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Fungus - The Key Of The Garden CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

3.92 | 8 ratings

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4 stars 'An exciting return of the Proto Prog sound!'

Italian formation Fungus was born in 2002 'as an evolution of an improvisation project of heavy psychedelic jamming' by guitarist Alejandro J Blissett and bass player Carlo 'Zerothehero' Barreca. In 2004 Fungus released its first offical album entitled Careful with an extended line-up featuring keyboard player Claudio Ferreri and drummer Stefano Firpo, along Alejandro and Carlo. In the same year Dorian Deminstrel entered the band as vocalist and acoustic guitarist. In 2006 this new formation released the promo EP 25 Grams, on which vintage rock with progressive tendencies started to show. In 2010 Fungus released its second album entitled Better Than Jesus, an album with strong hints from The Doors (Jim Morrrison-like vocals) and Pink Floyd (psychedelia) and loaded with the distinctive sound of the Hammond organ. In the same year Cajo replaced Stefano Firpo as a drummer, then Fungus released the second chapter of the trilogy in 2013: The Face of Evil, first on CD but one year later it became a double vinyl, thanks to the addition of The Sealed Room, an unofficial soundtrack recorded for the eponymous movie from 1909. In 2014 Mercante Di Sogni replaced keyboard player Claudio Ferreri. In 2015 a tragic event changed the line-up again: AJ Blissett passed away, but Fungus didn't surrender to agony 'because love for music gives energy enough to continue the trip'. Alessio 'fuzz' Caorsi turned out to be the new electric guitarist. In the beginning of 2016 keyboard player Claudio Ferreri re-entered the band, and one year later Fungus changed its name into Fungus Family, in order to emphasize the strong bond between the members. In 2019 The Key Of The Garden (the final chapter of the trilogy) was released featuring Hawkwind legend Nik Turner 'who adds a spicy and spacey flavour'.

Well, to my delight Fungus Family sounds on this new album like the Fungus I know from its second effort: a sound with strong hints from The Doors (blues oriented prog, and Jim Morrison-like vocals), Pink Floyd (psychedelia) and Vanilla Fudge (Hammond and rock guitar). The seven own compositions (plus covers from Pink Floyd and Family) deliver lots of flowing shifting moods. From dreamy with flute and piano or a spacey synthesizer intro to a catchy beat with fiery wah wah guitar, or a slow rhythm with sumptuous Hammond organ. The colouring with the keyboards and guitar is outstanding and generates many exciting moments

A mindbowing psychedelic sounding guitar solo with wah wah and echo and lush Hammond in my highlight IQ84.

Glorious Minimoog flights and propulsive guitar riffs in Becoming To Be.

'Blues meets psychedelia' with compelling guitar and Hammond in Holy Picture.

And mellow flute, piano and vocals in the wonderful ballad Eternal Mind.

It's incredible how easily Fungus Family switches from dreamy to a mid-tempo, or a slow rhythm to bombastic outburst, what a tension and tasteful musical ideas. This is topped by the singer with his Jim Morrison-like voice, from tender to expressive, at some moments slightly theatrical or with hints from Peter Hamill (emotional outbursts). I love that emotion in prog, it adds an extra dimension.

Fungus delivers two cover versions. First See Emily Play from Pink Floyd, the band turns it into a more rock oriented song, more dynamic and powerful and less psychedelic featuring propulsive guitar riffs, fiery rock guitar and cascades of Hammond. The singer does a very good job with his gentle vocals, close to the original. Fungus creates a subtle moment in the end with first dreamy acoustic guitar and vocals and finally a bombastic rock atmosphere. And second The Weavers Answer from Family, it sounds like 'The Doors play Family', very tastefully arranged: with a distorted bass, fiery rock guitar and lush Hammond. Of course no one can top Roger Chapman his cynical and tremolo loaded vocals, but the singer presents a pleasant own rendition.

This is a compelling and dynamic time travel to the Seventies: blues rooted prog like The Doors, Floydian psychedelia, and Vanilla Fudge sounding prog with Hammond and rock guitar. The band succeeds to generate a lot of 'wow-moments', I am absolutely delighted about this new Fungus Family sound, highly recommended!

This review was recently published on the Dutch progrock website Background Magazine, in a slightly different version.

TenYearsAfter | 4/5 |


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