Good evening, ladies and gentlemen and welcome to this review of the musical extravaganza Lex Rex! A tale of the ancient world, and a search for glory. Are your eyes and ears ready? Let the show begin!!!
This album is indeed a fantastic tale, wrapped in fantastic music to match. The tale is of a Roman Centurion, who is on a quest for glory. His journey begins in battle…
The album begins as a play would, also with the sound of crackling vinyl (kind of like those old records I used to hear in English class in high school, like “Julius Caesar”), with an introduction to the story. Then we hear the Hammond organ propel us into the first song “Tales Of The Great Wars”. A 10 minute epic with a nice blend of synthesizers, the mighty Hammond, female choral parts, and a nice blend of electric and acoustic guitars. An excellent beginning to this musical odyssey.
But unfortunately for the centurion, the glory he seeks is not found in battle…
Evidenced throughout the album are strong influences of Yes and ELP. But nothing is plagiarized, they simply sound as if they are celebrating the sounds of this great music made so long ago and using them as colors to paint with on this musical masterpiece weaving them in their own unique and special way.
Another highlight of the early stages of the album is a 15 minute epic, is “Further Up and Further In”, again another varied epic twisting and weaving gracefully through various sections and truly making the tale come alive!
But can glory now be found, in the arms of a beautiful woman? Is this the answer he seeks? Again unfortunately not…
Much as the album has an intermission between acts, I would like to take an intermission too, with my comments about Glass Hammer’s performance at Nearfest 2003! I have to say, I truly enjoyed this performance of nearly the entire fantastic Lex Rex album. I was disappointed however in the what appeared to be some sound problems, in which I couldn’t hear the choir well at all. That being said, I really would like to express my appreciation for the hard work of that choir featuring Progressive Ears members like Sean (the_original_IB) and Beth (Princess) and conducted by fellow PE member April (CanarioAB) with dedication, skill, and insight. The surprise of Rich Williams from the legendary Kansas added such a wonderful touch to this set. It was great to see him out there rocking the house with Glass Hammer to a smokin’ version of the classic “Portrait (He Knew)” from Kansas’ "Point Of Know Return" album! I know I wasn’t feeling very well that Sunday, and I hope someday they can film a performance of this album, so I can see and experience once again! Simply put, my favorite act from Nearfest 2003.
Now back to the review…
Following the album’s intermission, is a very nice piano piece called “Music For Four Hands”. Gotta give this keyboardist credit, this guy knows what he is doing! Whether it’s a synthesizer, Hammond organ, mellotron, or piano he really brings the best out of each and brings back that old feeling while at the same time not moving in reverse!
So glory isn’t found in battle. It isn’t found in love, where does he look to now? Unbeknownst to him, Someone is looking down on him from above…
Probably my personal favorite from the album “A Cup Of Trembling” is up now, and it’s a spirited song. The music muses with the centurion, as he continues to seek his answer. The steel guitar makes an appearance in this song as it did in previous ones. You can almost feel an awakening listening to the music here, as the centurion’s answer is right there waiting for him.
His answer is at the foot of a cross on a Friday afternoon, where a crucifixion is about to take place. The centurion in this tale is the one who pierces the side of One by the name of Jesus Christ. Little does he know, his spear pierces the side of who possesses what he has sought for so long in his life.
The following songs, “Centurion” and “When We Were Young” depict this beautifully. “What have I done??” the centurion muses, as it his turn to watch the grave of the slain King of Kings. Sunday morning there is resurrection! The One who’s side was pierced by Centurion’s spear lives!
Goodnight, is the final narration and tells that the centurion, indeed has found eternal glory.
With sounds from the past days of progressive rock, and a tale taken from even deeper in the past, there is one constant. The sound and story even today is indeed as fresh as it was so long ago. To one who doesn’t believe, enjoy this album as a well-written story with excellent composition and performance. To one who does believe, experience through music, the search for glory in which both this album and story find in the Son of God…
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