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Bigelf - Into The Maelstrom CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

3.61 | 93 ratings

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3 stars Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Up to a point.

Of all Mike Portnoy's post DT collaborations, his teaming up with Damon Fox for Bigelf's ambitious 2014 album Into The Maelstrom is the least celebrated. Portnoy adds solid drumming without showboating and this album is really Fox's show. Indeed, Fox plays all instruments on most of the tracks sans drums. That itself is not a problem as Fox is a proficient multi instrumentalist.

What is a problem is Fox's adoration for classic prog and metal groups that spans the gamut from 10cc, Alice Cooper, ELO and Black Sabbath with Fox wearing these influences proudly on his sleeves.

ITM is a vague concept album about time travel and it's travails. Musically, the swooshing sound of Fox being transported from one time to another, compliments of a time traveling machine, naturally, has the familiar synth sounds associated with space travel from groups like Hawkwind. So, this is fun prog. The song Incredible Time Machine starts the listener off on his journey with the afore noted synths, with Fox's multi tracked vocals warped, at times, beyond recognition. The riff happy Alien Frequency might just be the best song Alice Cooper never recorded, with its anthem-like chorus and driving rhythms. Great stuff, but soon the comparisons start to overtake the listener, especially one who is long in the tooth and knows his way around seventies progressive and hard rock/metal and eighties AOR material.

By the fifth song, The Professor And The Madman, Fox's rants and riffs start to sound stale. I don't know where Fox will go from here, but I hope he forgoes Bigelf in favor of something more Himself. Pun intended. 3 stars.

SteveG | 3/5 |


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