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Deadwood Forest - Mellodramatic CD (album) cover

MELLODRAMATIC

Deadwood Forest

 

Crossover Prog

3.41 | 38 ratings

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ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk Researcher
2 stars Not sure why, but I seem to have happened upon a string of sub-par albums lately. Kind of a bummer - this is another one. The connection to Änglagård was promising, but that's not what these guys sound like. They're sort of a throwback band, and not a particularly inspiring one at that. The Tangent got a bit of a rap for their retro- derivative sound on 'A Place in the Queue', but at least in their case they put a lot of energy into it, and the similarities to some of the progressive rock giants was intentional and reverent. For Deadwood Forest the similarities seem more like mimicking, not giving props to the great ones.

On the up side, there's a ton of mellotron on this album, and that has to be considered a good thing. Musically the band sounds an awful lot like the semi-legendary Spring, especially on Yellow Line, except that the vocals are a bit better articulated (although strained).

"King of the Skies" is one of the better tunes here, even if the 'tron smacks a bit of Gentle Giant with hippy cum pop-tinged vocals. This is actually a decent tune, although not enough so to bother getting into the lyrics to figure out what it's about. Oh well. And there's a weird mellotron progression in the middle that sounds a bit off-key before fading into a too-short acoustic guitar bit. Not sure these guys put a whole lot of effort into these arrangements.

The other slightly interesting piece follows 'King', "The City in the Sea", with what I believe is a glockenspiel or something in a short but very unusual percussion sequence that manages to find its way into the rhythm somehow, almost as if it were planned that way (and I suppose it was). Also the guitars and flute (or maybe recorder) give this track some variety and accent the heavy mellotron quite well. This is an instrumental, and makes me wonder if the band might have been better off copping that influence from Änglagård and keeping their vocals to a minimum, since it isn't particularly good singing anyway.

"Dry" starts off well, but seems to lose focus after about 2-1/2 minutes and ends up being a rather tedious and wandering, gloomy thing that sounds more like seventies acid folk than a twenty-first century band. "Stolen Smile" on the other hand has a decidedly early nineties vibe to it, particularly the drums and strident keyboards. This is also an instrumental, more along the lines of a hopped-up latter Explosions in the Sky recording, or maybe Godspeed without the attitude or sense of style.

The rest of the album is throwback seventies or very early eighties sounding, ranging from off-key Deep Purple to low-brow Zappa to Americanized King Crimson. Nothing to get excited about for sure, although "The Ultraviolence" has some decent keyboard work and the guitar isn't half-bad either. No sense of direction though.

This band never seemed to find any kind of identity to call its own, and as far as I know they never will since I believe they broke up a few years ago. They're decent enough musicians, and the number of styles they ripped off indicate they were students of progressive music at least, just not very ambitious ones.

I've also heard their debut, and it's even worse - mostly a bunch of seemingly half- finished vignettes. On this (their second and final album) they at least managed to finish some thoughts and put together whole works. They're just nothing to make them stand out. I'd like to give this three stars just because they seem to be good musicians, but I can't say this is actually a 'good' album, so two stars it is. Not particularly recommended unless you just like collecting obscure stuff that features mellotron, regardless of the quality.

peace

ClemofNazareth | 2/5 |

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