The Minstrel's Ghost | The Road to Avalon

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The Road to Avalon

by The Minstrel's Ghost

A perfect mix of sounds and visions ranging from melodic prog to symphonic metal madness.
Genre: Rock: Progressive Rock
Release Date: 

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1. The Journey Begins (The Avalon Overture)
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7:36 $0.99
2. Avalon, Pt. 1
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4:17 $0.99
3. Merlin
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4:51 $0.99
4. Lady of the Lake
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5:10 $0.99
5. Excalibur
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3:56 $0.99
6. Avalon, Pt. 2
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5:03 $0.99
7. Camelot
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6:02 $0.99
8. A Love Betrayed
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6:38 $0.99
9. The Son
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3:26 $0.99
10. Avalon, Pt. 3
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4:47 $0.99
11. Le Morte D'arthur
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3:18 $0.99
12. The End
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2:17 $0.99
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
A Progressive Journey Down An Old Road
Written and produced by Blake Carpenter, with artwork by world renowned artist Ed Unitsky and featuring Zoltan Csörsz Jr. (The Flower Kings and Karmakanic) on drums, Troy James Martin (LeeAnne Savage) on bass, Colin Tench (Corvus Stone and Bunchakeze) on Guitar, Marco Chiappini (Gandalf’s Project) on keyboards and Blake Carpenter (The Minstrel’s Ghost) on lead vocals, guitar and keyboards The Road To Avalon is finally here! Drawing on influences ranging from Genesis to Iron Maiden The Road To Avalon is a crossover-prog album full of enthusiastic keyboard leads, melodic guitar solos, smooth vocal lines and powerful rhythm sections.

Let The Minstrel’s Ghost and his knights take you on a journey back in time.

This musical retelling of the Arthurian tales begins with stroll down the road to Avalon where we meet Merlin the Magician who takes us to see the Lady of the Lake. There we receive Excalibur the greatest sword of them all to be given to Arthur the new King of Britain. With Excalibur Arthur and his knights bring peace to all the land and at Camelot Arthur weds Guinevere. Guinevere however is in love with Lancelot and betrays her King with this knight. Arthur, being shown this betrayal by his sister Morgana has Guinevere and Lancelot banished breaking the ties that keep the kingdom together. This brings on the blackest of days. Merlin has been tricked by Morgana and cannot escape his prison. Mordred, the son of Arthur and Morgana through magic many years ago, has his sights on Camelot and with his army defeats Arthur at the battle of Camelon thus ending the glorious reign of the one true King.

The Digital version of this album is 12 tracks. The CD is slightly longer, essentially 2 tracks with 6 movements, it also contains a 15minute 50 second bonus track.

"The Minstrel's Ghost is the 2012 sensation, a fabulous musical creation that has all the hallmarks of a classic prog album, where old school symphonics meet the new pristine university. American multi-instrumentalist Blake Carpenter has smartly surrounded himself with some seriously gifted players most notably Hungarian Zoltan Csorsz (still the best Flower Kings drummer ever), who positively explodes here, as well as gifted guitarist Colin Tench (of the thrilling Corvus Stone, Colin Tench Project and Bunchakeze). Others include Marco Chiappini of Gandalf's Project (a close relative in this semi-medieval-pop-prog genre) who shines on devastating organ and assorted ivories. .Bassist Troy James Martin holds it all down with muscular proficiency .And of course main man and master musician Blake Carpenter, who has really carved himself a name for himself with this magnificent opus!"
Review by tszirmay Prog Archives

''The Road to Avalon'' is everything a Classic Prog fan can dream of and, despite the evident influences and strong resemblances to famous Prog bands, holds all the right components of a good Progressive Rock album.It contains semi-long and short compositions, balanced between epic instrumental themes and sensitive vocal explorations, with a bit of accesibility through the way to make things a bit easier and the overall style comes like a cross between THE FLOWER KINGS, Dutch outfit US, MANGALA VALLIS and early MARILLION.Of course the album offers huge references to Classic Prog acts such as GENESIS, YES or even KANSAS at the most rhythmic parts.The arrangements are tight with tons of multi- layered synthesizers (MARK KELLY's early style comes constantly to mind) and lovely piano textures in a very good performance by Chiappini, supported by a confident rhythm section and melodic guitar themes, often with a ROINE STOLT-kind of approach.The overall style sounds very atmospheric and epic with some nice symphonic atmospheres, containing a strong melodic content, while Carpenter's voice recalls a bit BERNARDO LANZETTI's warm, GABRIEL-esque color.
Review by psarros Prog Archives


Reviews


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Lucas Biela

A pleasant travel through melodic and oneiric musical territories
The Minstrel's Ghost is a project lead by multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Blake Carpenter. In order to make his concept-album around the Knights of The Round Table, 'The Road To Avalon' a dream come true, he asked friends to help him in his endeavour. Friends include guitarist Colin Tench (already involved in many prog-rock projects, such as Corvus Stone or Colin Tench project), drummer Zoltan Csörsz (of The Flower Kings fame), the young keyboardist Marco Chiappini, and bassist Troy James Martin.


"The journey begins" with Tangerine Dreamesque keyboards, followed by Colin Tench and his aggressive guitar soloing. It lays the ground for the main theme of the album. Colin's soloing is interrupted by a cheerful piano before going on again. Floating keyboards then take the lead. When the mellotron joins, the music slows down and together with the guitar, gives a flair of Pink Floyd to the song. Then some "whistling" keyboards provide a dreamy vibe. Soon, the music accelerates with the aggressive southern rocky guitar of Colin. Keyboard-generated choir together with acoustic guitar and violin close the track. This overture goes through the different themes, that will later be developed in the songs that follow.

