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5 stars Ive always been fond of CAMEL...i think they are a very good example of progmusic in its superb prime!!! As a starting point i think that the UK prog groups are/were far better ...i even think that they ( the UK crowd) created the form progressive!!!! Frontrunners being Pink Floyd;Camel,Moody Blues,Barclay James Harvest...yes i know you have several suggestions to whom else could be frontrunner.....bare with me...this is my view!!!! I Know there are MANY other excellent prog groups...and not only in the UK.....but...... and there are a BUT....for CAMEL...really deserves a special place i your progheart!!! Just listen to their 4 first albums....look at the production rate....and they still excist!!! Allthough livin in the USA....Andy Latimer...still creates wonderful music...and still..... finding superb musicians...whom bring the superb music of Camel to the front !!! Now...Moonmadness...are to me, one of our times (progtimes) most wonderful outings!! There are great themes....great guitaring....wonderful keys....extremely well arranged always with Latimer....he wont let you down....this album is by far.... G R E A T S T U F F !!! And to fellow reviewér :Symphonic age. Yeah..i know what you mean.....but in my humble opinion...adding a singer...... to any band.....brings us.... yet another dimension to the music....if allready brilliant...there´s a chance that we.. the listener.....get a chance to .....get behind the mind of the author (singer/composer?) This album has always been one of my favorites!!! Yes....i admit, im a great Camel fan!!! 5 stars........well of course....CAMEL are really supreme !!!
Report this review (#2227)
Posted Thursday, November 27, 2003 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is pure magic... the melodies are even more suberb than on the prevoius albums... as always, the instrumental skills are combined with a great songwriting. Probably Camel's finest moment... a progressive rock must...
Report this review (#2234)
Posted Tuesday, December 30, 2003 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
3 stars The climates and athmospheres of this one also fail to captivate me. This is too gentle especially after having heard the first two. The art woirk for the cover is close to perfection (unlike the US version showing Camel is a cosmonaut suit on the surface of the moon) and will probably help most of you get lost in the meanders of their music escaping to wonderlands unsuspected by this poor lonesome cow-boy unable to drown in such shallow waters.

All kidding aside, give it another halfstar.

Report this review (#2184)
Posted Thursday, February 5, 2004 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
5 stars One small step for a camel.

This album was where Camel really came of age. From the first notes of "Aristillus", a brief but striking instrumental, the attention of the listener is caught.

The well worn criticism of Camel's vocal capabilities can undoubtedly be applied to "Moonmadness". After "Snowgoose" however, another instrumental album would perhaps have appeared indulgent, and would certainly have implied that the band accepted the criticism, giving up on the vocals altogether. Without wishing to labour the point, the vocals are indeed the weak point, but not to the extent that they spoil the album.

In any case, Camel's instrumental prowess is still very much to the fore here. The excellent closing track "Lunar Sea" (Lunacy = Moon Madness, get it?) for example is entirely instrumental, with slightly more jazz leanings than on previous albums but still very much in the symphonic prog vein. There isn't a weak track on the album, but my personal favourites are "Air Born" with it's dramatic pauses and soaring finale, and "Chord change".

A remastered version of the album is now available, with a number of bonus tracks, although none of these can be considered essential.

Footnote, "Moonmadness" was originally was intended to be a concept album based around the personalities of the band members (musically if not lyrically). Andy Latimer was "Airborn", Andy Ward was "Lunar Sea" Peter Bardens was "Chord Change" and Doug Ferguson was "Another Night".

Report this review (#2191)
Posted Sunday, February 22, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars CAMEL's "MoonMadness" stretches beyond words as is certainly one of my alltime fav's. Centered around the classic CAMELl line up (Bardens, Ward, Latimer and Ferguson) , they continue to refine their sound. "Moonmadness" contains lots of great progressive styled flowing flute and wicked guitar additions by Latimer. I also love the keyboard sounds which Bardens carefuuly layers throughout the album. This album contains some of my alltime most loved CAMEL pieces ("Another Night" and "Chord Change"). For those who do not a lot of CAMEL, this is a great place to start your collection and work backwards from. "Moonmadness" explores loads of instrumental passages and background noises are added for dramatic intensity. I always considered this a kind of concept-like recording really and love the atmospheres they create. Songs are allowed to expand and the only bummer is that the album is over far too soon. Excellent progressive rock.
Report this review (#2195)
Posted Monday, March 15, 2004 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Moonmadness is among the best Camel's albums. The songs are very progressive, and the melodramatic keyboards are often highly placed in the foreground. I would say the omnipresent keyboards are the main attraction, despite the guitar takes very much room too. The drums are often very fast (Lunar sea) and never simple. Latimer's voice is, as always, impeccable: he uses some fuzzy effects here. The bass is very well played, never timid, although not very elaborated. The guitar sound of Camel is nothing extremely spectacular, but the refined melodies involved are very compensatory. With combinations of mellow flute, Fender Rhodes, moog, organ, the quasi-Canterburian music is a pleasant emotions bringer; it is varied and sometimes surprisingly floating, so that it makes a very well balanced album. If you like The Snow Goose album, then chances that you like this one are high. Let us mention that this record is more loaded, progressive and complex than The Snow Goose. It is less delicate too, but still more than Mirage! A must for any progressive music fan who likes quality music.
Report this review (#2198)
Posted Thursday, April 8, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars The opening "Aristillus" may herald a mad moon, but the shrouded shapes cast by "Moonmadness" are old friends we've seen in an earlier "Mirage". These songs are slices of the same sleepy exotica that snaked like a wild opiate through the black grooves of their first two albums, "The Snow Goose" being for all intents a downy anomaly. Vocals return, shared again by various band members (Andy Latimer bears the burden of them), each obscured by the familiar veil of the subconscious from whence their muse arises.

As with "Mirage", the music on "Moonmadness" is intoxicating, absorbing, and comforting, using gentle sounds (keyboards, muted bass, flute) to weave a soft fabric scented with the spices of faraway worlds. Within their complete catalog, several of these tracks breathe the rarefied air of prog rock classics: "Song Within A Song", "Chord Change" (with shades of SANTANA and PINK FLOYD to be found), the soaring "Air Born". The remainder of the album is never less than engaging, from the moody "Lunar Sea" (again inviting TANGERINE DREAM as a reference point) to the celebratory "Aristillus". I've read that this is a concept album, but some things are better left to the imagination. As with the best of progressive rock, the songs are suggestive of many things, and may transport individual listeners to any number of fantastic landscapes that a map might limit.

The Camel albums that followed were terrestrial excursions, grounded in quasi-conventional structures that made spaceflight difficult. There were isolated moments of magic in them, to be sure, but it's on "Moonmadness" that the eerie light of inspiration last pervaded an entire album ("Nude" notwithstanding). Note that an alternate version of the cover exists with a CAMEL in a spacesuit.

Report this review (#2189)
Posted Saturday, April 17, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album is the greatest prog album i have heard, it is perfect in every way, all the melodies are beautiful and every song is complex. Latimer is one of my fave guitarists ever, and airborn ( one of the best tracks ever recorded!) contains the most beutiful guitar and flute melody ever! BUY IT!
Report this review (#2207)
Posted Monday, May 10, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars Not quite on par with chef d'oeuvre Mirage. The dynamic is different, but still equilibrated. While Mirage was hard-rocking, epic and fantasy flavored, Moonmadness is...well...showing affection for the moon?

Without the shadow of a doubt, this record will please you at night. The feel is soft, the albums takes it time to build and maintain a 'cosmic' feel. Nice attempt. Magnificent moogs in Aristillus is a great entrance. Spirit of the water has a nice rainy day feeling that's comforting and warming anyhow. Air born's Camel at his best. Great guitar line and the way the song gets back to where it started really hits the spot.

Too bad the album was the last good one with the fabulous foursome that was Camel in his early and too short years. What is Latimer without Ferguson or Bardens? Not quite the same. More atmospheric than the Snow Goose (which is something), I really get the feeling to be on the moon, walking slowly and looking at the earth.

Because giants steps are what you take, walking on the moon,I hope my leg don't break, walking on the man, what was that?

Report this review (#2209)
Posted Thursday, May 20, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Well actually this work deserves a 3 stars and an half score, by regarding of a certain diminution of tension in some circumstances...nevertheless this album alone is such a unique "Manifesto from Light Canterbury" within the whole production of Camel, more than Caravan's "In the Land of Grey and Pink" and less than Hatfield and the North "Rotter's Club".

The most unforgettable track is that unique and remarkable mini-suite such as "Lunar Sea", an imprinting of Andy's style, an emotional crescendo of feelings, by starting with an ambient and spacy atmosphere created by the analogical sythezisers, passing through the excellent guitar excursion by Andy afterwards!! Nevertheless it should be a mistake if I couldn't remark also some other interesting features within the easier and melodic songs like "Another Night" or "Chord Change" for example!! This time the melodic aspects of this band are more positive and less melancholic or sad in comparison to the majority of the recent albums by Camel (Do you remember the mood of "Rajaz" or that one of "Harbour of Tears"?!), even though the atmosphere is not epic or always aggressive (except on Lunar Sea) and the keyboards are sometimes not so much loud!! Apart from the considerations above, their taste is remarkable and the style unique as well!!

It can complete your Prog Collection, regarding of such genre from Light Canterbury...

Report this review (#2216)
Posted Tuesday, June 1, 2004 | Review Permalink
Chris S
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Thanks for the rating warning but I remain undeterred, Moonmadness undeniably is the best musical contribution by Camel. Following hard on the heels of The Snowgoose, Moonmadness dealt a serious blow to the critics saying.." Oh well you cant surpass that masterpiece", that beeing the Snow Goose.

Every track on Moonmadness is well balanced slick jazz prog rock at it's best. Aristillus opens up demanding attention and tracks like Spirit of the Water, Song within a Song and Air Born and pure magic. You wonder where the creativity and passion has gone when you listen to relative youngsters serving up classical dynamite. Moonmadness is their best piece of work but there are so many of their albums that came close but never quite having that all round polish.

Report this review (#2217)
Posted Thursday, June 10, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Moonmadness deserves a six stars rating.It is really a masterpiece.Its progressive rock itself.SPIRIT OF THE WATER is one of the most melodic atmosperic songs i've ever heard.If you are a prog rock fan please don't miss this album because prog rock is poorer without it!
Report this review (#2219)
Posted Monday, August 23, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album was my very first prog-album! I was away on studies, and one day i found this album on a minidisc with a gram of hash attached to it in my mailbox... :) ( The other album on the disc being yes-relayer) What a start! -Anyway; from an objective point of view this must be Camel's most accomplished album. It has a nice flow form beginning to end, and my favourite track here must be cord change along with song within a song. Not the most rocking feel on this one, or close to my current preferences, but still perfect for a rainy day. In the big picture, this is a four-star attempt, but I'll give it five stars for being my first..!
Report this review (#2220)
Posted Wednesday, September 8, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Camels best in my opinion. The album opens with 'Aristilus' which chugs along in a Mike Oldfield fashion before 'Song within a song' sets the mood for the album. Melodic and moody in places. Latimers performance is superb especially on 'Chord Change' and 'Lunar Sea' Two instrumentals which, for me, represent all that is good about Camel. They were always at their best when performing without vocals. Latimers vocals are not brilliant but they in no way ruin the songs on 'Moonmadness' 'Spirit of the water' is a beautiful bridge track, taking us into 'Another night' a single. The 7' version is also on the CD. The song has a memorable riff, which some may say would have benefitted from more 'beefy' production, but then, I guess it wouldn't be Camel.

