PILGRYM-
REAL AND ORIGINAL CLASSIC SYMPHONIC BRITISH PROGRESSIVE ROCK




PILGRYM - Pilgrimage - Holy Ground Progressions 2013
By Richard Hawey

Perhaps this name say you something and you have reason, PILGRYM has released the first version of the "Pilgrimage" in 2004. If you missed this album, PILGRYM gives you another chance to listen to it. Their new version 2013 comes to us with a few additions that make the attraction of "Pilgrimage" even more irresistible. If the first version suffered from lower sound quality, the new fixes as a whole, having been completely remastered sound. In addition it offers an additional track of more than thirteen minutes entitled "Unknown Soldier Suite". The group consists mainly of Andy WELLS at the piano, synthesizer, mellotron, vocals and guitars, as well as producing. And Tony DRAKE, which deals with guitars and singing. They are accompanied by Kevin MULVIHILL on drums and percussion, Oliver DRAKE for a few additional guitars, Mike SYSLO bass on "Circus" and "Reborn" and Emma Louise PEARSON on keyboards on "Reborn". The artwork is of Lee GASKINS and is of high quality.

I must say that having not known the initial production, I had the pleasant surprise to discover an amazing album. Several compositions of Andy WELLS are really brilliant, influences of progressive ' 70s is found predominantly on the album but also the melodic pop of the ' 80s. A more detailed description if impose Avec 'Circus Of The Absurd", which opens the album with its keyboards and close voice of a certain Mr GILMOUR, excellent implementation thereafter. Following "Ghost of Years" which begins as a ballad and turns slightly in its center to return to the pace of the beginning and "Believe Me Now" more pop, close to ASIA. "The excellent "Building A Perfect Universe" is divided into two instrumental parties except for a few moments toward the end. Musical variations are numerous and the influence of Rick WAKEMAN is felt on the end of the first part. The second phase is quite floydienne. It then passes to the instrumental "Song Of The Albatross", again the music is very angelic. The piano plays a major role, the keyboards coming coat it. This is the guitar that will get out us of this spell with a beautiful solo. "Black Sun" is again a moment strong which will plunge into atmospheres to King Crimson with the mellotron and its slow pace. The last two tracks are presented as bonus tracks. The first is "Reborn" recorded live is a very beautiful seductive title musically and sung by Tony DRAKE. We swim in full mood BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST. The second is an edit of the first title of the album, "Circus Of The Absurd". And the icing on the cake "Unknown Soldier Suite" which starts in a very solemn manner with its majestic keyboards. The atmosphere is very involved primarily because the keyboards, the song is dramatic and charged with emotion. And the guitar solo that ended this song will give you chills. A beautiful song really.

In conclusion I believe sincerely that Г‡PilgrimageГ€ version 2013 is an excellent album for fans of progressive melodic. As I said if the main problem with the original was the sound quality, this defect was fully settled. The two main protagonists demonstrate an excellent knowledge of their instruments, the song is inspired and even if keyboards are dominant, the guitar brings that little something more that will hold your attention. If you are fans of PINK FLOYD, KING CRIMSON and BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST starts this album is for you. Finally it is worth noting that PILGRYM prepares a new album entitled 'The Divide'.

Rating 4/5


PILGRYM - Pilgrimage - "Retro" Prog Rock, 28 April 2013
By Ben Bottle

This review is from: Pilgrimage (Audio CD) Firstly, I must state that I did not buy this via Amazon as the prices were ridiculously prohibitive - at Р’Р€45+ that is crazy!! I discovered this band quite by accident. I was looking into album art. I am a fan of Willowglass and like their covers done by Lee Gaskins. Anyway the name Pilgrym popped up!

The album is definitely my bag. Solid "Retro Prog" with a bit of a twist here and there. Opening with "Circus of the Absurd" with layered keys and guitar underpinned by a solid Hammond backdrop. The balance from the rhythm section is just right as are the vocals which blend in with additional mellotron and synthesizer colouring. The lyrics say - "Welcome to my people. Welcome to my world" - Welcome to Pilgrym. "Ghost of Years" has a smooth intro after opening with a concert gong. This is a Prog Ballad and has an almost Moody Blues feel. The mid-section picks up into a Supertarmp vein with layered keys/strings. As it opened, it closes with a gong crash!"Believe Me Now", takes us up a notch or two with a definite AOR edge. I'm hearing REO Speedwagon and Journey, although you might hear something else? This has a nice mid-section guitar break and a strong melody; it's a bit of a foot tapper!! "Building A Perfect Universe is a 'two-parter' and largely instrumental, beginning with an FX intro almost reminiscent of Tangerine Dream which then slips into a slight Asia/Yes section before returning to TD and a wonderful mellotron finale!

Part Two takes the tempo up with some solid drumming and Hammond runs. Here, I am drifting towards ELP and Greenslade? This closes with an echoey Floydian vocal section. "Song Of The Albatross", also an instrumental, is a delightful turnaround opening with ambient sounds and some really smooth piano and bass lines. This almost soft jazz and a really "mellow vibe". Love this!! "Black Sun" has a King Crimson feel to it, having a slightly "offbeat" edge. The bass on this track is much stronger and after a lengthy instrumental opening section we move more Floydian vocals. This is quite a moody and tense song. "Reborn" is live and, despite some great playing, it suffers from a rather hollow sound; the drums sound particularly flat. I would like to hear a studio version of this. "Circus" is an edit of "Circus of the Absurd". Then we close with the 13 minute, plus, "Unknown Soldier Suite" a keyboard laden instrumental with strong elements of Wakeman come Emerson running throughout. Entirely instrumental, this labours a little but, once again, contains some fine musicianship. My understanding is that this is a "Demo"?

Please note that may "comparisons" are merely guidelines and should not taken too literally; it is my interpretation and perception. If the recording suffers from anything, it's possibly the sound, which is a bit hollow and fragile at times. BUT this is a fine album and one which I happily and heartily recommend, IF you are into the genre? I look forward to more!

4.0 out of 5 stars Very good




PROG PLANET REVIEW 2013
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3 / 5 Rating from ProgRules on progarchives.com

I have been reviewing some other subgenre albums lately but I started to miss my warm cradle that's called neo prog; so therefore time to return. And what better place to come back with than this (so far) flash-in-the-pan album by Pilgrym: Pilgrimage. By listening to this one I know what I've been missing. Simply a very fine little album with far from groundbreaking material but oh so wonderful...

Link: see full review

 

5 / 5 Rating from CDBaby - Pilgrym has a amazing instrumental atmosphere
[Reviewed by: Progressive Rock & Progressive Metal - E - Zine]
Pilgrym is a strong example of what real and original Classic Symphonic Progressive Rock music should be the favorite style for all prog friends, and will be always represented as an amazing style in the musical scene of the all times. The band provides us a travel and an adventure into the Progressive Rock School of the years 70, exploring all the themes, traditions and many ideas around bands as "Pink Floyd", "Yes", "Alan Parsons Project", "Camel" and "Emerson Lake and Palmer" with elaborated compositions, also full of experiments, adding some new musical discoveries, combined with a high musical culture, full of magnificent arrangements. Pilgrym has a amazing instrumental atmosphere, though the guitars and keyboards are the main focus on the songs, the dialogues among them are exciting, adjusting itself perfectly with the Vocals, Bass and Drums. Everything was done to lead us through the wonderful universe of the Prog Rock. Brilliant and indispensable work, highly recommendable...

Link: http://cdbaby.com/cd/pilgrym...

  3 / 5 Rating from Progressiveworld.net
[Reviewed by: Stephanie Sollow, February 2005]
What would you get if you mixed a bit of early Asia with a bit of Mike and The Mechanics? I think you'd get Pilgrym. At least that's my feeling upon listening to this band's debut CD Pilgrimage. It's got an easy-going mid-tempo thing about it, with mid-range vocals. It has a 70s feel about it as well, both in proggy and rock sense, which isn't really as true about the other two. It's MOR-prog, if you will -- middle of the road prog. Now, I'm not criticizing Pilgrim for this, because I like Asia and Mike and the Mechanics. But this comparison should give you an idea of how they sound. And for those who've heard neither reference, it's a very soft-focus kind of sounds that glides gently into your ears and slithers it's way into your brain, taking up residence. Such that right now, at this very moment, "Ghosts Of Years" is playing in my head. There is a romantic swell to this piece - a mix of piano, mellotron, organ, harpsichord, Moog and ARP synths (Andy Wells), with a backing of sparse drums and percussion (Kev Mulvhill) and fretless bass (Oliver Drake) and accompanied by Tony Drake on lead guitar. If this were the mid-70s, this piece could easily have been heard on the radio. I'd say that "Ghosts Of Years" is Pilgrim's "Living Years," somewhat in sound, but more so in sentiment, concept. And there is even a bit of lyric, in "In living years we don't see eye to eye..."

"Circus Of The Absurd," which opens the album, is when and where I though of Asia and ELP. There's not much absurdity mentioned in the song... I mean, it's not their take on "Karn Evil 9" or anything, at least musically. It's very benign in comparison, being a nice and catchy song. However, we might call the keys here somewhat Emersonian - and so yes, ELP is evoked slightly - certainly during the instrumental passage. And one might suggest a reference to the ELP classic in the lyric "welcome to the show." Andy Wells plays a variety of keyboards throughout the album; on this track it is mellotron, Roland Super JX10, mini-Moog, Yamaha CP70 E Grand. Guitarist Tony Drake plays a brief, slightly tart guitar solo, but pretty much this piece is all keyboards. Drums and percussion (Kev Mulvhill) are present to give this song it's pulse. As bonus track, an edited version of this song appears.

