major releases of '99.
The opinions expressed in this article are
not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed
views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may
not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a
Interested in reviewing music? Find out