Goodbye To The Age Of Steam marks the debut of Big Big Train. It was originally released on GEP then most recently on BBT‘s own label, English Electric in 2011. Since I never heard the original mix, I can‘t make a comparison but all of BBT‘s reissued albums sound fantastic and vibrant. I doubt they deviated too much from the original, almost like getting a fresh coat of paint.
The first seven tracks, in my opinion, make up a suite that clock in at about 34 minutes. I doubt that it was the band’s intention or was it. Highlights are the opening track “Wind Distorted Pioneers” (3:21), “Head Hit The Pillow” (5:49), and “Blow The House Down” (9:21).
The first epic of the album, “Blue Silver Red” (10:02), starts off the “second” half of the album or Act II. This is one of the band’s best 10 plus minute songs that goes by in a flash.
“Losing Your Way” (7:35) is by far one of the band’s catchiest track of all the albums and one of my all time favorites of the band.
The next three are bonus tracks to the album proper. Starting with “Far Distant Thing” (4:35), which in a perfect world could have been a single. This is a straight forward rocking song that was recorded in1993, before the Goodbye To The Age Of Steam album was completed.
Next up is an acoustic guitar based instrumental called “Expecting Dragons” (7:06). It’s a brand new instrumental song conceived especially for this re-issue.
“Losing Your Way (extended)” (10:01) ends off the album perfectly in my opinion. They added almost three minutes of instrumentation that I feel it wasn’t done for the sake of creating an epic.
Goodbye To The Age of Steam is the latest of the reissues in the Big Big Train’s catalog. This reissued album I is, in my opinion, a very essential release especially to the BBT fans as well as those into symphonic or neo-prog. I give this a very recommended purchase.
Reviewed by Ron Fuchs on August 6th, 2011