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Almuadem - Nimrodel CD (album) cover



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3 stars From the lot that brought us Egyptian Kings and the album Almagest, here is a new digital-age project, Almuadem, with the album Nimrodel.

Comparing Nimrodel to Almagest, I'm glad to see an hear that the rock part in progressive rock has this time been taken into account, with a greater presence of drums and electric guitar, giving it more of a post-rock vibe than Space-Rock (just like Almagest was closer to Electronic) It seems a more complete recording, and I confess that, after some listens, I seem to enjoy Nimrodel quite a bit more. I appears to be a dash more tasteful and carefully arranged. However, the first times I heard the album I did so as simply background music - only later did I devote my complete atention to it. Again comparing it to Almagest, I found it a bit too strong and intrusive to serve just as soothing, simple ambient music. Yet with more listens I felt that the album could still not hold on his own.

So what do we have here?

The first track, In A Cold Chaos Place, is an 8-minute song beggining as an ambient piece in the vein of Almagest, with lots of keyboard atmosphere complemented by some indutrial sound effects and... a saxophone! Lovely touch. 5-6 minutes into the song, the industrial sounds turn quite naturaly into percussion, in a calm, slow tempo. The following track, Nymphomania, begins just like the first, with an eerie keyboard athmosphere. Close to the second minute, electronic sounds and drums kick in, and we get to hear in the backgroung a kind of chimes similar to those in baby toys, which gain more presence as the track comes to an end. The third track, Blow Up, is immediatly opened by the apearence of the distorted sound of an electric guitar and pounding percussion. It keeps that sound for some two minutes, when it bursts into a steady tempo and a quite acomplished guitar solo (with a nod to Pink Floyd) that carries the track until it ends.

The album's epic is a 12:30 piece entitled Dial D For Dream. Beggining with electronic sounds with urban noise in the backgroung, it fades away close to the third minute, only to regain force by means of percussion and gentle guitar playing, with the omnipresent keyboard athmosphere in the background. The guitar then takes the lead, with some calm soloing, although slightly less successful than on the previous track. The 6th minute gives way into another section of the song, with the keyboards again dominating, accompanied by drumming and the reemergenge of the distorted guitar, that provides an heavier vibe to the track. Nine minutes into the song and we get another shift in sound, with the return of a more ambient sound strictly keyboards and electronics. The guitar and drums then suddenly reapear in order to provide a grand finale. This track features some good ideas and sections, but it is overall a bit inconsistent and unsatisfying, which is a shame. The songs segues into the 5th track, Daisie, again beggining with a keyboard, drums and distorted guitar sound, but less enjoyable than on Blow Up. Here and there we get to here voices in the background. Basicaly a keyboard-driven track, with a dull steady drumming and some guitar noodling, it is the most uninteresting piece on the album. The final track, Airam Atir, begins with some annoying whale-like sounds accompanied by the trio steady-drumming/athmospheric-keyboards/floydian-guitar. It gains some more life towards the end, providing an enjoyable enough finale to the album.

The downloadable pack has the album accompanied by a couple of text documents, describing the concept and storyine of the album. I must confess the music didn't quite pass the feeling it was intended to as described in the text. About those, I must say that the english version has some minor flaws, which are forgivable. What is unforgivable is the appalling quality of some parts of the portuguese text.

Let us just hope that the overhype and shameful manipulation of ratings that Almagest suffered is not repeated in this one. Let the album be judged by what it is. And that should begin by denouncing the band's self-description: indeed, unless you have lived shut in a cave during the last 30 years, you will hear nothing pioneering or see anything innovative. All in all, it is a good effort and an improvement over Almagest, the highlights being In A Cold Chaos Place and Blow Up. This album is definitly a grower, one that will make you want to explore it again and again, so my initial 3-stars may well become 4 in the future.

Report this review (#156369)
Posted Sunday, December 23, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars A futuristic, visionary, bizarre, hyper-sensibility music...WHAT A MYSTICAL SHOW! Almuadem have a lot of experimentation with sound, structure of songs, instrumentation, and message is evidenced in the album. I love all the tracks but Nymphomania is significant track because epitomizes what Almuadem is about. It runs the gamut of earthly view through all the absurd distortions that reality can manifest, pulverizes it entirely when all the Nymphs of the ages get together to party (yes you CAN dance to that beat) before flinging the doors open to a blinding white warm Heaven, the promise of illuminating our true way home. Gustavo Marques with a chaotic, thunderous complex playing and Andre Pousadas with virtuosic drumming and just listen how he handles the tricky rhythms. It's something to behold.

