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Jethro Tull – ‘The Zealot Gene’

InsideOut Music
Ian Anderson, Fairport Convention, Barclay James Harvest
Release Date
January 28, 2022
InsideOut Music
Progressive Rock/Folk Rock

                Jethro Tull are one of the most famous progressive rock bands on the planet and immediately uniquely identifiable. For both Tull and their fans, this year is special as the band release ‘The Zealot Gene’, their first proper studio output (if you discount a Christmas album) since 1999’s ‘J-Tull Dot Com’.

                A lot has changed in the Tull camp since then, the departure of Martin Barre from band as well as Ian Anderson admitting that he’s suffering from COPD means that ‘The Zealot Gene’ does have an air of a last chance saloon going on. The elephant in the room is that there is no Barre and without it, the whole thing isn’t very different to what Anderson has put out with his solo work. Therefore, what the listener gets here is some really high-quality folk/rock, well produced, well-orchestrated and of course, well written. ‘The Zealot Gene’ has arguably some of Anderson’s most eclectic writings as he tackles such issues such as popularism and the rise of the right to more to more deeply personal issues such as loss, mortality and the fragility of coming under attack and demonised. Yes, there is loads of flute and acoustic guitars, mandolins and flurries of electric bursts, but if you’re looking for the vocal acrobatics of the 70’s, then those days are well gone, Anderson sings in a much lower register, similar to that from his ‘Thick As a Brick 2’ solo album from not too long ago and even then his voice has degraded.

                Anderson’s voice may not be what it once was, but lyrically, he’s still as sharp as ever, ‘The Zealot Gene’ is actually quite enjoyable when given the time to appreciate it, but it has to be taken at face value for what it is; it can’t be compared to the likes of ‘Aqualung’ and neither should anyone try, but ultimately, it is missing one integral part and we all know what that is.

"quite enjoyable when given the time to appreciate it, but it has to be taken at face value for what it is"

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