Gandalf’s Fist are pretty well at the apex of today’s Prog world. Their music has all the elements you look for in modern Prog: big riffs, soaring vocals, folk and power intermixed and keyboards underlying all the mayhem.
The current lineup has stabilised around a six-piece: Dean Marsh: Electric & Acoustic Guitar, Bass, Backing Vocals, Lead Vocals on ‘Witchmonger’ & ‘Man of Signs’ & ‘Cave’, additional Synths, Mandolin, Irish Bouzouki, Ice Age Mammoth Flute, Tin Whistle Luke Severn: Additional Vocals, Lead vocals on ‘Man of Signs’ Stefan Hepe: Drums and Percussion Ben Bell: Keys/Piano/Synths, Backing Vocal/Choir of Doom, Fretless Bass on ‘Dreamcatcher’, Nashville Guitar on ‘Wisp’ Chris Ewen: Bass & Backing Vocals Keri Farish: Lead & Backing Vocals There is also a huge supporting cast.
This is their eight album and their first since 2019 and of all the Prog albums released this year, it is probably the one I have spent most time with. The eight tracks cover their take on the nature of superstition, looking at the subject from 8 distinctly different angles – yes, a ‘concept’ album but not one that is so wrapped up in the concept as to strangle the numbers, and, in this case, all eight tracks have a right to exist outside of the concept.
The music swings between the power and heavy riffs of ‘Sacrament’ with its wild keyboards to the dark and sinister ‘The Haruspex’ or the beautiful and subtle title track. ‘Wisp’ has echoes of Celtic gods and then there is ‘Cave’ – complex, filled with changes across nearly 20 minutes but a track that draws you in and holds you there all through.
Gandalf’s Fist are at the top of their game at the moment and this one is an important and very, very good step in their mastery of all things Prog.