Album review: BRAM STOKER – Cold Reading

Bram Stoker - Cold Reading

sunn creative [Release date 27.01.14]

The band, taking their name from one of the great horror stylists, might well conjure up dark and nefarious activity akin to their early contemporaries Black Widow.  Forget all that.   40 years after their debut ‘Heavy Rock Spectacular’ Bram Stoker return with a more gentle offering of appeal to Genesis/Hackett, BJH and Camel fans.

The original member Tony Bronsdon (keys) and guitarist Tony Lowe have fashioned a contemporary sounding album whilst still respectful of their heritage.  The band originally formed at the back end of the sixties  and built up a loyal following.  At one show – the Marquee in January 1971 – a nascent Queen supported them.

The album is a really good listen and errs on the gentle but persuasive side of prog with a mix of instrumentals and vocal tracks, just like that debut.  The original album sounded like 1 part Atomic Rooster to 3 parts Egg and the revival still has the characteristic organ/guitar interplay.  In fact two tracks are re-recorded: ‘Fingal’s Cave’ and ‘Fast Decay’.

Prog fans will really appreciate the subtle nuances, and the excellent vocals of new recruit Will Hack (who also plays drums).  This is best heard on the title track, ‘Calling Me Home’ and ‘New Adventure’ whilst ‘Joust’ and ‘Light At The End Of The Tunnel’ are two absorbing instrumentals.

This may be a low-key, almost tentative, comeback but nevertheless ‘Cold Reading’ emerges as a somewhat belated triumph and successfully launches the band back into a new time zone and, potentially, a new audience.  At very least it may hasten a rekindling of that legendary debut.  ****

Review by David Randall

David Randall presents ‘Assume The Position’ on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio every Sunday at 22:00 GMT.


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