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Sleepytime Gorilla Museum - Grand Opening and Closing CD (album) cover


Sleepytime Gorilla Museum



3.68 | 117 ratings

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5 stars This is wonderful, loud and quirky music, somewhat similar to Mr. Bungle, but it tends to lean towards the avant-prog metal side of that sound. Yes it gets quite loud and heavy at times, hence the metal reference. But the thing to remember here, is this music is a lot more than typical metal. Yes you get some yelled or growled vocals at times, but you get quite a big dose of non metal music too. This is anything but typical metal, so don't go into it thinking it is. The music is quirky, often quite dissonant and it ventures off into very experimental territory from time to time.

The core of the band comes from the dissolved band "Idiot Flesh", and the music is quite similar to that music, but heavier and larger doses of metal. The 3rd main member of the band is the female lead singer Carla Kihlstedt who is also responsible for the awesome and crazy violins that are added in. Her vocals usually are high pitched and help to balance out the male vocals which tend to be low and heavy. But, don't expect to find much reprieve from the quirkiness of the music, because she usually adds a dissonant harmony to the music.

The band has a crazy sense of humor, but it is a dark humor which is matched by the overall feeling of the album. Some of the humor is obvious, and some of it is buried in the music itself and not so obvious, hence the similarities that people often make to Zappa. They also tend to use a lot of Zappa's more complicated song structuring at times. If you are not familiar with FZ's more complex music, then you will fail to see that comparison. Other than that, the music sounds very little like the Zappa that most people are used to. I find it easier to say the music is more like Mike Patton's more extreme music, but the individual compositions are actually more fleshed out than Mr. Bungle or other Mike Patton projects, the songs tending to be longer and more developed, allowing for more experimentation within certain songs.

Unlike most metal bands, SGM is very dynamic, which is why it was hard for them to be pinpointed by a certain audience. The music is more complicated, complex and varying for the taste of many metal lovers. It is easier for those familiar with avant-garde styles to grasp. Just be aware that it is music that reaches both extremes, heavy and soft, but always dark.

Some listeners will recognize the use of poetry in a few of the songs, where lines from poems are used as the lyrics. This is evident in the totally awesome track "Sleep is Wrong" and also in the epic "Sleepytime (Spirit is Bone)". The music is very dramatic also, and this matches the hijinx that is in their live concerts, which many times involve hand puppets, costumes and elaborate sets.

Not everyone is going to understand this music, I understand that. But, for someone like myself, that loves challenging, quirky, original, dynamic and heavy music that pushes all boundaries, this is some of the best loud avant-prog music out there. It is too bad that the band only put out 3 studio albums, but you can extend that discography if you add in the earlier music of the band "Idiot Flesh", though I find SGM to be more complex. I love this band and hope that someday more people will come to appreciate their music and they will someday regroup. But, as for now, I consider myself one of the few that understands this music, and with so many Mr. Bungle and Mike Patton fans out there, I wonder why many of them never heard of this band. There have been a few people I know of that love Mr. Bungle that I have recommended this album and this band to, and they have ended up loving it also. So there you go...if you love that quirky music, then this is for you. I can't help but give this album 5 stars because of it's originality and it's ability to push the boundaries of heavy metal into avant-garde territory.

TCat | 5/5 |


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