Camel knew how to rock, and were at their best on 'Moonmadness' but they always 'rocked' in a controlled way, with clean, crisply produced music which allowed the complexity and sensitivity of all the bands input to be clearly evident to the listerner.

A relaxing, melodic and thoughtful prog rock album. Highly reccomended!

Report this review (#2222)
Posted Tuesday, November 30, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars 5.0/5.0 This album has a twin: "The SnowGoose". This is the perfect complement and further exploration of musical melodic exploration. Everything I wrote about "The SnowGoose" could apply here since I believe those two albums should be listened one after the other.

I had a tape with SnowGoose on one side and Moonmadness on the other, and I could drive my car for hours listening to that. This is extremely intense music, with lot of interesting repetitions (creating a climax) and musical explosions.

You have to listen to this.

Report this review (#2225)
Posted Saturday, February 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This should really have three and a half stars, but I will err on the side of generosity and give it the full four. For my opinions on Camel and their music, read my review of Mirage, the same thing said there applies here. Nevertheless, this is a superior album to Mirage as the songwriting is better here. We open with "Aristillus", a very short instrumental, keyboard dominated, with Andy Ward's voice repeating 'Aristillus, Autolycus' over and over. (These are two craters on the moon, visible with the naked eye.) I actually think this track, though short, is one of their best ones, melodic and bright. Next up comes "Song Within A Song", another decent effort, with some nice relaxing guitar and flute. It probably would have been better left as an instrumental, but, unfortunately, the vocals kick in on this one, and make it sound depressing. Camel can never be accused greatness when it comes to the vocals on their songs! The third track is "Chord Change", another track that is pleasant, if undemanding. The fourth one, "Spirit Of The Water", is a short piece again, and, (maybe there is a link here!) one of the best ones on the album. Lovely keyboards here and a gentle melody. Then comes the weak point for me, track 5, "Another Night", where the band try to sound more upbeat and aggressive, but only succeed in sounding dated. I have heard worse though. "Air Born" is the penultimate track, an improvement on the preceding one, but not particularly insipiring. The guitar work is ok here, but again I prefer the keyboards. For me, Peter Bardens is the main inspiration in the band at this period in their development. Last 'official' album track is "Lunar Sea", which is an altogether better song and finishes the original album off well. Again nice keyboards and guitar. Incidentally, the bass work on this and 'Mirage' gets better the more you listen to it, probably not receiving the credit it deserves. Likewise, the drums, whilst not brilliant, are played to a decent standard. My copy is the remastered version, with five extra tracks on them. As I said about 'Mirage', these tend to go on so long you end up wishing for the end to come! The last three are live tracks, two from this album, "Song Within A Song" & "Lunar Sea" and, finally, one from 'The Snowgoose', "Preparation/Dunkirk" which I find dull and not very inspiring. However, it has to be said that the first two bonus songs are far better. The first is the single version of "Another Night" which is shorter (see what I mean about the short pieces being more satisfying for me?) but has lovely keyboard work around the middle of it. The second is the demo for "Spirit Of The Water", which is an instrumental, quite haunting and probably my favourite track on the whole cd! Lovely evocative piano here, showing again Bardens' skill on the keyboards. All in all, although the vocals somewhat spoil it, and despite the lack of true inventiveness here, this is a good album to have, and, if I have to recommend one Camel album to have in your collection, then it has to be this.
Report this review (#2229)
Posted Sunday, February 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars What a beautiful masterpiece! First of all you'll hear de intro 'Aristilus' and then you couldn''t get it out of your head anymore, and now you're ready for a space journey in 'Song within a song'. Next song's 'Chord change' a great piece with different passages including jazz, here is proved the excellent drumming of Andy Ward (I must say he's one of my favourites '70's drummers). And the next 'Spirit Of The Water' is one of my favourites and also its lyrics are beautiful. 'Another night' is the most rocker track on this album, a little dark and really great. 'Airborn' is a prog symphonic ballad, melancolic, you'll just love it. And now we're back on the hyperspace with te amazing instrumenal 'Lunar Sea', it gives the perfect ending to what is an essential masterpiece for any prog and/or symphonic lover.
Report this review (#2231)
Posted Thursday, February 24, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars After the instrumental concept album The Snow Goose proved to be something of a breakthrough album, Camel must have been tempted to repeat the trick with another similar work. Instead Latimer, Bardens, Ferguson and Ward turned back the clock to produce an engaging album that probably ranks second-best among Camel's works, even if it is rather a long way behind the majestic Mirage.

After opening with the lively and brief instrumental Aristillus, our boys hit us with Song Within A Song, surely one of the most mournful, yet compelling tunes they ever committed to record. Latimer's flute-playing is exquisite and the combination of the vocals and flute is heart-breaking ... until a ballsy Latimer guitar solo cuts through that is. His segment then segues into a Bardens solo extravaganza with the rest of the band providing a typically Camel-esque backing track.

I'm not the biggest fan of the lengthy instrumental Chord Change, which while challenging enough, doesn't really have the memorable melodies that make Camel's musical interludes so special. The spacey Spirit Of The Water, which features some distorted vocals from Bardens is another track I don't rate too highly.

But the album then gets back into full swing with the highly charged Another Night. While hardly a typical Camel prog tune, there's something about its underlying sinister tone that really gets me. The excellent off-time solo section doesn't hurt either! It's followed by Air Born which has a gorgeous flute and piano theme and some more phased vocals (this time from Latimer).

The concluding track Lunar Sea is a storming piece of music that starts off, as one would imagine, full of spacey synths courtesy of Bardens. It eventually erupts into a full throttle Latimer guitar solo, but when the rhythm section starts playing around with the time signature, Bardens comes back in ... the effect is both discomforting and enthralling, and puts the exclamation point on an entertaining album. ... 70% on the MPV scale

Report this review (#2232)
Posted Sunday, February 27, 2005 | Review Permalink
Tony Fisher
5 stars With this, Camel did the impossible. They produced a follow up album to the Snow Goose which kept to very nearly the same standard and didn't follow the same pattern. It's full of dreamy keyboards, superb guitar and flute work and the whole is backed by one of the classiest rhythm sections in history. Even the vocals, often a Camel weak point, work brilliantly. All the tracks are out of the very top drawer; not a filler or duff track in sight. It's hard to single any one out, but perhaps Another Day and Lunar Sea are the ones I will remember till the day I die. This is one for the desert island and no mistake.
Report this review (#2241)
Posted Monday, March 28, 2005 | Review Permalink
Eetu Pellonpaa
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars I was really impressed by this album, and browsing the other albums of this band has been a sad process, as anything that I have heard from them haven't reached the quality of this album in any way. "Moonmadness" has a very compact and clean sound, and the compositions are pleasant, following each other in a logical way. The overall felling is nice and positive but not banal, which I see as an achievement. It's difficult to pick any highlights from this, as the quality is very good from beginning to end, but maybe the long instrumental which closes the album sums up the emotions of the album most strongly. Highly recommended!
Report this review (#2242)
Posted Friday, April 1, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Please indulge me! This is my all-time favourite Camel album!! For me, this album encapsulates a confidence of musical prowess...the guys were certainly "cookin' on gas" when these tracks were cut! Again some concert regulars from this albums track listing (including the Camel greats : Lunar Sea, Song Within a Song, Spirit of the Water).

No adjectives are sufficient to describe how outstanding this album it, listen to it and then let your ears and brain tell you!!

Report this review (#2244)
Posted Monday, April 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Definetely a good work for this group. Lacking the "pop" punch of Lady Fantasy in Mirage and the beautiful guitar work of The Snow Goose but still a great spacey album. Bardens and Latimer at their best. I love the way the album closes with the guitar and keyboard intermingling. So like I am telling you in my rating this is an excellent addition to any decent prog collection.
Report this review (#2251)
Posted Wednesday, June 1, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars well if you have already listen to snow goose you think wow this is amzing. and yes it is but here we have another gem. this is the enlargment of snow and still have a lots of inspiration things. all the song are fantastic. And latimer is very good again. this is a great addition to any camel o prog collection. oo yeah a like the flute and here is grea. you will hear a very inspirational style from latimer's flute and also a great guitar play. EVeveything here its well played and the musicianship its very confortable. in conclusion if you like camel (produccions ja) you will love this album forever. buy or do something to get it. CAMEL LIVE FOREVER.
Report this review (#35826)
Posted Wednesday, June 8, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars A return to form, very nice!! Straying away from their previous instrumental release, Camel decided to go back to more conventional songwriting, and here we see that it paid off! Released in March of 1976, this was sadly the final release by the original band, with Doug Ferguson exiting in the early part of 1977, citing musical differences. Indeed, it became clear with the group's next release that things had changed drastically!

Back to this disc, if you are expecting another "Mirage" you will not get it here!! There is a much jazzier feel to some tracks than anything done previously, and the mood of the album was simply amazing!! Right from the intro "Aristillus", you know this disc is going to be something special, and as "Song Within A Song" comes to a close you're hooked. The beautiful "Spirit Of The Water" leads into two other wonderful tracks before finally ending at the album opus "Lunar Sea." What a great album!!!

Not only was this the end of the founding formation, but it also signalled the end of their trademark sound. Following this album the band went more in a mainstream direction and some of their prog leanings disappeared little by little. Don't get me wrong, there are moments by this band all through the late 70's and even in the 80's, 90's and today. "Moonmadness" was the end of an era and the beginning of another, and a great starting point for anyone wanting to get into the classic years of Camel!

Report this review (#40246)
Posted Monday, July 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
Andrea Cortese
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars My first Camel album. Of the many I have bought it's certanly the best. Great musicians, great elaborate sound. Sadly the Camel's Muse seems to pass away after this jewel... Delicate and soft Latimer's flute on Song Within A Song and exciting sinth instrumentation in Aristillus. Unique Camel's style is also evident in the ethereal Air Born and in the instrumental Chord Change. The icing on the cake is the Bardens 2 mins long piano played Spirit Of The Water. The best of Camel is surely a masterpiece!
Report this review (#42381)
Posted Wednesday, August 10, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars (my #76 review: representing the year 1976)

Count me as one of those who don't consider The Snow Goose as Camel's best work. It's not necessarily the lack of vocals that bothers me, but it has after all quite few highlights and too many interlude-like tracks that extend themselves too much. In my opinion, Camel's finest era begins with Moonmadness. It starts with a short and sharp keyboard piece 'Aristillus' that I don't really enjoy, but the rest is strong vocal-oriented Camel, stylistically a cross between Mirage and Rain Dances and also some worschmack of the 80's tight pop/rock songs in 'Another Night'. The soft and airy ones 'Spirit of the Water' and 'Air Borne' are among my dearest songs - some may find them too mild. At one time in my life I used to have nightwalks with my Walkman and this music still associates with the view from a hill, stars up and city lights down... (Though 'Ice' more than any!) 'Lunar Sea', long instrumental, is of course a classic track. The whole album could be longer, have more flute, etc, but it's very enjoyable, pure fine music. (4,5* rounded up.)

