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Arzachel - Arzachel CD (album) cover




Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.66 | 219 ratings

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4 stars This is the debut and sole album from psychadelic rock band Arzachel ( originaly named Uriel). The story behind Arzachel is pretty special as they weren´t together as a band at the time the album was recorded. Dave Stewart ( Organ), Clive Brooks ( Drums) and Mont Campbell ( Bass/Vocals) had changed the name of the band from Arzachel to Egg after Steve Hillage ( Guitar/Vocals) left. Shortly after Egg had signed a contract with Decca a small label called Zackariya Enterprises gave the musicians an opportunity to record an album. The material wasn´t written for Egg so the four musicians decided to reunite and record this album. The album was recorded and mixed in one long session which gives it a very special almost live feel.

The album has four shorter songs and two long psychadelic jams. The music is bluesy psychadelic rock but at the same time there is a strange dark mood to the songs which is primarely created by Dave Stewart´s organ sound. I have never heard an organ sound this thin and eerie. The sustained notes sound so great in my ears. Note that the crash cymbals on the drumkit makes noise when the organ is playing alone. This is basically recorded live in the studio.

Both Garden of Earthly Delights and Azathoth are great psychadelic rock songs with some great vocals from Steve Hillage or Mont Campbell ( I´m not sure who sings what on the album). Azathoth is especially eerie and dark. There is almost a psalm like feel to this song and a subtle chanting quality to the vocals. The third song on the album called Queen Street Gang is a great instrumental track where the organ plays some dark melodies. Leg is a very bluesy song but of course still psychadelic. Clean Innocent Fun has a bluesy vocal part before entering into psychadelic jamming while Metempsychosis is a 16 minute long psychadelic jam with lots of great inventive playing.

The musicianship is excellent on this album. Creating an album like this in a single long session is not something you do if you´re not an accomplished musician. I have the greatest respect for this performance. If you know the music that these musicians would go on to create with bands like Egg, Khan, Gong, Hatfield & the North, National Health etc. you probably won´t be too surprised but they are really good even at this imature stage of their career.

The production or lack of such thing is really charming and not at all disturbing for the listening pleasure IMO. I love the live feel this brings to the music.

The coverartwork is beautifully dark and intriguing. It fits the music perfectly.

Arzachel´s sole album is a real dark psychadelic gem from the late sixties. It´s seldom that I like albums from that period as much as I like this one. This is a must have album. Because of the dark approach in the music I´ll compare it to the mood bands like High Tide and Dr. Z also revel in but this is a unique album and it doesn´t really sound like any of those two bands ( maybe a bit like High Tide). For me this is a big 4 star rating. I can´t wait to get my hands on Arzachel Collectors Edition by Uriel ( which is a kind of re-release from 2007) which should include six previously unavailable bonus tracks. It can only be good.

UMUR | 4/5 |


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