To finish i think this is the kind of album one listens to when they want something not as background music, not as lifesyle reinforcement, but as literature-music. ABSOLUTE MASTERPIECE.

Report this review (#156407)
Posted Sunday, December 23, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars There is a lot of spooky weirdness about the setting of the album, maybe in a grim city of the future with lots of enormous neon billboards high on buildings, and lots of hustle-bustle on the streets below, with Andy, living a nihilistic life, hating the society priorities, trying to escape like everyone, to a more perfect world. How do you explain this album? I guess you just have to listen it and try to understand it. Certainly a album for those who love david lynch ambiguous films. Now my perspective:

1. In A Cold Chaos Place - Almost any song in the album can be picked to go down the caves of one's soul, but particularly touching are the atmospheric 2 min of this epic, it transport you to another realm. Andy walking in a rail track, with a lot of futuristic buildings behind like mountains and in thought is suicide. Then starts a duet between sax and a beautiful chord moog progression with a arrangement done in an almost bluesy-soft jazz-like manner.Symbolizing the awareness of his own existence, sensations,his tears and the total exhaustion of the nervous system. He becomes neurasthenic. In the final part starts a grandious solo moog symbolizing the metaphoric trip to nimrodel. ( this is a tolkien reference to the waters of the Nimrodel that were said to heal weariness.)

2. Nymphomania - is probably the best known piece off the entire album, because it was played several times in a underground radio program in USA. The music starts with a somber violin melody backed by organ and mellotron strings and then the music turns into a stream of simplicity, sincerity, sadness, intense melancoly, bitter loneliness, a cried out heart calling for tenderness and understanding simply emotions and forget the banal things and fake emotions. The first part is there to represent the cold of the modern environment And the second part is there to understand that Andy is now in a decadence brothel-discotheque in a attempt to forget and delude imself from the reality, but these attitudes cause him to feel repulse and he have too run away.

3. Blow Up - In this track Thomas Belpalme deliver a divine guitar solo through the lunatic filled haze of Andy´s story that is now running away from the brothel-discotheque and that in an attempt to deny everything what he was witness, he creates an ode to dizimation and humiliation of that human beings. Maybe a reference to Antonioni films, and the blow up sequence in Zabriskie Point?

4. Dial D For Dream - Once again in the beggining there is a reference to the modern environment of the buildings,and Andy is now in is home and while watching tv he ends up sleeping on the sofa. This song possesses much more of a poetical scent with a dramatic perception, the 12 minutes long masterpiece is yet the more profound composition in the album, more simple but complex musical approaches with its instrumentation changes and unique performance, swifting through dramatic, melodic moments, through overwhelming guitar-penned moments, through characteristic musical movements, it stands as a bombastic, fierceful, undertaking but still accessible composition. During the sleep Andy dreams of making a contact with a higher being, who invites him to visit the Post-World. During the journey, he is introduced to mathematical and infinite physics games. He also meets the Princess of Post-Nimrodel and faints in her presence Before the hackettian final solo we hear one schemes of the hospital, and this lead me to think that Andy try to committ suicide? But i really think that everything its part of the dream and when he wake up he sees himself standing in a flat very much like his own, and decides to go out. But, as the door opens he sees himself in a totally new world He is now in nimrodel.

5. Daisie - An incredible minimalist composition for any genre. the princess ethereal voice seem like an angel lost in liquid space, gently learning words. Beauty turns to awe and danger. What a beautiful song. Electric Piano coupled with synth, that harsh, subtle digital background with the beauty of the melody.The guitar parts maybe is representing the unconscious of Andy trying to feel emotions and true love.

6. Airam Atir - Andy is now near the nimrodel waters and the beautiful guitar solo towards this track portray a grandiose experience, just overwhelming you. Its a touching moment of transcendence for Andy as he realizes the essence of being truly in love. The question in the end is: have Andy committed suicide in the sofa? ( in track 4) or Andy fell in sleep and this was just a powerfull experience catharsis-dream that will heal him? We just dont know but we know that we witness something beautiful.

Nimrodel is replete with mystic signs, symbols and art quotes. Mortality, love, time, finitude, purpose, salvation, redemption: all these and more are here.