Report this review (#43254)
Posted Thursday, August 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars The third brilliant album from Camel in a row. The vocals return and are much better than ever before, the playing is sublime and the music is fantastic. Possibly even better than The Snow Goose and Mirage and that is not something I'd say lightly. Every track is an experience not to be missed, the second side being utter perfection. Quite possibly the best prog album ever, bar none.
Report this review (#45740)
Posted Tuesday, September 6, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Moonmadness was the first Camel I bought. It was 20 years ago and I'm alwyas listening to it with the same pleasure. Global sound is spacier than the previous ones due to a great use of synthetizers by peter bardens, a very underrated keyboardist ( he is always palying with his heart - music in general and prog particulary isn't just a question of technicity, feeling is essential and it's rare to find a musician so "intelligent" and sensitive at the same time).

Music sounds as an evidence but I'm always surprised how the musicians developed their ideas. As the three mousquetaires these guys were four and are as one. Certainly a record to bring on a desert island. Another masterpiece by this fantastic band.

Report this review (#46242)
Posted Saturday, September 10, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars September 12, 2005

After the beautiful, but somewhat dull instrumental album THE SNOW GOOSE (1975), Camel returned with one of their best albums, the striking MOONMADNESS (1976). The album is a loose concept album, based around the moon, and the diverging personalities of each band member. (eg. "Lunar Sea" = Keyboardist Peter Bardens). The concept is rather weak, due to the mainly instrumental compositions and the weak vocals. While personally I feel Andy Latimer's suit the music perfectly, adding a light, ethereal quality that strong vocals (a la John Wetton for example) would ruin. This music is drifiting and beautiful, and Latimer's voice is pleasant enough. The album has shimmering layers of very modern sounding keyboards as well as Latimer's ever present flute, and trademark smooth, liquid guitar, which lends the album its melting soundscapes. It is easy to loose ones' self in the shifting textures of the album, but it remains structured enough to remain quite engaging as well.

The album kicks off with the short, punchy instrumental "Aristillus", a composition based around concise, electric synthesizers. This piece, in its two minutes, manages to have more punch than much of the SNOW GOOSE album. "Song Within a Song" is a very good (typical) Camel song, in which there is a nice meeting of electric guitars, synths, and delicate flute work. The song has a brief vocal section in the middle, before giving way to an excellent instrumental section at end in which Barden's Synths are especially impressive. Camel have often been accused of sounding too much like Pink Floyd. This criticism is understandable, especially on this spacey album, but imagine this as Pink Floyd with much more solid melodies and a much faster tempo. These compositions move pretty quickly for such spacey material. "Chord Change" is a rather unstructured instrumental, where one could say spacey-symphonic meets jazz- fusion. It is an excellent, paced track in which every instrument is excellent. "Spirit of the Water" is probably the prettiest piece on the album, a song built on piano and synthesizers, in which Latimer's distant vocals add an eerie feel. The piece is short and stays around just long enough to achieve its goal, but more development would have been welcome. "Another Night" is probably the most typical rock song on the album with its insistent riff, and some of Latimer's strongest vocals. The piece, like all Camel tracks, does leave considerable time for instrumental development. Despite the strong melody, this is one of the weaker tracks on the album. "Air Born" is a very pleasant track, with lots of flute and acoustic guitar and piano. It is good, but somewhat unremarkable. It does contain an impressive and stately climax towards the end though. "Lunar Sea" is probably the most popular piece off of MOONMADNESS, and is also Camel at its spaciest. While the album mainly showcases Latimer's gorgeous guitar work, this track really is Barden's spot to shine, in which he employs a various number of pretty synthesizers to truly create a magical atmosphere. The song is long, but deserves its length entirely. The synthesized landscapes are always shifting, and like most Camel work, are always melodic and beautiful.

MOONMADNESS is a masterpiece of Progressive Rock. The Instrumentation and is complex yet accessible, due to an abundance of pretty melodies sewn into the fabric of the album. Recommended to any fans of spacier rock (a la Pink Floyd, Tangerine Dream) who want more of a base for their music, and a must for all symphonic fans. MOONMADNESS, along with 1974's MIRAGE represent the peak of Camel's powers, and this album is easily the more cohesive of the two. 5 STARS.

Report this review (#46439)
Posted Monday, September 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars When looking back at the highly innovative music produced by British bands who emerged in the 1970s, the name Camel is always prominent. Their legacy includes albums such as "Mirage", "Snow Goose" an "Moonmadness" - all of which do much to enhance the reputation of a band who, unlike many of other contemporaries, have survived nearly thirty years in the music business and still demand a loyal and devoted following throughout the world, both in concert and on record. The consistent factor through various line-up changes has been, and continues to be, guitarist and flautist Andrew Latimer. [CD liner notes - quoted without permission].

Yes, I think Camel is similar to King Crimson in terms of evolution of their line up: what ever changes in line-up, the guitarist remains the same and it's the only member that always be there in any album the bands have made. The only difference between these two bands is that in terms of music style consistency. King Crimson underwent fundamental change in their music direction when they reformed and released "Discipline" album. While the music style of Camel remains intact since its inception until now.

For me personally, this album is special as some songs has been around me by the time it was released. The music I can say is melodic with a great combination of keyboard and flute. The album opener "Aristilus" (1:59) explores Peter Bardens keyboard work and set the overall tone of the album, followed with a melancholic and melodic track "Song Within a Song" (6:48) which has become the band's classic and legendary track. The lyrical passage combined with flute is really melodic and reminds me to the seventies era. "Chord Change" (7:18) is also a killer with some jazzy touch exploring Latimer's guitar fills combined with Bardens' keyboard. The music somewhat has similarity with Babe Ruth's. The short track "Spirit of the Water" (2:09) serves like a bridge with an exploration of distant vocal style and keyboard / piano in classical music style.

"Another Night" (7:00) is another killer with an intro that comprises repeated chords of guitar and keyboard followed with vocal line. The music is floating melodic with steady drumbeats. The song has a nice interlude with solid basslines and guitar / keyboard works. "Air Born" (5:04) is a legendary track that begins with flute / piano work in classical music style followed with great music using guitar solo as main melody. When vocal enters the music, it turns out to be a melodic track with great work on flutes and clavinet. Memorable track! The album concludes with "Lunar Sea" (9:14) which its opening reminds me to space rock music like Klaus Schulze's. But what follows is a great guitar solo with layers of keyboard work augmented with solid bass guitar work by Doug Ferguson. Andy Ward who later became Marillion's drummer (for a short period) fills the drum work inventively. Keyboard solo continues the melody and the song experiences some tempo and style changes. It turns into faster tempo with more inventive guitar solo and multi-layer keyboard work. WOW! It's a wonderful track!

It's highly recommended album and is accessible to many ears - prog and even non- prog lovers. You should have it in your collection. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Report this review (#47590)
Posted Tuesday, September 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This was the album where it all came together for Camel. I can't bring myself to give anything they did 5 stars, but this is certainly deserving of a solid 4. The songs and the playing truly flow out of the grooves. What was so sweet about Latimer and Barden's playing here is that when they soloed it never really felt like it. The soloing has a lyrical and thematic quality to it that isn't just merely playing over the changes. The notes have context within the piece itself. They've taken this framework that was fleshed out on Snowgoose and transfered it to a series of individual songs that while not a concept 'per se' creates a wholeness and a mood that flows throughout the entire LP. Check out Song Within a Song and Chord Change that both exemplify this tasteful playing where there doesn't seem to be a wasted note.

Report this review (#52265)
Posted Tuesday, October 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Some bands tried it good, but never made it remarkable. I have tried some Camel albums and I have this one in my stock for the last 10 years. I did not have high regards for it. But then I thought before I write a few lines on it, I must hear it back again for at least three days. After a week of listening, my old impression remains unchanged. Camel is prog-rock without the bite. Its good, but not exceptional. A couple of songs do have lasting impressions like the Song within a song, but the others do not echo in my head. Then again, may be I am not Camel type. There is no breakthrough for me here. A three star from me.
Report this review (#52317)
Posted Wednesday, October 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is just a great freakin album!

I can't stop listening to it. If you want a "chill" prog album to listen to- THIS IS IT.

The music is SO relaxing. "Chord Change" is a neautiful pive of work! Camel just continues to impress me.

The music is well, not Technical- but SOOOOO musical. The focus on this album is more music than lyrics- and thats ALWAYS fine with me.

This is great stuff- can't wait to listen to it again!

Report this review (#53567)
Posted Thursday, October 27, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Moonmadness is the creative peak in Camel's career and one of the definitive progressive rock records of the 70s.This is the last album to feature Doug Ferguson on Bass. Moonmadness began as a loose concept album based on the personalities of the band members, Another Night - Doug Ferguson, Air Born - Andy Latimer, Chord Change - Peter Bardens, and Lunar Sea - Andy Ward.

1. Aristilus - the amazing opening track, has Andy Ward's voice on the background is saying "Aristillus Autolycus". Susan Hoover explains: 'The band thought it sounded like 'Aristillus ought to like us' and so Andy repeated it during the song because he was the only one who could say it over and over again without getting tongue-tied.'.

2. Song Within a Song - Very beautiful melody, with flute and Moog. 4/5

3. Chord Change - It features some impressive instrumental, complex parts, with a great guitar solo of Andy Latimer. 4,5/5

4. Spirit of the Water - A small ballad in piano, with the beautiful emotive voice of Peter Bardens. Let the music lead you to heaven...

"See the lights out on the water Come and go, to and fro In the time it takes to find them You can live, you can die And nothing stops the river as it goes by Nothing stops the river as it goes"


5. Another Night - "Dark clouds before our eyes" beautiful and the more hard rock song in the album.4,5/5

6. Air Born - Extremely beautiful flute solo, synthetizers and piano/organ works really astonishing me. Always a clean sound, simple, but very harmonious variations. One of the best music´s done by Camel. 5/5

7. Lunar Sea - Starting with a beautiful synthesizer intro it develops into a magical adventure where every sound has a meaning and each player gives his best effort. "He was such an inventive drummer... blowing down a hose pipe into a bucket of water to create the intro on Lunar Sea" - Andy Latimer on Andy Ward. 5/5

Final Note - Camel's allure rests not in an instant appeal; you'll find it in a magnetic desire to listen just one more time, for all the nuances you missed or simply because you just can't resist it.

5+4+4,5+5+4,5+5+5= 33

33 : 7 = 4,7

Essential - A masterpiece of progressive music

Curiosity : During the short time they had to do make album, Camel were pressured into doing something 'a bit more commercial'.

Report this review (#54707)
Posted Friday, November 4, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is surely one of my 5 favourite albuns, and the only one from Camel, in my opinion, that deserves 5 stars. Andy Latimer´s guitar is terrific, as always, ans the flute is better than ever, but the main diference is other members´ great contribution: Bardens contributes with some of best keyboard solos ever done: Song within a song, Another night, and, especially, the outstanding solo from Lunar Sea. Ferguson´s bass lines are always surprising and original, especially the beginning of Chord Change. Ward is also well, although not as good as we was in Mirage. His best track is Air Born, which has my favourite Latimer´s flute work.
Report this review (#56047)
Posted Saturday, November 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album is musical perfection, the absolute peak of progressive music. The only missing part being the warning on the back, saying 'THIS ALBUM MAY BLOW THE MINDS OF YOUNG CHILDREN.' My favourite track of the album is easily 'Air Born', sitting in a dark room and driving to the moon in my little car, closely followed by 'Song Within a Song'. 'Air Born's' bass lines are amazing, not mentioning Ward on the drums! Although Camel are not renowned for their lyrical skill, they make this song so much better.

