Gandalf's Fist: A Day In The Life Of A Universal Wanderer

26th century schizoid, man...

Why you can trust Louder Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

They claim to have created ‘one of the most engaging albums to be recorded on the far side of the solar system’ with this, and considering the Fist are just two people, multi-instrumentalist Dean Marsh and singer Luke Severn, that’s a bold statement indeed.

The album chronicles the rollicking adventures of the titular Wanderer, a mythical Galactus/Silver Surfer-type figure from the 26th century whose fate it is to meander the cosmos from the birth of existence to the end of time. To fully appreciate the opus, you’re supposed to embrace the concept of it being transmitted from a derelict space station situated somewhere in the far reaches of the galaxy.

Gandalf’s Fist almost pull it off, their eccentric brand of medieval folk rock getting a rocket-boost on the deliciously Floyd-like tunes Nexus and The Battle For Tannhäuser Gate. Some stunning female guest vocals help propel Stowaway To The Mushroom Gate and Somewhere Beyond The Stars into the stratosphere, and nine-minute closer The Wanderer Goes South offers a sprawling, satisfying climax.

Our only quibble is with the spoken-word sections, which lack the gravitas the work deserves.

Geoff Barton is a British journalist who founded the heavy metal magazine Kerrang! and was an editor of Sounds music magazine. He specialised in covering rock music and helped popularise the new wave of British heavy metal (NWOBHM) after using the term for the first time (after editor Alan Lewis coined it) in the May 1979 issue of Sounds.