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A concept album by The Alan Parsons Project, with Edgar Allen Poe as the subject matter. At first glance, Poe and rock and roll seem an unlikely combination, but in the talented hands of The AP Project, the result is both fascinating and highly entertaining.

The listener is immediately cast into the world of Poe with the haunting and ethereal opening track, 'A dream within a dream,' an instrumental selection with voice-over narration by, appropriately enough, Orson Welles. This dissolves seamlessly into the second track, 'The Raven," which captures the mood of the story by starting out with a calm intensity that slowly builds into a frenetic electric guitar solo, with the lyric "Nevermore!" being sung loudly and repeatedly. The song climaxes, then quietly fades out calmly.

The third track is "The Tell-Tale Heart," which from the outset is frenetically claustrophobic, with percussion pointedly emphasizing each line of the lyrics. The song takes a brief (but dark) lyrical turn with "And he won't be found at all/Nor a trace to mark his fall/Nor the stain upon the wall," which dissolves into an ethereal orchestral section before returning to the driving rock sound that the song started with.

"The Cask of Amontillado" comes next, providing a quietly disturbing break from the hardcore rock sound; instead, "Cask" has a light groovy feel, with more orchestra than rock band, even when the music becomes more disturbing. It climaxes and fades out with an intentionally repetitious instrumental section that emphasizes the trapped aspect of the story.

With "(The System of) Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether," we return firmly to the rock idiom. The refrain is sung by a basso profundo whose voice is electronically distorted to give it a more eerie quality. Musically, the song is driven by electric guitar and percussion.

Tracks six through ten are an orchestral suite based on The Fall of the House of Usher, with opening narration by Welles, which again sets the approriate tone for the tracks to come. There is an almost clichéd eeriness to the suite, but Parsons manages to keep it from veering into self-parody.

The album concludes with a psychedelic number, "To One In Paradise," with 'waa-waa' distortion dominating the music, and a dreamy quality to the lyrics, both in their writing and in their delivery.

Track Listing
  1. A Dream Within a Dream
  2. The Raven
  3. The Tell-Tale Heart
  4. The Cask of Amontillado
  5. (The System of) Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether
  6. The Fall of the House of Usher: I. Prelude
  7. The Fall of the House of Usher: II. Arrival
  8. The Fall of the House of Usher: III. Intermezzo
  9. The Fall of the House of Usher: IV. Pavane
  10. The Fall of the House of Usher: V. Fall
  11. To One in Paradise

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