Being only 15, this music is a very well welcomed change from the 'pop' music, which others of my age would listen to. I have not had the pleasure to listen to mirage, but this makes 'Nude' sound ever more AOR orientated, but does nothing to diminish 'The Snow Goose'. The only downside to this album in my opinion is 'Lunar Sea', but is by no means a poor song and is still worthy of being on this outstanding, timeless album.

This album should not be missed by any prog fan and is highly recommended to newcomers, being the end of an era for Camel, as this is the last album with the original line up. If you like Pink Floyd, you'll love Camel!

Report this review (#63005)
Posted Tuesday, January 3, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars 4.25

A great and mostly instrumental prog rock work from Camel that balances their classic rock roots with their melodic and symphonic rock from Snow Goose. It is not a strong departure from their previous albums. Instead I consider it to be a natural progression and their most mature work yet. If there is a complaint is its controlled nature that does not leave much room for impressive solos (with the exception of the opening and closing tracks).

It begins with a brief mini-moog showcase. The proper songs themselves are multi-faceted, melodic, varied, dynamic, and just plain good progressive rock. 'Song within a Song' has great melodies in the first half and an extended, if restrained, synthesizer solo in the second half. 'Chord Change' begins and end with uptempo rock, its highlight being the laid back jazzy playing in between. 'Another Night' benefits from a rocking guitar riff and a contrasting middle section. 'Air Born' carry similar elements from the previous tracks but with greater success. This dreamy track is easily a highlight of the album. The closing track 'Lunar Sea' is an instrumental showcase and one of the best drumming performances on a Camel album. There's also a highly memorable guitar theme and an extended synthesizer solo. What follows however is an unrestrained Andy Latimer playing a highly fierce and passionate guitar solos that continues over the course of several minutes, only to end with a very powerful and frantic hard rock riff.

5 Star Songs: Lunar Sea

4.5 Star Songs: Air Born

4 Star Songs: Aristillus, Song Within a Song, Chord Change, Spirit of the Water

3.5 Star Song: Another Night

Report this review (#63267)
Posted Thursday, January 5, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Now... I'm not going to say that Moonmadness is better than The Snow Goose but rather it is of a matter of moods... and I just happen to be in the mood for Moonmadness more than a Snow Goose one. I mean, The Snow Goose is awesome studying music and everything (Hahaha... maybe that is why I'm not in that mood that much) but I can't listen to it as much as this album. Perhaps it is the matter of lyrics or the interesting mature sound of Moonmadness that I didn't know Camel possesed but I really REALLY enjoy this album. For some reason people always critisize Ferguson's vocals as being bad but I definately don't agree with that. Granted, in some albums, he sings too much but in this one it is just right. Still an album that portrays Symphonic Prog at it's best and though people may not agree with me I would still put rate this album at a strong 5 stars. If you are prog you should own this album.
Report this review (#65432)
Posted Thursday, January 19, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is one of my top 10 of PROGRESSIVE ROCK "ROOTs". Take the best of Yes with some of the best Genesis and you have this album : !!! Camel add this new power to the prog rock and did 4.5 points on 5 ! All we need in prog is there. The least on the album is vocals but music is so good ...
Report this review (#68542)
Posted Monday, February 6, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars My favorite of Camel albums so far. This album is absolutely one of the greates albums of all time, at least for me. This album has the same kind of "trick" as 'The Snow Goose', because it creates a great atmosphere for the listener. For example 'Song Within a Song' which is absolutely a great song, but it creates a "scary" atmosphere from time to time. This is definitely not a bad think. Actually it's the 100% opposite of bad. It just makes this album better than I could have ever believed. Other great songs are for example 'Another Night' and 'Air Born'. This might just be the album you wanna start your Camel listening with. If you like 70's prog, you won't be dissapointed. I'm sure of that.
Report this review (#71426)
Posted Wednesday, March 8, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is the last album created by the classical line-up of the band. Perhaps, it is not a masterpiece like "The Snow Goose" and "Mirage", but is excellent work. After this album the band departs from classical symphonic prog and moves to jazzy/pop rock. The highlights are "Song Within a Song" with vocals by Ferguson and marvelous "Air Born" with beautiful melodies. "Chord Change" has a "jazzy" taste (reminding a little beat the third track from the first album), "Another Night" is a typical Camel song, and "Lunar Sea" is a long space- psychedelic instrumental composition which grows on me almost permanently. Two short tracks are very good additions to the album. As a result, we have an excellent album by the great band.
Report this review (#74288)
Posted Friday, April 7, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars This album happened to be the last one with starting line-up. After Snow Goose excursion the band was back in its genuine prog saddle. But the times were inevitably changing and so was Camel music. Except 'Chord Change' and 'Lunar Sea' all the other tracks I would describe as easy listening prog, with 'Airborn' as illustrious sample. But all said doesn't necesserily imply negative connotation, for the band was trying to keep its distinguishing style and sound and enriched it with incoming new trends and waves.As the next album will show, that effort will successfully be achieved.
Report this review (#76371)
Posted Wednesday, April 26, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars My second review of this album.

The fourth work released in 1976 "Moonmadness". It is a work that overflows in the fantasy so that it is symbolized in the jacket. Work with unforgettable charms of delicate melody and free play, etc.It is one of the highest masterpieces of them. Combinations of Peter Bardens and Andrew Latimer are bright. They advanced rapidly in the composition in addition to the performance. And, all features of CAMEL such as a kooky rhythm, the fantasy, guitars, and keyboards appear by this work. This work that energetic play of "Mirage" unites with a fantastic sound is an extraordinary masterpiece. It is ,so to speak, a fantastic rock work. By the way, original member's Doug Ferguson seceded after having completed this work. Aristilus,Song Within a Song,Chord Change,Spirit of the Water,Another Night, Air Born,Lunar Sea...Every songs are beautiful.

Report this review (#76544)
Posted Friday, April 28, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars A college friend introduced this album to me a year after it came out - that was 25 years ago. I was just getting into many of the 'mainstream' prog bands of the mid-1970s (Genesis, ELP, Kansas, Yes) and then I got a listen to Camel, 'Moonmadness.' I agree with another reviewer: Camel has put out several albums, but none I have listened to have equaled the excellent quality of this one album. I first bought it as a vinyl record, in which tracks 1-4 were on side A and tracks 5-7 were side B. Now I own the CD and the digitally remastered quality makes it even more of a joy to listen to. While I enjoy Bardens' keyboard work on 'Aristillus' and 'Spirit of the Water,' it is really the songs on vinyl side B (tracks 5-7) that make me want to listen to this album again and again. 'Another Night' almost belongs in the category of classic prog, with characteristic instrumental style and time-signature changes. 'Air Born' is a great balladic number which has the similar prog quality of 'And You and I' by Yes. 'Lunar Sea,' which must have inspired the album's title, is a quintessential prog instrumental offering that really showcases Latimer's fine guitar chops. I do not own any other Camel records, but this one I will hold on to 4evr!
Report this review (#78423)
Posted Wednesday, May 17, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Moonmadness simply blows my mind when I listen to it. It puts me in a state I like to call Camel coma. You fans out there must have an idea of what I'm saying. The smoothness of the layers flows like clouds guided by a gentle breeze over the peaks and valleys of that never ending horizon.Drums are amazing. Bass=wow. Always solid mesmering guitar work. Flute work is what finishes it off to put me in that camel coma. A must album for any music lover. I dare you to listen to Mirage and Moonmadness back to back. Prepare for the coma.
Report this review (#79002)
Posted Monday, May 22, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars I've been a camel fan for a bit less than a year, and probably still have a lot to discover from this great band, but so far this is my favorite camel work. It has something that makes me listen it again and again... The starter, aristilius is a great opener that kinda reminds me of tangerine dream. 'Song within a song' kicks off being a slow paced track, then with a great guitar riff enters to one of my favorite instrumental sections of all time, Pete Bardens really gets the perfect solos in this section, quite 'sober', very addecuate to the pace the song has gotten at this point, the ending of this song is beautiful, that section is what I listen in my head when I go to sleep, its very emotive and IMO the best way this guys could end this song. Chord Change features some excellent drumming work, specially at the ending section. 'Spirit of the water' has a very nice melody that follows all the way through the song, and latimer's voice is quite spectral in this track, this is one of my least favorite tracks on the album, but it deserves its place. Another night... wow! great track! I specially like the opening of the song and the instrumental section in the middle. The riff is also one of the most 'representative' of the album. Air born kicks off with a very nice and sweet flute and then is accompanied by bardens piano, and followed by one of my favorite latimer solos (:44 - 1:06) The middle section of the song kinda reminds me of genesis... the flute and the acoustic guitars... anyway... good song. To close this album, the mind blowing 'Lunar sea' that starts being a very 'silent' song, but then is introduced to some serious latimer solos with the great 3 note bass riff. it's incredible that such a great riff for a song can be made with just 3 notes! All the first part of the song relies on them. bravo (Y). The Barden's section comes in, again with excellent solos and acompannied by the whole band's efforts. And finally, the best section of the song, with those notes from the beggining riff played by the piano and with latimer showing us what he can do best, play the guitar like an emotive madman.. finally, the riff at the end is addictive and fades out in a way that doesn't disturb me (keep in mind that I hate fade outs! xD).

This album is a must have and a great way to start off with camel, after LADY FANTASY.. or maybe i'm just telling my story and that's not true at all!!

Be it or not, this is prog at its best and you should definitely have it on your collection!

Report this review (#82364)
Posted Saturday, July 1, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars What else can be said that hasn't been said before about this humongous record? It's powerful, melodic, with beautiful harmonies, interesting structures, mad and/or emotional guitar solos (courtesy of mr. Andrew Latimer), atmospheric but excelently-fitting keyboards, simple, yet precise bass playing, drumming that contributes not only to the rhythm section, but also to the melody, and, of course, the extra bonus of the flute. The bass and the vocals are the two points that could be most criticized from this album. I personall love the vocals on this album, and also enjoy the bass.

This album covers a lot of ground, without being incoherent at all. Nice ballads, jazzy jamming, classical inspired bits (specially the flute part of Air Born), etc.

The remastered version comes with some treats for Camel fans: the single version of Another Night, A demo version of Spirit of The Water (excellent for beginners in piano) and live versions of Lunar Sea, Preparation/Dunkirk (from The Snow Goose) and Song Within A Song.

For good or bad, this is the last album with the original line-up. Frictions started between Doug Ferguson and Andy Ward, because Andy Ward was getting better and better and wanted to play jazzier music. Doug thought that this was straying away from the roots, so the band had to made a decision between Doug or Andy Ward, and they chose Andy. This is a bit ironic, because Doug was the one who suggested a sax player should be included in the band (which brought even more desire for Andy Ward for jazz).

So, enjoy one of the late masterpieces of prog! Recommended for bands or musicians that want to start playing symphonic rock, because it's so much fun and not as difficult as other bands.

Edit (July 7, 2009): corrected some mistakes.

Report this review (#85093)
Posted Saturday, July 29, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars I have owned and enjoyed this album for ~30 years and just upgraded to the newer CD version with bonus tracks. I have listened to it frequently over the years. It is an album that I often go back to to give a fresh listen + always come away as satisfied (sometimes more so) as always. So I guess I can recommend it highly. It is one of Camel's masterpieces and as such stands as a "prog-masterpiece".

I recommend this album, "Snow Goose" and "Mirage" as the Camel albums that a symphonic prog affectionado will enjoy the most. If you are new to symphonic prog, I know of no better place to go after the masterpieces of Yes and Genesis than to this album. Also, if you like Pink Floyd in their prime, you will find a lot to like here.

