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Birds And Buildings - Bantam to Behemoth CD (album) cover

BANTAM TO BEHEMOTH

Birds And Buildings

 

Eclectic Prog

4.25 | 328 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

fuxi
Prog Reviewer
4 stars At the time of writing this album is No. 7 in Prog Archives' Top Ten of the best albums of 2008. Nevertheless, it has received only 27 ratings (presumably the number will rise by one when I post my review), which is very little compared to other Top Ten albums, like the ones by Opeth (183 ratings!), Pendragon (127) and even Beardfish (80).

There can only be one conclusion: BANTAM TO BEHEMOTH has enjoyed exceptional esteem among Prog Archives' seasoned reviewers, but the album is virtually unknown to the prog-loving public at large.

Well, prog-loving public, you still have the chance to make up for a terrible oversight. Check out your nearest music provider and order a copy of Birds and Buildings' bewitching debut today. You won't regret it! The music is altogether more approachable than the usual fare served up by leader/composer Dan Britton's OTHER band, Deluge Grander: melodies are sweeter, beats more enticing, and the many contributions by flautist/saxophonist Brian Falkowski result in a warmer, more humane, more organic sound.

There are at least two characteristics Birds and Buildings share with Deluge Grander. (1) In spite of moments of sheer loveliness, most of the tunes are longish, full of variety and not very catchy. (2) Much of the music sounds restless and doom-laden (without being overly aggressive in a Prog Metal kind of way); it also seems much concerned with the rise and fall of civilisations. If your debut album sports song titles such as "Birds Flying into Buildings", "Terra Fire" and "Sunken City, Sunny Day", it doesn't take a lot imagination to view you as a typical post-9/11 band.

There are those who describe Birds and Buildings as Zeuhl-influenced. (Britton is known to be a Magma fan.) Since I'm not too familiar with Zeuhl, I presume its influence can be felt mainly in the repetitive riffing, which is (in my opinion) this album's only drawback: I sometimes wish the band would cut those extensive middle sections a little shorter. I see no reason to call B & B "jazzy" (virtually all of their music uses a steady rock beat) or a "Canterbury" one. It's not easy to put your finger on their pulse... Because of the lush keyboards and the romantic moods, I'm especially inclined to compare B & B to 1970s Genesis, but THEY never used a Didier Malherbe style saxophone, did they? And because of the restless riffing I'm (once again) reminded of "The Gates of Delirium" (just as I was with Deluge Grander)...

Anyhow, BANTAM TO BEHEMOTH features sophisticated, multi-coloured music that will surprise and delight you for years. It's radically different from gonzoid hard rock but there's nothing fey about it either. You can tell it is written and performed by passionate, driven musicians. (I mustn't forget to praise the drummer and the bassist: you could spend the whole album just enjoying what THEY do.) Let's hope there will be many more Birds and Buildings albums to come.

fuxi | 4/5 |

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