It is drums and percussion that begin "Building A Perfect Universe Pt 1" - crisp, sharp attacks that are joined by the throb of bass (Wells this time). Here we get a longer guitar solo from Drake, hi-toned and tight, sharp. All set against the layer of keys - organ, mellotron, Roland Super JX10, Sy22 and others. Though the Pink Floyd aspects don't crop up until later, it is here that the first Floydian reference is made, as the few lyrics read "All that you touch, All that you see, All you can feel..." and so on, referencing "Eclipse." There are also some musical references to the "Circus...," which helps to tie this album together, though it is not a concept album, at least not in a narrative sense.

This piece is divided into two parts which are further subdivided into threes. In the first part, mentioned above, those subparts are "Endless Space," "The Spark," and "Creating God." For "Building A Perfect Universe Part II," we get a spacey, Pink Floyd like feel, circa Dark Side Of The Moon for those first few atmospheric seconds, even down to some of the sound effects. But instead of bursts of sound or chiming clocks, what emerges instead is a lush bed of keyboards that billow up to carry you along, soon serenaded by plaintive guitar solo. The piece is something between prog rock and an electronic music that greets your ears. Haunting ghost-like voices (from the keys) show you that not everything on this sonic journey is lovely (a foreshadowing of the later "Black Sun"?), and yet these tones also suggest awe. Well, we are taking about the building of the universe, are we not. And the universe is pretty big, awesomely big... infinitely big.

These voices lead into the sound of bells (tubular, in fact, as played by Mulvhill) ... so this awe has become a religious experience. The two segments here are called "Understanding The Machine" and "All That You See."

"Believe Me Now" - the mere mention of which has the song cue up on the "brain-stereo" - has an upbeat urgency about it; sort of a pop arrangement, owing to its catchiness (cf. "All I Need Is A Miracle"). "Song of The Albatross" is a lyrical, sweeping piece putting piano right at the center. Funnily enough, it reminded me a lot of Christopher Cross' hit "Arthur," from the Dudley Moore film of the same name. "Black Sun" is a darker, heavier piece, as the title would imply with Mike Syslo's bass very much present in the mix, over layers of keyboards of varying hues, some dark and ominous, some breaking free to scream, but only for a second. I haven't mentioned the other bonus, "Reborn" which is included live, so I'll say just a few words - not to give it short shrift, mind. Tony Drake sings lead on this piece, which has an early Marillion/ELP kind of feel. A "neo-prog" take on "Stone Of Years" musically, though the soft-focus vocal delivery style is still present. Drake has a higher toned voice than Wells... sort of like Jon Anderson, but not entirely. Actually, he sounds like Jesús Filardi of Galadriel to me... Interesting comparison since Filardi is a Spaniard and, that I know, Drake is a Brit. It is here that Drake gets to let loose with a really long guitar solo, this is where he really "sings."

Production-wise, there's a bit of distortion around the edges. At first, I thought it was my portable stereo, but I've played this on various playback devices (e.g. car audio, home audio as well as another portable) and I still hear a bit of a buzz. I could be an effect or artifact of the keyboards, since that is the instrument around which the buzz seems to alight. But otherwise, production's pretty good. The instruments are mixed well, giving the right balance at the right time.

I should mention at this point that, while I read Joshua's review when I published it last August, I did not look at it again until well after this review was fully formed, but not yet edited (yes, I edit; really). That we make some of the same references is interesting, though not unexpected. I don't hear the Spock's Beard that he does, however.

So, what do I think of it? I love it! Yes, this is very good album. It's not great, but it hints that something great might be forthcoming from this UK group. Those who like "difficult" or "complex" prog will find it a little "soft," a little too "pretty." And the catchiness might persuade some other "prog-snobs" that it isn't prog... But I love it. I don't care, I love it.

See also: Review by Joshua Turner...

Link: Progressiveworld.net...

 
 

Metal Only Review from Sweden
[Mar 2005]
PILGRYM is the name of Andy Well’s new band. Andy is famed for his participation in BABY TUCKOO and VOYAGER UK, but also for writing songs for HUEY LEWIS AND THE NEWS. He also called on Tony and Oliver Drake for this album, the pair having helped out on his solo ventures too.
The on “Circus of the Absurd” is not light years away from the light production that has been a trade mark of Andy’s solo stuff, even if this effort has a better overall sound. On offer here are deep and keyboard dominated melodies and it doesn’t get more melodic and progressive than this. “Ghost of Years” has a refrain that lingers on, it really hits off from the first time. Tony Drake’s guitar solos are impressive through out the disc. Comparisons with seventies giants like JOURNEY and STYX are not possible to avoid, especially in a keyboard-laden hit like “Believe in Me”. When PILGRYM do movement-sectioned tracks in three pieces they are very close to Andy’s own “Unknown Soldier” from the “Humanized” EP. Since Andy wrote most of the tracks on his own this sounds like yet a solo disc to me. The most beautiful moment on the record is “Song of the Albatross” that offers real magnitude. One of the bonus tracks is called “Reborn” and was recorded live. That song offers more guitar than any other track. The mix of guitar and keyboard is at its best and it is a pity that it is the only track of its kind in here. Apart from being a very keyboard-oriented album and the fact that no one removed sleeper “Black Sun” it is all very well-executed and relaxing. A record suited for fans of progressive (hard) rock.

Link: Metal Only...

 
 

3 / 5 Rating from Douwe Fledderus at ProgVisions
[Nov 2004]
Pilgrym is a band from England which has the potential to become big (if this is possible in our progscene). The music the band makes could be subscribed as typical English and classic progressive rock. My promo copy is one of the self-made first copies the band made. But the beautiful cover of artist Lee Gaskins deserves to be printed by a professional printing house. So I’m happy to hear that the band has signed a contract with the Swedish Transubstans label which will be distributed by Record Heaven. At the moment Pilgrym is recording the new album “The Great Divide”. But progVisions will first introduce you to the band with a review of their debut album “Pilgrimage”.

The album consist of seven Andy Wells compositions and the two bonus tracks “Reborn (Live)” (Drake/Wells) and “Circus (edit)”. The opener “Circus of the absurd” (7:57) starts with an instrumental opening and this up-tempo track already shows all the ingredients of the things to come. The guitar sound on this first track reminds me of Magenta. Also you will notice that the keyboards are playing an important role in the music of Pilgrym. The next track “Ghosts of years” is a ballad with some nice melodies. The middle part is instrumental with lots of keys and guitar. “Believe me now” (4:52) is more AOR and sounds like an Asia song to me. “Building a perfect universe pt1” (4:45) and “Building a perfect universe pt2” are far more interesting. Part one is divided in “Endless space”, “The spark” and “Creating God”. “Endless space” opens with spacey keyboard sounds and develops into sympho with broad keyboard layers and a melodic guitar part. “The spark” is again spacey and the church organ in “Creating God” is representing God. Part two is divided into “Understanding the machine” and “All that you see”. “Understanding the machine” has a lot of organ and melodic guitar work. “Song of the albatross” (7:02) starts of course with the sounds of the sea and the albatross. The opening is slow with delicate piano and keyboard work. Those mellow keyboard parts with beautiful string-sounds reminds me sometimes of Greenslade. And this is exactly why I like this album so much. Beautiful and melodic mellow prog. “Black sun” (7:14) reminds me somehow of a band like Porcupine Tree (“Signify” period) and of Pink Floyd. The bonus track “Reborn” shows that Pilgrym can reproduce their own sound also on stage.

The force behind Pilgrym is Andy Wells and Tony Drake. Both guys are also busy with their own solo albums. Andy Wells has made his second album “Lost Toys” and Tony Drake is working on “Believe the Dream”. The middle section of Pilgrym’s debut album “Pilgrimage” with tracks like “Building a perfect universe pt1 and pt2” and “Song of the albatross” is the most interesting for me. Here you can find fragments of the band’s own style which is still in the development stage. The future looks bright for Pilgrym. Can’t wait to hear “The Great Divide”.

Link: ProgVisions...

 
 

Andy G's CD Services Reviews - BEST OF 2004: PROG-ROCK
[Dec 2004]
There occasionally comes along the odd album where the whole thing, right from the opening track, sounds so good as a single entity, you don't actually focus on any one thing - you simply sit there marveling at the sounds unfolding before your very ears. This is one of those albums. In the opening track alone, you'll hear influences including 'Karn Evil'-ELP, 'Yours Is No Disgrace'-Yes, 'Dogs Of War'-Pink Floyd and more, with this huge production, worthy of the likes of Spocks Beard & IQ, that sounds like there's about a dozen people playing this thing, as synths, organ, guitars, mellotron, bass, drums and the occasional Gilmour-meets-Lake vocal combine to deliver just under 8 minutes of absolute prog-rock heaven, the "old" all wrapped up in the sound of the "new", and an opening track that is perfection itself.

Track 2 (no titles supplied on our review copy) sensibly drops back a notch on a classic Wetton-esque prog power-ballad with a sea of synths and mellotron, awash on a shore of solid vocals and strong, slow drums, before the pace changes, the sound heralds the arrival of organ and clavinet, a lead synth soars into the skies, but then it changes again as piano, electric guitar and mellotron take the intensity up a notch as the piece flies skywards, the vocals return and the whole thing lifts off like you wouldn't believe. Track 3 starts on a tidal wave of synths and guitars, bass and drums as it then starts to drive in classic IQ/Wetton/Jadis fashion, the song strong, solid and excellently delivered, lyrically sensible, while the arrangement is so majestic, full-sounding and symphonic, it just takes your breath away as this prog-rock expanse stretches from horizon to horizon. For an album packed with songs averaging around 6 minutes a-piece, it's a testament to the talents of this band that each track carries with it a perfect share of instrumental space, enough to satisfy most prog fans, while the vocals and lyrics remain consistent throughout, the production is nothing short of immense and the huge sound of synths, guitars, organ, keys, mellotrons, bass and drums seems to rise up, time after time after time to absolutely mesmerizing extent - arguably one of the finest prog-rock albums you'll hear all year, and, although probably controversially for me, it has the timeless quality that puts it almost outside of mere "prog" in a similar way to Porcupine Tree, and while this is almost like a much more "prog-rock" version, the musical and structural connections are not a million miles away. Truly, an essential listening album.

