Customer Review

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Exciting, well-performed and inventive - if a little dated., 18 Sep 2005
This review is from: The War of the Worlds (Audio CD)
I remember hearing this album when I was about 10 years old (late 1980's), and I absolutely loved it! My older brother bought it, and played it non-stop for about 6 months, and that was it - I didn't hear it again until the release of the new film version jogged my memory.
There is still a lot to enjoy on this inventive and atmospheric double album. I suppose that this is really a rock opera, and a very good one - it is very well written and performed, and the key theme is highly memorable, and evokes the story brilliantly. It is certainly musically superior to either "Hair" or "The Rocky Horror Picture Show". It is almost certain that a musical score to his momentous story would have displeased H.G. Wells a great deal, but it re-introduced this superb tale to the world in the 1970's, after a disasterous B-movie in the 1950's, and so did his legacy a great service.
The voices are almost universally great, with Richard Burton as the journalist the absolute star of the show, in fine voice as always. Julie Covington is great too as Beth, and Phil Lynott is good as Parson Nathaniel. Davis Essex is the major letdown - his rendition of the artillery man, whilst competent, begins to grate after a time, simply due to the accent he adopts. The singing is of a very high standard throughout, with Chris Thompson especially good on "Thunderchild" and Justin Hayward (The Moody Blues) putting in some great performances. David Essex generally sings better than he speaks, and Gary Osborne's lyrics are well-written and evocative.
The music is the real strength here though - the score is inventive, and there is some great musical talent onboard. Jo Partridge puts in some excellent guitar work, and with session players Herbie Flowers on bass, and Barry Morgan on drums the standard of playing is superb. At times the music is tremendously atmospheric and evocative, and some of the original sound effects are outstanding. "Horsell Common and the Heat Ray" is stirring stuff, and anyone who has not heard and enjoyed the opening theme "The Eve of the War", has been living underground for 30 years. There is also great beauty in "Forever Autumn", with sweet-picked guitar, soaring strings, and a great performance from Justin Hayward. At times, the arrangements and instrumental effects sound very dated to contemporary ears, but overall it is still powerful stuff.
Definitely worth a listen, this album will appeal to those who remember it from younger years, and with the release of the new film version of H.G. Wells' story, hopefully it will find some new fans. As a matter of interest - this release plays with no problems at all on my PC, contrary to previous comments. Excellent stuff and highly recommended!
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 19 Jun 2009 22:56:40 BDT
Last edited by the author on 19 Jun 2009 23:00:03 BDT
Marilyn M says:
Hi - this is not a comment on Mr Brown's review but a question! When I was at school in the late 60s/early 70s we arranged a dance to a piece of music that was a musical tour through a day, starting with dawn/daybreak, hurrying to work and so on to evening, then night. War of the Worlds reminded me of this but I can't remember what it was called or who it was by. Can someone help as it is driving me mad!
It's OK - writing this has now brought it all back - it was "Days of future past" by the Moody Blues. Have they reissued it?

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Jul 2009 09:10:42 BDT
Friendlycard says:
Yes - it was reissued in 2008.
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Location: Newcastle-upon-Tyne, United Kingdom

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