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David Bowie - The Man Who Sold The World CD (album) cover


David Bowie


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4.02 | 372 ratings

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5 stars Here it is, the first of three albums in a row by Bowie that tower over anything else that he has written. In this album David Bowie takes a hairpin bend away from the light folk rock of his first two albums to create what could indeed be the first true example of a progressive metal album (but not progressive metal song, as long as 'Schizoid Man' exists). This is also the first time David Bowie would create an alternate persona for himself, sharing his name withe album's title. The guitars of the mighty Mick Ronson, are down tuned and dirty. The drums are loud. Two types of synthesizer are used, the iconical prog rock standard, the moog, and the unusual stylophone. The musicianship on this album and the next is some of the best to be found in Bowie's eclectic career.

To begin the proceedings we have the mini-epic 'The Width of a Circle' with starnge, somewhat distrubing, and explicitly sexual lyrics, in a fantasy setting (possibly in two sense of the word ;). The music starts with a very nice riff, and twists and turns in many directions, to produce a very interesting song, which has become very famous amongst Bowie fans. Prog? Yeah! 'All the Madmen' is haunting tune telling a tale of a society where anyone with an 'organic mind' is locked away as insane, while the real insane, backward-thinkers roam the streets. The narrator has been told he can go free but would rather stay 'With all th madmen'. This tune is the first of what Bowie called a 'futuristic nostalgia' tune. Definitely a highlight. Next up is 'Black Country Rock' a more straight-forward rock(n roll) song of high quality. 'After all' is a favourite of mine. It is depressing and dark, with symphonic touches. It is the sequel to a track of Bowie's self tiled album called 'There is a Happy Land'. While that song was happy, set in a land consisting solely of children, this song involves some of these children growing up. The lyrics are full of haunting darkness, wiht the extremely spooky refrain of 'Oooooh by Jiiiiingo'. Scary! With 'Running Gun Blues' Bowie returns to his folk rock days, albeit with more violent lyrics. This is a criticism of the Vietnam war, and is told form the point of view of a soldier on a manic killing spree. The delightful tune, and spritely vocals create a distrubing contrast with the lyrics.

'The Saviour Machine' returns to hard rock, this time with a more epic and symphonic touch. One of the most thought-provoking story telling lyrics on the album, I won't spoil the surprise for you this time. I will just tell you it is very powerful. 'She Shook Me Cold' is the heaviest song here, and probably in the man's career. The guitars take the front seat in what is probably Ronson's best ever performance. This matches Purple or Sabbath for heaviness, and is darker than one, and equal to the other (I'm sure you can work out which way round). This, like the opener is very sexually oriented. 'The Man Who Sold the World' is the BRILLIANT title track. The tune and lyrics are perfect and I don't know what instruments are used, but they are very interesting. The vocals have been altered somehow and the rythm is almost danceable, despite how dark the track is. We finish on a progressive note (literally I guess), with 'The Supermen', and its fantasy lrics, and symphonic arrangement. If this isn't prog, then what is?

This album, overall is heavy yet, very progressive, creationg a brilliant soundscape. Essential to fans of Bowie, and an item of extreme interest to heavy metal fans.

Fans of Heavy Prog, Eclectic Prog, and Progressive Metal should enjoy this, and to people wanting to look at the roots of heavy metal in general, this is essential. I can ward this nothing but five big, chunky, juicy, heavy metal stars!

burtonrulez | 5/5 |


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