Great Mellotron albums

By progfan97402 progfan97402
updated 13 days ago

If you love the sound of the Mellotron, these albums come essential. I don't have this list in any particular order, simply what springs up to mind. While I include stuff like Yes, Genesis and the Moody Blues, most of you already know that stuff already, so I'm not going to list every albums by those acts that used the Mellotron, just their albums with the most impressive use. My main emphasis is on lesser known and obscure releases that are essential to the tron fan!

By the way, since about the mid 1990s, there's been a flood of recordings that claim to use the Mellotron, when in fact they used samples, like from Vintage Keys or M-Tron. If a release uses fake tron, it will not be included (like Eccentric Orbit's Attack of the Martians, or any Opeth release aside from Heritage). That's why you don't see any Porcupine Tree listed here (apparently Stupid Dream, Lightbulb Sun, and In Absentia apparently did use a real tron, from Richard Barbieri, but not used in large amounts, so not listed, but it's safe to say anything else were samples) or Steven Wilson's Grace For Drowning (which would make a fantastic tron album if it were real tron), although his 2013 followup The Raven that Refused to Sing uses real tron courtesy of a Mark II that used to belong to King Crimson (and included in this list).

By the way I have not listed anything from the Flower Kings, as it's apparent Tomas Bodin has used samples, although if they wer real, you can bet a bunch of their albums would be listed (although I currently only own Space Revolver and Desolation Rose, due to my aversion to them for years, and honestly Space Revolver ain't that bad, and Desolation Rose also has some nice moments, but some I can do without).

  1. Spring (6) - Spring

    You can't argue with an album where three guys are credited to Mellotron. Not sure how to describe this, although I get reminded of a more down-to-earth Moody Blues that avoids cosmic themes with a rather peculiar singer in the name of Pat Moran (later a studio engineer). It's also interesting to note that the drummer was none other than Pique Withers (later Pick Withers), later of Dire Straits!

  2. Earth And Fire - Song Of The Marching Children

    This was Earth & Fire's first tron album. "Storm and Thunder" and the title track features plenty of it. You'll be glad to know of Earth & Fire if you're a lover of the Mellotron. It's a huge shock to learn that all their albums starting with this one and ending as late as 1982's In State of Flux uses the Mellotron. Obviously you need their early albums, as their later albums (like Andromeda Girl and In State of Flux) are pretty dreadful, despite the Mellotron, not to mention the Mellotron use on their later stuff wasn't particularly imaginative, but on the other hand I was rather surprised they'd still use one in the early '80s.

  3. Earth And Fire - Memories

    This incredible single includes the Dutch #1 hit "Memories" and it's Crimson-esque flip side "From the End till the Beginning", tons of tron, both sides!

  4. Earth And Fire - Atlantis

    This album is simply Mellotron overload. Seldom a time when it isn't used!

  5. Änglagård - Hybris

    Really, you need all three of their albums (or four, if you also include Buried Alive, a live album from 1994, released in 1996).

  6. Änglagård - Epilog

    The Mellotron really went through a dry spell in the 1980s, then in the 1990s comes this great Swedish prog band, who helped bring the Mellotron back from the grave. Both of these are essential!

  7. Änglagård - Viljans Öga

    Who could ever imagined in their wildest dreams this group would ever actually release a new album. After nearly 18 years, too! Musically, it's as if they never left, plus it's stuff with that Mellotron, once again!

  8. José Cid - 10.000 Anos Depois Entre Vénus E Marte

    This Portuguese musician is mainly known for some pretty dreadful pop music, but he actually made some great prog for a short time, in a country not known for prog, and this is one of them. He tends to use just the tron choir here, but you can't argue with an album in which one song bears the title "Mellotron O Planeta Fantástico"!

  9. The Moody Blues - In Search Of The Lost Chord

    I seriously doubt this album really needs much explaining. That goes for the other six of their "Classic Seven" albums too. OK, so Seventh Sojourn is mainly Chamberlin, but is also included since the Chamberlin was the American ancestor of the Mellotron.

  10. King Crimson - In The Court Of The Crimson King (An Observation By King Crimson)

    No Mellotron list would be complete without this! You gotta listen to "Epitaph" and the title track. Just those songs alone justify the album's status as a Mellotron legend. I hadn't forgotten the tron flute on "Moonchild", but then that one doesn't get the legendary status because of the strange experiment of vibes and guitar tagged to it many dislike.

  11. King Crimson - In The Wake Of Poseidon

    Second album, usually considered a pale rehash of the first, but that's not fair. Sure the musical approach of side one is very much similar, side two they totally cover ground not found on their first, after all the humorous "Cat Food" and experimental "The Devil's Triangle" would have been out of place on their debut. This was their last album with Greg Lake (in face he only stayed to lay down most of the vocals tracks, except for "Cadence & Cascade", and left the bass work to Michael Giles younger brother Peter Giles).

