The Alan Parsons Project’s TALES OF MYSTERY AND IMAGINATION is a supreme example of greatly produced horror-themed rock albums. Every track is based on the dark works by a master of creepy, terror and morbid tales. His name? None other than Edgar Allan Poe. The band is actually only two musician-songwriters, Alan Parsons and Eric Woolfson. They are nicely backed up by several outstanding session musicians. What a fantastic job is done here of mixing Poe’s eerie narrative and vivid atmosphere into a macabre musical canvas.
Some of Poe’s greatest works are re-imagined here, such as, “The Raven,” “The Tell-Tale Heart,” and “The Fall of the House of Usher” which is easily the best track on here. The entire song lasts longer than 16 minutes and contains no lyrics (except for a newly added voiceover at the beginning by Orson Wells), and is divided into different movements just like a classical symphony. Just as the Poe story which influenced it, this runs the full spectrum of human emotion, beginning with a peaceful but melancholy classical path, then seamlessly moves through jazz fusion and rock transitions towards an intense symphonic crescendo. If you listen to the song from beginning to end, it is unlikely to NOT feel that sense of merciless decay and the loss that is common to Poe’s work, and it is artistically satisfying.
TALES OF MYSTERY AND IMAGINATION originally came in 1976 (the year your beloved author was born) and was the first “project” from Alan Parson. This record is highly recommended to fans of horror, those who love the works of Edgar Allan Poe, and anybody who fondly remembers the concept rock of the 1970s. Progressive music rules baby!