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Beardfish - Mammoth CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

3.98 | 571 ratings

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3 stars Mammoth is the sixth studio release from Swedish band Beardfish. I've held back reviewing this album for a few weeks now on the assumption it would be a grower like their last album, Destined Solitaire. To an extent this is true and before I go further I'll start by saying that Mammoth is a good album, even very good in places with moments of excellence.

On the surface this may appear as business as usual for Beardfish and the band still retain their seventies sound with Rikard Sjoblom's distinctive organ well to the fore, his easily recognisable vocal work, David Zackrisson's guitar skilfully weaving between the twists and turns of Robert Hansen and Magnus Östgren's rhythm section, which incidently has got quite a bit more complex over recent years. In fact not surprisingly the band has grown on the whole as musicians. In the process though it has to be said that Beardfish have lost a bit of that quirky charm that pervaded their albums up until let's say Sleeping In Traffic part 2. Yes Beardfish's music is a lot more complex these days, heavier and darker too, the seeds of this being sown on Destined Solitaire.

I can't really pick fault with Mammoth other than to say I don't enjoy it as much as most of their preceding albums. The melodies aren't as insistent, even after repeated plays, the exception being closing track Without Saying Anything and Tightrope which reminds me more of the old Beardfish. There's always been a bit of Zappa in Beardfish, usually in the humorous elements but here it's more on a musical level. Perhaps it's the sax that appears in some of the instrumental work reminding me of Hot Rats.

Highlights apart from the already mentioned Without Saying Anything include opener The Platform which after a heavy opening drifts into more familiar quintessential territory when Sjoblom's vocals come in where the music has space to beathe before returning to heavier parts. And The Stone Said If I Could Speak at fifteen minutes is thankfully another highpoint. Beginning with an extended instrumental workout until Sjoblom's soft vocal tones bring things down a few notches, it's a complex piece of many parts which after a few plays really reveals itself as a highly enjoyable and dynamic track.

Overall then another worthy addition to the bands discography and despite my personal preference for older albums is unlikely to displease any old fans and might even make them a few new ones along the way. Worth getting incidently is the version with the bonus DVD which includes an excellent live performance from the band while on tour supporting Pain Of Salvation. 3 ½ stars.

Nightfly | 3/5 |


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