Barden's keyboards play a big role on this particular album. However there are great flourishes as well from each band member, including some extended and classic Andy Latimer contributions on guitar. If you like the guitar of David Gilmore in the classic Floyd works, you are likely to also enjoy Latimer's work here and on the other earlier Camel albums in the pure symphonic prog vein.

After this album, Camel, the musicians in Camel, and their albums start to undergo a metamorphosis into other varied forms. For a fairly obscure (at least in America, I know) mid-70's prog band, it was essential that the band "prog"ress (pun intended) to adapt to changing times and not try to merely improve upon earlier successes... a tough task to accomplish for a group like Camel.

With Camel , this was a challenge that was met under Latimer's guidance extremely well in subsequent albums over an extended period of ~ 30 years.

I applaud Latimer and Camel for the volume of quality work put out over the years despite continuous changes and challenges.

After "Moonmadness", Andy Latimer and his beautiful guitar work increasingly became the cornerstone of Camel that enabled this.

Though there are many sonic treats of various types to enjoy in Camel's discography, do not judge the group as a "pure prog-act" until you give a few listens to Moonmadness first.

Report this review (#86353)
Posted Wednesday, August 9, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars After very popular and IMHO overrated "Snowgoose", CAMEL recorded their last LP in the original line-up, and for my taste the best one. Although they were never among my top fav artists, I admit that listening to "Moonmadness" gave me many pleasant moments. Musicianship and production is perfect, sound mellow and polished, solo parts jazzy and spacey... Excellent for an engaged "active" listening as well as a leisure background. definitely the peak of CAMEL career.
Report this review (#86359)
Posted Wednesday, August 9, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars The final flawless work of genius by Camel. The re-introducion of vocals goes smoothly as all the sung pieces are of the same sky high standards set by the previous two albums, including the intro Aristillus containing Andy Ward's babbling. The instrumental pieces are not bad either, Chord Change being very slightly weaker and only getting some poor four and a half stars. Among all the greatness filling the album there is one stand-out moment in the form of the opening flute melody of Air Born, definitely one of the most beautiful moments in the history of the band.
Report this review (#87422)
Posted Wednesday, August 16, 2006 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#87786)
Posted Monday, August 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Ah, now here is an album -- and indeed a band -- that I've ignored for far too long. I will admit I am a newbie to the wonderful world of Camel, but they are quickly becoming one of my favorite discoveries since joining this site.

This album could not have been titled any more appropriately, as there is a slightly spacey, very "night-ish" and serene feel to the entire thing. I can imagine listening to this disc while sprawled on my back and watching the stars on the hood of a car, Wayne-and-Garth style.

Kicking things off is the exceedingly odd "Aristillus", a jaunty, happy-sounding instrumental piece that is rife with Moog-a-licious keys and bright melodies. There is a strange, space-rock-like "bubbling" vocal in the background that makes the piece a tad sinister and keeps the tune from being overly cheesy.

Next up is the wonderful "Song Within A Song", which is probably my favorite from the album. This track could easily be split up into three distinct sections, with the first being slightly jazzy and containing a rather Canterbury-esque sound. The second section has guitarist Andy Lattimer delivering a cool guitar riff that is a bit reminiscent of the guitar bit in the pre-chorus of Gentle Giant's "Pantagruel's Nativity". The third section ups the tempo, with outstanding Pete Bardens keyboard work. A great song, start to finish!

"Chord Change" is another winner, which features Lattimer playing some fabulous "single-notey" guitar over many different chord changes, hence the name. Great band interplay in this one; excellent bass playing and drumming in addition the the two "lead" instruments.

"Spirit Of The Water" could be seen as a throwaway track, but that would be a big mistake in my opinion. There are some beautiful flute and ethereal vocals over a background of lovely piano. A gorgeous little song.

"Another Night" is probably my least favorite track here, as it's perhaps a little too Pink Floyd-esque for its own good, with Andy sounding like a dead ringer for David Gilmour on the verses. It's also the most poppish song on the album, but it's not bad at all overall.

Next is "Air Born", with its beautiful flute and piano intro dissolving into another dreamy piece chock full of floating keyboards, etheral vocals and tasteful guitar work. In other words, it's more classic Camel.

"Lunar Sea" closes the album, and boy, what a closer! Shimmering Moog sounds set the scene, with ghostly guitar volume swells which morph into more single-notey goodness from Andy. Another jazzy piece, this is a showcase for the band much like "Chord Change". The song fades out with the same dreamy keyboards that it started with.

My CD contains 5 bonus tracks, which are hit-and-miss. The live versions of "Song Within A Song" and "Lunar Sea" are nice, if not much different than the album versions. There is also a "demo" version of "Spirit Of The Water" which, frankly, isn't different enough from the final version to merit much of a mention. A live version of "Preparation" and "Dunkirk", from The Snow Goose, is an odd choice to include on this album, but it's much appreciated since I don't have that album yet. Rounding out the bonus tracks is the single edit of "Another Night" which, in my opinion, is useless as it cuts out most of the best parts of the song.

I have no problems whatsoever in giving this album 5 stars, as I believe it is an essential album that I missed out on for far too long. If you are interested in Camel's unique fusion of space rock and symphonic prog, with just a hint of Canterbury, this is probably as good a place to start as any. I have only heard three Camel albums thus far (others being Nude and Mirage), and this is by far the best one. I only wish I had discovered it sooner.

Report this review (#88432)
Posted Tuesday, August 29, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars On the heels of my recent discovery of this amazing band, and my review for The Snow Goose, I feel ready to review this one.

Well, what to say? Is it as good as The Snow Goose for me? Most definitely yes! Even the vocals, which, from the Camel albums I have heard are usually a low point are fine on this one. Musically, I find it to be a continuity of The Snow Goose, only more concise.

'Aristilus' is a very interesting and intriguing keyboard introduction to Moonmadness. It has a space and a medieval flavor that works, as weird as it may sound. Short but great.

'Song within a Song' could'nt have been more aptly titled. The first part is mellow and soothing, with nice vocals courtesy of Doug Ferguson. The second part, instrumental, is more upbeat and entertaining and features great keyboard work backed by a great Latimer shuffle rythm guitar and a great rythmic section, not overly doing things. Great track.

Instrumental 'Chord Change' shows once again great musicianship and songwriting from the band. The keyboard and guitar interplay in this song reminds me a bit of Babe Ruth, only much better. Interesting tempo shifts and structure changes throughout the song. Amazing instrumental.

'Spirit of the Water' is a mellow tune, featuring great piano and flute work. The vocals, passed through Leslie rotative speakers, are good. Once again a medieval feel fills the song, only in a more melancholic manner.

'Another Night' is the rocker on this album, and probably my favorite for that reason, along with 'Lunar Sea'. The song stuck in my head upon first listen. Latimer's guitar work I find very compelling in this song.

At the moment I'm writing this, I realize I have no memory of 'Air Born', and I don't know if it's a good thing or not. I know I enjoy all songs on this release, so I guess it must be a good thing.

Album closer 'Lunar Sea', as stated earlier, is my other favorite track from Moonmadness. From the spacy keyboard intro to the appearance of the rythm section playing a weird time signature tight as hell, all serving as background to Latimer's (once again) great guitar work, everything is there for this song to be a classic.

I was about to give this album five stars, but due to the fact that I really don't remember 'Air Born' I'll give it 4.5 stars, even though it deserves five.

Report this review (#89708)
Posted Friday, September 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Is it wrong that I find the first track the best and most intriguing? I'm not sure if this is my favorite Camel album, as it kind of goes back and forth with Mirage. Camel is one of the most laid back bands I listen to, as the music more or less speaks for itself rather than the in your face approach.

I'm not captivated by the melodies, but I love them, in other words, the melodies don't really stick with you(at least not for me anyway) but I find myself enjoying it every time I hear them. To me, the intro alone is enough to have this record, even if its only 2 minutes.

The biggest detractors are the vocals and the length, along with the fact that you really have to focus. Camel doesnt work well in the background to truly enjoy them. Don't worry though my friend, the time spent is well worth it. An album that more than deserves a place higher up in the ratings.

Report this review (#92137)
Posted Tuesday, September 26, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars With so many good albums it's hard to tell which Camel album actually is my favourite, but this one surely belongs to the list of great Camel recordings. From the first synth cords and flute melodies on Aristilus this album catches my imagination, with beautifull melodies, great atmosphere, fabulous solo's from all instruments (vocals aside, which are adequate, but never was the strong side of Camel).

Aristilus (1:59) Great short opening, can't get enough of this song really, great flute and synthesiser on a heavy symphonic electronic bass, two minutes of pure bliss. After that the album takes a more soft tranquille aproach with Song Within a Song (6:48) slow mediative synth melody, and sad slow vocals, always reminds me of The Moody Blues, like the title suggests a little change occurs midway, where the guitar leads us to the song within the song and the tempo increases for a nice synth solo. Chord Change (7:18) continous on the faster tempo the previous song ended with, again a great instrumental as only Camel can produce. Spirit of the Water (2:09) Yet another beautifull soft ballad, great flute melody bridging the slow piano parts, vocals are really smooth and rather beautifull.

With Another Night (7:00) the album comes more rocking, and this is why I love the band so much, fabulous drums and bass interplay, numerous changes without losing focus on the song. Wish it would last forever, but the next song in line is waiting to make it's introduction to the speakers. Air Born (5:04) A slow and steady melodic ambient song. The album closes with the stellar Lunar Sea (9:14) Like the opening of the album was a great intro to the album, this is a fitting ending. With great guitar works on a solid rock bottom. Fast and furious mid section. Just great.

On the whole this is a beautifull album, with great instrumental passages, especially the flute and keyboards shine through the mix, the vocals are very much ok and the guitar is at moments very good to. For fans of melodic symphonic rock music this is a very worthy addition to your collection. A masterpiece it isn't totally, so I'll leave it at 4 stars, but maybe I'm to harsh on this band.

Listen yourself

Report this review (#93557)
Posted Friday, October 6, 2006 | Review Permalink
erik neuteboom
4 stars To me early Camel sounds a an aural 'warm bath', so pleasant and relaxing. The climates change fluently from dreamy with twanging guitar, flute and soaring keyboards to mid- tempo and bombastic featuring often very sensitive electric guitar soli by Andy Latimer and great excertions on Hammond organ and Minimoog synthesizer by the late Peter Bardens. The rhythm-section sounds very flowing, they are a very pleasant support for Latimer and Bardens. I have seen Camel many times between 1981 (Nude-tour) and 2004 (Farewell- tour), always a sold-out house and Camel never let the crowd down with an inspired Latimer and good musicians around him (from Peter Bardens and Micky Simmonds to Ton Scherpenzeel). On this album Camel deliver 7 tasteful and varied songs, my highlights are Song Within A Song (great shifting moods and excellent finale delivering sensational Minimoog flights), Air Born (wonderful keyboards (organ and strings, sensitive electric guitar and beautiful flute with twanging acoustic guitar) and of course Lunar Sea: an up- tempo rhythm with powerful electric guitar (from fiery to howling), spectacular Minimoog sounds and a dynamic rhythm-section, Camel rocks! I just checked the ratings, this is Camel most appreciated studio album but I prefer the more dynamic and adventurous Mirage as their best. Nonetheless, a solid 4 stars for this very good symphonic prog album!
Report this review (#97090)
Posted Saturday, November 4, 2006 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
5 stars 4.5 stars. "Moonmadness" was the highest charting CAMEL record in the U.K.

