Quick Links

The CD Reissue Wish List blog has been discontinued as of October 2015, as it had served its initial purpose.

Please click on the following links for:


CDRWL Priority 1

CDRWL Priority 2

New CDRWL items and/or new notes on items previously featured here.

CDRWL LPs for sale

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Rhea, Switzerland

Rhea - Sad Sorceress. 1980 private (HD 363).

And here it is - probably one of the most mythical of the sought-after releases by progressive rock fans around the world. I first heard of this title about 5 years ago from Heavyrock. Once I started to search for it, I realized it was on tons of want lists, including from some of the world's largest collectors (which would include Heavyrock!). So it sat on my want list untouched - until now. Of course, leave it to the Alaskan Connection to turn this one up. When it comes to digging for rare treasure, he has no peer.

And with that fanfare out of the way, let's reveal the big secret....

.... exciting isn't it? ....

.... Tom pulls back the curtain....

Oh NO! It's a banana creme pie! (Let's Make a Deal anyone?)

While listening to Rhea I was most reminded of another treasure I hunted down for years: Sustain** from the Netherlands.

There were a few of these kind of European progressive rock acts in the late 1970s and early 80s. Long on ideas, but short on execution. You can tell they had talent, but without the major label funding and expertise, the level of professionalism was incredibly lacking. So I thought it was very astute of the AC to call out Schakta below, as that's a very apt comparison. They are both: From 1980, Swiss, amateurish, feature cool covers, nominally progressive, and mythical for collectors. In fact, Schakta was one of my top curiosities throughout the 1990s, after first hearing about it in a 1980s issue of Marquee Magazine (Japan). My review of Schakta here.

All the same, I enjoyed this album a bit more than both Sustain and Schakta (though hardly worthy of a CD reissue). It is quite charming in its ineptitude. The melodies are not bad, and I enjoyed the organ work - which was surprisingly good. Perhaps this latter element is the separator. Most of these type of albums rely heavily on thin sounding string synths (there is that too though).

So for every Genshi-Kyodotai, there are 5 Rhea's. That is to say, for every mythical album that is great, there are 5 that are hardly worth bothering with.

So unfortunately we have no choice but to demystify Rhea. Certainly my words alone will not stop the search, nor would I recommend that. But just be prepared: Rhea isn't going to be the next Dun or Kultivator.

Don't fret - we have at least two unknown monsters to talk about in the coming days. A few things behind the scenes are being worked out first.

Here are the excellent liner notes from The AC: "Swiss private press mega-rarity that has haunted the want lists of many a prog collector for years. The only problem is that it's not very good. The stumbling, amateurish musicianship and shaky, heavily accented female vocals are no treat to begin with, but are even further marred by a lo-fi, barely produced "live in the studio" sound that quickly grates on the ears. To put it in Swiss progressive terms, these guys make Schakta sound like Flame Dream in comparison. Most of the material is very basic and song-oriented, with only one brief instrumental that doesn't exactly light the world on fire either. About the only highlight here is the lengthy second track, "Going Through the Time To Live", with its droning organ and depressingly morbid lyrics, which has a sort of anachronistic proto-prog feel. I'm afraid it's all down-hill from there, though. At least the typically crude hand-drawn fantasy sleeve art is kind of cool, but that's only going to take you so far. In any case, the band seems to have been from the French speaking part of Suisse, and the album was recorded in Montreux. Oh, the irony..."

Priority: none

** Hmm... I just realized I never posted about Sustain separately. I'll take care of that later. Believe me, you're missing nothing with that album.

1 comment:

Kornel13 said...

Where did you listened Rhea? Where did you find it?