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Rick Wakeman – No Earthly Connection album review

One of Wakeman’s best albums gets the deluxe reissue treatment

Cover art for Rick Wakeman's No Earthly Connection

This album is often overlooked when talking about Rick Wakeman’s finest solo works. Everybody rightly praises Journey, The Six Wives and Myths And Legends. As a result, this 1976 album tends to be unfairly regarded as living in their shadow. In reality, it’s at least as strong, and at times more impressive than that trio.

After dealing with historic situations both factual and fictional on his previous records, this time Wakeman entered the realm of the metaphysical. And while this is pretentious, what it did was free him musically.

Whereas previously The Caped Crusader was capturing the essence of well-known stories – acting as a soundtrack – here he could take flight, going in any musical direction. So you hear classical, folk, funk, metal and jazz touches throughout, sparked by an almost spontaneous desire to celebrate the human mind.

What you also get on this reissue is a bonus CD, featuring a show from Hammersmith Odeon, recorded by the BBC in ’76. This not only has tracks from No Earthly Connection, but also extracts from The Six Wives, plus Myths And Legends. A fine representation of what was a tremendous live performance. This is Wakeman in his pomp.

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.