It starts off with a short keyboard based instrumental called "Aristillus" that sounds like a marching song. When I hear the first notes of "Song Within A Song" I just melt. No words necessary. The beautiful flute with piano and vocals are pure magic until the song changes after 3 minutes to the end. "Chord Changes" features plenty of that from Mr.Latimer as well as some fantastic drumming and keyboard melodies. Great band interplay on this 7 minute instrumental.

"Spirit Of The Water" features the most beautiful melody I think I have ever heard. Gulp. My complaint is it's way too short. I really like the vocals on "Another Night" along with the keyboards and drums. Nice guitar around 6 minutes. "Air Born" is a very melodic track opening with piano and flute. It's also the only track with mellotron. It makes me feel so good. "Lunar Sea" is a jazzy, atmospheric instrumental that features some great guitar and keyboard passages. Amazing tune !

This is a mature, beautiful piece of music history. This is possibly my favourite CAMEL album as well with the debut and 'Mirage" rounding out my top three.

Report this review (#98239)
Posted Friday, November 10, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Although "The Snow Goose" is a favorite among fans, Camel's next record was a giant step forward. This is probably the best album of 1976. The band had come into its own maturity with this release which still sounds great 30 years later. Some of the highlights are "Song Within A Song", "Chord Change" and of course "Lunar Sea". All in all, there's not one dull moment on this record. This is Camel at their absolute best.
Report this review (#100954)
Posted Wednesday, November 29, 2006 | Review Permalink
Cesar Inca
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars After exploring into the realms of symphonic prog in their "Snow Goose" opus, Camel was prepared to push the envelope a bit further for the "Moon Madness" effort, The main ingredient was the combination of the energetic presence of "Mirage", the stylish textures of "Snow Goose" and the addition of cosmic ambiences due to the increased synthesizer input by Master Bardens as well as Latimer's more robust confidence on guitar (using multipel layers and overdubbed harmonies) and flute (venturing into more complex solos). Simultaneously, the rhythmic interests of drummer Andy Ward were enhanced in favor of jazz-oriented vibrations, so the band's overall sound could achieve an augmented dose of dynamics and stamina. The sequence of the first three tracks is explicit enough as to set a proper general portrait of the album's nuclear essence. 'Aristillus' is an easy-going cosmic intro in which Bardens indulges himself in various Moog adornments over a firm basis of guitar and bass. Next, 'Song within a Song' defines a set of spiritually driven melodies alternately laid on Moog synth and flute, while the organ and the guitar provide subtle harmonic structures. The second half is more epic, although it could and should have sounded more energetic - perhaps a flaw in sound production?. Anyway, this track is in many ways a typical Camel song, with its intense lyricism obvious in the wide open. 'Chord Change' is much jazzier, creating a sort of bridge between the earliest Camel (i.e., the Canterburyr-related sound they developed in their debut album) and the Camel that would come to record the "Rain Dances" album one year later. If Ward was a master drummer since day one, now he managed to take his skill to a level of definitive maturity. The rest of the album is a catalogue of beautiful music, indeed. The piano based-brief ballad 'Spirit of the Water' is a very melancholic reflection on the futility of life, courtesy of Bardens: the recorder lines serve as an effective pastoral trick. 'Another Night' bears a denser sound, this time providing a hybrid between the first and the second albums, yet bearing a delicate eerie mood that works perfectly well in this particular album. The last two tracks are some of the most amazing Camel compositions ever: 'Air Born' and 'Lunar Sea' are real progressive gems of all time. 'Air Born' surpasses 'Song within a Song' regarding the manifestation of spiritual candor with a proper touch of energy that does not fall short at complementig the track's overall mood. 'Lunar Sea' is a top-notch instrumental tour-de-force that encapsulates the album's greatest qualities all at once. This album is a both step forward and a continuation of Camel's progressive ideology, although it is true that it fails to match the power of "Mirage" and the lyrical magic of "Snow Goose". While not a genuine Camel masterpiece in itself, "Moon Madness" sirely deserves to be labelled as an excellent prog item that should occupy a special place in any good prog collection.
Report this review (#101655)
Posted Tuesday, December 5, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars "Moonmadness" was one of my entries into the Camel catalogue and it is quite frankly my preferred one from their first era. At times, this is Camel at his best and how I like it : fully emotional, passionate and incredibly melodic.

The short intro "Aristillus" is inspired by the name of two craters on the moon : Aritillus and Autolyus. Near the landing site of the Apollo 15 mission and close to the Lunar Sea of Imbrium (the inspiration of the closing number).

Then comes "Song Within a Song" : I quite like the concept. Simply put it is effectively a song ... within a song : so, we got actually two songs in one ! And good ones.

"Chord Change" is a complex song : good rocking tempo, the whole band seems very united. Each instrument flowing perfectly with the other. The song is rocking in its initial phase and then turns into a wonderful and melodious slow guitar break. A highlight and one of my fave on this album.

I have mentioned this anecdote already in another review : during an interview, Clapton was asked which guitar player he liked the most. His answer was : Carlos Santana because he is the most emotional one. I would add that, IMO, Gary Latimer is also this type of guitar player : an enormous emotion is delivered from his play and it is fabulous to hear this here.

Since their "Snow Goose" was an all instrumental concept album, they were seriously pressured this time to produce some numbers with vocals. There would not be that many though on this album. The short "Spirit in the Water" is the first one here : it is a nice little piece of quiet music with good fluting. Next comes "Another Night" which is a rather monotonous song and the weakiest track on "Moonmadness".

We go back to melody with the instrumental "Air Born" : great number in which the emotional side of Latimer can develops in its full richness. Bass and background keys are superb. Another highlight. The closing "Lunar Sea" is probably the most complex song here : spacey in its start, the middle section with lots of synth and good bass playing is more rocky and ends in a furious guitar solo. The song finishes like it started : spacey and quiteful.

The bonus tracks are quite valuable for two reasons : 1. they last for over thirty minutes and 2. they are good additions to the original album.

The first one is the single (and edited version) for "Another Night". The album track is cut by half and this format is actually better. Next is an instrumental version of "Spirit of the Water" and I also prefer this version very much piano oriented. The last three tracks were recorded at the Hammersmith Odeon in April 1976 and are a good document : "Song Within..." and "Lunar" from this album and the mini-suite "Preparation- Dunkirk" from the "Snow Goose".

All in all a very good album. It will peak at the 15th spot in the UK chart. It will be their most selling album. Four stars for this remastered version.

Report this review (#110803)
Posted Monday, February 5, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Camel are another of these bands that have been with me since my teen years and this album, my favourite of theirs by some distance, is like an old friend, having kept me company since it was released in 1976..

It is a wonderful piece of music. It's not a concept album but manages to do what all the very best albums achieve - creates a soundscape into which all of the songs fit easily, such that the synergy of the whole album is very much greater than you might think from listening to an individual song out of context.

This was Camel's fourth album and featured the original line-up of Andy Latimer, Pete Bardens, Doug Ferguson and Andy Ward: the musicianship is excellent, Doug's bass playing and Andy's drumming providing musicality of their own to add to Andy and Pete's wizardry.

The music is generally at a slow tempo, Pete Bardens's keyboards and piano not only providing a symphonic backdrop but sharing the melodic work with Andy's guitar and flute. The flute passages are beautiful, as they were on the previous album "Snow Goose", and more melodic than you might hear in Jethro Tull's music. There are lengthy instrumental passages, never dull, including two complete instrumental numbers. The vocals, sparse as they are, are delivered in laconic fashion and given an ethereal mix in the production, blending in perfectly with the wash of the music.

It really is a gorgeous album - Latimer and Bardens's "Song Within a Song" is one of my all time favourite top ten tracks and the others are not far behind: "Chord Change", "Air Born" and "Another Night" being the others that I would highlight from the album's seven tracks.

For those of you who are lovers of English humour, you will also enjoy the band's wonderful play on words with the final closing number, the instrumental "Lunar Sea". "Lunar Sea" - "Moonmadness" - !!

The 2002 re-issue includes live recordings of "Song Within a Song", "Lunar Sea" and "Preparation/Dunkirk" (from "Snow Goose"), the single version of "Another Night" and the demo version of "Spirit on the Water. Frankly, you would be better off listening to these at a different time to the original 7 tracks that make up the album - these bonus tracks do not have the same character or feel that makes "Moonmadness" the brilliant album that it is and listening to them after the original album will diminish the feeling of utter pleasure that you will have experienced!

Report this review (#113371)
Posted Saturday, February 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Why is 'Moonmadness' arguably the best soft-prog album ever made? Because it marries the rock sensibilities of 'Mirage' with the melodic beauty of 'The Snow Goose', the albums immediately preceding it. This stands for me as CAMEL'S best moment. Whenever DJ Random spins this disc for me, I am forced to put aside whatever I'm doing and listen.

There isn't a less-than-superb moment on the album, and sections of each song succeed in creating truly memorable musical events. The central section of 'Song Within a Song', with a repetitive theme underlain by soft keys and chased by rising guitars, the slow middle part of 'Chord Change', with an otherworldly beauty shared between Latimer and Bardens, a ghostly echo of moonlight shimmering on the water (oh lord, was there ever more gorgeous music than this?), the simple but profound instrumental sections of 'Another Night', the slowed coda to 'Air Born' and Mr Latimer's scintillating guitar on 'Lunar Sea', are just some of the terrifyingly beautiful moments this album brings.

With Nick Mason-like drum fills, Bardens' keyboard to the fore, and Latimer providing the Gilmouresque guitar, you could be forgiven for thinking you'd come upon a forgotten PINK FLOYD gem from the early 1970s. But compositionally this album goes well beyond what the FLOYD ever did, though without the overriding cynicism and bite that characterised the Waters years. In my opinion, the lack of meaningful vocals was the single biggest factor that held CAMEL back from being part of the top echelon of progressive rock in the mid 1970s. No profundity to puzzle over with your mates, no weird sound effects, no angst. Just mercilessly beautiful music that opens you until you lie helpless before it.

Let yourself be captured.

Report this review (#113759)
Posted Tuesday, February 27, 2007 | Review Permalink
Eclectic Prog Team
3 stars I love The Snow Goose, and I rate Mirage along with the best of the early Prog giants, but for some reason Moonmadness leaves me as cold as... well, the moon. With the lone exception of "Another Night," none of the songs grab me at all. There are none of the hooks of "Lady Fantasy" or "Rhayader." I guess what I'm getting at is that it feels uninspired and formulaic. I'm not really buying the whole "concept" of the album either. This is generic '70's symphonic Prog that tries too hard and buries inspiration under aspiration. Stick with their earlier records.
Report this review (#114302)
Posted Monday, March 5, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars As a whole i like this album more than mirage, but I never forget about Lady Fantasy , which is the best piece of music that Camel has offered us so far!! The album is very equal , full with great guitar and keyboard solos. I 've heard complaints that vocals in Moonmadness are emotionless, but i don't think so . Highly recommended if you suffer from some nervous breakdowns:) No medicine can come close to the Moonmadness , I assure you!!!!!!!!
Report this review (#115836)
Posted Wednesday, March 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars 4.5 stars really!

I am very tempted to give this album 5 stars. But for some reason it just doesn't strike me as quite hitting masterpiece status. Maybe it's because Song Within A Song and Chord Change just seem a bit weak to me? Maybe the superfluous (if unique) Aristilus seems like a less than ideal way to start the album? Maybe the vocals are not quite strong enough yet? I'm not really sure, but I still will say this is a great album, one of Camels best.

