I regard this album, which I discovered in the early 70s, as an absolute masterpiece. It was a definite milestone, in fact turning point, on my own musical journey from late 60s soul/Motown to all that lay beyond. Although all of the Moodies' famous, late 60s/early 70s, "pre-Moraz", first seven albums (featuring Mike Pinder at his mellotronic best) show the band combining together, assisted by Tony Clarke's prodigious production skills, to create a unique sound and amazing music,(and I would recommend anyone to include them all in their music collection), this is for me the album that represents their coming of age and very best work. It is creative, progressive, mature and seriously good. Not a single weak track, lots of variety, and all segueing from one to the next, naturally and seamlessly. Because it is more profound and less instantly commercial than some of their other work, it is one of those that seeps into your brain after a few listens, and eventually, you may find, like me, that it holds a special place in your affections. A real "grower". I can say without hesitation that it would be the one album from the Moodies' entire catalogue that I would have to include in my Desert Island top 10 - and probably ahead of such must-haves as Sgt Pepper, Abbey Road, Dark Side of the Moon, Rumours, OK Computer and Beethoven's 9th. If you like crashing guitars, soaring, symphonic mellotron and unforgettable melodies, this is the one for you. It is the Moodies' album that is most similar to the classic Barclay James Harvest and King Crimson albums of the same era. Listen to it when you have the time to soak up its atmosphere, preferably late at night in a darkened room.
Seventh Sojourn was most certainly a worthy successor, though very different in character. It is good in recent years to see the Moodies now aiming to recapture some of that old mellotronic sound and atmospheric, "tingle-factor" quality in their music (particularly after some of the mistakes of the 1980s). I was particularly amazed, gratified and impressed to hear them on their last tour successfully performing "One More Time to Live" (track 1, second side of EGBDF), which I had always thought to be too difficult to perform well live. Whether their work will ever ascend to the elevated height of EGBDF remains to be seen - it may depend on whether Justin, John and Graeme still have the artistic and creative drive, and the desire to really SERIOUSLY reward their many fans, by teaming up again with Mike Pinder (sadly not Tony Clarke - R.I.P.). Like so many bands of the past, that have been composed of several individual, contrasting but complimentary artistic talents (e.g. Beatles, Floyd, BJH, Mac, Who, Zeppelin) theirs was a very special and magical combination while they were together, each contributing something indefinable. They struck gold and could again - Justin and John's songwriting still cuts the mustard, and I assume that Mike's spirituality (sorely missed in the post "Octave" albums) is still intact. Anyway, I'm waffling - play it six times and you'll be hooked for life (like I was)!