I guess, like most every reviewer will do, we should start at the start. The origins of The Tirith are in the Seventies as a classic progressive rock band, Minas Tirith. You know, from J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth writings, the capital of Gondor and the kingdom of men. Tolkien has been an inspiration to many a prog band. Which makes me wonder, if Minas Tirith would have been originally named Frodo Baggins, would they now be called The Baggins. Think about it. But I digress.
Okay. So the band consists of original members Tim Cox (guitars, songwriter, producer), Dick Cory (songwriter, bass and vocals), with the new guy Carl Nightingale (drums). Both Cox and Cory admit that most of this material was written nearly 40 years ago, only to be recorded now, over the last three years. So does that make Tales From The Tower a bunch of old music from a bunch of old guys? Well, yeah, at least for the latter. Just kidding, fellas. Age is just a number. As for the former, not so much either. Good melodic progressive rock is timeless. This isn't "throwback Thursday" retro stuff.
Nope. What it is is very good guitar-centered melodic rock. I'm not kidding about that description. Tim Cox's guitar work is abundant, vibrant and superb throughout this album. His style is rather straight forward: clean, smooth, classic guitar lines, and he doesn't sound like David Gilmour. Well, sometimes, infrequently. I dig Cox's moves and, if you love lead guitar, you will love this album.
As for the "prog" angle, there's nothing overly technical about the song composition. Rather, every song is large on melody and harmony; the riffs can be brisk, even heavy at times. Cory handles the vocals and has a clean melodic style. His harmonies easily fit and expand with each song and, like Cox, he doesn't necessarily sound like any particular prog singer. You know what I mean. Those bands influenced by Yes, for instance, want some dude that sounds like Jon Anderson. Not here.
Wrapping this all up, despite the allusions to and nuances of progressive rock, The Tirith, in my opinion, is simply a solid melodic rock band. Strongly guitar driven, a plus for these ears, but a rather terrific melodic rock band nonetheless. It's been written that they have material for another album already. Well, get with it, I'll be waiting. Quite recommended. Favorite cuts: Lost, The Quest, Home From The Sea, Gin Lil.
Despite the allusions to and nuances of progressive rock, The Tirith, in my opinion, is simply a solid, strongly guitar-driven, melodic rock band, and Tales From The Tower, a very strong presentation of the same. Quite recommended.
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