Link: Dead Earnest...

 
  3.75 / 5 : Progressive World
[ Aug 04]
The pet project of Andy Wells and Tony Drake is a real winner. The music has roots in the soil of classic progressive rock, but has modern leanings as well. Pilgrimage sounds like Genesis and Pink Floyd in some spots. It sounds like Spock's Beard, Flower Kings, and KnightArea in others.

Pilgrimage mostly lingers around in a relaxed fit, but there are moments taught attire is tried out. During these flamboyant episodes, the buttons strain to keep everything from spilling out. When this happens, the music almost bulges at the seams. It isn't long before the music changes back into a comfortable jumpsuit. These passages keep the music fresh. Just when the music appears to tire, along comes its second wind.

"Circus Of The Absurd" starts the album. It sounds like Emerson, Lake, and Palmer's "Karnevil." This is no coincidence. They go so far as to tip their hats off to the golden oldie when they sing the line, "Welcome to the show." The way Andy plays the keyboards you'd think Keith Emerson was sitting in on the recordings. To top it off, the sequence towards the end sounds like Rocky's swan song "Gonna Fly Now."

"Ghosts Of Years" is the missing ballad from Spock's Beard The Light. There are definitely moments from Neal Morse's early songwriting days. Neal should check his vault to see if something has disappeared from the archives.

Mike & The Mechanics surfaces in "Believe Me Now." It sounds like the commercial hit "All I Need Is A Miracle." The bridge in the middle is just about the only aspect that differs.

"Building A Perfect Universe Part 1" is a delicious smoothie with all sorts of progressive fruits and berries. One moment it is classic Genesis, the next it is Spock's Beard or The Flower Kings. To top it off, there are waves of instrumentals that sound very much like Knight Area's Sun Also Rises.

"Building A Perfect Universe Part 2" is mostly instrumental. Ryo Okomoto meets Keith Emerson in an old-fashioned duel. There is a splash of Al Morse's squealing guitar thrown in for good measure.

"Song Of The Albatross" keeps itself airborne in a long and enduring flight.

"Black Sun" is the last of the showpieces. It is also the most sinister song on the album. It is an eclipse on a summer day. Ambient light fills the sky. In the twilight, evil lurks in the shadows.

As a bonus, there is a great live track called "Reborn" and that's not all. If you order now, they throw in an edited version of the opening track, "Circus Of The Absurd." Nothing is new here, but it is interesting to receive a visit from the song's trim twin.

This album will most certainly appeal to many different kinds of progressive rock fans. Will they like it from start to finish? That is hard to say, but there is definitely something here for everyone.

Reviewed by: Joshua Turner

Link: Progressive World...

 
 

8.5 / 10 : Prog4you
[Nov 04]
This CD is classic neo-prog in the truest and most positive sense of the phrase. You have just tons of very melodic, thought provoking music and lyrics all mixed together in a gentle and flowing manner.

Hailing from the English country side Pilgrym is from a part of the world where you can say both original and neo-prog were born. They have put together a CD of intelligent and great music. Have you heard this all before? No doubt you have but Pilgrym have woven and knitted it together in an extremely tasteful and truly non-copy cat manner.

The CD opens with “Circus of the Absurd”. A song about those things we see around us everyday, that circus of all things absurd, silly, dark and evil. A song awash in mellotron and synths. A moderate tempo song that leads the listener through a world I’m not sure we really want to know exists.

Ghosts of Years is next up and is a slow melancholy song that addresses those “ghosts” we all have in our lives, those things left undone or worse those things done we cannot take back.

Believe Me Now would have been a major hit say in 1981 and if done by Asia or even Alan Parsons Project. An up tempo little ditty that has this wonderful musical hook that just circles round and round your brain. Toe tapping and light, a really fun song and one that is hard to get out of your head once you hear it. I even replayed it several times in a row it is that good.

Building a Perfect Universe both part 1 and part 2 are just down right excellent. For the most part they are instrumental with a few chanted or spoken lyrics. Again, powerful, sometimes discordant, but you get the true feeling that in fact you are listening to the “building of a perfect universe”. Loads of synths, mellotron, swirling twirling sounds, organ, moog, ethereal guitars. Yep, tasty very tasty.

I think in these two songs you get to really understand some of Pilgrym’s influences. Definitely late 80’s Pink Floyd and David Gilmore styled guitar passages but then they wrap you in a heavy Hammond Organ with the Leslie cabinet just burbling to you.

Building is followed by another instrumental, Song of the Albatross, where you truly get this feeling of flight. Gentle piano leads the way as you get the sense of floating over the ocean on gentle breezes. I really like this song.

This CD comes with two bonus tracks, a radio edit (read shortened from 7:57 to 5:44) of Circus of the Absurd and a live song called Reborn. Considering the crowd noise before and after the song it appears they were playing to quite a large crowd and a crowd that was familiar with Pilgrym’s music.

In the end what you have here is a simply divine CD. Nothing ground breaking but certainly nothing musically annoying. This is top notch melodic symphonic progressive rock. Never too heavy, never weak, always spot on and at ever turn the listener is given one musical treat after another.

Lovers of good music this CD is for you.

Reviewed by: Stephen Ellis

Link: Prog4you...

 
 

Grande Rock
[30 Aug 04]
This one’s good! In general the sound of the group is close to prog rock, but cannot be confined to that, as the band adds many AOR elements and much synths to create a soundtrack-like music. Although we are talking about prog rock, the structure of the songs is (most of the times) plain and “understandable” by all. This means that the album does not target only the prog freaks. However we should mention that the large part of it is instrumental, with the voice appearing only when needed. If you have listened to Tangent’s CD, you know what to expect. Camel meet Marillion meet Survivor in a great musical journey that never ends. What strikes the attention are the vocal melodies that (when appear) are really catchy and stick to your head for hours. I remember when I first listened to the opus “Circus Of The Absurd” I kept singing the refrain for hours. But above all the album succeeds in creating what prog rock is supposed to: feelings of melancholy, ascension and purgatory... offering us some small ports of wisdom. Just push play and the internal journey begins. “Welcome to the show”. This is at least an... 8/10

Link: Grande Rock...

 
 

Peter Beaman
[29 Aug 04 - by email]

Having heard a rumour a new UK progrock band had entered the arena I wanted to know more. The band are from West Yorkshire but remind me at times like Pendragon (perhaps their cousins from the South West?). Initially on the first three songs I thought the sound was steering towards a division between AOR/Wetton/Asia and 80’s neo-prog and perhaps not boding that well for the future. But after a few more listens it seems there are more afoot, and the 8 songs on offer are the beginnings of a potential super-group. Individually talented members of Pilgrym with Andy Wells writings and Tony Drake’s soaring guitar licks will evolve if they follow their instincts like on Building a Perfect Universe (a two-parter) which is a lushly produced spacy-symphonic piece, harking back to the Enid or Eloy classics. Elsewhere on the CD there are signs that the band leaning towards the marvellous keyboard sound that Barclay James Harvest produced on Black Sun. Whereas Song of the Albatross is an instrumental interlude with a nice slow tempo-piano followed by some nebulous guitar soloing around the midpoint and beyond. A live track called Reborn is thrown in for good method to show the band do have a following in the ranks. Overall, a nice debut CD (and artist sleeve-work) for those fans dedicated to progrock from the 70’s and 80’s with an emphasis on lush-mellotron and searing-guitar work.

 
 

Muzika Bosnia
[27 Jul 04]
Pilgrimage is really getting heard on the worldwide scene. Here's a review just in from Bosnia.

The original review by Blane Lockner s online in the original language - Serbian! But Blane has sent us an English translation of the highlights.

".... Pilgrimage " is colorit, vivid and remarcable issue, and we could see high qualities of members from band. Mentally, group cover progressive movement from 70's, and we could compare their approach with the concepts of Greenslade, and early Barclay James Harvest. But, band has own style, and technically and productionally they showed highest qualities. "Pilgrimage" blend tradition of 70's with modern 2000's, in best possible way..."
Rating : 9 / 10

Link: Blane Lockner...

Link: Muzika Bosnia...

 
 

Angelfire
[19 Ju 04]
The UK based band PILGRYM features among others, keyboardplayer/guitarist/bassist and vocalist ANDY WELLS. Andy used to play in AOR/Melodic Rock related acts (VERITY, VOYAGER – a band who recorded a fantastic demo in the 1980s, but never managed to release a full CD unfortunately – and BABY TUCKOO), but with PILGRYM he is moving into a sort of Symphonice AOR direction, not unlike ASIA/JOHN WETTON.

The CD contains 9 tracks, in total a playing time of almost 60 minutes, and the music is really beautiful, with very good lead vocals and instrumental excellent musicianship. I am very impressed with this CD and although it is said to be a typical British Neo-Progressive Rockalbum, the style on ‘Pilgrimage’ is clearly more 80s orientated Sympho-AOR with a lot of Synths/Keys and strong memorable choruses, so in the end this band might attract both Neo-Prog and AOR fans, just like ASIA did in the 1980s. Some songs are very relaxing slower Symphonic epic rocksongs like “Circus of the absurd” and “Ghosts of years”, but here and there we can also find an uptempo AOR/Sympho-Rocker like “Believe me now”, which has 1980s written all over and this is really good to hear from a new UK act, whom mainly follow the trends.

