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Three Monks - Neogothic Progressive Toccatas CD (album) cover


Three Monks


Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.90 | 40 ratings

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Retired Admin
3 stars Cathedral at night

First of all, this album has been reviewed several times by some of my fave writers for this site, even some who also happen to write decisively more fact focused than this acidic rambling Dane(Yes I am looking at you Jim!). So rather than just running through the abc's of this album, telling you about how it all revolves around the mighty pipe organ, and how it deals with the history of the cathedrals where this majestic instrument is to be found - the whole coming together of this band and how they once so long ago in the 70s acquired the love of prog rock and how each of them finally decided on making a musical venture of their own, I think it best to leave that entirely up to the preceding reviewers, as they already have covered this side of the story quite brilliantly.

Imagine walking into an ancient Italian church. There's not a sound to be heard - nor are there any traces of life: It's dark and musky - the candles are dusty and lifeless - the colours of the mosaic windows all but faded and grey. Everything seems infested with death - as if death itself had died and this rather perverse morbid scene actually is the aftermath of the burial hereafter.

Then imagine a Tom Cruise type of vampire - here I am thinking Lestat with a couple of ruby red eyes filled with fire and brimstone, - taking seat at the towering pipe organ - laying down a cataclysmic ear- shattering swirl of sound. He propels himself into ecstasy - reaching higher and higher, with the organ climbing in intensity like a steamboat elevator relegating melodic sound. The music suddenly grows rhythm, and a bass line forms out of the shadows like a regular hooded grim reaper - here accompanied by the heavy onslaught of exploding drums.

Together all of this amounts to some endearing heavy as led organ fuelled RPI, that unlike what others here have mentioned, doesn't really mimic ELP. I certainly don't think so. The atmospheres are all too dark and heavy, and the way the organ continues to roam inside those devilish swirls of sound, like a funeral soundtrack for death, makes this listener forget about Emerson almost immediately. First and foremost, this album feels Gothic and you can quite clearly imagine those giant pipes reverberating from the insides of an empty church. That in itself gives off an uneasy and horror-like quality to the album. As most people who have ever seen a creepy bone-yard flick, also at some point will have acquainted themselves with that ever so creepy cabinet organ, which both sounds like a doomish psalm as well as something infinitely more frightening, which is something you can't really put into words. Sometimes Black Widow Records are successful in relegating this certain something onto record - that special meeting where horror and blackness coalesce with the music to become otherworldly and at times rather beautiful - instead of turning out like something of a parody.

To pinpoint that second thing I was on about in regards to the pipe organ sound, I am reminded of an experience I had a couple of years back. I was on my way home from a place here in Denmark called Christiania, having spend most of my day in the summer sun drinking beers listening to music and watching the wide spectrum of different people filing by in what seemed like an endless line of colours, languages and sizes. I ended up on a curve at the nearby church, and it must have been well over midnight by then. Me and my friend sat there for a while in the receding noise and light - smoking and chit chatting about big and small, when all of suddenly we were stopped dead in our tracks by this enormous pelting sound storming out from our backs. It felt like a melodic thunderstorm had erupted inside the church, and at the same time we were slightly frightened sitting next to this darkened structure that all too frequently performs in horror movies and such, and here it sporadically starts playing huge sky soaring toccatas in the middle of the night. We overcame our fears and calmed ourselves down to the point where we could enjoy the music. A music that felt ancient and soul searching at the same time, but still closely bonded to the building surrounding it - like some kind of strange marriage between instrument and its home. Beautiful like an old man's face. Just like this album actually... 3.5 stars.

Guldbamsen | 3/5 |


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