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Beardfish - The Void CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

3.86 | 437 ratings

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4 stars I've just realized that I have not reviewed The Void even though I already listened to it since it was released sometime in August 2012 by InsiodeOut. My initial reaction even before I spun the music of any Beardfish album is only simple words: it must be excellent. I am sure most of you agree with me that Sweden has become the land of progressive rock in this era as so many great prog bands coming out from Sweden. Of course they are heaviliy influenced by legendary bands like King Crimson, Yes, Gentle Giant or eve Genesis. But the music of Beardfish is quite unique in nature and it's hard for me to identify major influence as the band s truly an eclectic prog band - they always try something different with new albums they release. The 2011 release Mammoth revealed a band restless to step outside the their boundaries--or at least anxious to add a little poundage. The Void push the envelope in fact harder than before, I think.

It was just couple of weeks ago I had a lengthy prog discussion with my friend who owns a coffee shop that does not play music but PROG. It's located far away from my hometown at capital city of Indonesia, and he lives and builds his PROG cafe at east Java, Jombang to be exact - it's roughly about 900 KM at east side of Jakarta. Of course I came at his coffee shop for not only this purpose but altogether with my work as Culture Change Consultant at Surabaya and I extended my days of stay to be able to have a lengthy prog discussion at the most progressive environment cafe: Apple Prog Cafe. He, Edi Santoso, is a humble person with havy loaded prog in his mind so everything comes out from his mouth has always been about prog. He even dares to spin only prog for his cafe eventhough his customers not prog lovers at all. So .. he is very pushy to make people get acquainted with prog music.

Why do I need to elaborate a paragraph long about my friend Edi? One simple reason: he is very very Birdfish or so called die hard fan of Beardfish. Even when I was picked by him at the bus station from my journey to Jombang, he palyed The Void inside the car - so here we were altogether in the car enjoying The Void. ANd not only that, he posted a giant poster of Beardfish Robert Hansen at one corner of his prog cafe! So, my meeting with him that day of 19-20 September 2014 was really heavy loaded with PROG and also Baerdfish. By that time I did not realize that I have not reviewed The Void yet. That's why now is my time to give my personal views about this album.

First off, this is definitely an excellent addition to any progressive music album that actually I wanted to review when I wrote The Tangent album - especially when it was said that Beardfish gave narration of the album in exchange of Andy Tillison providesnarration to The Void. But I forgot to review it. I consider this as a concept album as I always play it in its entirety. The music os quite eclectic in nature even though at first spin I though was a prog metal album as there is a growling part at the second track right after introduction: Voluntary Slavery (6:33). The track is quite heavy in nature but not forgetting the eclectic part: you can not predict the song will go to until you experience it. The combined clean vocal and growling part is really nice. It continues wonderfully with the next track Turn To Gravel (5:30) where the heavy side of prog still dominate the song. The next song provides some break as the music has tuned down nto a slower style with They Whisper (6:06).

I do not intend to give a track by track detailed review but one thing for sure that I want to share with you is listening to this album in its entirety. And I think that's my only suggestion: don't get the joy of good music from The Void get interrupted or cut off in the middle of the album - you have to listen to it in its entirety and I guarantee full satisfaction with its music. For some reason now I feel like I find the Gentle Giant reformed into the kind of Beardfish music. I am not saying that Bearfish is a copy cat from Gentle Giant - and of course not as the music is totally different. But ... how eclectic Beardfish is ...that reminds me to Gentle Giant. At that time I also considered Gentle Giant music is very different compared to others. But now I find Beardfish doing similar thing. Of course you will get confused judging the band from progressive metal view points. And also you will be surprised if you judge this using the spectacle of regular prog music because there are many surprises you experience throughout the album.

The epic part Note (15:50) comprises four movements: I. Note, II. Descending, III. The Void, IV. Note (reprise) which typically the track that is sought after by many prog heads. Bearfish has composed the epic beautifully so that you get full enjoyment of the music through the four movements. Not only that, the concluding track Where The Lights Are Low (5:41) provides different style as compared to previous ones especially on raw guitar work.

By the way ... I am completing this review while spinning the album with my iPod Touch connected to bluetooth speaker Divoom Voombox Travel which I just recently purchased and happy with its sound. One thing I wanted to purchase the bluetooth speaker: to get prog music around me all the time , in fact when I ride bicyle. And I am happy with the recent bluetooth technology tah makes it possible for me to enjoy prog anywhere; when I ride my lovely bicycle, I can put the speaker right at the bar while the iPod unit I put at pannier in the back side of the bike. So .. I am writing this review remotely. As the music of The Void comes out clearly with this speaker, I can write representative review about the album ...and yeah ... this is an excellent album, really! Keep on proggin' ...!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Gatot | 4/5 |


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