The CD also has a lot instrumental parts, which is a pity, because the first 3 songs with vocals sound very good and from then on you keep hoping on more songs like that, but we have to wait until the end of the CD for more vocal orientated songs like “Black sun” and bonustrack “Reborn”. I think this CD offers enough for both the
Sympho/AOR and Neo-Progfan, so go check out.

Link: Angelfire...

 
 

Prognaut
[Reviewed by Ron Fuchs - USA - 10 Jul 04]
Here's another classic progressive rock inspired band to emerge in 2004. Pilgrym, with their odd spelling put forth an amazing reproduction of the classic era of symphonic based progressive rock ala Genesis, Yes and Pink Floyd, with some AOR qualities as well. Are they original? Nah! Fun and enjoyable? Damn right! One of the more enjoyable releases in 2004! It's a tough thing to come up with truly original based music, so for a band like Pilgrym to give us a modernized production of the afore mentioned classic era is truly a treat for the ears. This is a must have for those that enjoy melodic progressive music over the harsh prog-metal or chaotic RIO style bands currently dominating most prog fans' collections.

I should hope Pilgrym expands on their music to steer away from the AOR style and dive more into the progressive side, maybe include an epic or two for us diehard fans. Help support the indie prog scene by purchasing a copy of Pilgrym's Pilgrimage. It has some very well done instrumentation played by excelled players.

Link: Prognaut...

 
 

Missing Piece
[Sweden - 21 Jun 04]
It’s been a while since we had a new British band that maneged to come with something interresting in the progressive rock field. Well, that might just change now. I have so far only listened to the soundbytes on their website, but from what I hear these guys have come up with a really nice album in the modern, so called “neoprog”

Link: Missing Piece...

 
  Progscape
[Reviewed by Bob Rosenthal - 21 Jun 04]
Pilgrym is a new band based in West Yorkshire, England and was formed in 2003 by Andy Wells (vocals, guitar, bass, piano, Mellotron, synths) and Tony Drake (vocals, guitars). The lineup is completed by Kevin Mulvihill on percussion, Oliver Drake on additional guitars and bass, and Emma Pearson on keyboards. The album was produced mixed and engineered by Andy Wells, who also composed all of the songs. The band states that "many influences on the album come from the UK bands like King Crimson, ELP, Greenslade etc., which can also be heard alongside echoes of Kansas and early Styx" and that “the album leans towards the old school of British progressive music.

Their debut CD “Pilgrimage” was released by the band on April 5, 2004 in association with Hollyground Records. The CD contains 7 tracks along with two bonus tracks, clocking in at 55 minutes.

The opening track “Circus of the Absurd” is a standard AOR prog song. It’s a powerful track with waves of organ and guitars and has a very ‘70’s feel to it. It’s a typical album opener with lyrics that “Welcome to my people, welcome to my world.” Think ELP or Styx here. The music is not overly complex, but is definitely well played.

The next two tracks are “Ghost of Years” and “Gotta Believe Me Now” and come straight from the “Mike and the Mechanics” school of FM-friendly pop/prog. And Andy Wells played with Mike and the Mechanics. “Ghost of Years” is a ballad that falls into the neo-prog trap that many tunes like that tend to copy and “Gotta Believe Me Now” is well written, but is a tune that you’d swear you’d heard before.

Next is Building a Perfect Universe Part 1 that starts out as a Pink Floyd symphonic space rock number with synth effects and pulsing rhythms painting a desolate picture. This feel changes as it suddenly bursts out into a simpler keyboard theme with soaring guitar work, before coming back to the style at the opening.

What follows is Building a Perfect Universe Part 2 and continues with the themes built in Part 1. Too bad these two tracks weren’t segued together (without a gap between them). They would have worked better as a 10 minute opus rather than two 5 minutes tracks. The ending chorus of “All That You See” is far too familiar. Originality is not a part of this track for sure.

Song of the Albatross is another instrumental track that starts out as a typical AOP slow tempo-piano based song that has a great fuzz guitar solo about midway through. This settles back down to the piano theme. A pleasant enough tune, but no new ground is being broken here either.

Black Sun finishes the main part of the CD. It begins with a Mellotron blast that would have been found on an early King Crimson track. The guitar build up is very reminiscent of “Shine On…” by Pink Floyd. The vocals are Gilmour to a tea! And I half expect the band to break into Cymbaline at any second, with the Hammond organ drenches in the background.

The bonus tracks include a live track “Reborn.” Why include a live version of a song that is not part of the main CD…you got me?? By the applause the audience seems to know the song. It’s another send-off to Pink Floyd, but is soaked in Mellotron… and the return of the fuzz guitar…fantastic! The CD finishes with an edit of Circus of the Absurd” and “absurd” it is indeed. What does this accomplish at the end of the disc?

Unfortunately, the entire CD suffers from its production. The recording is very thin and lifeless. This type of music usually has a huge bottom end that is “felt” as much as heard. Unfortunately this is not the case here. Perhaps it’s because I am listening to a promo of the CD, but I think this may be the finished product.

Pilgrym is a well crafted CD with several songs that could become hits. Unfortunately when there are so many references made to other bands, and then the main musical themes of many of the tracks come from these bands, it’s hard to get excited about the CD as a whole. I’d rather listen to King Crimson; Pink Floyd, Mike and the Mechanics, etc. The end result here is a good rock album with some progressive elements. Here’s hoping that their next effort will be more original.

Link: Progscape...

 
 

Just For Kicks
[Germany - 21 Jun 04]
It’s like there are two CDs in one here! Parts are proggy-AOR, and parts are excellent progressive rock; and it’s all very well executed. On first spin, it is easy to dismiss Pilgrimage as just another neo / AOR Wetton-Asia-type of album. But spinning it again you just might do a double take and wonder how you missed all that excellent progressive rock! Then you analyze it more closely, and here’s what you’ll find: The first three tracks, and the last which is an edited repeat of the first, are rather good song-oriented pieces – just slightly more progressive than Asia and less so than the lighter tracks from Emerson Lake and Palmer. There are huge melodic hooks, and even though they have that pop edge to them, the instrumentation is full and textured and very pleasing. “Believe Me Now” is the most Asia-like of the songs, and despite the mediocre quality of the vocals, it could easily worm its way onto radio playlists with the right promotion. But tracks 4 through 8 are a whole different Kettle of fish! These are very fine modern interpretations of the ‘70s era of prog. Some are purely instrumental, and the vocal tracks do not rely very heavily on voice at all. This section is ‘music’, not ‘songs’, it is led equally by guitar and keys, and particularly in “Black Sun”, it carries strong Pink Floyd elements. The excellent guitar work bears strong resemblance to the Gilmour / Latimer sounds, with long, slow, very emotional solos that will have you reaching for the replay button. The keyboards are in the classic vein, led by a grinding Hammond, synthesizers, and Mellotrons. A standout track is the strong slow piano-driven “Song Of The Albatross”. Imagine a slow melody played in bass and low-treble with the piano brought right to the front of the mix, and synchronized beautifully with the bass and drums and an occasional passage from acoustic-styled guitar; while behind all that, Mellotrons add a huge orchestral backdrop. Heavy, ponderous, melodic and a real head-nodding rock piece with one of those wailing guitar solos ¾-way through. Just wonderful! As dyed-in-the-wool progressive fans, many of us will be excused for playing just the 30-and-a-bit minutes of tracks four through eight, and absorbing those progressive gems again and again. So the questions you may end up asking yourself are: Will this album appeal to both the AOR set and the proggies? Perhaps each set of listeners will feel that half of the album was wasted? Or do you have enough range in your listening preferences to accept both?

Link: Just For Kicks...

 
  Progressive Ears
By Duncan Glenday [14.06.04]

Style : Some AOR, lots of classic progressive rock, and a touch of ‘Floyd.
Rating : 4 / 5

Summary : It’s like there are two CDs in one here! Parts are proggy-AOR, and parts are excellent progressive rock; and it’s all very well executed.

On first spin, it is easy to dismiss Pilgrimage as just another neo / AOR Wetton-Asia-type of album. But spinning it again you just might do a double take and wonder how you missed all that excellent progressive rock! Then you analyze it more closely, and here’s what you’ll find:

The first three tracks, and the last which is an edited repeat of the first, are rather good song-oriented pieces – just slightly more progressive than Asia and less so than the lighter tracks from Emerson Lake and Palmer. There are huge melodic hooks, and even though they have that pop edge to them, the instrumentation is full and textured and very pleasing. “Believe Me Now” is the most Asia-like of the songs, and despite the mediocre quality of the vocals, it could easily worm its way onto radio playlists with the right promotion.

But tracks 4 through 8 are a whole different Kettle of fish! These are very fine modern interpretations of the ‘70s era of prog. Some are purely instrumental, and the vocal tracks do not rely very heavily on voice at all. This section is ‘music’, not ‘songs’, it is led equally by guitar and keys, and particularly in “Black Sun”, it carries strong Pink Floyd elements. The excellent guitar work bears strong resemblance to the Gilmour / Latimer sounds, with long, slow, very emotional solos that will have you reaching for the replay button. The keyboards are in the classic vein, led by a grinding Hammond, synthesizers, and Mellotrons.

A standout track is the strong slow piano-driven “Song Of The Albatross”. Imagine a slow melody played in bass and low-treble with the piano brought right to the front of the mix, and synchronized beautifully with the bass and drums and an occasional passage from acoustic-styled guitar; while behind all that, Mellotrons add a huge orchestral backdrop. Heavy, ponderous, melodic and a real head-nodding rock piece with one of those wailing guitar solos ¾-way through. Just wonderful!

As dyed-in-the-wool progressive fans, many of us will be excused for playing just the 30-and-a-bit minutes of tracks four through eight, and absorbing those progressive gems again and again.

So the questions you may end up asking yourself are: Will this album appeal to both the AOR set and the proggies? Perhaps each set of listeners will feel that half of the album was wasted? Or do you have enough range in your listening preferences to accept both?