In "Avalon part I", the main theme is repeated on guitar after a bizarre keyboard loop (think the short keyboard loop repeated in Lyle Mays' first movement to "Alaskan Suite"). Blake sings with accents of IQ's Peter Nicholls. Keyboards and guitars, both aerial and anthemic, punctuate Blake's chant. The repetitive keyboard layers in the background retain a Berlin school electronic music feel. The chorus that comes at the end of the song features the words to the main theme that is repeated all along the album.

"Merlin" is a slow-paced song. It starts with a gentle guitar in an andalusian way, accompanied by a sad piano. Blake starts here in a "whispering" Fish (ex-Marillion) style of his more recent material. The chorus is very floydian in its approach (think "comfortably numb"). The enchanting keyboards of Marco then accompany the piano, and Colin performs a solo in the Zappa line. Towards the end, Colin and Marco mimic each other in unison and in a cheerful way.
"The lady of the Lake" starts with an acoustic guitar like in Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here", with some eerie keyboards, as if escaped from an electronic/ambient record. Aerial solo on electric guitar follows with accents of Steve Morse and Steve Vai. Keyboards then take over with solos in the tradition of neo-prog acts like Marillion's early eighties output. Colin's solos continue in an aerial way. Zoltan maintains the pace with solid and hopping drumming. The song ends with the eerie keyboards of its start.

"Excalibur" is a mid-tempo song opening with bombastic keyboards (dare I say like in Europe's "final countdown" or in Van Halen's "jump"). To this flashy soloing succeeds the whistling keyboards of a Thomas Bodin (The Flower Kings), associated with the sequenced synthesizers of an electronic prog act. In the bridge, the keyboards return to the neo-prog realm of the previous song yet with some bombastic echoes. Colin delivers guitar solos in an aerial mood.

"Avalon part II" returns to an acoustic atmosphere, with andalusian echoes in the introduction. Sad keyboards follow in the tradition of meditative works of electronic prog artist Bernd Kistenmacher. A cyclic acoustic guitar gives an hypnotic feel to the song. Blake sings very low, as if he was whispering to the ear of the listener. Colin provides some Zappa-like solos, then after Blake sings the main theme, he switches to aggressive southern rock of Allman Brothers blended with the aerial solos of Steve Morse.
"Camelot" has a cheerful overture with dancing drums, whistling keyboards and sunny guitars (one can even hear Ravel's "Bolero" at 0:47). Keyboards retain a hypnotic feel, like in the overture to Genesis' "The lamb lies down on Broadway”, and the keyboard loops remain in the background during the verses. A mellotron shows up after the second verse, and is accompanied by Colin's excited and aerial solos. Tony Banks keeps in mind after the first two verses (think the instrumental bridge in Genesis' "cinema show"). And to remain in the Genesis family, Blake even tries to sound like Peter gabriel, with some "nasal" effects in the voice. After the third verse, keyboards wander in neo-prog territories and the ghost of Mark Kelly (Marillion) floats again. Colin's cheerful solos close the track.

"A love betrayed" starts with slow and aerial guitar solo (with some slight echoes of Yngwie Malmsteen's "Black Star") together with meditative keyboards, like in the overture to Pink Floyd's "shine on you crazy diamond pt 1". Pink Floyd keeps in mind with Blake's gilmouresque intonations of the voice. However, the song turns for a short moment to country-pop when drums join. Then it becomes overtly pop with the catchy chorus, yet with a hard-rock/southern-rock approach in the guitar work. In the bridge comes a keyboard solo with some notes trying to "escape" the cohesive harmony. Blake follows the same approach in his singing, with some higher notes escaping from the regular singing.

"The Son" starts with a "galloping" overture (typical of Iron Maiden: imagine an accelerated overture to Iron Maiden's "Powerslave") followed by raging guitars and upbeat tempo. Hammond B3 replaces the keyboards to provide the atmosphere of the heavy rock songs of the seventies. The galloping theme of the start returns before the last chorus.

In "Avalon part III" the bizarre keyboard loop opening "Avalon part I" returns, Colin provides some aerial solos. The pace turns faster when Zoltan starts beating the drums. The song slows down when Marco performs his keyboard solo. Colin follows with an aerial solo. Blake then joins for the most passionate vocal performance of the whole album, very theatrical in its approach. His colleagues provide backing vocals in the chorus and then the pace goes faster again.

"Le Morte d'Arthur" (Arthurs' Death) is acoustic guitar (with once again echoes of spanish folklore between 0:49 and 1:06), with floating and echoing keyboards, a keyboard-generated choir, to accompany the throbbing voice of Blake (as if "agonizing", see the title of the song).

"The End" closes the album in a fast pace and Blake's vocal performance evoking Iron Maiden's choirs (remember the "wo-ho-ho" of Iron Maiden's "Alexander the Great"). It is a true firework with anthemic guitars and keyboards.


The musicianship is amazing all along the album: Zoltan provides creative chops, Marco explorates various keyboard sounds with an impressively wide range of references from electronic music to progressive rock, Colin provides his unique signature where David Gilmour, Frank Zappa, Al di Meola, Isaac Albeniz, Santana, Steve Vai, Steve Morse and Duane Allman coexist in harmony, Blake delivers heartfelt vocals with intonations adapted to the mood of the song, Troy provides solid bass ground. Combined with a strong sense of melody, this makes for a very enjoyable album.