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Return To The Center Of The Earth

a Studio release
Rick Wakeman

Release Year: 1999

Date Label Catalog # Comments
1999 CD EMI 556763
Added To Proggnosis Database on: 2/17/2002 12:00:00 AM
Entry Last Updated on: 8/27/2011 2:48:00 AM by: Rob
  1. A Vision (2:34)
  2. The Return Overture (2:39)
  3. Mother Earth (3:48)
    1. The Shadow of June
    2. The Gallery
    3. The Avenue of Prismed Light
    4. The Earthquake
  4. Buried Alive (6:01)
  5. The Enigma (1:18)
  6. Is Anybody There? (6:35)
  7. The Ravine (0:49)
  8. The Dance of a Thousand Lights (5:41)
  9. The Shepherd (2:01)
  10. Mr. Slow (3:47)
  11. Bridge of Time (1:12)
  12. Never is a Long, Long Time (5:19)
  13. Tales from the Lidenbrook Sea (2:57)
    1. River of Hope
    2. Hunter and Hunted
    3. Fight for Life
  14. The Kill (5:23)
  15. Timeless History (1:10)
  16. Still Waters Run Deep (5:21)
  17. Time Within Time (2:39)
    1. The Ebbing Tide
    2. The Electric Storm
  18. Ride of Your Life (6:01)
  19. Floating (1:59)
    1. Globes of Fire
    2. Cascades of Fear
  20. Floodflames (2:00)
  21. The Volcano (2:10)
    1. Tongues of Fire
    2. The Blue Mountains
  22. The End of the Return (5:23)
Rick Wakeman
Fraser Thorneycroft-Smith
Phil Williams
bass guitar
Simon Hanson
Trevor Rabin
vocals, guitar
Justin Hayward,
Ozzy Osbourne,
Bonnie Tyler,
Katrina Leskanich,
Tony Mitchell
London Symphony Orchestra
English Chamber Choir

Reviewed by DBSilver on 17 Feb 2002

The original - performed and recorded live in 1974- was a noteworthy album. The respect it has is as much a part of it's novelty as it is the music or the performances. 25 years later and Wakeman returns to this well and the results are more complex.
It is not live - and the excitment, energy, and risk this brings is not present. This thing has been done before. As with the first Journey, the 'guest' vocalists interrupt the contintuity with an 'oh hey! that's Ozzy' kind of effect. Finally, as was also true of the original Jouney, some of the songs could not survive outside of a concept - they are too schlocky or melodramitic.
Now the good news.
Most of the melodies on the Return are better than those on the original. The orchestral and choir parts (a majority of the album) are simply more interesting, better composed and better scored. Patrick Stewart does the kind of work he is a natural at and fits in easilly. Finally, the overall recording lacks the flamboyance and therefore the sillyness that sometimes affected the first Journey.
The end result is a recording that is just different enough from the original to be considered it's peer instead of it proginey and in this comparison, I think that I prefer the maturity of the Return over the youthful energy of the original Journey.

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