By Jonathan Pine [14.06.04]

Pilgrimage is the debut release of the UK group Pilgrym. The band was founded in 2003 by Andy Wells (vocals, guitar, bass, piano, mellotron, synths.) and Tony Drake (vocals, guitars). The Pilgrym’s lineup is completed by Kevin Mulvihill on percussion, Oliver Drake on additional guitars and bass, and Emma Pearson on keyboards.
At first I thought that it is pure rock stuff without elements of prog. The impression was probably caused by melodies based material that characterizes the music. Then I heard some echoes of Emerson, Lake and Palmer and Camel which convinced me that progressive rock is on the agenda. Classic prog instrumentation, very good musicianship, and really nice vocals are the advantages of the album. Clocking in over fifty minutes, this release contains very accessible collection of 9 tracks full of melodic hooks and catchy guitar solos. Musically, they are slightly reminiscent of Asia.

Both the opening song “Circus of the Absurd” and the third track “Believe Me Now” are very strong candidates for hits. Besides, the refrain of the latter (“gotta believe me now ‘cos I’m standing on the edge”) I try to sing to my wife each time I come home late at night.

“Ghosts of Years” has a feel of melancholy, it is a six-minute ballad with some gorgeous mellotron and organ playing. Lyrically the most appealing tracks are “Circus of the Absurd”, “Black Sun” and “Reborn”(in excellent live version, Tony Drake proves here that he is a skillful vocalist too) though they are a bit somber, I must add. The entire material is very good and it is hard to locate tracks better and worse - but If I were forced to choose I would definitely point at all the above mentioned songs. Additionally, I should also mention the beautiful cover painting, though it may seem to be just the icing on the cake.

To sum up, with this release Pilgrym have set off on the route leading to the sacred regions of music… I do believe that the journey will be continued and they will reach more destinations as attractive as this one.

Link: Progressive Ears...

 
  Planeta Rock - Argentina
From England has arrived at our hands one of the finest disks than have been presented up to now in matter of symphonic rock. The people of Pilgrym has taken reminiscences and influences of the but large exponents of the kind since the decade of the ’80 to the date, passing for Marillion, Asia, Kansas, John Wetton, etc.

“Pilgrymage”, its album debut, unfolds through its seven songs, a hit after another. As they will see does not be a matter of a conventional album of symphonic rock, but of pieces pegadizas, commercial and accessible al 100%, and whose characteristic has marked to fire the bands before named already two decades ago.

Of course that also collect sounds of the ’70, and in that way we run into with shades to it Pink Floyd and you Go, but mainly to Alan Parsons Project. And in that line we make out to the opening “Circus of the Absurd”, which at the same time forms part of the best moment of the CD.

In the intro named al master John Wetton, is rivaled in “Ghost of Years”, a ballad well melosa al better style soloist of the former one Asia. And if we speak of Asia not to can stop emphasizing al third theme of the disk, “Believe me Now”. A typical half a time of the English group. With characteristic commercial keyboards of Geoffrey Downes, those that go al front of the theme in every moment, and that were keys years behind.

I continue not with this review, without before emphasize the work of the leader and singer of Pilgrym, Andy Wells, who is besides composer of all the themes, carrying out together al violero Tony Drake a predominant work besides the remainder. Without being the best singer of the kind, neither the most virtuous and noticeable guitarist of the environment, both execute their role to perfection, contributing a true sound of distinction to each piece.

Toward the knot of the album, Pilgrym attends to with two instrumental songs that do not contribute anything special to this great I work. On the contrary, I believe that they bore and little they have to see with the remainder of the works.

Nevertheless, all the contrary thing passes with “Song of the Albatross”, the last instrumental theme of the CD. Its seven minutes of duration causes trembles of principle to end, with a half a time “pinkfloniano” that is brought them, and a Drake in the phenomenal cords.

The closing of the disk is quite dark if we compare it with the remainder of the songs, since “Black Sun” possesses hard characteristics, for moments to heavy, in a half a time that sincerely is not to the height of the remainder. As opposed to it, the bonus track of the CD, “Reborn”, fear interpreted in alive, gives us the last moments of good music, and in the vein of the most melodic of the work. It is a grief that have not been included and engraving in study, but we expect that it form part of the second disk of Pilgrym.

As they will see a moreover attractive work, with shades ochentosos, but without neglecting the bases of the symphonic one, and an art of stupendous cover, of a refinement to the height of the album.

Link: Planeta Rock...

 
  New Horizons
Pilgrym hail from the north of England and although the main players in the band have been making music for many years, the band itself is a young one coming into a being as a result of a chance meeting between Andy Wells and Tony Drake in a Bradford music store.

The full lineup is Andy Wells (vocals, guitar, bass and keyboards), Tony Drake (vocals and guitars), Oliver Drake (bass and guitars) and Kevin Mulvihill (drums and percussion). The album was produced mixed and engineered by Andy Wells, who also appears to have composed all of the material.

The initial idea behind Pilrym was to provide a vehicle that moved more towards "challenging progressive music" and, while I would agree that the musical content does have some Progressive leanings, I personally would tend to classify this as a soft rock album along the lines of John Wetton (no, he's not prog either) - and this is the problem, the album is a prime example of all that's wrong with trying to categorise music and bands. Is it progressive? - no, I don't think so. Do I care? - not one iota; because the end result is still satisfying - whatever you choose to call it.

The opening trio of tracks fit together very well as a package and, for me, represent the strengths of this band. The music overall puts one in mind of bands like Asia, while some of the guitar work has a definite Gary Moore edge. There is a vibrant upbeat mood to the opening segment and the guitars, keyboards and rhythm section interact well with one another. The vocals are soft, laid back and really very pleasant to listen to, while the addition of backing harmonies add an extra dimension.

The next two tracks are predominantly instrumental, but not exclusively so, and for me contain some of the weakest parts of the album. 'Building a Perfect Universe Pt 1' starts out as a space rock number with synth effects and machine-like, pulsing rhythms painting a desolate picture. This feel changes as it suddenly bursts out into a lighter keyboard theme with soaring guitar work, which is quite progy in nature, before coming back to the style of the opening. Had it stopped at this point i would probably have enjoyed it more - but the final section with organ effects and stop/start percussion is just a little too quirky, even annoying at times, and mars an otherwise good track.

'Building a Perfect Universe Pt 2' is more upbeat with a slightly funky mood initially. Very quickly though, things slow down and we are soon listening to some superb lead guitar work painted over a rich keyboard back drop. This eventually gives way to the Hammond organ which, having broken through, quickly takes the spotlight and adds a definite seventies rock-style. Again it is the closing segment that lets this number down, and the lyrics "all that you touch; all that you see", appear to be a direct rip off from Pink Floyd and, as such, do the band no real favours.

'Song of the Albatross' is a restrained and calm instrumental piece, where sounds of waves and seagulls set the scene nicely. The music has an easy flow quality with the piano and soft guitar work complementing one another.

The last track of the album proper, 'Black Sun', has a darker, threatening edge and shows the band performing at their best. From the very outset keyboards and guitar work hard, feeding off one another, to create atmosphere while the strong bass line powers along throughout providing the threatening undercurrent. The vocal performance here is also very solid and is well suited to the style of the track, which in many ways is very reminiscent of King Crinson's classic 'Starless'.

The final two pieces are, curiously, listed as being bonus tracks. When it comes to new album releases I clearly don't understand this 'bonus' concept - bonus to what exactly? To my mind either the tracks belong on the album or they don't - and I'm sorry to say that I tend to view tracks flagged in this way as little more than space fillers. That having been said 'Reborn' is quite a nice additional piece to have included and, unlike the rest of the CD, is a live recording. The track itself has a hazy, mellow mood and the muted keyboards and flute give a slightly King Crimson feel once again - with maybe a hint of Janison Edge. The soaring guitar work is really excellent, and if this is a true representation of how the band perform live, then I for one would like to see them...

The second of these two bonuses I am not quite so sure about. It appears to be little more than a stripped down version of the album's opening track and really does not add much in the way of value. Apart from being some 2 minutes shorter than the main version, I honestly could not tell the difference, but it did at least serve to fix the song in my head and maybe that is the point!

Artwork for the album is excellent, and original in terms of style and composition, but while the 4 page booklet contains all the song lyrics, there is not much else here. Hopefully if budget allows, more can be done with the band's next planned release.

Initially I was a little unsure of this album, but after several listens I have to say it really started to grow on me. Although it is still fair to say that the album contains some less inspiring moments; overall 'Pilgimage' is an enjoyable listen, and for a debut release I think Pilgrym have got off to pretty solid start.

When all is said and done what we have here is a very creditable rock album with progressive elements and, as such, it is an album that should have fairly broad appeal which, while maybe not essential listening, is still worth checking out.

[Simon 30th May 2004]

Link: New Horizons...

 
  Progarchives.com
Review by purple hazee
Got this album on the advice of a Brazilian prog site review, the cover itself got me hooked in firstly [ magnificent artist ] but the music takes the front seat once listened to with soaring hammond organ and eerie haunting mellotron, very reminicent of early King Crimson / Yes. The vocals are crystal and remind me a little of Dave Gilmour/ John Wetton. backing track production is also very full. The opening track kicks in with a wall of vintage synthesizer sounds and Hammond with melodic twin guitars holding the very very catchy melody, lyrics are a bit surreal but the chorus has the potential of a classic hit, there is also Believe me now which is a bit Asia in content but also a contender for FM radio. Th mainly instrumental Building the perfect universe gives you a trancy intro but soon transforms into a full on ELP organ bash with shades of Genesis and again Gilmour assosiation crops up in the screaming giuitars from Tony Drake. Tony Drake takes lead vocals on the last track which is recorded live and proves the band can addapt thier music very well to the live enviroment, this track too has the haunting early 70s feel given by the ever present Mellotron. All in all a great new sounding band and a must have album for all progressive and classic rock fans !!!!!!, Four stars **** [3 June 2004]

Link: Progarchives.com...

