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Sleepytime Gorilla Museum - Of Natural History CD (album) cover

OF NATURAL HISTORY

Sleepytime Gorilla Museum

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

4.11 | 201 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Sinusoid
Prog Reviewer
3 stars How do you capitalise on a unique, eclectic approach to music? Sleepytime Gorilla Museum attempt (and confirm) their proud opening statement of GOaC here on OF NATURAL HISTORY where they keep most of the eccentricities, controversies and loudnesses in tact whilst branching their sound out a bit. The end result is an album that, compared to the SGM debut, has a greater sense of exploration and musicality, but drops in quality.

I'll admit being too drunk off the debut, particularly since it was the first SGM album I had heard, and it blew me away with its strangeness yet cohesion. So, knowing what to expect ruins the fun of checking out ONH for the first time, considering that the loud, metal-esque bouts, unusual vocal approaches, and eclecticness are still here. Sometimes, I feel like making comparisons to the debut album; here, ''Babydoctor'' is the big epic of the piece, and I feel that the piece was created to be OHN's ''Sleepytime''. ''Sleepytime'' is one of the best climbing, suspenseful pieces ever crafted; ''Babydoctor'' has some building to it, but it mostly floats on a couple of ideas, and runs a bit too long to outdo its predecessor.

Vocally, the band is strange, but Nils's vocal moments have their charms. Most of his performances are pretty good, but on the opening statement and the closing ''Cockroach'', he overdoes the emotion to the point where you think it's a joke (reminds me of Adam West in the 1960's Batman series; his acting is so overly-serious that it makes for accidental comedy). There are other vocal moments that are downright questionable from the geeky tone during ''The Creature'' to Carla's squirm-setting performance on ''Bring Back the Apocalypse''.

Musically, the quality of the album can get inconsistent; overdone on some parts of the album, quite nice on others. ''The Donkey-Headed Adversary of Humanity'' (kind of goth/death/theatre metal) and ''The Freedom Club'' (a great example of the band being both chaotic and sombre in one song and transitioning effectively between them) are the best songs going for OHN that I haven't mentioned yet. Some transitory pieces like ''The 17-Year Cicada'' and ''What Shall We Do Without Us?'' serve great purposes, and for some time, ''Bring Back the Apocalypse'' is a cool instrumental piece (doesn't quite match ''Ambugaton'' from the debut). Like the vocal performances, the opening and closing pieces (that ''Hidden Track'' doesn't count) are overdone, ''The Creature'' fails to do anything meaningful, and I have trouble remembering others like ''Gunday's Child''.

It's weird, it's creepy, it's bombastic, it's...it's...Sleepytime Gorilla Museum. One of the most ''out-there'' albums out there, those with an open mind for music and some taste for heavy or death metal are encouraged to check this out. I feel that SGM established their sound on GOaC, and OHN is somewhat of a perpetuation of that album. It'll make your head spin no matter your opinion of the album.

Sinusoid | 3/5 |

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