Formed in 1976, it took Taurus until 1981 to release their first album, Illusions of a Night, although it was apparently fatally compromised by their record company, who demanded that they record several potential singles. However, the end result is far better than that sounds, with only a couple of more 'commercial' tracks (notably Nickname) amongst their late-'70s Genesis/Yes/Kayak-influenced prog. Martin Scheffer's Hackettesque guitar work and Theo de Jong (ex-Kayak)'s Taurus pedals add to the album's Wind & Wuthering feel, as do full-on symphonic tracks like The Gurus or Kaboom. Rob Spierenburg's Mellotron work, despite being heard on most tracks, is pretty restrained here, often with only a single choir swell towards the end of the song, although the odd bit of strings crops up here and there, too. Sadly, at no point does the instrument take centre-stage, and the album's overall poor production doesn't help, either; possibly the band wanted it higher in the mix?
Taurus released a live album, Tapes Live, in 1983, and a studio effort called Works 1976-1981 in '90 (new recordings, I believe), before a live CD in '93, See You Again. While there's no Mellotron visible in any of the booklet pics, it can be heard here and there, and is credited. Various factors lead me to believe it was recorded at a variety of locations, possibly over several years, not least the crudely overdubbed applause that actually intrudes into some of the quiet sections. There's a small overlap with Illusions of a Night, although most of the material was presumably written subsequently, and I'm afraid to say that most of it is rather dull, like Genesis after they'd had their brains sucked out (er, isn't that '80s Genesis?). Some nice moments here and there, but it's generally rather overlong and turgid, ending up doing the band few favours. Spierenburg uses the 'Tron for choir only (again), with rather murky and inessential parts on several tracks, although the particularly Banksian use on Mountaineer is worth hearing.
Illusions of a Night is actually very good; a bit of a hidden gem at a bad time for progressive rock. The Mellotron work isn't anything to write home about, but the album's worth picking up should you run into a copy. See You Again is just about worth hearing if you like their debut, but expect to be disappointed by much of it.
One for the Kingdom
The Ancient Mariner
The Three Brothers
Man in the Mirror
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