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Camel - Moonmadness CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.38 | 2152 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Eclectic Prog Team
5 stars Camel's fourth studio album is brilliant, and one of the best they have ever done. After the instrumental concept album The Snow Goose, the band decided to do something more in line with what they had done previously. There isn't a weak moment on this offering, and every passage of it is so memorable.

"Aristillus" This short instrumental marks the beginning of lush journey of sound. It has the feel of a march, and is laden with synthesizers. Drummer Andy Ward can be heard chanting "Aristillus Autolycus" over and over, apparently because he was the only one in the group who could do it. The piece ends with a descending, whistling synthesizer.

"Song Within a Song" One of the best tracks on the album, this one has several phases, each of which is never repeated. After a satisfying introduction, there is a pleasant flute section that leads into both of the verses. Doug Ferguson sings lazily here; the dreamy lyrics actually demand this serene vocal style. After two verses, there is an uplifting section of guitar that builds up to a simple but effective synthesizer solo section. The final moments of the song are even more elevating than what came before.

"Chord Change" One of two lengthy instrumentals, "Chord Change" has a solid guitar theme and several respectable transitions. It gives Latimer an ample opportunity to shine, and shine he does. The anticipation of some parts and the sudden but surprisingly smooth shifts from briskness to calm and back again mean that this song would have been right at home on their preceding album, The Snow Goose.

"Spirit of the Water" Fleeting and mystical, flute and piano soon give way to Peter Bardens's pensive and hushed voice. The effects make him sound as if he is singing underwater. This is a song about inevitability.

"Another Night" Several layered guitars fade in before breaking down to the main riff. Latimer's singing is similar to that of Ferguson's on "Song Within a Song." The chorus lays off the distorted electric guitars and employs a flanging effect. During the instrumental interlude, there is a clever bass line, organ in the background, and eventually, some beautiful dual guitar work. The third verse forgoes a chorus in favor of an upbeat organ solo, and soon enough, a well-done electric guitar solo.

"Air Born" Soft flute and piano begin this lovely song, after which strings and electric guitar take over. This time, Latimer's singing is comparable to Bardens's on "Spirit of the Water." The vocal melody is agreeable, as is the interlude of flute and acoustic guitar that follows. The instrumental section features electric piano runs, long guitar notes, and the sound of something like air rushing past. After a vigorous third verse, the whole band reprises the introduction. It is a song full of variations, but one that is tightly orchestrated.

"Lunar Sea" After an atmospheric opening (featuring Ward blowing into a container of water through a hosepipe), the bass and drums fade in, in a rapid 10/8 time signature. Latimer delights us with a soulful guitar performance on this lengthy instrumental, before Ferguson brings about a merry bass line that provides a solid foundation for an extensive and spirited synthesizer solo. After the keyboard part, Latimer steps into the spotlight once more, this time delivering a fiery solo on electric guitar. The song ends as it began.

Epignosis | 5/5 |


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