ALBUM REVIEW: Arthur Brown - Long Long Road

8/10

Arthur Brown - Long Long Road

Arthur Brown is back! The original God of Hellfire releases his new album Long Long Road this week, on his 80th birthday, featuring multi-instrumentalist Rik Patten.

Arthur Brown released the pulsating, career-defining track, Fire, in 1968, which became a hit worldwide. He’s inspired the likes of Alice Cooper, Elton John and Pete Townshend, to name a few and is widely respected as an innovator of prog rock and a huge influence on heavy metal. His live performances include dance, outlandish costumes and visuals. But there is more to Arthur than just a theatrical stage presence; he has a powerful blues voice and energy to back it up.

During his 54-year career, he’s been the lead singer of Crazy World of Arthur Brown and Kingdom Come. He’s appeared in the rock opera Tommy, been sampled by The Prodigy, and has worked over the years with The Alan Parson Project, David Gilmour, Kula Shaker and many more.

Long Long Road kicks off with Gas Tanks, an atmospheric fusion of thundering drum rolls, prog-rock flutes and birdsong to whet your musical appetite! Coffin Confessions is full of poetry and comic lyrics. ‘Come out of the toilet with your hands up, and put down that bag of crisps, or it’s curtains for you.’ Arthur proves he’s still got what it takes with tracks such as his newly released single I Like Games. Here he pays homage to the blues, a source of his inspiration, combining slide guitar, harmonica and a gutsy, raw energy. It’s a real foot-tapper.

Frenetic guitar introductions and progressive rock waves infiltrate the poignant track Once I Had Illusions (Part 1). There’s an amalgamation of guitar and piano that cleverly twist and weave in and out of this textured song. Shining Brightness has a swagger and bravado that would give Mick Jagger a run for his money. On Goin’ Down, he combines gospel, jazz and rock as the protagonist yearns to be set free.

Long Long Road, the track, is a ballad that reflects on times past and times to come. It succinctly summarises life in all its riches. ‘The further we come, the further we go’ sums up the album well.

Despite his years, or perhaps because of them, Arthur is still as visionary and challenging as he was at the beginning of his career. This is packed with verve, zeal and wit. With Fire still in his belly, he is deserving of his crown.

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