If Jade Warrior’s second album has any overwhelming flaw, it is that its predecessor traveled so far off the conventional beaten tracks of early-’70s prog that anything less than absolute reinvention could only be regarded as a rerun of past glories. To write off Released as little more than a slapdash shadow of Jade Warrior, however, is to overlook the leaps and bounds that the band did make. The opening “Eyes On You” journeys in on a positively spiky guitar and horn duel, while Glyn Havard’s vocals have taken on tones that are far-removed from the Jethro Tull-shaped nuances with which they were once most readily compared. Staggering, too, are the almost bluesy guitar work-outs that leap unexpectedly in and out of the mix, overwhelming all but the most ferocious elements elsewhere in the arsenal — judging only by the crescendo that closes it, “Three Horned Dragon King” could not have been better named. Similarly, “Water Curtain Cave” is as much a melting of souls as it is a gentle song, while other numbers tackle light jazz and classical prog without once vacating the band’s accustomed framework of brilliance. Again, there is little here that Jade Warrior itself did not predict, but the unerring delivery of those predictions is a marvel in itself. – Dave Thompsonmore »
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