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Surprise — Assault on Merryland
(Zarathustra ZAR 001, 1977/1995, CD)

by Mike McLatchey, Published 1995-11-01

Assault on Merryland Cover art

Surprise was an American symphonic rock band with influences ranging from Yes to Kansas to Deep Purple. As with many US progressives, Surprise were fairly commercially oriented at times – tracks like the banal "Tyrangatang" (with a second remixed version as a bonus for some reason) are little different from AOR radio. There are some good points in their music, the synthesizer player has some good chops and the sounds are very analog. This is very evident on the album's best track, "The Acrobat between the Stars," where the synths coupled with Steve Howe like guitar makes for overused but still excellent melodies. The album isn’t anywhere near Cathedral or Polyphony in quality; lower yet still than Fireballet or Mirthrandir, and more in the league of Ethos, Earthrise, or Albatross. In summary, the band comparisons just stated give more than a pointer.

Filed under: Reissues, Issue 8, 1995 releases, 1977 recordings

Related artist(s): Surprise

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