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The Church - Hologram Of Baal CD (album) cover


The Church


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3.88 | 25 ratings

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4 stars [Eleventh in a series] (Note: In between "Magician Among the Spirits" and "Hologram of Baal," The Church (minus a vacationing Marty Willson-Piper) released an album under the assumed name "The Refo:mation" (that's not a typo), called "pharmakoi / distance-crunching honchos with echo units." It is a great, if slightly bizarre, album, and deserves a place alongside the band's later oeuvre.) / After the seeming disappointment of "Magician...," many Church fans felt...dis-spirited. It's a good thing we didn't give up on the band, though, because they came back stronger than ever with one of their finest, most creative, interesting, compelling and listenable albums - and their third breakthrough album. With "Hologram of Baal," the band not only returns to form, but (if such a thing is possible) creates textures that better many of those on "Priest=Aura" and "Sometime Anywhere." / "Anaesthesia" starts us off in great form with interesting sound effects, quickly leading into a mildly hypnotic (they were getting extremely good at this...) drum- and acoustic guitar-driven composition with a subtle electric guitar figure, and a fabulous, heavily textured atmosphere. "Ricochet" is one Kilbey's strangest tales, supported by a seemingly simple arrangement of dueling guitar figures, a straight-ahead beat, and some of Kilbey's best bass work. "Louisiana" is one of Kilbey's best ballads, with one of the most beautiful arrangements the band has ever written. An absolute gem. With a heavy nod to one of their influences, "The Great Machine" is a Floydian composition with a subtly sound-filled arrangement full of hypnotic guitars, keyboards, percussion, sound effects, studio tricks, and a talk-sung Kilbey song-poem. "No Certainty Attached" - one of the band's best "new" rockers, with a driving beat, rocking guitars, a heavy bass line, and a heavily reverbed atmosphere - segues beautifully into "Tranquility," another absolutely gorgeous Kilbey ballad song-poem, supported by an increasingly-present, super-textured atmosphere. "Buffalo" is a nice light-rocking ballad, driven by acoustic guitar, soaring ultra-textured electric guitar, and an atmosphere that might be even more extreme than "Tranquility." "This is it" is one of the band's weirdest arrangements, propelled by a strange drum figure, double guitars, a subtle keyboard, and a "space-y" atmosphere. "Another Earth" is a light rocker with verses driven by textured guitar and a nice rock beat, leading into sound-filled choruses with a heavier beat, more-present guitars, and maximal texture. Bringing to mind "Lullaby" (from "Priest=Aura"), "Glow-Worm" closes the album in perfect Church style with a beautiful, ultra-textured ballad including mega-heavy string synth, super-echo electric guitar, acoustic guitar, and dueling vocals. / "Hologram of Baal" is an incredibly creative album, and definitely among the band's best. It also strongly presages much of the "sound" and creativity that would dominate their next two albums, "After Everything Now This" and "Forget Yourself."
maani | 4/5 |


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