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Madame Blavatsky Overdrive - The Anonymous Troll CD (album) cover


Madame Blavatsky Overdrive


Crossover Prog

3.96 | 4 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars At the time of my writing this, this is the newest MBO release and in my opinion the tightest and most sophisticated. They've managed to combine the fuzzed out, abrasive pop/prog of their debut, the songwriting sophistication of their E.P. cycle and the atmospheric texturing of "The Courier," and managed to combine it into an extremely mature sounding album that's easily their most balanced to date, even though it clocks in at only 27 minutes.

I wrote in my review for their debut, "Idiot Jones Will Have His Day," that those who only associate progressive rock with the grandiose epics of the 70s will not find too much too like, and that definitely holds true for this release as well. I'm not trying to stereotype; I believe that most prog fans, especially on this site, are very openminded, but you should go into this album with the knowledge that it has far more in common with Muse than with Yes.

The first and title track begins with a distorted sounding riff of sorts accompanied by some dark and vaguely surreal sounding lyrics. A synth melody is eventually added over this, but it remains a fairly dark and minimalistic track that has some resemblance to Muse tracks such as "Take a Bow." There's a bit more of a tribal vibe going on here, though, and it's a really interesting song and a great opener. "23," doesn't sound terribly dissimilar from the first track, but it's definitely more atmospheric. It's mostly instrumental as well, with vocals appearing only very briefly and pretty far back in the mix. This track has a lot in common with songs on MBO's previous release, "The Courier," but it fuses in more "punchy" material with the ambient vibe from that album. "I'm The Central Scrutinizer," with its title an apparent reference to Zappa, would have fit in perfectly on any of their early albums. It's a fast, slightly bizarre, mostly pop track, and in my opinion it's one of the weaker tracks. It's not terrible, though, and it's only two and a half minutes so it works for what it is. "The Roosevelt Dime," starts off with what is easily the best riff on the album. I can barely understand the vocals, but despite that it's one of the best songs on the album, though it falls pretty far away from any kind of prog influence. It's a standard rock track, but it's a good one.

"The Bitter End," begins having a bit of a martial flavor to it, and it features what sounds like a harpsichord part that adds nicely to to the feel of the track. The tone of the song changes abruptly midway through, losing the militaristic back-beat and softening up a bit before finishing in a bizarre mash up of applause sound effects and weird noises. "The Linguist" is another softer track, featuring acoustic guitar as the primary instrument, though there's some nice orchestration towards the end. "Me and Joe," is even more stripped back, staying fairly slow throughout its duration and coming off sounding nothing so much as bleak.

Overall, a very solid effort from these "pop prog" rockers and definitely a great example of the more alt. rock and pop influenced side of the Progressive Archives. Not to mention that like all their albums, it's a free download on the band's site.


VanVanVan | 4/5 |


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