Avi Shaked - MAELSTROM MAGAZINE
Review by: Avi Shaked
Progressive rock that leans on folk is a rarity these days. Therefore, I was quite pleased to discover this characteristic in the new Manning album, and the fact that it sounds like a designated classic makes it all the more rare.
It is inevitable to quote Jethro Tull as an influence, as not only Guy Manning has a cunning voice ala Ian Anderson, but also since the album relies firmly on enchanting melodies and acoustic, folk foundations, led by the chordal maneuvers of the multi-talented Manning on acoustic and classical guitars.
The music is detailed, yet not overcrowded, featuring brass instruments that blend remarkably well with the scenery. Mellotron emulating keyboards also add to the drama of the thoughtfully orchestrated songs.
The 30-minute title track (divided into eight distinguishable segments) is a thought-provoking epic that carries a futuristic vision and highlights Manning’s excellent songwriting. Just a glimpse at what this suite offers can be experienced on its seventh segment ("Black and Blue"), which beautifully fuses numerous classic folk and progressive influences, ranging from Strawbs to Pink Floyd, with a modern production and terrific arrangements.
Adorned with a spectacular booklet and music that breathes new life into neo prog, One Small Step… is in fact a triumph of man(ning).
0-1.0: Abysmal - Ricky Martin sings the Spice Girls, or something
1.1-2.0: Awful - in a way worse than Abysmal as it's not *the* worst
5.0-5.9: Average - varying degrees of "meh..." (is that possible?)
6.0-6.9: Good (start paying attention here)
7.0-7.9: Very good
8.0-8.9: Highly recommended
9.0-10: Essential - effortlessly one of the best records ever
Note: Well, we've finally decided to start using ratings. Maelstrom's mission is to provide you with a guide as to what we honestly think you should spend your precious money on, so we thought using this system would be a great way to make things clearer AND save you some time.
Unlike a lot of music zines, we plan on using our entire scale. So that means that if a record gets a 6, we actually think there's some actual good in it.
Keep in mind that the rating is just a quick glimpse into what the reviewer has to say about the album. The rating means everything and nothing.