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Landmarq: Origins: A Landmarq Anthology 1991-2014

Two discs tell the tale of two bands.

On the surface, this is a double-disc Best Of selection from a band who’ve got a near 25-year history (albeit with a long hiatus in there, too).

In that time, the Brits have had two vocalists, and two very distinct sounds.

The imposing and powerful Damian Wilson took the mic from their 1990 inception, and his tenure spanned the first three studio albums, marking the band’s distinctly neo-progressive approach at that time. With the arrival of the one-time Quasar frontwoman Tracy Hitchings, Landmarq actually got a little heavier and more adventurous, and while that change of musical direction wasn’t solely dictated by Hitchings’ vocal style, it clearly played a crucial role.

It might have made chronological sense to catalogue The Damian Years on the first disc, but here this is represented on the second. It’s not that these are inferior in any way, but these recordings do showcase the band at an earlier stage in their development, when they were perhaps a little more in the thrall of Marillion and IQ. You can hear these influences on the three tracks from 1992’s Solitary Witness debut album, and also 1993’s Infinity Parade. However, there was also a distinct stretching of the parameters for the band by the time they reached The Vision Pit – their final album with Wilson – in 1995.

The first CD covers The Tracy Years, taking in the albums Science Of Coincidence, Entertaining Angels and Thunderstruck, this latter being a live release from 1999. The first tracks from Science are captivating. Hitchings’ style immediately suits the music, which has a thoughtful yet muscular groove. Lighthouse is solidly informed by the band’s most valuable attributes. Between Sleeping And Dreaming and Tailspin (Let’s Go The Line) showcase how impressive Landmarq can be in a live context too – there’s a rigour here to complement the more sophisticated elements, ensuring the songs come to life.

The moments from the 2002 Aftershock album reflect Landmarq’s growing ability to express themselves in more expansive terms, while they returned after a decade’s absence with Entertaining Angels in 2012, proving with Turbulence (Paradigm Shift) in particular that the 10-year gap had actually sharpened their creativity. If the new song included here, the title track Origins, is the shape of what’s to come, then Landmarq are about to make a sharp leap.

Both CDs are fine compilations in their own right. Together they do a good job of representing the varied history of Landmarq, and add to the impression that their latter incarnation has been the more productive of the two.

**MALCOLM DOME ** ** **

Malcolm Dome had an illustrious and celebrated career which stretched back to working for Record Mirror magazine in the late 70s and Metal Fury in the early 80s before joining Kerrang! at its launch in 1981. His first book, Encyclopedia Metallica (opens in new tab), published in 1981, may have been the inspiration for the name of a certain band formed that same year. Dome is also credited with inventing the term "thrash metal" while writing about the Anthrax song Metal Thrashing Mad in 1984. He would later become a founding member of RAW rock magazine in 1988.

In the early 90s, Malcolm Dome was the Editor of Metal Forces magazine, and also involved in the horror film magazine Terror, before returning to Kerrang! for a spell. With the launch of Classic Rock magazine in 1998 he became involved with that title, sister magazine Metal Hammer, and was a contributor to Prog magazine since its inception in 2009. He was actively involved in Total Rock Radio (opens in new tab), which launched as Rock Radio Network in 1997, changing its name to Total Rock in 2000. In 2014 he joined the TeamRock online team as Archive Editor, uploading stories from all of our print titles and helping lay the foundation for what became Louder.

Dome was the author of many books on a host of bands from AC/DC to Led Zeppelin and Metallica, some of which he co-wrote with Prog Editor Jerry Ewing.