German multi-talented bastard Frank Bossert is the man behind this, the fourth album under the Eureka moniker.
A concept album about the journey of Sir Ernest Shackleton and his crew across the great southern land of the Antarctica in 1914, Shackleton’s Voyage is very much a prog rock 80s throwback with an unfortunate tendency towards Peter Gabriel’s Genesis, years especially when guest vocalist Billy Sherwood (Yes) pops up. And there’s a strong leaning towards Mike Oldfield too but not the Tubular Bells era as much as the Five Miles Out commercial era, especially on Will You Ever Return?
Still, I have to say that Frank has managed to create an atmosphere on this album that does take you to the ice and the amazing story of survival that these 28 men endured. With Celtic flourishes thrown in, particularly the rollicking Plenty Of Time and some wonderful use of sound - you can almost hear the whales call, the ship’s timbers creak, the wind howling across the frozen tundra. He’s come up with something that does grow on you.
With strong narration from English actor Ian Dickinson and great production work, I have to admit this album is actually a pretty damn fine effort, despite Billy’s contributions. But it is an album that has to be listened to in full for it to weave its magic. This isn’t something you can dip into for just a song or two. And the whole package, complete with 20-page booklet and photos from the expedition, certainly help to draw you into the story.
This release is not for everyone but if you’ve got any Yes or Mike Oldfield or Rush stashed in the back of your collection, if you’re a fan of 80s prog, Uli Jon Roth or War Of The Worlds, you’ll probably really enjoy this.
Eureka's Shackleton's Voyage is out now on SPV/Riot.