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Camel - Moonmadness CD (album) cover

MOONMADNESS

Camel

 

Symphonic Prog

4.38 | 1540 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Australian
Prog Reviewer
5 stars First off, before I do anything I just have to say that my good buddy ClemofNazareth recently posted a review of "Out of the Blue" by The Electric Light Orchestra. In the opening paragraph of his review he stated that the best music has a personal story to it. I think that music is all about personal experience and in every review I write I include something about how I got the album or a story behind it. I know that most people don't care about your personal experiences, but I for one will continue to explore, not just the music in albums, but the personal experiences behind it.

When I purchased "Moonmadness", or rather went looking for it I already owned "Came"l, "Mirage", "The Snow Goose" and "Breathless", so it was only natural for me to seek this album. I spent many weeks searching through CD stores, until eventually I just got fed up a decided to ask the employees at one of the stores if they could find a copy for me. The guy told me that there were no copies in Australia, and there hadn't been for several years. So I ordered a copy from America, the day before I picked it up I had a look under "C" in the popular section and guess what I found? Correct four copies of Moonmadness for $18 (The same thing happened when I went looking for 'Takk.' by Sigur Ros). I had payed $27 to order it so I was pretty angry and the people there.

When I collected the album the next day I remember saying to myself "this had better be really, really good." Now I have to admit that it took the better part of a year to get into the album, but nowadays it receives frequent listens and it has a place on the "good" CD shelf in my room, right along side "Takk..." There certainly is something different about "Moonmadess", perhaps it's just a matured sound to their previous stuff. If you haven't already guesses the album is inspired if you like by the moon which is obvious from songs like "Lunar Sea."

After "The Snow Goose" the band was eager to get back into to music with vocals and the result was "Moonmadness." "The Snow Goosev had had much success in the UK reaching number 22 on the charts and it gave Camel a good name. It didn't have such a great success in America however reaching number 162. Andy Latimer sates in the CD booklet that "We decided to steer clear of conceptual albums and start to put more emphasis on vocals." It seemed that they just couldn't escape having a concept to their music here, but the second half of the statement it true, there are vocals. Camel was under tremendous pressure from record companies to create something good and Peter Bardens and Andy Latimer set to work creating something of very high quality.

I'm not sure whether you agree with me here but I think "Moonmadness" had the best production of all Camel albums thanks to Rhett Davies. The first song on the album "Aristillus" was inspired by two craters on the moon which can be seen without the aid of a telescope. The song is a lunar sounding array of synthesizers with Andy Ward repeatedly saying "Aristillus Autolycus." The following Song "Lunar Sea" is in my opinion the best on the album and has a very progressive structure with many time changes. The last 3 or so minutes of the song is some of the best Camel music ever written.

The next song, "Chord changev is another very progressive song and the guitar and keyboards in the song is very mood catching. The last one and a half minutes is the best part of the song, it is a lively section which closes the song on a high. There is another short song piano piece with flute echoing here and there, with vocals sung by Peter Bardens. Next is" Another Night" and this time the music is slightly more aggressive, but it still has that Camel charm. Again the last couple of minutes are extraordinary. There is a synthesizer solo followed by a guitar solo which closes the song.

"Air Born" starts off with a soft flute melody accompanied by piano. It then moves into a short, but beautiful passage which is then embellished by mellow vocals and a relaxed feel enters the music. The entire song has the same, eerie but beautiful atmosphere and an epic finish. Last off is "Lunar Sea", a song inspired by the Lunar Sea of Imbrium on the moon. This song is entirely instrumental and the interplay between Synthesizers and Guitar is great. There is an especially good synthesizer solo around the 2:49 minute mark which lasts for the better part of three minutes. A guitar solo follows and it lifts the mood of the song and makes everything more livelily. The song closes with a slow synthesizer, and a slow wind-like sound.

"Moonmadness" is Camel's highest charting album reaching number 15 in the UK and made a considerable impression in America. The Remaster of "Moonmadness" come with several bonus tracks which include "Another Night" Single, "Spirit of the Water" Demo, A live version of "Song Within a Song", "Lunar Sea" and "Preparation/Dunkirk." Like all Camel albums the cover is worthy of a mention and the CD booklet is very informative.

1.Aristillus (4/5) 2.Song Within a Song (5/5) 3.Chord Change (5/5) 4.Spirit of the Water (4/5) 5.Another Night (5/5) 6.Air Born (5/5) 7.Lunar Sea (4/5) Total = 32 divided by 7 (number of songs) = 4.5714 = 5 stars Essential: a masterpiece of progressive music

I know many people regard "Moonmandess" to be the last in a series of good Camel albums, but in truth there are a few very good Camel albums which were yet to come. Take 'Rajaz' for example and come on people 'Rain Dances' isn't that bad, is it? I recommend "Moonmadness" to all Symphonic prog Fans, it is among the best progressive albums ever, if you don't believe me just take a look at the top 100 list on this web site. Though I'm pretty certain this is the last 5 star Camel album around.

Australian | 5/5 |

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