“We give Yes a run for their money when it comes to changing band line-ups,” admits Galahad frontman – and sole remaining founder member – Stuart Nicholson in the latest issue of Prog Magazine (opens in new tab). The comment comes in the light of the latest departure from their ranks, which they discuss in full – along with 10th album Seas Of Change – in the mag.
To mark the release of the new album, here we compile five of the finest moments from the band's 30-year career.
Richelieu’s Prayer (Nothing Is Written, 1991)
The eight-minute climax of the band’s 1991 debut album Nothing Is Written is a piano- led ballad that recalls late Fish-era Marillion, replete with the slightly dated guitar and keyboard sound, but the power of the songwriting is already shining through. The band re-recorded the track for 2012’s Beyond The Realms Of Euphoria, but there’s an affecting fragility to the original vocal, even if Nicholson had technically improved as a singer by the time it was revisited.
Sleepers (Sleepers, 1995)
This is Galahad at their most atmospheric and unpredictable. One minute they channel powerful metal accompanied by sweeping strings, the next they sample Edith Piaf in a disorientating synth rock wilderness. They then build back up to an anthemic, optimistic arena rock crescendo, punctuated by Roy Keyworth’s riveting fret shredding.
Empires Never Last (Empires Never Last, 2007)
A fine example of Galahad’s co-opting of techno and industrial tropes as an electronic voice and a positively funky bassline help a stuttering beat propel us into scattergun bursts of machine gun metal riffing. Later on, bold symphonic strokes and Nicholson’s powerful vocal remind us of Dio-era Rainbow and Led Zep’s Kashmir.
I Could Be God (Empires Never Last, 2007)
Stuart Nicholson’s finest hour as a frontman, as he ramps up the melodrama on this climactic track from Empires Never Last. His vocal channels tenderness, emotional transparency, malevolence, cynicism and rage at turns, as industrial, metal grey storm clouds swirl overhead. And after a delicately ethereal mid-section underpinned by Martin Luther King samples, it explodes back into dramatic life. It’s one of several peaks on an album whose theme of power, corruption and lies still strikes a chord 11 years on.
Guardian Angel (Beyond the Realms of Euphoria, 2012/Quiet Storms, 2017)
This track started life as a powerfully blustering 10-minute prog odyssey on Beyond The Realms Of Euphoria, shot through with jagged edged guitar, hyperactive synth runs and thrillingly spiky tempo stutters. And then last year’s Quiet Storms was opened by a stripped down, piano-accompanied reading of the same song, which reveals just what a beautifully resonant, immediate ballad was always wrapped within the prog dressing.
The full story behind Galahad's past, present and future is covered in issue 86 of Prog Magazine, on sale now. You can read that and much more by picking up an issue here (opens in new tab).