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Renegade Priest: 'The Forest Of π'
Released: 29th June 2017 (Blood And Desire Records)

andy rawll
Words: Andy Rawll

renegade priest

The project name reminded me of an alternative band name for when Scott Travis joined Thin Lizzy for their performance at Ramblin' Man last year, yet this collection of songs is about as far removed as they could be from steam-hammer drumming and basalt-hard riffs to rival the Giant's Causeway and passionate Celtic warrior vocals.

Renegade Priest describes a pleasant secular diversion into the land of ambiant prog for a serving Church of England priest. And why, in God's name, not? To Hell with it, or be damned!

The first few tracks are smooth melodic parables overlaid with assorted pastoral sounds; things then shift gear on ‘Come Tonight’ into slightly 80s psychedelic pop with its ‘Hungry Like The Wolf’ refrain, but the pacing is a little soporific and never really extends past second gear, content to freewheel along the leafy lanes of God's country.

renegade priest

'Remember When' follows a similar formula and benefits from an uplifting instrumental outro that meddles with some Floydian flavours. Mr Priest (or do we call him Rene Gade?) is to be commended for composing and performing this entire work, no doubt inspired by his all-seeing creator and producer. However, at times the sonic limitation of such a solipsistic endeavour limits the impact of the material.

I really like the melodic refrain on 'Coming Home', but the lead instrument sound is too generic and processed to convey the necessary emotion, so the dynamic potential of the track is not fully realised.

renegade priest

Also, the impact of the album could be improved by adjusting the track order. As it stands, it's not until track four that the full identity of the artist is conveyed. Also, perhaps the best composition, the dreamy yet tantalising 'Hold Me', should be promoted to one of the lead songs.

Overall, there's a certain homemade charm to this solid debut release. It will appeal to those with a penchant for soft-beats, minor keys and gentle balladry, particularly those from the ambient prog side of the tracks. Looking forward to his next release, hopefully with a little added dissident aggression.

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1. Exile 04:28
2. New World 03:17
3. First Day 03:45
4. Come Tonight 04:41
5. Remember When 02:46
6. Coming Home 05:48
7. The last Spring 01:46
8. Hold Me 03:04
9. Benedictus 04:26
10. The Return 06:08

28th June 2017


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