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Sleepytime Gorilla Museum - Grand Opening And Closing CD (album) cover

GRAND OPENING AND CLOSING

Sleepytime Gorilla Museum

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

3.72 | 82 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

TheGazzardian
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Sleepytime Gorilla Museum announced that they are calling it quits after they finish their current projects, an announcement that fills me with sadness as I just started getting into their music with this album and am already enjoying them immensely.

The music contained on this disc is a blend of weird song structures, odd vocals, industrial elements, heavy guitars, and avant-garde sounds. The band does vary in the music but in general these are the main ingredients that make the band intriguing.

Almost every song on this album is a gem, with only a couple of songs damaging the flow of what is an otherwise near-perfect album. The album starts with the violent, almost paranoid "Sleep is Wrong", which pretty much demonstrates everything there is to love about this album. The guitars and drums are noisy, the vocals far from standard, with great interplay between the male vocals (provided by Nils and Dan) and the otherworldly female vocals (provided by Carla). One of the "whoa" moments on this track is when Carla is slowly singing the "When, I, grow, up" while the male vocals sing the main chorus quicker behind her, before quite a nice climax.

Ambugaton displays the bands great instrumental prowess, and when it really starts rocking in the second half, it is difficult not to head bang along with the great rhythm and riff. This is definitely a song that sounds better the louder you play it.

Ablutions is one of the quieter tracks on the album and once again makes use of Carla's voice. In a way this reminds me of "Serialist Killer" from Yugen's 2010 release "Iridule", mostly because it is a song with somewhat of an edgy, crazy sound lead by odd female vocals. Beyond that of course the two are musically miles apart (ah, the joys of avant). I do like how this track demonstrates that the band is capable of more than just rocking out (and much better than later track Sunflower - more on that later).

My favorite track on this album is Powerless, which is once again in the lines of the heavier tracks, this one just manages to merge texture, atmosphere, rocking, and vocals in a way that always pumps me right up. After Ambugaton, I would describe it as the second most head-bang worthy track on the album.

As I stated, there are very few tracks on this album that I wouldn't describe as excellent or amazing, but the ones that I did like less really hurt the flow of this album. The worst part is there are only two! I imagine these tracks may be enjoyable to some, but for me, 1997 (Tonight We're Gonna Party Like It's) is a bit too generic compared to the other stuff the band is doing on the album, and I tend to stop paying attention when it starts playing.

But the real stinker is, unfortunately, Sunflower - which in itself is not so bad, and even has a distinct purpose on the album. It's pretty much an atmospheric instrumental track using Asian instruments - it sounds nothing like the rest of the album and has no vocals. In many ways it reminds me of Jade Warrior, even using the same tone to start each phrase that I recall Jade Warrior using in a few places in their album "Kites". The only thing is, it's so dang long, and not hugely interesting! It does nicely add contrast to the album so that, for the last few tracks, the heaviness still feels epic and heavy and you're not numb to it. But Sunflower is nearly 8 minutes long and I just don't find much in it to appreciate other than it's role in the album of providing contrast. If it were 2 minutes, it would be perfect.

Don't let these two tracks fool you though, for beyond them this album is a gem. It's too bad I seem to have discovered it a few years too late.

TheGazzardian | 4/5 |

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