 
 

Progressive Rock Band of the Month
Pilgrym is a strong example of what real and original Classic Symphonic Progressive Rock music should be the favorite style for all prog friends, and will be always represented as an amazing style in the musical scene of the all times. The band provides us a travel and an adventure into the Progressive Rock School of the years 70, exploring all the themes, traditions and many ideas around bands as "Pink Floyd", "Yes", "Alan Parsons Project", "Camel" and "Emerson Lake and Palmer" with elaborated compositions, also full of experiments, adding some new musical discoveries, combined with a high musical culture, full of magnificent arrangements. Pilgrym has a amazing instrumental atmosphere, though the guitars and keyboards are the main focus on the songs, the dialogues among them are exciting, adjusting itself perfectly with the Vocals, Bass and Drums. Everything was done to lead us through the wonderful universe of the Prog Rock. Brilliant and indispensable work, highly recommendable. [May 2004]

Link: Progressive Rock and Metal - Brazil...

 
 

Classic Rock Society [UK]
Pilgrym is a new progressive rock outfit put together by Andy Wells and Tony Drake in Huddersfield, Yorkshire. This is 'traditional' keyboard inspired prog, with Greenslade being amongst their major influences, but also with a hint of melodic rock thrown in for good measure.

Pilgrimage features some nice guitar from Drake and impressive keyboard work from Wells, with pride of place being taken by the melotron. Vocals are shared and are pleasing and clear with crisp production adding to the proceedings. Think of a Greenslade/Asia crossover and you will not be too far away from their style. A pretty impressive debut.

Andy Craven

May/June 2004

 
 

Progressive Ears [USA]
Pilgrimage is the debut release of the UK group Pilgrym. The band was founded in 2003 by Andy Wells (vocals, guitar, bass, piano, mellotron, synths.) and Tony Drake (vocals, guitars). The Pilgrym’s lineup is completed by Kevin Mulvihill on percussion, Oliver Drake on additional guitars and bass, and Emma Pearson on keyboards.

At first I thought that it is pure rock stuff without elements of prog. The impression was probably caused by melodies based material that characterizes the music. Then I heard some echoes of Emerson, Lake and Palmer and Camel which convinced me that progressive rock is on the agenda. Classic prog instrumentation, very good musicianship, and really nice vocals are the advantages of the album. Clocking in over fifty minutes, this release contains very accessible collection of 9 tracks full of melodic hooks and catchy guitar solos. Musically, they are slightly reminiscent of Asia.

Both the opening song “Circus of the Absurd” and the third track “Believe Me Now” are very strong candidates for hits. Besides, the refrain of the latter (“gotta believe me now ‘cos I’m standing on the edge”) I try to sing to my wife each time I come home late at night.

“Ghosts of Years” has a feel of melancholy, it is a six-minute ballad with some gorgeous mellotron and organ playing. Lyrically the most appealing tracks are “Circus of the Absurd”, “Black Sun” and “Reborn”(in excellent live version, Tony Drake proves here that he is a skillful vocalist too) though they are a bit somber, I must add. The entire material is very good and it is hard to locate tracks better and worse - but If I were forced to choose I would definitely point at all the above mentioned songs. Additionally, I should also mention the beautiful cover painting, though it may seem to be just the icing on the cake.

To sum up, with this release Pilgrym have set off on the route leading to the sacred regions of music… I do believe that the journey will be continued and they will reach more destinations as attractive as this one.

Jonathan Pine

31 May 04

Link: Progressive Ears...

 
  proGGnosis [USA]
On Pilgrimage the listener gets to enjoy some seventies inspired Prog. The vintage style keyboards (great organ play indeed) are almost always to the forefront, the other instruments staying more to the background but in a very tastefull manner. The lead guitar does have it's moment to shine, the soloing being done in a Gilmour/Latimer style.

The first three tracks are in a song based format but stretch into instrumental interplay and soloing. Mostly because of the lead vocals (very John Wetton like), but also because of the music style, I am reminded of Danger Money period UK and also Asia. The music then shifts gear with the two part instrumental Building A Perfect Universe. Finally the album ends with two quieter tracks. On this second part of Pilgrimage the mood turns more into some Pink Floyd inspired music. As a bonus you get a live track and an edited version of "Circus Of The Absurd".

Those into the classic sound of the seventies Prog should do themselves a favour and check Pilgrimage out. There are a lot of music samples on the band's website so treat yourself to some very cool music. Who said you just can't find great music like that anymore? You just have to go on a Pilgrimage to get some.

31 May 04

Link: proGGnosis...

 
  Proglands [Canada]
'Pilgrimage' is the first CD from this new original band from the UK. As well you will hear nice progressive-rock moments, as well you will hear some pure FM-rock and AOR on side of the progressive moments. It's not a complex progressive-rock, especially the drums and the bass line, but really dreamy sometime, and with powerfull moments with big soloing guitar like Gilmour or Latimer but the sound of the guitar of Drake is original in some solo like in 'Circus of the Absurd', 'Perfect Universe 1 & 2' and 'Reborn'. If the song 'Ghosts of Years' and 'Song of the Albatros' are more AOR oriented, 'Circus of the Absurd', 'Believed me now' and 'Black Sun' are more oriented by the FM rock, 'Believed me now' is absolutly not progressive but rock'n'roll rock. The songs 'Perfect Universe Part 1 & part 2' are maybe the more personal ones here, excellent moog in these two songs, and nice sound of guitar on the solo's part. 'Song of the Albatros' contain also a very nice middle part and 'Black Sun', I don't know really why, maybe I'm insane, but remind me a lot MANFRED MANN with a lot of nice organ like in the best old time. The CD contain two more songs, 'Reborn', a great live cut mid prog / mid pop a mix between 'Perfect Universe' and poppier's elements, and 'Circus', an Edit version of 'Circus of the Absurd', to myself, which should been better if the song was not added to the record, giving an impression of a repetition as well as a bad ending, like if it broke the continuation of the album.

A CD all the same enough variate, which should interest prog fans, as well as soft FM rock and AOR. It's remarquable how the progressive bands of today and since the late 80 are using the 80's and 90's differents genre from the FM radio and the others popular and commercial music. After listening three, four time, I found here a great starting album for the band.

May 2004

Link: Proglands...

 
  Music Belgium
Pilgrym est un nouveau groupe anglais. Leur tendance musicale est le rock progressif. Le band est composé de Andy Wells, qui est aussi le producteur, au chant, guitare, basse et claviers ainsi que de Tony Drake au chant et guitares. Ce sont les leaders de Pilgrym. Ils sont accompagnés de Kevin Mulvihill à la batterie et aux percussions, Oliver Drake pour quelques guitares additionnelles, Mike Syslo à la basse sur "Circus" et "Reborn" et Emma Louise Pearson aux claviers sur "Reborn".

Dès le premier titre "Circus Of The Absurd", impossible de ne pas penser à Pink Floyd. On a l'impression que ce titre a été écrit par notre flamand rose tant il est musicalement proche et tant la voix de Andy Wells fait penser à David Gilmour. "Ghosts Of Years" se veut accrocheur au niveau mélodique. Le morceau est plus aérien côté arrangements. Sans doute l'influence des nappes de claviers. Si "Believe Me Now" se ressent de la marque Asia, il révèle aussi le gros défaut de cet album, à savoir la faiblesse de la production. D'une manière générale, cela manque de punch et cela est encore plus flagrant sur ce titre.

Vient ensuite un morceau en deux parties. "Building A Perfect Universe" est pour ainsi dire totalement instrumental en dehors d'un tout petit peu de chant sur la fin. C'est la pièce maîtresse. Les variations musicales sont nombreuses et l'influence de Rick Wakeman se fait sentir sur la fin de la première partie. La seconde phase est assez floydienne. On passe ensuite à l'instrumental "Song Of The Albatross". A nouveau la musique se veut très aérienne. Le piano y tient le grand rôle, les claviers venant l'enrober. Un peu de chant n'aurait sans doute pas fait de mal afin de casser une certaine monotonie de l'ensemble. C'est en fait la guitare qui s'en chargera avec un beau solo malheureusement trop en sourdine. "Black Sun" est à nouveau un moment fort qui nous plongera dans des ambiances tantôt à la King Crimson, tantôt très Barclay James Harvest voire Pink Floyd.

Les deux derniers morceaux sont présentés comme des bonus tracks. Le premier est "Reborn" enregistré en live. Un très beau titre séduisant musicalement et chanté par Tony Drake. On nage en pleine ambiance BJH. La prise de son laisse toutefois à désirer. Le second est un edit du premier titre de l'album, "Circus Of The Absurd". Pour terminer, notons cette très belle pochette qui vous donnera immédiatement envie d'en savoir plus.

Pilgrym a du répondant c'est sûr. Il leur faudra cependant développer plus leur propre personnalité et surtout soigner la production pour leur prochain album. C'est le gros point faible ce cet opus. "Pilgrimage" est un bon début recommandé aux amateurs de rock progressif mélodique tels Pink Floyd et Barclay James Harvest avec un zeste du King Crimson des débuts.

27 May 04

Link: Music Belgium...

 
 

Prognose [Netherlands] - Choice of the Month - May 2004
Pilgrimage is een zeer volledige plaat. Verscheidene elementen uit de progressieve rockgeschiedenis vloeien naadloos in elkaar over en maken deze cd echt het beluisteren waard.

