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An enjoyable Arthurian epic…no really.

Once and Future King (Part 1)
Gary Hughes
(Now & Then)

This could have easily been a turgid concept album like some of the pap released by Rick Wakeman. Instead, Gary Hughes, clever sod that he is, followed the Queensryche model and produced songs that are good on their own and don’t need to be heard in context. This is, at face value, a damn good hard rock album with a great collection of vocalists (Gary Hughes, Lana Lane, Danny Vaughn, Bob Catley, Sean Harris, Irene Jansen, and Damian Wilson). If you care to pay attention to the story, they play “parts’ in the musical about King Arthur. A second part part is soon to be released and will feature Harry Hess, Dougie White, and DC Cooper, as well as the cast in part 1. Considering the participants, it’s not surprising this body of music sounds like a combination of Ten (at their best), Magnum, and even elements of Diamond Head. This is certainly better than the recent output of any of the afore-mentioned bands. If you like good concept albums and hard rock, then you might like to pick up this CD. While it’s not The Wall or Operation: Mindcrime, it’s still one of the best concept albums ever made. I know I am looking forward to Part II.

Rating: 4

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