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Colin Masson - The Mad Monk And The Mountain CD (album) cover

THE MAD MONK AND THE MOUNTAIN

Colin Masson

 

Crossover Prog

3.95 | 50 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

TheGazzardian
Prog Reviewer
4 stars In this day and age of music, it is easier than ever for an artist to put his music out there where it may be heard by others - and harder than ever to find people to listen to your music. There are many low-profile artists that are making truly impressive statements with their music and who only need to find those who will heed their call. Colin Masson is one such artist.

The music is composed of many folky elements, and mostly instrumental (only two songs, Two Lighthousekeepers and The Ends of the Earth) featuring lyrics. The majority of the songs are full of drama and emotion. It is a very excellent album and comes highly recommended.

Two Lighthousekeepers starts off the album on a very powerful note. Like Van Der Graaf's famous epic, this song deals with the slow crumbling of sanity in the oppressive locale of a lighthouse, but where Van Der Graaf dealt with the effects of loneliness, this track focusses more on the grating effect of being stuck with one person for months on end and the side effects of it. Definitely a great song; at times, it makes me think of Genesis playing a Van der Graaf Generator song, although this is more due to the content and the style of the very clever lyrics and their delivery than because of the music. This song slowly sounds more intense and in some ways insane, perhaps not as explicitly so as to imply that sanity has completely vanished. It makes me think of standing at the edge of a cliff and slowly leaning forward, until you reach the point where it seems like you must fall over if you lean just the slightest amount more.

The other lyrics driven track on the album is The Ends of the Earth, although this one is almost the complete opposite. It is mellow, acoustic, and driven by Cathy Alexanders lovely vocals. I can't claim to love this track as much as the opener, but it is definitely very impressive.

Beyond that, all the albums are instrumental (there are some vocals in The Mad Monk and the Mountain, but they are wordless). In general, they follow a common theme of building as the song progresses so that by the end the drama and intensity is at a very high pitch, but it works very well. The exception to this is Caradon's Surprise, which in my mind fits on the album in much the same way Horizons fits on Foxtrot - a moment of peace and quiet before the epic finale that is The House on the Rock. For, while the last track is structured similarly to the other instrumental tracks, it is the most successful of them all, ending with such intensity that one cannot help but be impressed. The ending is built up masterfully - when the 9 note guitar scale first appears, it sounds like it could be hopeful or pensive, waiting for something on the horizon to become known - but by the time the song ends, it is downright electric.

TheGazzardian | 4/5 |

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