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Camel - Moonmadness CD (album) cover

MOONMADNESS

Camel

 

Symphonic Prog

4.38 | 1584 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars After exploring into the realms of symphonic prog in their "Snow Goose" opus, Camel was prepared to push the envelope a bit further for the "Moon Madness" effort, The main ingredient was the combination of the energetic presence of "Mirage", the stylish textures of "Snow Goose" and the addition of cosmic ambiences due to the increased synthesizer input by Master Bardens as well as Latimer's more robust confidence on guitar (using multipel layers and overdubbed harmonies) and flute (venturing into more complex solos). Simultaneously, the rhythmic interests of drummer Andy Ward were enhanced in favor of jazz-oriented vibrations, so the band's overall sound could achieve an augmented dose of dynamics and stamina. The sequence of the first three tracks is explicit enough as to set a proper general portrait of the album's nuclear essence. 'Aristillus' is an easy-going cosmic intro in which Bardens indulges himself in various Moog adornments over a firm basis of guitar and bass. Next, 'Song within a Song' defines a set of spiritually driven melodies alternately laid on Moog synth and flute, while the organ and the guitar provide subtle harmonic structures. The second half is more epic, although it could and should have sounded more energetic - perhaps a flaw in sound production?. Anyway, this track is in many ways a typical Camel song, with its intense lyricism obvious in the wide open. 'Chord Change' is much jazzier, creating a sort of bridge between the earliest Camel (i.e., the Canterburyr-related sound they developed in their debut album) and the Camel that would come to record the "Rain Dances" album one year later. If Ward was a master drummer since day one, now he managed to take his skill to a level of definitive maturity. The rest of the album is a catalogue of beautiful music, indeed. The piano based-brief ballad 'Spirit of the Water' is a very melancholic reflection on the futility of life, courtesy of Bardens: the recorder lines serve as an effective pastoral trick. 'Another Night' bears a denser sound, this time providing a hybrid between the first and the second albums, yet bearing a delicate eerie mood that works perfectly well in this particular album. The last two tracks are some of the most amazing Camel compositions ever: 'Air Born' and 'Lunar Sea' are real progressive gems of all time. 'Air Born' surpasses 'Song within a Song' regarding the manifestation of spiritual candor with a proper touch of energy that does not fall short at complementig the track's overall mood. 'Lunar Sea' is a top-notch instrumental tour-de-force that encapsulates the album's greatest qualities all at once. This album is a both step forward and a continuation of Camel's progressive ideology, although it is true that it fails to match the power of "Mirage" and the lyrical magic of "Snow Goose". While not a genuine Camel masterpiece in itself, "Moon Madness" sirely deserves to be labelled as an excellent prog item that should occupy a special place in any good prog collection.
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |

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