Report this review (#156605)
Posted Tuesday, December 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars From the opener, i knew this was something different of modern prog, the melancholic warbling melodies . All culminated to a very strange sense of madness, this album reminded me of being in future. Maybe it was all subliminal with the cover and title, but they are very fitting to the album. I won't normally give an album 5 stars, unless i really think everyone could get into it at some level. This album is a must own for fans of prog music. The sounds are very textured and layered, and the melodies are quite unconventional, built on strange note sequences that can sometimes be jarring or dissonant, but are more usually oddly beautiful.

This is abstract space rock. A visionary work...

Report this review (#156672)
Posted Wednesday, December 26, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars First of all, let me say how pleased I was when this CD was finally released. Nimrodel is by far my favourite modern portuguese prog album, one that I have repeatedly listened and studied, and part of this is due to the mesmerizing music of Almuadem.

On one leve, the band has written music that works perfectly with the themes of the concept and helps to propel the story line. The music is beautiful, poignant, exciting and mysterious. Each passage fits so well within the context of the story.

On a grander scale, the band managed to dissect the society in which this story takes place to create a musical backdrop that is rich with multi-cultural references and styles. With his music, Almuadem has filled in the cracks of this world, providing us with a mélange of aural textures and nuances that make this imaginary place seem real in every way.

Anyone who listens to this album will agree that it has some sort of eerie while fascinating sound to it, and words are vastly unable and incompetent at describing it. Words like haunting and lingering are often thrown around quite casually when it comes to discussing this album, but I think an overall impending sense of tragic doom and artificial beauty describes it much better.

I have a funny feeling that anyone who has read this far into my review probably already owns the album, but if you don't, you should download it immediately. I rate it 5 stars, although it is not for everyone.

Bento X

Report this review (#156756)
Posted Wednesday, December 26, 2007 | Review Permalink
Chris H
2 stars Almuadem, they certainly are the pioneers of a new genre! Everybody that has heard this album seems to agree with me on that. This, sadly for the general public, is where the similarities end. Almuadem have been praised as geniuses, as modern philosophers and as innovators of a new style of music branded as Hyper-Sensibility. Hyper-Sensibility must be the technical term for misguided, ambient noodling. That is all this album is, and to the trained ear that is all one will ever find.

Where have all of these 5 star reviews come from? What kind of level must I stoop to in order to find enjoyment inside this rambling and snooze-worthy piece of music? Where in fact IS the music? These are just some of the many questions you will have after you play this album for the first time. However, unlike most other albums, these questions will not be answered in a multitude of listens, after which it is necessary to just give in and find something else.

After all of my ranting, it is important that I make a note of the band's epic track, Dial D For Dream. This is a very good insert into the album, I must admit. This track alone tacks an extra half star onto the side of my rating. Very nice smooth bass lines pulsate throughout the tune, and this is the first and only evidence I can hear of anything resembling Hyper-Sensibility, whatever that rubbish may be. The album's closer, Airam Atir also has some strong points, most notably the guitar tones at the close of the song.

Compare Almuadem to The Egyptian Kings? I would have none of it! The Kings compel me and drive me to listen deeper, investigate further. If you want some great earthy space rock, try 35007 or The Egyptian Kings on for size.

1.5 stars, rounded up. Happy New Years.

Report this review (#157351)
Posted Monday, December 31, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Having been an avid listener of both the classic stuff and the neo-stuff and with my head full of Jethro Tull, Yes and alike, I find this album an worthily refreshing. The five stars I give this album do not voice my momentary fascination, but express the fact that this album actually accounts for everything I have been looking for in ambitious music, which is mood, atmosphere, fluidity and instrumentation. Hovewer, I am aware of the fact that it is more ambient than prog and I exploit the situation a bit, as progarchives are not really a database of ambient music. Nevertheless, I hope that maybe a few people will get it and love it. No, seriously, download it, it's free and welcoming. Nimrodel takes Almagest one step further. The music is enchanting and gives me the feeling I sometimes get while discovering new music, that I won't be able to fall asleep without it around.
Report this review (#157425)
Posted Wednesday, January 2, 2008 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars Devoid of genre

Portuguese band Almuadem are a new outfit, with one release to date "Nimordel". Their music can be tricky to pin down in terms of genre, as demonstrated by their classification on this site (psychedelic/space rock) and their biographical description ("experimental"). The overall mood here though is best described as relaxed but not quite ambient.

