(All Album Reviews by maribor)
Mike Oldfield, who knows for what reason (financial probably) started creating sequels to his critically acclaimed Tubular Bells. And like it usually happens with sequels (movies at least), each following one is a step back in quality.
And so it is with Tubular Bells III. It is a very uninspired work full of rehashing the old Tubular Bells themes, especially the most famous piano intro. But Oldfield doesn't stop there. He also redoes “Moonlight Shadow”. However, he disguises it with slight variations and different lyrics (“Man in The Rain”) and hopes to pass it off as a different song. This is slightly difficult since the solo is almost identical to the one on “Moonlight Shadow”.
Oldfield, when he uses new material, performs some good songs. Unfortunately, he uses drum and bass to »enhance« some parts, which I find very disturbing. I don't mind it as much when the song is structured in such a way that drum and bass fit but when there's a beautiful piano folky segement, there's no call for drum and bass. And Oldfield used to be one of the best orchestrators in the business; he knew exactly which instrument fit where. I suppose he took a wrong turn somewhere off the coast of Spain and lost his senses.
There are some redeeming features on this album though. His guitar work is as beautiful as always and he does create some nice melodies but not nearly as good as on some of his earlier albums. He seems content to write short and uncomplicated songs, while in the 70s he wrote some of the most interesting compositions ever, in terms of structure that is.
While I understand Mike's urge to sound more modern and his desire to change his style, I really feel he shouldn't disregard all the things he did in the past. And by this I don't mean his constant Tubular Bells rehashing and redoing some of his older songs in a more modern way but doing some more interesting compositions then on this album.
4 out of 10.