Release Date: April 21, 2023
Label: Inside Out
Ian Anderson found great interest in exploring his ancestral roots, which turned into the forthcoming Jethro Tull release Rok Flote (Rock Flute), their 23rd album.
Ian Anderson (Flute, Guitar, Bouzouki, Mandolin, Harmonica, Vocals), Joe Parrish (Guitar), Scott Hammond (Drums and percussion), John O’Hara (Orchestral conductor, piano, keyboards, and accordion), David Goodeier (Bass guitar and double bass) have created a stellar exhibition of prog rock.
What starts as an interest turns into a commitment to excellence and the musical journey of yesteryear for Ian and the band.
Ian stated: I am not here to promote the old Norse religion or, indeed, any religion. My own preference is for the ultimate esotericism of Panentheism (the belief or doctrine that God is greater than the universe and includes and interpenetrates it). I see no need for imaginary man-made visual representations of God. No need for symbols, idols, icons, relics and the ritual of prayer to an interventionist god. Problem is, it might make for rather a dull rock music album....
Whether you are in sync with the creator of this music or have no opinion, the music and lyrics paint an accurate picture of the subject matter. You even get a taste of some of the Scandinavian dialects. As expected of any Jethro Tull album, the lion’s share of this release moves along and rocks progressively. Superlative flute and guitar lead the way, as the bottom end is a rock-solid foundation for them to remain consistent from start to finish.
The movements in each track range from fast-paced to joyous, profound, and outright toe-tapping rhythmic flute passages. Keeping that all in mind, you will not get any bombastic 6 to 8-minute-long tracks, the longest being “Wolf Unchained,” complete with the said wolf baying at the beginning and end of the track and clocking in at an economical 4:58. It is one of the best songs along with “The Navigators,” “Ithavoll,” and “Guardians Watch.” If anything, I was surprised by how quickly each track passed. That did not seem to matter; it made an impact and was completely enjoyable for this long-time fan.
Elements of Rok Flote reminded me of some of my favorite JT albums of the 70s (Warchild, Minstrel In The Gallery), particularly with the guitar passages. The flute, as usual, is outstanding and fits like a glove with the rest of the music, serving as the engine that drives this unstoppable locomotive of prog rock. This is one of the essential JT classics that should not be missed!
Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-TFOV Founder
March 3, 2023
04.The Feathered Consort
05. Hammer On Hammer
06. Wolf Unchained
07. The Perfect One
08. Trickster (And The Mistletoe)
10. The Navigators
11. Guardian’s Watch