As near death experiences go Ernest Shackleton’s 1914-1916 ill fated Antarctica expedition is the stuff of the legends. Now, courtesy of Hamburg’s multi instrumentalist Frank Bossert and his Eureka project the expedition is the stuff of an excellent progressive rock album.
Frank Bossert left Hamburg in the early ’90’s to build his own studio in the North Sea town of Husun. His debut album Eureka emerged in 1997 and represented a now familiar range of celtic flavoured symphonic drama. Clearly living so close to the dramatic North Sea coastline had an inspirational effect on his music.
In 2002 he released the second album The Full Circle, which was followed by The Compass Rose four years later. These albums gained many impressive reviews and it was clear that any Eureka release would be loaded with atmospheric and symphonic music. With Shackleton’s Voyage Bossert has again returned to nautical themes. The result is an absolute gem among this years prog rock releases.
When Shackelton’s crew of 28 set off with the aim of becoming the first ever expedition to cross Antarctica little did they know that they were embarking on a two year journey to hell and back. Just one day short of its destination their aptly named ship Endurance sank having been crushed by pack ice.
Shackleton and his men escaped on life boats to a nearby island. He then set off with five of his men in one of the small boats braving the ravages of the dreaded Drake Passage. That wasn’t all, they then had to cross ice covered mountains which had, up until that point, been considered impassable. He succeeded and help was sent to rescue the remainder of his crew who were saved without loss of life. The stuff of legends indeed.
Shackleton's Voyage tells the story through fifteen lavishly arranged tracks. Actor Ian Dickinson, narrates the dramatic story. Also involved is ex-Yes member Billy Sherwood who had been so impressed with Eureka that he contacted Bossert offering his help. He covers vocals on both “Going Home” and “The Challenge”. Meanwhile Yogi Lang of RPWL, mixed and mastered the album whilst also supplying the moog solo on “Heading South”.