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Steamhammer - Speech CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.27 | 39 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars Steamhammer's 4th and final album is the one fans are most divided on and it's easy to see. Many of the riffs are still somewhat blues based but as you might guess from the track lengths, the song structures are quite different from their previous material. The album looks very promising on paper for prog fans with only 3 tracks that are all over 10 minutes (the first being 22!) but in reality it doesn't quite stack up.

Track 1 is the side-long "Penumbra". It has some great guitar riffs, at times pretty heavy for 1972, as well as very solid performances from all the band members. Unfortunately it seems like they weren't quite ready to make a 20+ min epic; some sections are too drawn out and many of the transitions feel somewhat disjointed. It has it's moments but I would not count it among my favourite prog epics by any means.

The 2nd song, "Telegram (Nature's Mischief)" is almost 12 minutes long and is my favourite from the album. A good mix of heavy riffs and some jamming and great guitar solos. Not as experimental as the first track but it flows much better and is a great heavy prog song overall.

"For Against" is the final track and I was hoping for a similar number to the last one with it's near 11-minute running time. The first couple of minutes are good, some noise and feedback in the intro similar to "Penumbra" before a fast paced drum beat kicks in and a nice bluesy guitar riff joins it. Unfortunately, more than 7 minutes of the 11 are taken up by a drum solo. I've never understood why bands used to include long drum solos on their, a live concert is a different matter but anything over about 20 seconds doesn't belong on a studio album in my opinion. My least favourite song on the album and a dissapointing way to end it.

Overall this is a mostly enjoyable album that fans of heavy prog should check out and if you are a fan of other Steamhammer albums it is certainly worth investigating. However, while I appreciate many moments from the album (especially the guitar riffs) and applaud the band for trying something completely different, the songwriting is not quite there and leaves me with mixed feelings.

3.5 stars, rounded up to 4.

PsychicVacuum | 4/5 |


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