Despite my comment on the vocals, I think they are the best on a Camel album up to this point, but would improve more on later albums. Latimer sounds like a dead ringer for Dave Gilmore on Another Night, and Bardens does a suitably haunting vocal on Spirit of the Water. Overall, nothing really to complain about, other than the usual softness of the delivery.

And the music is generally fantastic. The opener is, as I said, a bit of an odd way to start the album, but is not bad and is short. Song Within A Song is just that, two fairly different songs hooked together quite seamlessly with the first part being mellow and the second part more driving with some great guitar playing. Spirit is a beautiful short piece by Bardens that has a great haunting quality about it. Another Night seems to get slagged here for some reason but I think it is one of Camel's all time best songs. The proggy, odd meter middle section is outstanding and fairly different for Camel. Air Born is a beautiful song with great flute from Latimer and a lovely melody and vocal. Lunar Sea is without doubt the best Camel instrumental ever, and Latimer's solo is excellent.

So, overall, one of my favorite Camel albums. It doesn't quite hit masterpiece status for reasons I mention above. But it is a definite 4.5 star album, rounded down to 4 for the archives.

Report this review (#115950)
Posted Wednesday, March 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars The one word I would use to describe Moonmadness is atmospheric. This albums is dripping with atmosphere that conjures up images of night-time, stars, and flying. A large part of the atmosphere of this album is the larger role the keyboards take (the eminent is used to great effect). Compared to Mirage, the keyboards get a lot more attention. There is of course also great guitar and flute from Andy Latimer and great drumming from Ward.

The album starts off with Aristilus which is full of synths and some weird singing in the background (sounds like the tongue twister "rubber baby buggy bumper"). This is a strong opener that grabs the attention of the listener. The next song, Song within a Song, is one of my favorite from Camel. It is basically two songs, the first being more guitar and flute oriented with dream-like vocals, and the second part features some very nice keyboard solos and also great drumming. Again, this song is very relaxed and reminds me of looking at the stars. The next song, Chord Change, is an opportunity for Latimer to stretch-out with some nice guitar soloing. The guitar soloing changes along with the chord changes, giving the song a jazzy feel. The next song is Spirit of the Water and is also very atmospheric with lots of flute. This song has the most vocals up to this point, and these vocals are actually very nice.

Another Night opens up side two, and this one is more of a rocker with a very cool middle section featuring a bassline that reminds me of the end section of Nimrodel. Air Borne is another favorite of mine, and it starts out with some of the most beautiful flute I have ever heard! The chorus has nice drum and bass interplay and the middle of the song has a "flying" section complete with wooshing sounds. This is the blueprint for songs like Pink Floyd's Learning to Fly. The album ends with Lunar Sea. This is a great instrumental that starts out with guitar soloing, moving into moog soloing with some great drumming, and then back to guitar soloing. The song begins and ends with sounds of howling winds and synth whispers that properly set the stage and then end the song. I especially enjoy the middle section with the moog solos. This song really makes you feel like you are flying over the surface of the moon!

There are really no weak moments or filler on Moonmadness, and the album is just so darn atmospheric and relaxing, but still very interesting. For me, this is the absolute best that Camel has to offer and is definitely worthy of five stars.

Report this review (#122912)
Posted Sunday, May 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Prog Specialist
4 stars Being a man of first impressions, normally when I listen a band for the first time I know if will have the chance to like their music (of course there are exceptions like Trespass which I hated for a long time and now is among my favorites), CAMEL is not one of them, and believe me....tried very hard to like them with the impulse of the great reviews and the huge fan base, but it was always a futile attempt, even bought almost all their collection but it was left there at a corner of the shelve gathering dust, no matter what I did, always used to find them bland and dull.

But something happened, last week, had to make a long travel by car and by some impulse I added "Moonmadness" to the CD's cartridge of the car and at last I could get them, won't say they are my favorite band but found something that was escaping from my perception.

The keyboards and dense atmosphere captivated me, maybe because somehow they remind me a bit of Steve Hackett's first album including the distorted vocals but much more relaxing (Not necessarily better).

But lets leave the chit chat and go to the album:

"Moonmadness" is opened with the pompous intro of Arsilus , well, to be honest the whole 1:57 minutes of the track work as an intro for the album. The keyboard work by Pete Bardens, that reminds me of "Voyage of the Acolyte" even when more martial, sadly too short and leaves the listener with the honey in the lips, outstanding song.

Song Within a Song is more in the soft and relaxing mood of CAMEL, the flute in the early section of the song is simply breathtaking, I don't like distorted vocals very much but in this case they are extremely appropriate for the song, which continues flowing as the atmospheric sound covers the listener. Around the third minute there's a radical change and the song turns stronger with a magnificent interplay of all the band and again Bardens is the star, they manage to keep making the music flow gently but with a touch of aggressiveness that makes the difference, incredible, two songs from a band I used to dislike and two songs that I find amazing. A special mention for Andy Ward and his brilliant work at the drums.

Chord Change is really a change, presents us the Fusion oriented sound of the band, clearly inspired by "MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA" but less dense and complex, my congratulations to Latimer, Ward and Ferguson who make an outstanding job, around the middle there's a change of mood, Latimer starts to remind me of Jan Akkerman and the soft Hammond in the background complete the FOCUS impression, three songs, three hits. also a lovely track.

Spirit of the Water is at this point the weaker track (IMHO of course) the artificial vocals, weak keyboards and flute don't match completely, seems as if they had an idea that were never able to develop, unconvincing and predictable but not bad.

Another Night is more my kind of music, strong and aggressive but without leaving the wonderful atmospheres which are CAMEL'S trademark, the changes are not radical or dramatic but never stopped to surprise me, when I believed they started to get predictable the magnificent instrumental section of the middle caught me by surprise, this is what Prog is about, to never know what's coming next, and CAMEL managed to do it perfectly in Another Night great song except for the ending, because I'm not very fond in fading tracks...Holy God, how could I ignored this band for decades?

If somebody doubts CAMEL has a great FOCUS influence, the flute opening and guitar playing "a la Akkerman" in Air Born should convince them, despite the "more than casual" similarities in soound, wouldn't dare to call them derivative because the vocals and the backing organ make the difference. The instrumental section is marked by a Baroque Synthesizer and Latimer's flute which are delightful, the spectacular ending completes the success.

Lunar Sea starts as another jazzy tune with brilliant bass lines by Doug Ferguson complemented perfectly by the accurate drumming of Andy Ward, you can't do anything but love the break point where the keyboards take the lead, when this guys stop to be predictable they are able of magic, magnificent interplay of all the band, a very strong closer with a great guitar and keyboards work at the end....

.....Who said they were too predictable?..Seems I was, but gladly admit I was wrong.

Finding new great bands is satisfactory but it's much better when you discover you had great music under your nose and learn to appreciate it, and that's what has happened with CAMEL, I always had 5 or 6 ignored albums that now I have the chance to appreciate.

Four solid stars for a very solid album, maybe after a couple more weeks of constant CAMEL feedback I will rise it to five stars but I'm still a newbie in a very old band.

Report this review (#123011)
Posted Monday, May 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars a very dreamy and melodic effort by camel in the pinnacle of their career. from the first striking notes of opener aristillus you immediately get drown in the shallow waters shown at the front cover...then the haunting spirit of the water, another night.. just wonderful. a very light and enjoyable album and not just a must for any prog fan, but surely for anyone. superb work at the synths. happy listening! L
Report this review (#127230)
Posted Sunday, July 1, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars Now here is one of the old Prog Rock staples, at least in the eyes of reviews I've read. I haven't owned any Camel so this release, being so highly rated, was a must for me to listen to. And listen to it I have. Many times. And everytime I am left feeling, well one word describes it...yawn. Is this a cliche Prog Rock album? If non-Prog fans understand it is, they may never head down the Prog road.

I hear 70's jam band with nothing memorable. No musician prowess. No intricate compositions. Two tracks, Lunar Sea and Chord Change are a decent attempt at Prog, but don't expect Yes or King Crimson music magic. Droning vocals don't help boost the pep of the music. It is reminscent of Pink Floyd in ways but entirely this album fails to grab the listener.

Yes, this review is a bit scathing, but in fairness I've seen more Progressive material been thrown to the flames. Get this album if you must to complete your Prog library.

Report this review (#130154)
Posted Wednesday, July 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars I missed early Camel due to being in Canada from 75 to 78, so when I got back, a friend lent me this album, the first of theirs I'd heard. And for 45 minutes, I sat back in complete amazement at the sheer beauty and virtuosity on display. It's spacy, melodic and perfectly progressive. If you like the more metal side of prog, perhaps it may not appeal, since it's fairly gentle but utterly relaxing. Even the vocals work, which isn't always true with Camel, and the musicianship is superb. Latimer is one of the truly great axe players and played a mean flute too, whilst Bardens (rest in peace) was a wonderful keyboards player. Ward and Ferguson melded like glue and the bass line to Lunar Sea is a masterpiece of effective minimalism. Every track is beautifully constructed, but Song Within a Song, Lunar Sea and Another Night are just my favourites. I will only award 10 albums 5 stars - this is definitely one of them and is my favourite Camel release and may indeed be my favourite album of all time. Utterly essential to any record collection.
Report this review (#130216)
Posted Wednesday, July 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album probably was a comeback from the classic prog for me. After months of venturing in (mostly) prog metal area, somehow I decided to try some good ol’ classic prog again and incidentally run to this album, which happened to be the only Camel album available at the store (lucky me?). Anyway, I was fortunate to get this album because not only it’s a great introduction album to Camel for me, this album has somehow also awakened my…uh, ‘will’ to discover the greatness of classic prog once again. I’m not sure how it works, but that’s what happened!

So what’s so special about this album that somehow able to ‘ensnare’ me into the classic prog again? I’d say the instrumental works. Yes, ‘Moonmadness’ is an album that full of great instrumental parts, from the opening track ‘Aristillus’, some parts on ‘Song within a Song’, the enjoyable and pleasant song ‘Chord Change’, or the awesome ‘Lunar Sea’, each songs features lots of excellent compositions and instrumental works (keyboard, bass, drum, flute, guitar-you name them, they are all beautiful!). Not to discredit the vocals, while they’re not really my favorite type of vocal, they’re okay. All the vocals are not the high-pitched type ones; therefore they’re not a problem to me at all. In fact, I enjoy all the songs here; there’s not a single weak track here although I do enjoy the instrumental parts more than the vocals most of the times.

Overall, this is a fantastic album! If not because of this album, I probably wouldn’t have discovered the greatness of the classic prog era again. I’d say that this is probably the classic prog album that I enjoyed the most so far. Four and a half stars, highly recommended for prog fans, old and new!

Report this review (#132415)
Posted Thursday, August 9, 2007 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
5 stars Moonmadness is Camel´s best CD. Although I like very much the three that came before it - some people disagree with me, electing maybe Mirage or The Snowgoose- I still think that their fourth release is also their crowning achivement.They never sounded so perfect and inspiring as on Moonmadness. I was very sorry that bassist Doug Ferguson left the band after this CD and, with that, altering the chemistry within the group forever. Ok, they´d release some fine albums in the 90´s onwards, but not as good as the ´magnificent four´.

