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Camel - Moonmadness CD (album) cover

MOONMADNESS

Camel

 

Symphonic Prog

4.38 | 1581 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

RBlak054
5 stars Departing the strictly instrumental approach they used on their previous work, The Snow Goose, Camel return with vocals and more conventional songs for Moonmadness, their fourth studio album. While Moonmadness is the last record to feature the band's original lineup, if there was any tension between bandmates at the time it's certainly not evident in the music; this album is one of Camel's strongest releases, and captures the band in their prime.

The music here is fantastic, and really showcases Latimer and Bardens' songwriting capabilities. One of Camel's best elements has always been their ability to create sublime melodies, and fortunately this release has no shortage of them. While vocals are present on the majority of the tracks, instrumental sections are still abundant and are the focus of a great deal of the record. Most of the album is very atmospheric and conveys a rather mellow, spacey feel that perfectly compliments the songwriting style. That said, if you're looking for heavier material you may want to steer clear of this one.

In addition to great songwriting, the entire band is in top form here. As is usual with early Camel, the interaction between Barden's keys and Latimer's guitar is fantastic. On top of providing melodies and chordal accompaniment, both players also perform some extraordinary solos (Latimer's fiery solo over a driving 5/8 rhythm in "Lunar Sea", in particular, is amazing). Latimer's flute playing also returns on this release, and his lines on pieces like "Song Within a Song" and "Air Born" really stand out and are some of the highlights of the album. Finally, Ward's drumming and Ferguson's fairly simple but extremely effective bass playing provide a solid, tasteful rhythm section.

While some dislike the band's decision to bring back vocals (and I can agree that they are not the best out there), they are used sparingly enough that they are not a major detraction from the experience. In many cases I actually find that the music benefits from the singing, as the voice quality blends well with this style of music.

Moonmadness is an incredibly strong record filled with fantastic songwriting and musicianship throughout, and if you've enjoyed any of Camel's other work it's fair to assume you'll appreciate this album as well. Although there are a few flaws, they are small enough to not have any major impact on the quality of the album. Overall this is one of Camel's best albums and is a high point in progressive music.

RBlak054 | 5/5 |

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