Mike McLatchey 5-September-2002 Plateau

Somewhere next to Tolkien and Arthurian concept albums are those esoteric prehistory concepts like pages from Chariots of the Gods?. Robert Connolly's Plateau even has campy narration to help the storyline along, detracting from this analog-heavy symphonic music in a manner that even surpasses the Dark Side of the Moon or Renaissance-like vocals on the opening cuts. So in a way, Plateau could be a poster child for everything excessive about prog-rock - the esoteric subject matter, the heavy keyboards, the overwrought melodrama, and the stylistic nods to Yes and even the Alan Parsons Project. Obviously the compositional work of one guy, most of the themes don't even approach the intricacy of his influences, staying to either simple keyboard/organ romps or guitar-led ballads. And while the narration quickly becomes irritating, once the male vocals start up, you'll be praying for it to return. Yes, Plateau has some nice proggy sections, those overused minor key progressions with mellotrons and monophonic synth leads, but as late as 1978, this sort of mainstream/AOR tinged symphonic rock had lost any sense of freshness. While this is surely a better album than, say, something by Starcastle or Styx, I'd tier it underneath music by England or other standout late 70s symphonic artists such as Happy the Man. For proggy prog fans with their blinders stil attached only.

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