Met Circus of the absurd wordt er zeer krachtig geopend. Wie herinnert zich niet het legendarische Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends, ladies and gentlemen… Wel in dit nummer wordt herhaaldelijk ‘welcome to the show’ gezongen en halfweg word je inderdaad getrakteerd op een heerlijk stukje ELP alsof Keith Emmerson himself even in de studio is langsgekomen. Met dit verschil dat Circus of the absurd veel veelzijdiger is dan wat ELP placht te brengen.

Pilgrym schuwt de ballad niet en bewijst dat meteen na de opener. Wat opvalt zijn de zuivere zangpartijen. Nergens heb je het gevoel dat Andy Wells boven zijn mogelijkheden moet gaan.

Lekker swingende rock wordt ons voorgeschoteld in Believe me now, waarin de overvloedig aanwezige keyboards en de gitaren een sfeer oproepen die we nog kennen van Van Halen.

In Building a perfect universe wordt dan weer geflirt met klanken die in de kosmische muziek van de jaren zeventig thuishoren. Dit is een bombastisch nummer met heerlijke orgelpartijen. Opnieuw is ELP geregeld niet ver weg terwijl de gitaar heerlijk jankt op het ritme van een eigenwijs, maar prachtig drumspel. Deel 1 en 2 staan net na elkaar en duren samen bijna 10 minuten. Het nummer is zo goed als volledig instrumentaal en prachtig!

In Song of the Albatross keert de rust volledig terug. Een dromerige, sfeervolle melodie voert je mee op de golven van een zee vol emoties. Als je je ogen sluit, vlieg je als het ware mee met de albatros. De sfeer in dit nummer roept herinneringen op aan Wet Dreams, het solodebuut van Rick Wright. Is het toeval dat de gitaarsolo in dit nummer nogal Gilmouriaans klinkt? Opnieuw moet gezegd worden dat het percussiespel subliem is. Beschouw dit nummer als een instrumentaal intermezzo dat je met de nodige rust voorbereid op wat komen gaat. Het is niet groots, maar wel perfect gemaakt.

En dan ben je klaar voor een stukje pure magie. Black Sun begint zoals nummers van Hooverphonic zouden moeten beginnen. De kracht waarmee het orgel de intro van de gitaar overneemt belooft je een nummer dat overloopt van energie. Die energie zit niet in een hoog tempo, maar in een enorme intensiteit in de opbouw van het nummer. Na twee minuten slaat de verwarring toe. Kom je terecht in een nummer dat Pink Floyd vergat op te nemen toen ze aan de Atom Heart Mother Suite werkten, of is dit een goede Manfred Mann’s Earth Band? Niets van dat alles, dit is gewoon een uitstekende Pilgrym die een meesterlijke manier heeft bedacht om prog-elementen in een grote smeltkroes te werpen en om te vormen tot prachtige muziek. Dit is echt genieten!

De bonus Track Reborn (live) is een knap slepend nummer, mooi door synthesizer gedragen, dat in de helft wat jammerlijk naar een (overbodig) uptempo getrokken wordt. Ook de zang is hier minder mooi dan op de studio nummers en staat niet in verhouding tot de instrumenten.

Circus edit voert je weer naar het begin van de cd en maakt zo de cirkel rond. Het thema van het eerste nummer wordt hier hernomen in een lichtjes gewijzigde versie. Heel aardig, maar ik vraag me af waarom dat nodig is. De cd zou als geheel krachtiger zijn geweest als hij met het prachtige Black Sun was afgesloten.

Maar laat dit niets afdoen aan het feit dat deze cd in je prog-collectie thuishoort. Prachtig gewoon!

Review by Luc Descamps

May 2004

Link: Prog Nose...

 
 

Movimenti Prog [Italy]
E’ forse la sesta volta di seguito che sto ascoltando questo “Pilgrimage” dei Pilgrym, una collaborazione tra I bravi Andy Wells e Tony Drake, e non ho ancora trovato nulla di negativo da dire riguardo a quest’album. Ma nemmeno ho trovato qualcosa che lo renda un disco speciale, qualcosa che sia davvero nuovo ed originale. Ogni cosa è al suo posto, non c’è la minima stonatura, ogni singola nota sembra sistemata magistralmente nella posizione che le compete. Ma in ogni canzone, assolo, passaggio viene in mente qualcos’altro di già sentito, citazioni da altri gruppi e da altre canzoni. Qualcosa dei Genesis, un po’ di Marillion (dal periodo con Fish), un goccio dei primi Yes, addirittura un tocco di Savatage e ampi accenni agli Asia per dare al tutto una maggiore attrattiva commerciale. E tuttavia non posso dire che sia un brutto CD. E’ suonato bene, non è noioso, è vario. Ma non è nient’altro che un gelido miscuglio di varie idee altrui, senza alcun tocco personale da parte di nessuno.

May 2004

Link: Movimentiprog...

 
 

From Dutch Progressive Rock Page
One look at the excellent artwork (by Lee Gaskins) gracing this CD, with imagery reminiscent of Paul Whitehead’s classic Genesis covers, should have devotees of 70’s style Progressive Rock salivating with anticipation. These high expectations are met, to a large extent, by the music contained herein, but to fully appreciate this disc, you will also need to have a liking for the more commercial end of the genre, where it intersects with A.O.R. – as exemplified by Asia or Manfred Mann’s Earth Band.

The band are based in West Yorkshire, England (just up the road from me in South Yorkshire) and consist of: Andy Wells – vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards and composition; Tony Drake – vocals and guitars; His son, Oliver Drake – bass and guitars; and Kevin Mulvihill – drums and percussion. Now also part of the band, but only featured on the bonus live cut, is keyboardist Emma Pearson. Mike Syslo is the bassist on two tracks but has now left the group.

Self-produced, the CD was mastered at Holyground Studios by Mike Levon. Holyground was responsible for 70’s vinyl mega-rarity Astral Navigations (though its high price tag is due more to its scarcity than its musical worth, in my opinion) and also early works of Bill Nelson.

The band profess to influences from ELP, King Crimson and Greenslade, (and Andy Wells is a huge Andy Latimer fan) and all these bands can be discerned in the music here, but the most obvious reference, to my ears, is Pink Floyd, with echoes of Dark Side Of The Moon right through to Division Bell era Floyd showing through.

Circus Of The Absurd is a powerful opener, surging forward on a wave of organ and guitars and having a very retro vibe. The opening section is an upbeat, rocking song with melodic vocals but the second part of the track has more room for instrumental development, featuring synths and mellotron in a very progish, stop/start workout. The music is not overly complex, but should have a wide appeal for prog fans. The next two tracks hold back on the prog elements a little, hence my warning above. Ghosts Of Years is a slow piano ballad, with a nice vocal melody by Andy Wells, sounding like a slightly grittier John Wetton. Mellotron provides a nice symphonic atmosphere to what is essentially a pleasant commercial tune with progressive embellishments. Believe Me Now is by far the most commercial sounding tune, with a heavy Asia influence. The John Wetton comparison is even stronger on this track. It would sit nicely alongside Heat Of The Moment or Soul Survivor. I also caught traces of Manfred Mann’s Earth Band in places. For fans of this sort of stuff, this track comes highly recommended. Very nicely done, and ultra radio friendly, it’s the sort of thing I like to hear once in a while, but is a bit too poppy for my tastes.

Thankfully, the album takes a much less commercial turn from here on, with the two-part Building A Perfect Universe diving straight into spacey Pink Floyd territory for a largely instrumental, keyboard drenched piece that is fully satisfying. Tony Drake adds some nice Gilmour-ish wailing guitar. Only the short vocal section at the end of the second part mars the piece a little, and this is purely because its “All that you touch.. All that You See..” refrain is a mite too derivative of Eclipse from Dark Side Of The Moon.

Song Of The Albatross is another instrumental track, but this time with a more gentle, New Age groove. It is amiable enough, ideal for those moments when you want to relax, and it never quite reaches New Age bland out, but its plodding beat may prove irritating when you want something more engaging. The track is redeemed somewhat by a soulful guitar solo towards the end.

The album proper ends with Black Sun where the doomy atmosphere and heavily layered mellotron and organ give a King Crimson air to the song. This is probably my favourite track of the album and should delight Floyd/Crimson fans. If the band can match this quality throughout a second album, they could really build a reputation in the prog community.

Of the bonus tracks, the edit of Circus is strictly filler, but Reborn is another killer prog track, with its dreamy mellotron conjuring memories of Barclay James Harvest, though it also rocks out more than they used to. Though this track amply proves that the band is a mouth-watering prospect as a live act (and I’d like to see them play soon!), I would also have liked to hear a studio version of this track!

In conclusion, there are no really bad tracks on this disc, and at least a couple of great ones. While the CD acts as a useful shop window of several styles (which they are more than capable of playing), I would hope that Pilgrym will persevere in their progress and present us with a second CD that grabs the Prog nettle by both hands and lets go some of the more commercial elements. I know they have recorded solo projects and perhaps the more Asia sounding stuff could be saved for a differently named project. Heck, I’d probably buy that too, but I just want an unadulterated Progout from these guys!

Conclusion: 7.5 out of 10

Dave Sissons

[24 May 04]

Link: Dutch Progressive Rock Page...

 
  From the Dutch music site Rockezine.net
Pilgrym is a prog rock band recently formed by Andy Wells and Tony Drake. For those of you who wonder why I am writing a review of a prog rock band, don’t worry you are not the only one – I’m wondering pretty much the same. Once in a while I receive an album that seriously baffles me, and Pilgrimage belongs in that category for sure. If anything appals me, it’s prog rock. Oh well, let’s see what we can do with this one.

First of all the compositions are pretty majestic and Pilgrym’s use of a mellotron definitely adds to that sound as well as the bombastic production. The keyboards are mixed in the front but not to a point where it becomes too dominant or annoying. The melodies are powerful and diverse, although most of the songs are slightly too repetitive for my taste.

