Until I came across this album, I only thought that Rodney Matthews was an artist whose breathtaking work has adorned many albums in my record collection. Nazareth, Praying Mantis, Tygers Of Pan Tang, Diamond Head, Magnum and Asia to name but a few. So it turns out he is also a rather accomplished drummer to, playing since the early 1960’s and plays on this Trinity album backed by a myriad of guest musicians that include guitarist Jeff Scheetz with whom the seeds for the album were sown with in 1993, songs being based on some of Rodney’s artwork.
Fast forward to the present and it finally sees the light of day with ten tracks that astound on a mixture of various styles.It’s mainly instrumental, kicking off literally with the aptly titled ‘The Heavy Metal Hero’. It’s a feisty headbanger with snappy snare work. Strong bass guitar lines add a palette for virtuoso guitar and keyboards come from Oliver Wakeman. ‘Mirador’ is just jaw-dropping! Almost nine minutes of ambient prog featuring laid back vocals from John Payne and Sarah Prothero. Sarah’s vocal really tugs at the heart strings until the song heavies up with forceful guitar and drums. ‘The Granite Curtain’ amazes with its variety of soothing pieces that add colour to poignant guitar lines. Jazzy drum splashes and a surprising jig midway also enchant.
‘Night Of The Bare Mountain’ has a film score vibe (point proven by liner notes saying it came from 1940 Disney film Fantasia). It has medieval bombast that add muscle to earworm keyboard and guitar histrionics. The piano piece outro brought back many childhood memories. ‘November Wedding’ is a joyous romp as jaunty keys raised a smile over pomptastic guitar and drums. ‘Stop The Slaughter’ is a meandering opus. Almost five minutes of hypnotic, captivating and inventive musicianship. ‘The Leavetaking’ is a bit of a curiosity piece. On the one hand, you have these boisterous call to arms grooves alongside soothing woodwind. Bass guitar duties are handled by Tony Clarkin from Magnum. ‘The Hop’ begins like a gleeful Mike Oldfield tinged piece but gains momentum when Rodney kicks in with verve. Keys weave around quaint strings as it heads off to a guitar-heavy outro. A true kaleidoscope of music!
Lord Of The Rings buffs will love ‘Rivendell’. Acoustic guitar lines fly out like musical fireflies as electric guitar lines flow in. Bass and drums lock in tight around them and recorders add a moment of calm until synths and heavier riffs approach an emotional spoken-word outro. This celebration ends on my personal favourite, the title track. Wondrous guitar from Jeff tie up with Oliver who is joined on keyboards by his father Rick Wakeman on harpsichord and church organ. Rick closes the album on a poignant segment of the hymn ‘Holy, Holy, Holy!’