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Monkey3 - Sphere CD (album) cover




Psychedelic/Space Rock

4.00 | 125 ratings

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4 stars Well-paced and highly engaging space/Krautrock from Lausanne (Switzerland). Though these guys have been releasing albums since 2001, this is my first encounter with them.

1. "Spirals" (11:19) four sections: the tension-filled opening three minutes which slowly, almost imperceptibly, builds until the 3:15 mark (Section 2) when a crash of bass, drums, and guitar chords unleash a hard-driving section within which Hammond and, later, guitar show some fine lead chops (though the bass work here is equally attention-grabbing), Section 3 that begins at 5:30 with some PINK FLOYD-like echoed bass solo work with intermittent flashes of aggressive guitar strums, and, at 7:45, when the final harder-driving section with its excellent PINK FLOYD-like slide guitar solo work but finishes with the flare of a WHO or PORCUPINE TREE song. Cool! One of my top three songs from the album. (18/20)

2. "Axis" (6:37) echoed electric guitar plays single note on its bass string in a PF "Run Like Hell" kind of way before echo and delayed electric guitar begins adding notes here and there. Toward the end of the first minute bluesy bass, drums and keys join in. Very space-bluesy for a few minutes until 3:50 when the two-tracked lead guitar leaps to the fore in a Hendrix-kind of way while the background sounds more like Polish heavy proggers RETROSPECTIVE. Awesome shift! Mellotron voices join in just before shift into a more melodic guitar riff enters and tries to hook us in. Return to the heavier, 'tron layered section at the six minute mark to the end. Pretty great song. Definite top three for me. (9.25/10)

3. "Prism" (9:10) two minutes of truly stark space sounds precedes the heavy sludge of slow metal music that erupts and sustains over the next two minutes. At the end of the fourth minute the motif and pacing switches, establishing a much more fast-driving groove by the end of the fifth minute within which the Hammond adds its particular embellishments before a lead electric guitar begins to establish its presence in the sixth minute. At 6:10 a slow decaying metal chord establishes an entirely new motif--one that is graced with the hair-raising DAVID GILMOUR-like guitar solo in the eighth and ninth minutes. (17.5/20)

4. "Mass" (6:30) opens like a FIELDS OF NEPHILIM song with some 1980s sounds oscillating around the soundscape. Even at 0:45 when the heavy grunge metal chords and group play enter and dominate and into the next motif with its heavily distorted PA voice and vocal Mellotron at the end of the second minute am I reminded of FIELDS OF NEPHILIM. 'tron dominates the melody line in the third minute. Flashy 1970s electric guitar solo in the fourth becomes flashier 1980s EDDIE VAN HALEN-like guitar solo by the end of said minute. Powerful and cool but nothing too original. (8.4/10)

5. "Ida" (4:22) opens with wind synth noises over which bass plays a riff in its upper registers. Joined by slow guitar strums and more spacey synth notes/washes before Indian percussion joins in at the one minute mark. At 1:45 heavily fuzzed electric guitar, synth chords, and full drum kit join in to lay down a heavier texture. Guitars begin soloing over the top, one up high more aggressively, and another behind, more controlled support. (9/10)

6. "Ellipsis" (14:13) opens with layers of spacey synth noises, blurts, and arpeggi as "Stranglehold"-like bass and drum lines set the pace. Volume pedal controlled guitars, two, move opposite one another in fast pans behind the sound scape. At 5:18 the bomb drops and we enter into a very deep and dirty section thanks to a great Piotr Grudzinski (RIVERSIDE)-like low-end electric guitar riff. Even when this riff exits its powerful echoes are felt, sustained, in the low-end work of the bass and other electric guitar strums. The "Stranglehold" feel is still there, but it's dirtier, nastier, more in an in-your-face "this is what you get!" way. Amazing! The only thing missing is a great Ian Kenny or Mariuz Duda vocal! Amazing how much is inferred, how much potential energy is visible, barely contained, waiting to burst into full onslaught! Incredible subtle build to crescendo. I'm in tears with the emotion from this! Definitely my favorite song on the album--and one of the best prog epics of the year! (29.5/30)

Total Time: 55:11

A/five stars; a rare masterpiece of progressive rock music coming from the overly pretentious Space/Psych subgenre. Definitely one of the best heavy space/psych albums I've heard in a long time!

BrufordFreak | 4/5 |


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