The opening 8 minute piece for example, starts out with loose ambient sounds, but a defined rhythm is soon picked out as the track takes form, supporting a pleasant improvisation. "Nymphomania" also centres around the keyboards of Gustavo Marques, the repetitive plink-plinks rather irritatingly diverting attention from some good old fashioned mellotron.

"Blow up" features the first discernible appearance of guitars (played by Thomas Belpalme), the track as a whole being somewhat heavier and louder thanks in part to the pounding drums. There remains though, an overall looseness to the music which never really seems to get out of first gear.

The feature track is the 12 minute "Dial D for dream". The drumming here is rather more intrusive in the post rock style. It is completely at odds with the delicate lead guitar work which, while recorded poorly, is played competently. Around the mid-point of the track, the sound disintegrates, the unrestrained drums winning the battle, taking with them any semblance of controlled guitar work.

"Daisie" is a softer, dreamier piece which restores the equilibrium, while the closing track "Airam Atir" perhaps offers the best reason for the "Space rock" classification.

In all, a decent but rather anonymous debut album which does not really grab the attention sufficiently to make me want to hear more. Being hard to pin down to a genre is not a crime by any means, indeed it can be a recommendation. Being devoid of a style is a different thing though.

While the album is entirely instrumental, it does have a continuing concept about " Andy Perelman, the inhabitant of a dying, morbid city". Details of each track, and its part in the story are given on the band's Myspace web-page.

At under 40 minutes, and given the relaxed style of music here, this is more of an EP than a full album. The complete album is currently available for free download at the band's myspace page.

Report this review (#160290)
Posted Thursday, January 31, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Much has been said about this album. You can read that points here. Much has also been said about Nimrodel being a new genre. Well i think its a big experimental album, the isolation from space rock music, or the liftoff to pretensionland for some.

Don't let that hype you up if you're one of the very few who for some reason haven't heard this album yet. Most of that's overdone and hyperboled. Despite the obvious influences, it's still very much a space rock album. Only one or two tracks can be counted as heavily influenced by a pioneirism and even those are clearly electronic music played by a rock band.

But yes, most of the album is very much your standard spacial rock music. Anyone who tries to say that Nimrodel is a new thing should just be pointed towards a track like "Nymphomania", a chaotic blast of pure symphonic with a killer keyboard riff ending into a mess of horns each trying to shout on top of each other. The wall of dissonant sound then morphs into one of the band's gentlest moments, Blow Up.

The problem is, and I realise this is something most people would not agree with me, the problem is that there's two sides to the album and they don't really frolic along perfectly. Nimrodel does its best and most of the time succeeds in creating a fantastic, post-apocalyptic landscape of doomsday mutterings and city valleys devoid of pure life but as a whole it doesn't feel cohesive in a way that's slightly disrupting. Well, overall it's still a damn good album, mind you.

Report this review (#222309)
Posted Monday, June 22, 2009 | Review Permalink
The Truth
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This album is quite good, another free gem that deserves to be checked out, and has a very spacey atmosphere which I always love. It is some kind of concept album, one which I have not been able to decipher, but nevertheless it's there and alive as the music supports it very well. The guitar is very well played throughout the album, showing a David Gilmour influence, and although the drumming sounds somewhat mediocre the guitar always raises it back up. In the end though, I realize what attracts me to this album is the atmosphere it gives off. It's just simply amazing how it captures my heart, like a long lost friend or something. Maybe others know what I'm talking about... anyways this album is free so might as well try and see if it touches your heart like it did mine.
Report this review (#246262)
Posted Sunday, October 25, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars If not for the five star vote stuffing, I would not have come across this Portugese progressive gem. "Almuadem" is entirely instrumental, with some snippets and samples of speech. I gather from the other reviews that there's a story to this album even if there aren't any lyrics. However, the album is still fully enjoyable without taking any concept or story into consideration. It is psychedelic, spacy, trippy. Far out there in the cold aether. Beautiful, soothing, calming, chilling, and ultimately invoking numerous emotions a human being is capable of experiencing and expressing.

But it's not perfect. Sometimes the transitions between melodies can be awkward, and some melodies in themselves sound a little unrefined. But it's very hard to pinpoint these moments. Overall, the album flows very well and it's more of an album that you "feel" than "understand" by actively listening to it. Not bad at all for a debut album, and these guys deserve to make it big if they can polish their formula just a little further.

I reiterate: The five star votes aren't jokes or part of a fad, they're just a little exaggeration for an album deserving of admirers.

Report this review (#345692)
Posted Tuesday, December 7, 2010 | Review Permalink

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