Grey Lady Down: ‘Star-Crossed’

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Dog_Logo.jpg” alt=”” width=”115″ height=”119″ />In 1998, following a breakup of the band for various reasons, the fabulous Grey Lady Down released a posthumous double live album titled “The Time Of Our Lives”. To all lovers of progressive rock the album was a delight, whilst the news of the band split was a serious disaster.

Fortunately sense was seen and after a chance meeting in a pub between original guitarist Julian Hunt and final keyboard wizard Mark Westworth, it was decided to put the old girl back together again. Vocalist Martin Wilson and bassist Sean Spear quickly jumped back on board, a new drummer was recruited in the shape of Phill Millichamp and the Grey Lady was up and running once more.

After a year gigging all over Europe the band retreated to the studio and returned with the finest progressive rock album of this millennium, “Star-Crossed” released in 2002. The album is so perfect that even the spaces between songs seem to have been judged to perfection.

All the tracks on this album are excellent, featuring plenty of great soloing from keyboards and guitar, plus the heaviest rhythm section that thumps every note into your foundations.

“Fading Faith” opens the album with some rippling piano, and then the band thunders in before leaving way for Martin Wilson’s lyrics. Wilson has always been a distinctive vocalist and singers always seem more involved when they actually write the words. Since the release of Grey Lady Down’s previous studio CD, “Fear” in 1997, Wilson’s voice had certainly taken on an extra presence and he is surely still the premier vocalist in today’s progressive rock scene.

“Fallen”, the central song on the album and lasting nearly fourteen wonderful minutes is a classic example of all that’s good in progressive rock; good story line and dramatic crescendos with an exciting dynamic conclusion.

12–string acoustic guitars begin and are evident throughout “Sands of Time”, which in an abbreviated version would make a superb single and this charming song is enhanced by some fine flute work by Hughie McMillan.

Always keeping the best till last, we come to the album’s tour de force “Cross Fire”. This one really rocks and would have been perfect for packed arenas if only the band had got what they deserved and had blazed a trail across the sky, packing out venues across the globe. It’s definitely the best and heaviest progressive metal laid down this side of early Deep Purple.

Then, just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, guest guitarist Bernie Marsden (yes, he of Whitesnake fame) screams forth and leaves a skull-crushing solo to finish the song.

How sad that a band this good can slip through our old rock paws and fall away. Grey Lady down not becoming huge has always been a huge disappointment to me.

Album Rating: 5 Stars

Grey Lady Down are shown rehearsing in this undated photo.

Track List:

Fading Faith

Shattered

As The Brakes Fail

Fallen

New Age Tyranny

Sands Of Time

Truth

Crossfire

Grey Lady Down:

Sean Spear – bass

Martin Wilson – vocals

Mark Westworth – synthesizers, 12-string, mellotron

Julian Hunt – guitars

Phill Millichamp – drums