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Starcastle (along with Styx, Fireballet, and Kansas) were part of a belated stateside response to British progressive rock. With Gary Strater's melodic basslines, Herb Schildt's Moog runs, and Terry Luttrell's sometimes precious vocals, the band was clearly modeled from Yes, particularly in its first two releases. While Starcastle usually came out the worse for such comparisons, there were genuine moments of fine, intricate musicianship. Citadel (1977) showed some musical growth away from their "Yes-lite" phase, but the band weathered 1978 about as badly as their British inspirations and fell apart after 1978's Reel to Real.
Strater retained the band's name for a revamped configuration in the '80s, and this lineup produced some music that overcame the long shadow over the band's credibility in progressive circles. Unfortunately, no albums were released in this period. When Starcastle reconvened in the mid-'90s, there was talk by bandmembers of releasing a new album, a possibility heightened by the CD reissue of their back catalog in 1998. However, Strater died in 2004, having never seen Starcastle achieve the recognition their talents deserved. The final Starcastle album featuring Strater, Song of Times, was released in 2007, and the band's remaining members regrouped for a tour that year. ~ Paul Collins
- Champaign, IL
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