Influences range from King Crimson to Yes and Kansas.

I’m not a big fan of Andy Wells’ vocals; they are a bit sober and the man doesn’t have that much reach. It therefore isn’t really a surprise that I like the only instrumental song - “Song Of The Albatross” - the most.

The fact that these guys can play goes without a doubt. To underline this, Pilgrym have added a live track - “Reborn” - as a bonus track and boy does that song sound good. The sound quality is good and the band plays excellent. Pilgrym is a band that doesn’t really appeal to me; however they certainly do have potential. So, if you are into prog rock this might be an album worth checking out. [Reviewed by Frank - 3 May 04]

Link: Rockezine.net...

 
 

Prog Power Website - Japan
This is British prog rock project's 1st album led by a multi-instumental player Andy Wells. When I received the cd at the first time, it instantly made me interested. Their name like Pilgrym and Pilgrimage sounds very close and related to my website's name. :-) Btw, I like the sounds and name itself of PILGRIM, which is my favorite actually. I had never imagined the band called Pilgrim or Pilgrym playing prog or prog metal before. So it was interesting to find a name like that. Stylistically, Andy Wells and his companions have been pursuing symphonic prog rock and melodic oriented music. The music on Pilgrimage album sometimes reminds me of John Wetton's solo music and a few British prog rock bands. Pilgrimage contains 7 compositions, one live track, and edit version of Circus of The Absurd. Throughout the album, there are lush epic symphonic rock tracks and catchy melodic songs. Esp., I like the tracks like, "Circus of the Absurd" and "Song of Albatross." Pilgrym utilizes lush and dramatic keyboard sounds quite a lot with a driving rock ensemble. Well, I would say that their music might reside between 70's classic prog rock period and 80's neo-prog era, however I do not say they are typical neo-prog band. According to the info sheet of Pilgrim, I think they are trying to revive prog rock sounds into this modern music world. As long as I listen to Pilgrimage album, I came to know the torch of British prog rock/symphonic rock spirits are undying. Pilgrimage might not be a earth-shattering or mind-blowing musical endeavor, but surely the music of what Pilgrym repsents here will appeal to the fans who like nostalgic and melodic British prog music. What they do is not really complex, it is rather very accessible even for prog rock beginners and music fans who never heard of prog before. Overall, I enjoyed listening to their first offering. I wish them all the best for their next album. Ok, if you are curious about their music, why don't you check out their site and website. Pilgrym has been devoted to making progressive music. There are lots of info about them. Go check it out. [May 2004]

Link: Pilgrim World Prog Power Website - Japan...

 
 

Virtuosity
English session player Andy Wells, along with a few other capable musicians, has crafted a lush power neo-prog album under the moniker Pligrym. The cover art and packaging are wonderful, and musically it falls somewhere between Pink Floyd and a proggier Mike and the Mechanics (Wells did play with Mike Rutherford, after all, as well as Sarah Brightman and John Verity). Using an array of vintage keyboards including real Mellotrons, tasteful, soaring guitars, and some excellent vocals, the songs on Pilgrimage drift from heavy prog to pop rock to spacy synth-laden early Genesis-like instrumentals. It's a well recorded album that offers variety and depth, prog music with hooks and sing-able vocal melodies. The sometimes spiritual lyrics are interesting, if a bit ambiguous at times. For instance, Believe Me Now is filled with Christian iconography, yet seems more cynical than supportive.

He's a man with a vision of a future, seeing things the world can't see/Got no time for the wrongs and rights, and the ones who won't believe.. Heaven knows the roads we take, but heaven never lasts.... killing your messiah, like a dog with your bare hands...

and on Reborn:

Hold on beggerman do what you can/ hold nobody's hand alone you stand.... Sing a song to be reborn.. Stand up sinnerman please understand/the hangman's waiting he knows no grace/Where riches come without a fight/and the darkness turns to light..Sing a song to be reborn...

It is difficult for the listener to really figure out where Wells is coming from spiritually. Despite that bit of confusion, the album is well crafted and musically cohesive, if a bit short. There is a bonus live cut at the end (Reborn) and a remix of the opening track that fleshes it out to 54 minutes. If you are a fan of English prog, enjoy Pink Floyd and Mike and the Mechanics, and you are looking for something new, by all means pick up Pilgrimage.

[May 2004]

Link: Virtuosity...

 

 
 

Sea of Tranquility [29 Mar 04]

Sea of Tranquilty's Pete Pardo's latest review puts Pilgrym on the prog rock map.

 

From the opening keyboard rush of "Circus of the Absurd", to the catchy chorus that soon follows, it becomes quickly apparent that the debut album from the UK's Pilgrym is one special recording. Comprised of seasoned studio musicians from the UK rock scene, namely Andy Wells on keyboards, guitars, bass, and vocals (who has played with Mike Rutherford, John Verity, Baby Tuckoo, and Voyager, as well as written for Huey Lewis), Tony Drake (Iron Duke, Rudy and the Zipps) on guitars and vocals, Kev Mulvihill on drums (Rudy and the Zipps), Ol Drake on guitars and bass, and Emma Pearson on keyboards. Together they form a very competent line-up, and the writing skills of Wells really shines throughout the CD's eight songs. Now in the band but not featured on the CD is Rob Jarvis on guitar and keyboards, and bassist Mike Syslo played in a few tunes on the album but is no longer with the group.

If you like your progressive rock with lush, sweeping keyboards, tasty guitar work, strong vocals, and killer hooks, then Pilgrimage is certainly a must have. In fact, I haven't heard a prog CD this filled with catchy melodies as well as vintage prog sounds since the first Asia album. Songs like the addictive "Believe Me Now" or the emotional "Ghosts of Years" contain melodies and hooks that you will be humming for days, not to mention soaring Hammond organ, Mellotron, and symphonic synthesizers. Wells and his entourage of keyboards lend an ELP-styled sound to the raging "Building a Pefect Universe Pt. 1" , a three part prog-epic that also contains searing guitar work from Drake. The band segues into "Building a Perfect Universe Pt. 2", again led by huge walls of symphonic keyboards and a gut-wrenching guitar solo from Drake that will remind you of David Gilmour or Andy Latimer. Both of these tunes are mostly instrumental, save for some brief spacey vocals from Wells (Ummagumma anyone?), and feature loads of ARP synth, Mellotron, and various other vintage keyboards.

On "Song of the Albatross", a purely instrumental track, Wells shows off his talents on piano, complemented nicely by Drake's lush acoustic guitar picking and waves of Mellotron. I was reminded of a more rocking version of early King Crimson or even Pink FLoyd on "Black Sun", a song with thick, heavy guitar lines, haunting Mellotron & Hammond, and a plodding rhythm section that seems ready to burst at any moment. Once again the vocals of Wells here remind me a bit of David Gilmour from Pink Floyd. If you like early period Barclay James Harvest then I can highly recommend "Reborn", of which a live version of the song is included here as a bonus track. Dual Mellotrons on this one from Wells and Pearson, this somber piece could almost be mistaken as a long lost BJH song, thanks to the ominous keyboard sounds and the emotional vocals of Drake.

Quite frankly, Pilgrimage had me once I laid eyes on the wonderful cover painting, and hooked me even more as the CD began to spin. It's been a while since a prog CD with wonderful hooks & vintage sounds so effortlessly paired together came across my desk. I'm wanting to hear more from these folks, and real soon. Highly recommended!

Courtesy of: Sea of Tranquility...

 
 

From European Progressive Rock Review [22 Mar 04]

With the release of Pilgrimage - Pilgrym has just joined Jethro Tull, Pink Floyd and Strawbs in the EPRR Hall of Fame. "Pilgrym were formed in 2003 to be used as a vehicle for Andy Wells' and Tony Drake's leanings toward more challenging progressive music. After a long spell in the studio completing the Andy Wells solo classical project "Lost Toy's" they set about writing for the Pilgrimage album in the summer of 2003." They go on to state "many influences on the album come from the UK bands like King Crimson, ELP, Greenslade etc., which can also be heard alongside echoes of Kansas and early Styx".

 

Looking at the list of bands that have inspired this album and also the use of the Mellotron and Hammond Organs could give you clues as to its direction. The band state that the album leans towards the old school of British progressive music. I have to admit I was never too interested in ELP, they always sounded too indulgent for me and Styx to some extent too American and pompous. So, it was interesting to hear how this album turned out.

    The band have mentioned many influences but strangely have not mentioned Pink Floyd yet when the vocals enter on the track "Black Sun", Floyd certainly springs to mind; this is another classic and could also be a contender for a single. Every aspect of this album is honed with all excessive indulgences stripped away. The end result is a stunning example of commercial progressive rock that contains all the elements that make lasting music with warm Hammond organs, Mellotron, pianos, wailing guitars and good vocals. The three instrumentals capture the true essence that this band are striving for, especially "Building A Perfect Universe pt.1" with its chorals, wailing guitars and tubular bells. The American band Metaphor released an album last month with a retro sound but Pilgrym demonstrate the wide gulf that exists between the continents; the European bands win hands down by doing what Pilgrym do in keeping it structured compared to the pompousness and meanderings of some American bands. Andy Wells states that he is greatly influenced by Andy Latimer and going off this release it is easy to see why; flawless, melodic classic progressive rock.
 
The only disappointment is the length, 54mins and that includes two bonus tracks; the excellent and live, "Reborn", and the album filler, the edit of "Circus". Still, buy this CD, sit back and get transported back to the halcyon days of the 70s and yet there are plenty of modern elements to keep present day fans happy. To think that in the very year Tull languish in mediocrity Pilgrym turn out a classic as good as anything released in the 70s; this is a strange turn of events. A flawless gem of an album that instantly shoots straight into E.P.R.R's. Hall Of Fame. 100%
   
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