    With Ian McDonald gone, all Mellotron duty will from here on out be from Robert Fripp. Anyways, Mellotron to be found on "Pictures of a City", all over the title track, and amazing, mindblowing use of it on "The Devil's Triangle" (which bears more than a passing resemblance to something off Gustav Holst's The Planets).

  12. King Crimson - Lizard

    Album number three, it's obvious that this was no rehash of previous albums, they take on a more jazzy approach, with Gordon Haskell taking over vocals on almost all the songs (except for a guess by Jon Anderson on the "Lizard" suite), and a higher emphasis on wind instruments. The Mellotron makes its appearance on "Cirkus", "Indoor Games", and the side-length title track. After this, while the Mellotron continues to make its presence on albums up to Red, it's not quite as impressive as on these first three albums, although there's still great use of them, like on "Exiles" from Larks' Tongues in Aspic" and "Starless" from Red, I never felt those albums from Islands to Red were exactly "Mellotron" albums, even if they did have a couple of songs using Mellotron impressively.

  13. Harmonium - Les Cinq Saisons

    This folk and prog rock group from Quebec was popular in their native province. Evidence: I never met anyone from Quebec who never heard of Harmonium (although I met plenty of people from English speaking Canada who never heard of them, comes to show the cultural/linguistic divide between Quebec and the rest of Canada). This was the album that brought prog elements to their folk sound, and the big reason to need this album is the amazing use of tron on "Depuis L'Automne" and "Histoires Sans Paroles"! Yes, Mellotron is also used on their following album, L'Heptade, but very sparingly, because it included real strings conducted by Neil Chotem, and En Tournée, a 1977 live rendition of L'Heptade that was released in 1980, had only slightly more tron only because the band did not use an orchestra live. So essentially their only real tron album is their second, Les Cinq Saisons.

  14. Yes - Tales From Topographic Oceans

    You either dig this album or you don't but I remembered when I first heard this album, those Mellotrons were left ringing in my ears long after I finished listening to it. Rick Wakeman might have been disenchanted with this project, but it has some of my favorite tron playing from him.

  15. Museo Rosenbach - Zarathustra

    Not only is this album essential to your prog collection, but your Mellotron album collection too. This album features it throughout.

  16. SFF - Symphonic Pictures

    Wonder where Änglagård got their inspiration for their "Jordröck"? Go listen to the side-length "Pictures" and you'll see! Mellotron up the ears, and same goes for the other cuts too.

  17. Schicke · Führs · Fröhling* - Sunburst

    This is their somewhat underrated followup to Symphonic Pictures and it too features enough Mellotron not to disappoint!

  18. Cathedral (3) - Stained Glass Stories

    Besides the SFF mentioned, here was another inspiration from Änglagård. Now you get to know where that band got many of their ideas. From this American band. Tom Doncourt just lays it thick with Mellotron, on each and every cut with few pauses!

  19. Sinkadus - Sinkadus

    Of course, with the demise of Änglagård, other bands wanted to chime in, and Sinkadus was another one, who took a more lighter approach to the Änglagård style. This is the original, very hard to come by cassette. Differs a bit from Aurum Nostrum, the widely available rerecorded version.

  20. Sinkadus - Aurum Nostrum

    This was simply a rerecording of their self-entitled 1996 cassette, and naturally the easiest to get a hold of. Like the original cassette, plenty of Mellotron to be had.

  21. Sinkadus - Live At Progfest '97 / Aurum Nostrum Version 1

    The band was receiving enough attention in the prog community to warrant a performance at Progfest '97, complete with Mellotron. Don't think you can find an original cassette of the 1996 self-entitled release? Luckily the second disc, entitled Aurum Nostrum Version 1, contains that original recording, for the first time on CD.

  22. Sinkadus - Cirkus

    This seemed to be it for this Swedish band, once again, plenty of Mellotron to be had. They seemed to have hung around for a few more years, but by 2003 it was obvious nothing new was forthcoming in the band.

  23. Wobbler (2) - Hinterland

    As with Sinkadus, there were other bands wanting to chime in on the demise of Änglagård. Wobbler from Norway is one of them, they started with with a couple of demo recordings in 2003 and in 2005 released their full CD Hinterland. If you love the Mellotron, this won't disappoint, as Lars Fredrik Frøisle just lays it thick here. This guys completely avoids digital and virtual gear so you can rest assure he won't come near an M-Tron!

  24. Wobbler (2) - Afterglow

    So those 2003 demos that used to be available on their website have been rerecorded, as well as a couple of short, often medieval-influenced pieces. Once again, plenty of Mellotron.

  25. Wobbler (2) - Rites At Dawn

    This band did the right thing: got themselves a vocalist easier on the ears, and going for a less bombastic approach into Yes and Gentle Giant territory. Lars, once again, delivers plenty of Mellotron, and this time around, he provides us with the Chamberlin M1, a purchase he made through an American seller, making it probably the first Chamberlin to make it on Norwegian soil (apparently Mattias Olsson over in Sweden, of Änglagård fame and of Roth Händle Studios, owns a Rhythmate and MusicMaster 600, so now there's three Chamberlins in Scandinavia, as far as I know).