Ibis - Sun Supreme. 1974 Italy


Ibis were made up of ex-New Trolls members (and a former drummer from Atomic Rooster - and whose name is not Carl Palmer) and this was their debut album (though technically the first album was under the name Nico, Gianni, Frank, Maurizio). It was far more geared towards symphonic progressive rock, heavily influenced by Yes, especially when compared against their second, more straightforward, hard rock album.

There really aren't any highlight tracks for Sun Supreme. Honestly, I'm amazed this album gets the praise it does, especially since it walks right into the usual "prog is pretentious" argument (an argument that I absolutely disagree with, even here at its most obvious). And yet this album - of all albums - somehow gets a pass from the critics. For starters this has nothing to do with the Italian progressive rock movement (indigenous melodies are missing, English vocals). Not that one should get automatic demerits for that, but it is worth mentioning given the time and place. What we have with Sun Supreme is a huge heaping mess of Yes. And I mean mess as in Tales From Topographic Ocean Yes (disclaimer: I really like Tales From Topographic Ocean  - but not necessarily going to fawn over a copycat attempt that falls short). From the song titles to the "higher key" religious aspects (oh hello Satguru Maharaji and his followers: Did you like this album dedicated to you? How come nothing like this from the home country, anyway?). I should offer minuses too, since 'Divinity Part 2' is nothing but a very long, and very dull, drum solo. That's 7 minutes of boredom right there.

So it seems I'm really down on Sun Supreme then? Well, no, that's not true. I do like it - as I do appreciate a good Yes imitation (heck I even adore Druid's Towards the Sun). It's hardly a style that is easy to emulate, and it's good entertainment taken on its own if you can ignore the influences. I'm loathe to use terms like overrated, since albums like this are barely rated in the first place (it's not like the New York Times was pushing this down everyone's throat as the next big thing). But I have to say that I disagree with those that claim this is a classic work. It's not a classic by my estimation. Unless you want a somewhat tepid response to Yes' Tales From Topographic Oceans. It screams New Trolls cash-in. Probably because that is exactly what it is. Buy it only if you can't get enough of that sound. And perhaps I fall into that category. I can't help it.

Personal collection
LP: 1974 Polydor
CD: 2010 Universal (Japan)

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