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KingBathmat - Fantastic Freak Show Carnival CD (album) cover




Psychedelic/Space Rock

4.17 | 43 ratings

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Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer
4 stars A big thankyou to my friend Finnforest(Jim) who recommended this to me a few years ago. By the way I have had many people suggest albums and bands over the years and I always check them out and more often than not I pick them up but it might take years for review to show up from me, just sayin'. KINGBATHMAT is the project of one John Barrett who's from England, he's a very inspired person and on the first two albums he did it all, but on "Fantastic Freak Show Carnival" he hired Bernie Smirnoff on drums and Lee Sulsh on guitar while John stuck with bass, keys, vocals etc. By the way those two additions are still with KINGBATHMAT. Michael Popke in his review says "The album is a song cycle revolving around a cast of characters living in a small country town littered with drunks, drug addicts and mentally ill people." Sounds like my town(haha). Before I get to the songs I have to say it took a while for me to appreciate the first five tracks but man those last six songs just kill! In fact I usually state my top top three tracks on an album I rate with 4 stars or more but on here it's the last six, just outstanding!

"Ghost In The Fire" has a spacey intro and I love the keys that echo as vocal melodies then vocals arrive. It kicks into a fuller sound before 1 1/2 minutes on the chorus as the contrasts continue. "Fantastic Freak Show Carnival" hits the ground running but then it settles back but the power is still there. This is the best part of the song in my opinion. Vocals before a minute as the song settles in. Some nice guitar and drum work on this one. It settles right down at 2 1/2 minutes then we get some killer guitar before the vocals return. "Rejected" has reserved vocals and a laid back sound, harmonies too. It kicks in hard sounding really good. Back to the original sound as themes are repeated. Catchy stuff.

"King's Ransom" reminds me of early PORCUPINE TREE and THE LEGENDARY PINK DOTS when it begins. A catchy, driving tune with an addictive drum/ bass rhythm section. The vocals are belted out with confidence, harmonies too. "Hornet's Nest" has some nice upfront bass and high pitched guitar expressions that build. Such a cool sound. Okay the next six songs are pure bliss. "Sweet Iris" is a sentimental, hazy sounding piece that takes me to dreamland. Man I dig this song, very moving. Talk about moving check out "Simpleton Know It All", man this song speaks to me. Yeah I'm simple but if you met me you'd want to be my friend(possibly, haha). Again this is so freaking good, I'm in Heaven.

"Illuminous Pups" is an instrumental with liquid keys and a spacey atmosphere, very illuminous I'd say. Kind of an early PORCUPINE TREE vibe here(gulp). It turns heavy 2 minutes in and I love the guitar. "Wonderful Life" opens with bass, guitar and drums as the vocals join in. I like this. The vocals become more passionate and check out the soaring guitar 1 1/2 minutes in. Man! Themes are repeated. "They ask you to give your all when your well has run dry" is a good line considering the song's title. That guitar moves me so much as it returns 3 minutes in. Some cool vocal arrangements before 4 minutes then that guitar returns. Nice!

"Interval" has vocal harmonies to start and I like the way the instruments join in and build as the harmonies continue. This is all so good! "Soul Searching Song" ends it and it's 11 1/2 minutes long. I like how the drums and bass join the vocals and the guitar too just before a minute as he sings the song's title over and over. They're kicking ass after 1 1/2 minutes before it settles but these contrasts will continue. It turns spacey after this then we get vocals before 7 1/2 minutes in this laid back section. The guitar and vocals soar before 8 minutes then it calms right down until all we hear is someone changing the radio stations.

Man if I were more into the first five songs I'd be hitting the five star button but as it is I highly recommend this album.

Mellotron Storm | 4/5 |


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