In retrospect, there could be no better tribute to the untimely (in November 2020) passing of rock legend Ken Hensley than ‘Blind Golem’s’ January 2021 released album ‘A Dream of Fantasy’ which is the subject of this review. It is an epic 14 track album of entirely new material that is saturated with the spirit and similarity of UK rock monsters ‘Uriah Heep’. However, it should be pointed out that the album was not a commercially undertaken project that was produced in the wake of Ken’s sad departure. No, actually it was with Ken’ Hensley’s blessing that the idea to produce an album of original material was conceived long before that fateful November date. In fact, Ken actually guested on some of the tracks, playing Hammond organ and slide guitars.
‘Blind Golem’ is a fusion of two Italian bands ‘Bullfrog’ a hard blues band from Verona and ‘Forever Heep’ a ‘Uriah Heep ’tribute band that had assembled together as a backing band for a tour fronted by ‘Ken Hensley’. Such a coupling of talent soon became the inspiration for the band to work on their own original material with a goal of producing their own album.
Certainly the resultant album ‘A Dream of Fantasy’ has all the hallmarks of a classic ‘Uriah Heep’ epic especially swathes of throaty melodic ‘Hammond Organ’ saturated with timely ‘wah-wah’ guitar interludes. But the album goes much further than just paying homage to this one specific band. The entire affair, whether intended or not, conjures up a massive nod to the golden period of mid-seventies progressive rock / heavy metal. Indeed a preverbal melting pot of the melodious movement of heavy rock bands from both the UK and Germany who played straight forward rock music without the over complications of multi-time changes and over the top forays of self-indulgence. Whilst all of the tunes on this album follow the standard heavy rock format of verse and chorus it is the clever compositional construction and use of instrumental phrasing that elevates the music to the highest level. The extraordinary bass guitar lines are a joy to behold and weave their way through the various passages of play adding interest and panache.
From a music perspective, it is in the same vein as Uriah Heep’s melodic hard rock style with Ken’s blessing. It really is a gloriously adept album with wonderful guitar, organ and excellent vocals throughout. An album too with masses of interesting counter melodies, choral intrusions and is totally infused with melodic charm and stylish musicianship from start to finish.
Andrea Vilardo, lead vocals
Simone Bistaffa, Hammond Organ, Piano, Keyboards
Silvano Zago, Guitars
Francesco Dalia Riva, Bass, Lead & Backing Vocals
Walter Mantovanelli, Drums
1- Devil In A Dream
3- Screaming To The Stars
4- Scarlet Eyes
5- Bright Light
6- The Day Is Gone (Feat. Ken Hensley)
7- The Ghost Of Eveline
8- Night Of Broken Dreams
10- The Gathering
11- Star Of The Darkest Night
13- Living And Dying
14- A Spell And A Charm
The Cover art was designed by Rodney Matthews, responsible for countless classic covers for bands like Thin Lizzy, Nazareth, Magnum, Diamond Head, etc.
A final word from the band: - Goodbye Maestro, goodbye Ken... you are the reason this band exists and we will continue to honour your immortal music... Sweet Freedom.