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Camel - Moonmadness CD (album) cover

MOONMADNESS

Camel

 

Symphonic Prog

4.38 | 2095 ratings

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VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Review Nš 3

Camel was my second love after Genesis. In 1975, when I was born to the progressive rock music, the first vinyl record purchased by me was "Selling England By The Pound" of Genesis and the second was "The Snow Goose" of Camel. Even today, Camel and Genesis are the two bands from the 70's, which I listen to with more pleasure.

Although I love "Mirage" very much, my favourite studio album of Camel is and always was "Moonmadness" followed by "The Snow Goose". These two albums have the participation of the two best composers of the band, which are Andrew Latimer and Peter Bardens. In my humble opinion, "Moonmadness" is the last great studio album from the band with the participation of Bardens as band member. It belongs and closes what is usually known by their classic line up and their classic era, which is for me, their best.

The line up on the album is Andrew Latimer (lead vocals, flute and guitars), Peter Bardens (vocals and keyboards), Andy Ward (vocals, drums and percussion) and Doug Ferguson (vocals and bass).

"Moonmadness" is their fourth studio album and for many represents the highest point of the musical career of the group. The album was released in 1976 and was also the last album to feature their original line up. Their bassist Ferguson left the group and Richard Sinclair, ex-Caravan, replaced him on their next fifth studio album "Rain Dances", released in 1977. Mel Collins (saxophone and flute), increased the band to five members, for the subsequent tour, beginning an eight years association with the group as a band member or guest.

The concept album "Moonmadness" has seven tracks. The first track "Aristillus" written by Latimer is the smallest track on the album and is an instrumental piece that serves to open the album. It's an atmospheric song, very melodic and is dominated by keyboards. It represents an excellent mood to the rest of the album. The second track "Song Within A Song" written by Latimer and Bardens is a very calm, beautiful, and melancholic song which contrasts with the deepest voice of Ferguson. It's an excellent song with a nice and relaxing guitar and flute works. This is a typical Camel's song. The third track "Chord Change" written by Latimer and Bardens is one of the tracks chosen by the band to define the personality of each member. This is the song about Bardens. It's an instrumental track that explores magnificently the Latimer's guitar fills and Bardens' keyboard work. This is a very well constructed song with some jazzy touch. The fourth track "Spirit Of The Water" written by Bardens is another short track with a very beautiful piano work complemented by a distant vocal singing. It's an atmospheric ballad, very pretty, and built around piano and synthesizer with Bardens' distant voice adding a very special feel to it. The fifth track "Another Night" written by Camel is the song about the personality of Fergusson. In my humble opinion, this is the rockiest song on the album with its great riffs and the strong Latimer's vocal work. This is the most aggressive track on the album, but still it keeps the usual, special and very unique Camel's charm. The sixth track "Air Born" written by Latimer and Bardens represents Andrew's track and is, for me, one of the most memorable songs ever from the band. The track begins with flute and piano, in a classic style, and suddenly explodes with all instruments and the Latimer's voice. Musically, this is an excellent and very well developed song. The seventh track "Lunar Sea" written by Latimer and Bardens is another instrumental track this time about Ward. It's the lengthiest track on the album and represents, in my humble opinion, one of the best tracks on the album. It's a song with great individual and collective musical performances. The melody of the song changes and evolves all over the theme. It reminds me something spatial, as its name suggests.

Conclusion: After their more experimental and audacious work, their previous studio album "The Snow Goose", the music on "Moonmadness" is more akin to the more traditional English progressive rock scene. The music we can found on it is something between space and symphonic rock. It has a very homogeneous musical quality with a dreamy space ambient and a very peaceful musical atmosphere. Sincerely, if you don't know yet this album, you must listen to it. After all these years, it remains an album very fresh, cool and nothing dated. However, with "Moonmadness" the band's English audience declined, but in USA it reached number 118, the highest chart position that the group ever attained in that country. It's a real must have this album. It sounds cool soon of its first listen, but it grows more and more each time you listen to it. So, I recommend it to everyone who likes melodic progressive rock music. It's recommended to symphonic and psychedelic/space rock fans, particularly to Pink Floyd fans, and it's also recommended to Opeth's fans.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 5/5 |

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