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Ghost - Hypnotic Underworld CD (album) cover

HYPNOTIC UNDERWORLD

Ghost

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

4.00 | 16 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars With this album, the Japanese combo gets some major psychedelics in their second last (so far) offering. Fronted by an orange plastic spot colour sheet, the disc hides behind an impressive (as can be in those small formats) Japanese mythology artwork, the sextet has taken another dimension since Lamarabirabi, a few years back, but here the impressive epic title track is their strongest statement, yet. And there are other interesting items on the rest of the album, the closer in particular.

So the lengthy 5-movement title track is easily the highlight of the album, but at the same time it is a bit misleading as the slow ambient and gloomy (and beautiful) with much improvisation, is rather different than the seven tracks that follow it. After the 13- min+ opening movement God Has Taken (full of slow ambient atmospheres) and its 7-mins Medina, taking a slow Arabic feel under an oppressive dark beat that Anekdoten would easily call their own with a piano that Roger Trigaux would not disown Presently, but is close sonically to the first movement. The third (short) movement Barbarious Dawn is a solid change introducing some Porcupine Tree atmospheres with some choir-like layers and the even shorter Leave The World closes the debate abruptly.

After such a start, the next track can only disappoint, and they probably thought that placing a soppy ballad such as Hazy Paradise (loaded with mellotrons) would gets us to accept it, but it is not exactly a stinker either, it just pales in comparison to its neighbourhood. The Nippon-laden influenced Kiseichukan Nite gives cool folk note but the semi-whispering ghostly vocals are a bit of a "faux pas", IMHO. The flute intro of Ganagmanag leads an alternate loud/quiet/loud passage that makes this up-tempoed track a near-highlight of the album, with a searing guitar solo and a soaring flute in the background. But of course the nearly ten minute- long Feed is the second highlight of the album as its raga beat (tabla drums), deliciously light flute, and Eastern/Indian-sounding guitars give a post rock feel and the conventional drumming is reminiscent of Paatos's Huxflux. Holy High is another Porcupine - sounding track just like Dominoes is, while Celebrations For Gray Days closes the album in a dramatic, tense and grandiose manner.

Sean Trane | 4/5 |

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