Jon Hiseman - drums
Dick Heckstall-Smith - saxes
Dave Greenslade - organ, piano, vibes
Clem Clempson - guitar, vocals
Mark Clarke - bass
Chris Farlowe - vocals
Barbara Thompson - flute, saxes
Louis Cennamo - bass
Colosseum's first studio album since the departure of singer/guitarist James Litherland (who went on to form the short-lived Mogul Thrash, known for having been John Wetton's first band) sounds at the same time similar and unlike its illustrious predecessor, Valentyne Suite. In comparison with the latter, it is a bluesier, jazzier effort, somewhat 'bigger'-sounding, and with a harder, more guitar-oriented edge.
While prog fans will find a lot to enjoy in Daughter of Time (at least from a musical point of view) new singer Chris Farlowe's powerful, blues-tinged vocals do not fit with many people's expectations of what a prog singer should sound like, and for some they may even be an acquired taste. To these ears, though, his voice is simply stunning, and complements perfectly the epic sweep and overall uplifting mood of the album.
I set a great store by the opening track of an album, and "Three Score and Ten, Amen" does not disappoint, with Farlowe's commanding vocals fitting perfectly into the lush texture of Colosseum's music. Founding member Dick Heckstall-Smith's sax is augmented by Barbara Thompson's flute (she went on to marry Jon Hiseman, and is a member of the band to this day), so that the presence of a mini brass section boosts the band's already dramatic sound, providing a foil for Hiseman's textbook-perfect drumming. Clem Clempson's brilliant guitar work shines throughout the album, and the instrumental section of "Time Lament" showcases his sadly underrated skills as a six-stringer. "Take Me Back to Doomsday", my own personal favourite, is an exhilarating ride dominated by an awesome vocal performance by Farlowe and Greenslade's scintillating piano, as well as a soothing, tasteful flute section.
While the title-track may sound slightly too bombastic for comfort, "Theme for an Imaginary Western" is another vocal tour-de-force for Farlowe, though of a somewhat more understated nature than his trademark, over-the-top style. Originally written by legendary bassist Jack Bruce for his 1969 album, "Songs for a Tailor", it is a melancholy ballad vaguely reminiscent of Procol Harum's best efforts. The intricate instrumental "Bring Out Your Dead" ", featuring sterling organ work by Dave Greenslade, comes closest to the band's sound on Valentyne Suite. Then, the powerful, bluesy "Downhill and Shadows" introduces the live recording of "The Time Machine", mainly an extended solo by master drummer Jon Hiseman. Even if drum solos have the reputation of being all too often terminally boring, this one is eminently listenable even for non-musicians.
Though not as accomplished or groundbreaking as Valentyne Suite, Daughter of Time is nonetheless an excellent offering, blending jazz, blues, classic rock and progressive stylings in a single, high-quality package. 4 stars out of 5.