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Sleepytime Gorilla Museum - In Glorious Times CD (album) cover

IN GLORIOUS TIMES

Sleepytime Gorilla Museum

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

3.83 | 103 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "In Glorious Times" is the glorious third effort by the demented US ensemble, developer of a clever, complex rock inspired by thrash, experimental metal, chamber-rock, Henry Cow/Art Bears avant-garde, radical psychedelia, Goth and musique concrete, all of them converging in a peculiar progressive framework. "In Glorious Times" bears an unmistaken aura of aggressiveness and gloom that flows all through the album's repertoire, but the band also introduces some other mysterious, restrained nuances, strategically inserted in order to both work on variation and enhance the power of their most extroverted side. The band creates a very consistent scheme with a wide room for variation among the constant darkness. The album's firs t10 minutes are occupied by 'The Companions', an eccentric display of emotional darkness that goes on articulating its own crescendo from its tortured interiors toward a psychotic delirium hardly tied up by the precise boundaries of the basic musical ideas. This helps to make the transition onto the closing reprise very natural. With a similar cadence but also with a bigger presence of the metallic and Goth elements, 'Helpless Corpses Enactment' offers a wicked homage to James Joyce's 'Finnegans Wake', bringing an overwhelmingly creepy spirit to the words. Those moments in which the guitar riffs and violin phrases come to their mutual fruition may remind us of Kayo Dot at their wildest. 'Puppet Show' is like the soundtrack to a circus of horrors, full of sinister numbers performed by avenging specters (perhaps an extension of the ghouls' dance in the 1962's film 'Carnival of Souls'?). This opening trilogy sets the purely SGM-esque atmosphere, meant to establish the conditions for a possible communion with the listener: the one who is open to the idea of music waking up and exorcizing their most excruciating fears will go on through the remaining repertoire. 'Formicary' is definitely not as explicitly psychotic as the previous three tracks - it is closely related to the playful sense of adventure of Art Bears, with an added touch of frontal grayness, created out of the merging of experimental metal and Crimsonian psychedelia. This is the first track with Carla assuming the lead vocalist's role, paired with bass player Dan Rathbun. The following track finds Carla as the sole lead singer, enthusiastically delivering a sensual mixture of Anna-Sofi Dahlberg, Daghmar Krause and Björk (actually, over-Björking Björk). It is indeed a monster number, one of the album's undisputed highlights. The confluence of Crimsonian sonorities and Gothic sonic flows adopts a special intensity with the inclusion of urgent country-meets-Celtic ambiences; the climax that is increasingly building from minute 4 until the electrifying closure at minute 8 is captivating in its neurotic splendor, magical in its desperate manifestation. The first section of 'Ossuary' has a notably less dark air to it, even perpetuating the folkish aspect that had been introduced in the previous track. But this moment of peculiar serenity doesn't last too long, since the visceral guitar riffing and Nils' nihilistically guttural singing erupt to bring some more darkness to the fold. 'Salt Crown' is the album's second epic, which is cleverly sustained on a fluid linkage between the languid moments and the explosive ones, with clever variations in between. The continuum is very well accomplished, the mid section bearing a mesmerizing fire: very clearly, the musicians are in total control of the noise they create, making it seem so easy to make highlight songs out of the longer ones. Definitely, it is another highlight. 'Only Dance' finds the band leaning close to the standards of post-rock, opening a window to the band's reflective side (not a sweet side, anyway). The placement of this piece makes it work as a bridge toward the following song 'Greenless Wreath', which gets started as a sort of sad liturgy in homage to a dying world - the purgatorial side of classic Univers Zero is easily noticeable. The track's closing section is an exercise on atmospheric psychedelia, not too frantic, built on a semi-tribal rhythym section. 'Widening Eye' has a more progressively demanding structure - an amazing instrumental piece partially inspired by 73-74 era King Crimson, with added touches of UZ (again), plus the usual radically experimental metal thing defining the overall frame. With its less-than-3-minutes span, 'Putrid Refrain' picks up the closing riff of 'Widening Eye', dissolving it into a minimalistic set of layers and messages on the phone. "In Glorious Times" is an affirmation of SGM's peculiar genius in the field of current experimental rock - a very recommended gem for this year 2007.
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |

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