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Camel - Moonmadness CD (album) cover

MOONMADNESS

Camel

 

Symphonic Prog

4.38 | 1524 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Alitare
5 stars Yes-meets-Pink Floyd sans singing (oh but there are some dandy space rock moments) for an all out moon land bar fight.

This is another album from Camel, with whom I've just recently been acquainted. They feature a very striking and lush use of synthesizer and keyboard work, that I haven't seen in such vivid display, not even from yes.

The album begins on an absolutely captivating note, that is drenched in delicious keyboard melodies. The song progresses fervently, and dances mystically and majestically through your ears. To the tune of a name Aristilus. It serves as a bright and magnificently catchy introduction to the world of Moonmadness.

Next is the more fleshed out (but calling any of these songs shallow is a bit farcical) and drifting Song Within A Song. That flute work flowing seamlessly in tune alongside the band is heavenly. I've never heard such dramatic and enjoyable interplay between keyboards and flute such as this. Really, the interplay the band proceeds to utilize is of an amazing caliber. Vocals pop in, and I suppose Camel have been given a lot of flak for vocals in the past, what with only about twenty words spoken through this entire disc, and the last album being entirely instrumental, but they fit the music very well, in the context of Moonmadness.

I speak highly of atmosphere, and it is for a reason. I feel that atmosphere is quite important to an album's flow and cohesion. It keeps things together, and makes the entire journey fluid and emotionally evocative. This particular album has one highly rewarding atmosphere to be mined. Chord Change has a much more symphonic rock bent to it, as it jogs fervently. They attack just as skillfully as they float. I must commend the rhythm section for being so damn tight and necessary, without sagging into pointless frills. Spirit Of The Water culls more instrumental prettiness. It also has some very watery vocals to add flavor. I must also make note of the diversity within the somewhat short album. Flute, Piano, keys, guitar, all riding high the lead melody lines.

For a somewhat underground progressive rock band, I'd never expect so many lush and tasteful melodies are to be discovered within. Not only can they defiantly rock in context, but they lay down some highly emotional and powerful tunes. Another Night has an almost space cowboy western feel to it. Air Born features the most prominent (and beautiful) use of flute, as it twists itself around an enchanting piano section. This is all before it breaks itself into a space-faring drifting rock segment.

This all culminates into Lunar Sea. The finale, and what a blistering one. No one could ever say Camel weren't competent. The slender and hallucinogenic opening lifts and leads one to be shot mercilessly by a jazzy onslaught. The rhythm team kicks the game into passionate overdrive, and the band leads the guitar across an absolutely ethereal solo. This eventually reaches many evolving sections, as the song flows brilliantly. The guitar ferocity quelled by swelling synthesizer work, only to be met by the most violent and aggressive part of the disc. As the keyboard and guitar trade off, biting at each others necks. The climactic and biting solo section contained herein is shocking. After the smoke clears, you have a bookend of oceanic rest. Fantastic.

Camel have released a masterwork in the form of Moonmadness. The playing is splendid, and nothing ever devolves into boring technicality for that sake. All the band members have ample opportunities to shine, and songwriting is put ahead of any pointless meandering, and we are given a well thought out piece of art.

Best Moment - Lunar Sea

Worst Moment - I couldn't say, it's all great!

***** Lunatic stars

Alitare | 5/5 |

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