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Beardfish - Mammoth CD (album) cover

MAMMOTH

Beardfish

 

Eclectic Prog

3.96 | 454 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
5 stars The power of music!

Beardfish's "Mammoth" was just the album I was looking for to soak my sorrows into with it's downbeat lyrics and desperate thematic content. The words seemed to speak right into my soul and the music is so brilliantly executed that it somehow lifted my spirits and I could feel chills running over me as those instrumental passages and clean vocals rose and soared into the stratosphere. The music is always uplifting, a stark contrast to the bleak lyrics, with only the slightest ray of hope, such as in the opening track; "Wait a while with me, a lost soul among thousands, waiting at a platform for a train that never comes, There are no signs that this life is even life anymore, and there is no train, no one will show, no whistle will blow so I shall sing instead ,I'll keep on singing". The opening track absolutely floored me with its amazing complex time sig and wonderful atmospheric soundscape of guitars and keyboards. 'The Platform' is 8 minutes of solid gold prog with all the trimmings, odd meters, chord structures and blistering solos. The lyrics are a key feature: 'In this frozen white wasteland, I'm bound to wait forever, You left me here when I was just a child, No matter where I walk, I find myself back in the same old spot, Where no sun will ever shine, Save me from myself, my thoughts are a mess, When I think of you it strikes a nerve within,I can't separate love from hate. Save me".

'And The Stone Said: If I Could Speak' is a delicious 15 minute music fest of grinding retro keyboards and tensions of light passages of clean guitar augmented by gentle emotional vocals by Rikard Sjöblom. The lyrics again are beautifully written with some melancholy thoughts mixed with a dark undertone of desperation; "I was alone and it was night, I had nobody else to turn to, but the voices talking to me from afar, and with endearing words so silent, they told me the secret about who you really are, A million images and words, long since forgotten, of events that no one ever saw, I hear a whimper as I kneel, realizing that it's your pain that I feel, In this house of worship I'm a stone." The guitar break is excellent speaking volumes of the emotional content of the verses. The song builds till we hear a delightful saxophone that soars over the music. The beat gets heavier and the vocals more aggressive and draws me deeper into the melancholia. Without warning the whole song detours into a King Crimson like polyphonic time sig. The Hammond solo is unbelievably power, and there are even death metal vocals under the section, "A wooden banister, a bridge and a vast stone wall up ahead, I cross the bridge and hear the voices and they're speaking of the dead." The high clean vocals are quick tempo in later verses and the song has completely changed at this point. The melody is excellent and this is as good as prog gets in an epic format. The theme centres on if walls could speak, the stories would be blood soaked stories; "I am every stone on earth, everything is recorded in me, But I'm not to interfere, Just continue to act as if I'm not here, I don't care for love or hate, And I know there is no such thing as fate, No greater power will punish your mistakes, Your acts are out of your own free will." A blockbuster on the album, this is one track you should hear to experience the best of Beardfish.

'Tightrope' is rather subdued after the chaos of the previous track. The pace is moderate with melodic guitars. The vocals are crystalline and passionate; "I walk the tightrope, and tell you I love you, Even if you don't, Even if you don't, I'll say the words that I long to hear, I hold you so dear." The melody is delicate and it is rather short compared to rest of album tracks but no less powerful. There is an atmospheric section of echoes and guitar blasts and the pace changes tempo, and a flute lends an ambience to the sound towards the end.

'Green Waves' is a brilliant track that begins with wave effects and a strong guitar riff, with screeching vocals. The music is heavy at first, with some grinding distortion and awesome riffing. The first lead break is one of the best on the album and then the next verse punctuates the theme of dreams and longing. The lyrics command attention, namely; "Dreaming of heroics in the deep, but this is not my sleep, I know your secrets and your past, My words shall echo last, I think I was 12 years old, when I realized I wasn't immortal, And now in this world of green waves, it's all coming back to me." I love the way the lyrics are structured, from loud cries of anguish to a soft melancholy; "I've been here before, I remember a storm, Beating deep inside my soul, The sea, she once was my friend, and now she's claiming me, I'm falling". The track is a definitive highlight on the album and is definitely heavier than previous songs, due primarily to the guitar work of David Zackrisson. The guitar driven song stands out among other tracks, and there is even a series of very emotional guitar solos towards the end of the song.

'Outside/ Inside' is a piano interlude by Rikard Sjöblom and is very pretty and is really a transition point between the rocking previous track and the next. It kind of allows the mood to come down again after the heaviness of 'Green Waves'.

'Akakabotu' is an instrumental that begins with grinding Hammond staccato blasts reminding me of Emerson. The sax is back and as brilliantly played as earlier. The jazz fusion feel is compelling and is decidedly different than other tracks contained on the album. The sax builds t a ferocious blistering solo over the crunches of Rikard Sjöblom' shimmering organ. This is a fantastic piece of music with intense musicianship of the highest quality.

It ends on a strange song called 'Without Saying Anything (feat. Ventriloquist)', with quiet vocals and some unusual structures. The organic music flows lucidly from dark to light, tension and release, and features some incredible drumming from Magnus Östgren and as always, Robert Hansen provides essential basslines. Te keyboards are pronounced and uplifting. There is a break in the music with some minimalist piano. Then a quiet guitar follows, building with synth passages, and an odd time sig. The ventriloquist enters at this point of the song and the lyrics are rather profound asking deep questions that may sum up the whole song; "Were we born to blindly follow? To never ever ask why? It seems dangerous to indoctrinate, a daily dose of hate, Who's your prophet, when you're marching off to war? Don't believe you're doing it for him, Think about where the orders came from."

Thus ends a superb album, one of the best for 2011. Beardfish deliver with quality musicianship and well structured tracks. All killer, no filler, this really is a 'Mammoth' album. The vocals are excellent throughout, and the lyrics are compelling with themes covered that struck a chord with me. I was delighted from beginning to end, and on every listen the music retains its power. "Mammoth" is essential listening.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 5/5 |

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