Middle Earth wasn’t ready for the massive sounds of “The Tirith” when they were “Minas Tirith” in the seventies and the teleportation to their 21st Century Schizoid Selves today have brought them through to modern day and bring you their heavy Prog sound to level to a more Tolkien state of mind in the Gardens of Prog.
Originally from the midlands of Loughborough, Leicestershire UK the newly formed power trio of Messrs; Tim Cox (guitars), Dick Cory (bass/vox) and Carl Nightingale (drums) give you that three-way of epic sounds that was captured in the 60’s by the likes of; Cream, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Atomic Rooster, Soft Machine, and the 70’s with Rush, Robin Trower, Egg and Motorhead to name a few. There’s something to be said about power trio bands because they have to rely more so on each other to be in the pocket than bands with four or more members where you could flub a few notes and a different instrument could easily fill in to compensate technical problems or screw ups but in power trio bands, there’s no room for errors. The Tirith execute the tightness and strength of sound boarding off each other as well as being an entirely single entity as a band.
Founding member Tim Cox formed the band in 1971 and helmed the guitar reigns in the band delivering sharp cutting edge notes that seered like butter in a skillet whether it was finger picking, power chords or splintering solos. Guitar being a mainstream component in various genres of music and Prog no stranger to it either Tim sails the instrument through songs along calm to rough waters with great ease. In a world where the power chord is key to rock, metal and alternative etc it’s too easy to fall in to that trap of 5ths but Tim manages to keep it true to form in the world of Prog by incorporating many different styles very much alive in every song. Bassist/singer Dick Cory also from the ’71 creation has channeled his inner Jack Bruce and gives you a solid bass line each time with precision but in his own way to make it his and that’s what we are going for here with The Tirith’s music. His vocals sung with confidence, fortitude and harmonic within itself as he embraces the Prog elements in his voicing on the album giving it that definite 70’s appeal. Like a stampede of Clydesdale horses his bass lines are tenacious and opulent keeping it so tight you couldn’t get in there with a shoe horn! Carl (having joined in 2012), his drumming is epic as he starts and stops in all the right junctions, accentuates the songs with sharp contrasts and fills. Keeping time and still being able to fly around the kit like a swarm of insane wasps who are after those who have disturbed his percussive hive. The band is in a solid nook for their rightful place in the Halls of Prog and rightfully so as this album has certainly paved the way for future releases to be their next triumph in their catalog of albums.
The band’s influences ring throughout the album and it makes listening to their record that much more enjoyable as you can hear who their heroes are and how it’s helped shaped their music and style. The Tirith is clearly a 70’s band reincarnated in to the modern 21st century but kept the music the same and real, they’ve just cut some hair along the way and ditched the wild attire for more conservative digs but hey, haven’t we all? I know I have altered the course of looks along the way and am no stranger to it whilst still keeping the music the same.
It’s inbred-ed in to our DNA, once you go Prog…. fish. (non Prog fans won’t get the joke, it’s ok)
This album constantly flows and never slows down to give your mind a break to take it all in at once, you have to listen to it again. You would think that there is at least five members in this band but there’s only three who make enough sounds to shift the roof on your house. This is what I was talking about earlier with the power trio band concept, you have to be in that pocket and work as one entity, The Tirith does just that on every track on this album. The addition of some keys in various songs adds to the Prog recipe perfectly, not overkill and not light enough that you wonder if you even tasted it, just right. Goldilocks definitely got her porridge fill here and asked for more because that’s what I’m doing now, wanting more from this band!
The 1971-1973 period of the band featured a four piece with other members working with Cox and Cory for that incarnation playing colleges and university halls back then like many of the other UK bands did and cut their teeth honing their craft and gaining momentum but then the band went on a several decade hiatus it would seem but kept the writing aspect very much alive as well as doing some individual projects along the way. Then around 2011 when the time machine brought Cox and Cory out from the depths of the 70’s and the Friars of the Prog Assembly assigned them to Nightingale on drums as previous members were no longer available to resurrect The Tirith due to other involvements thus becomming the band they are today. This is another album to add to your Prog Collective because it delivers that Legendary Prog sound of the 70’s with a modern twist that doesn’t compromise the elements in any way but rather gives you a more mature sounding band still hungry to write, perform and record. Unlike other bands of the genre The Tirith have maintained their own sound, their own style and refuse to back down to the conformity of what people think that a “rock” band should sound like. Well, this isn’t just a “rock” band, this is a PROG BAND and they have encompassed all the angles, elements and recipe ingredients here to give us “Tales from the Tower” in a complete album form that captures their early days and modern times emotions perfectly.
They are truly a limbic system band that has given us another reason to love Prog Rock.
Play on Gentlemen, You’ve not only earned it but ARE it, A Progressive Rock Band and a classic before its time.
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