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Shamblemaths - Shamblemaths CD (album) cover

SHAMBLEMATHS

Shamblemaths

 

Eclectic Prog

3.89 | 86 ratings

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BrufordFreak
4 stars From Trondheim, Norway?! No way! This vocalist must be THE STRAWBS' Dave Cousins! The sax and rhythm section has the youthful vigor and sound of SEVEN IMPALE!The music has the quirky yet complex adventurous of THE TEA CLUB! As a matter of fact, this is exactly what I hear when I listen to this album: the dynamic saxophone-assisted drive of youth as in countrymen Seven Impale playing with the musical experience and breadth of diverse styles as The Tea Club with a strong foundation in the tremendous wisdom of folk traditions and impassioned messages of The Strawbs (with, of course, the voice of Dave Cousins in the lead). (*A parenthetical addendum to this last statement: It is obvious to me [and other reviewers] that the lyrical content presented herein may be intended to convey a somewhat tongue-in-cheek message--that Simen and Eirik may not, in fact, be so purely and selflessly uplifting or inspiring to the human audience as was Dave Cousins.) Nevertheless, this is truly an astonishing album--nearly flawless in composition (despite it's symphonic complexity and wide ranges of dynamics), performance and sound engineering. Three prog epics, each worthy of consideration for admission into the Prog Hall of Fame, yet each also standing alone in their own stylistic form and sound.

1. "Conglomeration (or: The Grand Pathetic Suite)" (26:54) - a. "Bloody Racket" - opens as a djenty Tech Metal song that turns into a metallic MAGMA-ish Zeuhl song with choir singing "Bloody Racket." Brilliant synthesis and pretty flawless imitation. The future direction of Zeuhl? - b. "Your Silly Stare" - feels like an attempt at a JETHRO TULL style though it turns into more of a high energy Van Der Graaf Generator sound. - c. "A Mockery in the Making" - "a broken man" section falls into the realm of THE FLOWER KINGS or even MARILLION--though the instrumental section in the eight thru tenth minutes feels more like SEVEN IMPALE. - d. "The Different Tastes of Sick" - e. "A Mockery Well Made" - f. "Life Is Tough (When You're Me)" - is simple, melodic and very funny ("I've nothing left to say but I say it anyway..." using familiar sound. - g. "Saucy Tiara Woman!" - an skillful instrumental display that is trying to be JETHRO TULL and HEART and yet becomes a little HARMONIUM-like with the soft, sustained background sax--before, that is, all hell breaks loose with shredding electric guitar solo. - h. "Another Pear of Ice" - the lines of demarcation among the final three songs (including: i. "Con-girl Omen Ratio 1" and j. "Overture") of this suite are indecipherable to me, but they continue the amped up STRAWBS/JTULL style. Lots of Mellotron, impassioned vocals, and even some djent and folk-jazz. All's well that ends well and this does end well. (9.5/10)

2. "A Failing Ember" (9:27) the album's shortest song, full of mundane and quirk, starts out with - a. "Never Innocent Again"- a three-minute acoustic guitar-based song with a very repetitious vocal melody. - b. "The Winding Stair" - starts out with an odd-tempo SEVEN IMPALE sound that gets heavier like MYRATH or ORPHANED LAND before suddenly switching off at 4:45. - c. "Three Flowers" - Two lone solo acoustic nylon-stringed guitars playing in a near-Spanish style before multiple tracked vocals enter and sing with/over. Some odd rhythms, instruments and styles filter in and out over the next part culminating in a baby's babeling over some odd organ/Mellotron sounds. - d. "Deus Caritatis" - the final 25 seconds of Latin "gregorian" chanting. (8.5/10)

3. "Stalker" (19:55) The final epic opens with some Mediterranean-sounding guitar and Burt Bacharach-soundtrack vocals (uncredited female included!) before a nicely grooving Neo prog rock jam opens up at 1:08. Then at the 2:00 mark it shifts into a more scaled back, acoustic-base for support of a vocal section. The heavier chorus section that launches at the end of the fourth minute (and again at the 5:00 mark) is reminiscent of some RIVERSIDE riffs. At 5:42 some heavier electric guitar chords and bass begin a slowly-ascending-chord interplay that results in a throbbing organ and sax--and, later--electric guitar-synth--duet at the fore. The baseline riff persists throughout the mid-section sounding a lot like RIVERSIDE's "Second Life Syndrome" while the saxophone solos. At the end of the fourteenth minute a solo nylon string acoustic guitar combining Steve Hackett's "Blood on the Rooftops" with Steve Howe's "Awaken" riff breaks down the flow. The male vocal brings us back into full band until at 15:20 saxophone and organ take us through no less than three transitory passages before we come to the Inevitable Anticlimax and Fade-out. Nice song if not as fresh or inventive as the album's first song. (9/10)

4.5 stars; a near-masterpiece of progressive rock music. The reason I've decided to rate it down to four stars hear on PA is that my interested, attention, and enjoyment of this album has waned over the many listens I've subjected myself to. The one song that continues to impress and interest me--despite its flaws--is the first and longest, the tongue-in-cheek, "Conglomeration (The Grand Pathetic Suite)."

BrufordFreak | 4/5 |

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