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Caligonaut - Magnified as Giants CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

4.18 | 213 ratings

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5 stars Breathing new life into old time-honored sounds and styles.

Symphonic ProgWho are these guys? What is their pedigree--how did they get here? Instead of questions like these I feel as if I should be lavishing thank yous and kudos on these inspired musicians. I LOVE YOUR NEW ALBUM!

1. "Emperor" (14:35) opens with piano sprinkling notes over the keyboard like John Coltraine's Love Supreme before going prog metal on us. I call it brilliant! Refreshing! At the 2:15 mark the music settles into a kind of folk rock format as lead vocalist begins singing in a mellifluous voice that most reminds me WOBBLER's Andreas Prestmo, Magic Bus' Paul Evans, or even Hatfield's Richard Sinclair. The Wobbler similarities remain until the middle instrumental section which sound more like Red-era King Crimson--a trend that continues into a more stark, spacious section at 7:50 in which violin and multi-voiced harmonized vocals join in. At the 9:00 mark the drums go a little wonky, then there is an odd, out-of-place piano-accompanied vocal section. Fortunately, this is short-lived, as we fall back into the KC-supported motif from the ninth minute for the eleventh minute. At 11:25, then, there is a display of heavy -like over which some truly inspired emotional Frippery burns and wails. At 13:50, nylon-stringed acoustic guitar takes over as the primary accompaniment as female background vocalists lay a nest of folk harmonies over which Ole Michael finishes the song in a kind of MICE ON STILTS way. Wow. That was a ride--and quite fresh and different. I loved the dynamic diversity. Except for that odd piano motif in the tenth minute, they made it work amazingly well! The best prog epic I've heard of the year! (28/30)

2. "Hushed" (10:43) fast arpeggiated Flim and the BB's-like guitar opens this song before Ole Michael enters. The sound is very much like The Decemberists--both musically and in the vocal tones and stylings of Ole Michale Bjørndal. Thick vibrating electric bass takes over before drums and other folk instruments join in for the second verse. This is great. Now church organ adds its oddly timed arpeggi before a break allows violin to solo. The next section notes Ole Michael's vocal to sound much more fragile in a higher octave--like a young Neil Young. Electric guitar solos as church organ and rock rhythm section play below. This is so good! A bit of an Anekdoten feel here--though it turns more Mike Oldfield/early Genesis in the seventh minute before a long semi-empty break makes room for the three minute finale of fine YES-like symphonic prog jamming. I love the brave and prominent use of church organ and the old unfiltered sound of the drums and front-and-center Rickenbacher-like bass. (19/20)

3. "Magnified as Giants" (5:46) an excellent acoustic guitar-dominated throwback to THE MOODY BLUES and the folkier side of early GENESIS and early GENTLE GIANT. My favorite song on the album. (9.5/10)

4. "Lighter Than Air" (19:34) Here Ole & Co. are treading lightly into Van Der Graaf Generator territory. Ole Michael's pitchy vocal performance in the first three minutes makes one appreciate just how talented Peter Hammill was. Nice blues-jazzy guitar solo in the fourth minute followed by some nice RICHARD WRIGHT-like synth work in this now-very PINK FLOYD-sounding section. At 4:50 there is a bridge into a shift into more WOBBLER-like territory. Again, Ole Michael's vocal attempt makes it apparent that he's stretching himself a bit beyond his skill level. A couple of RUSH-like chorus and its codas and bridges helps to remove the Hammill standards away while we soon slide into a very steady classic rock motif in which the electric guitar can show off his Joe Satriani and Ted Nugent practice moves. Synth gets a turn in the eleventh minute before yielding again to the lead guitar. The bottom empties out in the twelfth minute, opening up for an eerie space-psych passage over which Ole again tries his hand at P. Hammill imitation. It's a cool section--very NEKTAR- or, perhaps, Hawkwind-like. It builds and hypnotizes until the 15:00 mark when it erupts into a more early PINK FLOYD-like mini-crescendo before settling down into more space-blues guitar over which the Hammill performance continues. I have to admit: the guitar soloing has feeling--even a little of PAUL BUCHANAN's magical touch and emotion. Though the vocal performance falls a little short of the standards set by Mr. Hammill, it's not by much. And the musical themes and references are quite well spliced, but it is the guitar work--especially the final quarter of the song, that shine high and bright. (37/40)

Total Time 50:38

A/five stars; My favorite album of 2021, so far, and one of the ten best.

BrufordFreak | 5/5 |


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