From the the short introduction of Aristillus to the last notes of Lunar Sea, the CD reeks of talent, guts and sophistication. As simple as the songs sound at first they grow on subsequent listenings to show all the glory of a band on all its power and glory. Song Within A Song is a classic prog song, Chord Changges shows the jazzy side of the band, Spirit Of The Water and Air Born their delicacy, ansd so on. But the best example to me is still the last track, Lunar Sea. This instrumental shows how powerful this band was, a great showcase fo their technique, skills and songwriting capabilities.

All in a ll my fave Camel album and the one I listen the most. A wonderful piece of prog music that inspired so many others. A must have and highly recommended CD.

Report this review (#134176)
Posted Wednesday, August 22, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars . Aristilus (1:59) 2. Song Within a Song (6:48) 3. Chord Change (7:18) 4. Spirit of the Water (2:09) 5. Another Night (7:00) 6. Air Born (5:04) 7. Lunar Sea (9:14)

Total Time: 39:32 Without any doubt, Camel's Masterpiece. Not only for them, but to all the Prog rock in general. When I first discovered Camel, I confess that I prefered the ''Mirage'' album. But when I listened (and studied) both, I definetely thought ''Moonmadness'' a lot more elaborated and well done.

The most important tracks in my opinion are surely ''Song Within a Song'' (how can this song make me so nice?) and ''Chord Change''. But the other ones are still good (mainly ''Lunar Sea'').

An important album... if you consider yourself a Prog Rock fan, you gotta have this piece of work!

Report this review (#141072)
Posted Saturday, September 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars 9.5/10 Incredible

Moonmadness carries on the brilliance of Camel's music in ways, and almost entirely lives up to their masterpiece, "The Snow Goose". While not a concept album as "The Snow Goose" was, and with a return to using vocals, the band takes some risks but ends up delivering in full genius in more ways than one.

Moonmadness is a sort of merging of "Mirage" and "The Snow Goose". It has the vocals, the rocking songs, the melow songs, and all the suntrumentation you could ask for. "Aristillus" kicks off the album with a bang and the rest is just great song after great song. My favorite tracks include "Air Born", "Spirit of the Water", and of course, "Aristillus". All of the tracks are great, but these stand out as some of Camels all-time best, almost topping some of what is on "Snow Goose". With this being Ferguson's last album, it is a bittersweet end to the classic line-up, and will signify the end to alot of what Camel once was. "Raindance", the next album, is a good effort but no where near the greatness found on here and earlier albums.

I think this album is incredible, not quite a masterwork because it has a few hickups here and there. I could do without some of the over-use of synths on songs like "Luner Sea" and "Another Night". I still find these songs great, but a little less production and intensity would have made this better. The band also set such high standards with "The Snow Goose" that it is impossible to warrant a perfect score unless that "feeling" was there. Moonmadness does not have that same "Feeling", again it is a sort of merger of Mirage and Snow Goose.

Alas, this album is an incredible album, some of the best prog ever created. Check it out!

Report this review (#151039)
Posted Thursday, November 15, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Camel reaches the peak of their career. For many this album is the best Camel, maybe, but the direction they took after Mirage is kinda strange to me. Mirage was more hard edge with a lots of guitar, while Snow Goose and Moonmadness are more keys orientated more symphonic but with no omission from the guitar parts. This is the last album created by the classical line-up of the band. After this album the band departs from classical symphonic prog and moves to jazzy/pop rock. A trully great album and pieces like Air born and Chord change are among the best Camel ever did, so why i give to Moonmadness 4 stars. After all this is a recommended album because of his melodic aproach.
Report this review (#154826)
Posted Sunday, December 9, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Now heres an album where the norm seems to rival me. Many people hail this as Camel's finest album, whilst I say that "The Snow Goose" is their essential buy. Most people also say that the album highlight is "Lunar Sea", where as I think that it is one of the weakest tracks. All of said guff aside, "Moonmadness" really is a very good album. My personal favourites from the album are "Song Within A Song", which sounds like the best song Focus never made- a fantastic instrumental for the most part with some beautiful vocals in the middle. The following track "Chord Change" is also very good, sounding very jazzy and psychedelic at the same time. The final song I would like to mention is "Air Born", which is a very delicate track that sounds more like "The Snow Goose" than anything else on the album. Just scrapes a 4/5 in my books, but definitely a good album.
Report this review (#155301)
Posted Thursday, December 13, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars It has taken a few years, but I think I finally appreciate the cold and empty soundscape that Camel has created with Moonmadness. To be honest, there is only one song that continually interests me (Lunar Sea), but every time I go back to this album, I wonder why I don't give it more respect. Also, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading many of the great reviews of this album that point out creative touches that I hadn't noticed, such as the songs loosely being based off of the band members' personalities, as well as numerous astronomical references and tongue-in-cheek jokes (song titles, plays on words, etc).

Moonmadness seems to start quite slowly, which may be why I often have trouble getting into it. The march-like instrumental opener, Aristillus, sounds a bit dated, and the proceeding Song Within a Song begins quite slowly (and boring), with some very poorly enunciated vocals (typical of Camel). But then there is a gorgeous crescendo, the tempo picks up, and the rest of the album (save the short Spirit of the Water) is very high quality.

On this album, you can't help but appreciate Camel's talent, in songwriting and playing. They are very tight together, and their transitions between tempos are about as effective as you will find, as is their use of dynamics. The problem is the vocals--they certainly are wise not to give up on them completely, but they range from average at best to terrible. This is actually a criticism I have of many Canterbury bands--if they just would have found better vocalists, the music would have that extra needed dimension. That being said, when Camel set to playing they are terrific, from the mellow shimmering organ and guitar section of Chord Change to the ominous, heavy chords of Another Night, to the spacey, distorted guitar of Air Born. Of course, the highlight is Lunar Sea, which features the perfect balance of mellow and fast sections, dreamy synths and impeccable guitar. This is certainly the best Camel piece I have heard, and it really fits with the moon-related theme of the album.

Dark Side will always be my favorite lunar album, for obvious reasons, but Moonmadness probably comes in second (though I'm not sure what other competition there might be!). Camel provide series of full, enjoyable, and expertly crafted songs with Moonmadness, and as long as you can appreciate the mellow and melodious side of prog, you should have this album.

Report this review (#156816)
Posted Thursday, December 27, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars There are many who view this recording as the pinnacle release by Camel. I disagree. That distinction belongs to its immediate predecessor, Music Inspired by the Snow Goose, which in its cohesiveness and execution of concept is unparalleled in the entire symphonic progressive rock literature. Despite this, Moonmadness is an excellent collection of progressive rock material, and, taken on their own, each piece stands well. The musical ideas and concepts are not, in general, as fully developed as those in 'Snow Goose' and as a result, not quite as satisfying. The musicianship of the players is beyond reproach, however. Jazzy elements are somewhat more prevalent on this recording than on earlier material, though not to the degree of later recordings. Although flagrant commercialism is not present, this offering is, while not quite mainstream, geared toward somewhat less adventuresome ears than 'Snow Goose'. Once again, the liability of weak vocals rears its ugly head, and this remains the perpetual Achilles' heel of the band. Overall, it is a four star recording but hardly a masterpiece.
Report this review (#158600)
Posted Monday, January 14, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Camel's finest hour?

Personally, Camel's first album is my favorite of their classic period which I consider the first four releases with bassist Doug Ferguson. The debut album has so much enthusiasm and fun jamming. But I have to admit that "Moonmadness" is probably their masterpiece, the most well-rounded, full-sounding, and consistent album of those years. They entered the studio in January 1976 and the album was on the street just two months later which is a testament to how efficient they must have been at that moment. Moonmadness seems the most mature of these albums and corrects the shortcomings of the fan favorite "Snow Goose" by eliminating the more docile spaces between the great moments in an album that was already low-key enough. Liner notes indicate that new producer Rhett Davies sought to give Camel a more spacious sound on this album and it's a difference you can really notice when you listen. Lush, melodic, and with improved writing, Camel's fourth turned out to be an album that would live up to the fantastic cover art and grand intentions.

The stage is set instantly with properly noble introduction titled "Aristillus" which likely gave fans in 1976 plenty to be excited about as they began to explore the lunar concepts. But it is on "Song Within a Song" that you realize this is going to be special. Few bands do the pastoral this fine: lush keyboards, beautiful flutes, restrained guitar and drums, mellow vocals. This is one of those very difficult albums for me to describe because the adjectives just begin to repeat. Beautiful, gorgeous, et al. "Chord Change" sees an uptick in the energy level with Latimer and Ferguson playing off each other very nicely. It chills out a bit as Latimer lets flow one of his most fantastic solos ever with Bardens using restrained organ behind him. After Bardens takes his own solo the pace picks back up until the end. A brief respite with the great piano and rippling voice on "Spirit of the Water." The roll they were on just kept rolling with "Another Night" which was chosen as the single being an upbeat rocker with suitable vocals. "Air Born" may be the single most beautiful melancholic prog track ever written with the flute and synth perfectly setting up Latimer who executes both acoustically and electrically. The vocals here are sufficiently dreamy to fit well with the mood. The closer is the instrumental "Lunar Sea" that puts this album over the top. The soaring atmospheres created by Bardens and Latimer absolutely bath the listener in the smooth rocking lunar vibe that the album is selling, wide-open, propulsive by Camel standards, and fun! The hero on this piece is Andy Ward who's understated but tight percussion holds everything in perfect orbit.

How fitting that this review is being posted tonight, about an hour before I will be stepping outside to view a full lunar eclipse on a clear, freezing cold night. No, I didn't plan that, this album just happened to be on the top of the pile tonight. An essential title for a wide range of progressive rock fans who adore melody and accessibility. There is nothing abrasive here, this is plain and simple musical comfort food. 4 ź stars for me.

Report this review (#162278)
Posted Wednesday, February 20, 2008 | Review Permalink
The Pessimist
4 stars Camel's second best album, I consider this to be the younger and slightly less interesting twin of Mirage. Indeed this album is superb in almopst every way possible: melodic, climatic, unpredictable, beautiful and classically based; it just lacks a certain quality that drags Mirage to the top of my Camel collection. Anyway, here is a track by track:

1. Aristilus - 7/10 2. Song Within a Song - 9/10 3. Chord Change - 9/10 4. Spirit of the Water - 7/10 5. Another Night - 9/10 6. Air Born - 10/10 7. Lunar Sea - 10/10

The thing I love about this album is that it goes out with a bang, the last two tracks being the strongest of the 7. I haven't given descriptions for each track as I don't feel it necessary; you need to find out for yourself. I will tell you this - it is definitely worth the money. 4 stars.

Report this review (#162392)
Posted Friday, February 22, 2008 | Review Permalink
Italian Prog Specialist
2 stars There is something I dislike on this album. It could be the sometimes spaceous structure, the annoying emotionless vocals (sparse, but nonetheless) and vocal effects OR the knack for repetition this band seems to have, especially when it comes to basslines. Most likely it's a mixture of all of these elements, paired with the lack of enthusiasm I think that some bands seem to emit.

In short: Moonmadness just doesn't offer me much of a thrill.

The reason to why I decided to get this record was Aristillus, and Aristillus alone. I heard it once and really liked it. Great powerful keyboard-driven tune with a cold, crisp atmosphere to it. Some distorted, electronic bass sounds make it even colder.

Song Within a Song is a perfect example of what I can't appreciate here. It's not that it is bad per se, but the intro reeks of something I can only categorize as blandness. My first thought was 'MIDI!' and the next was 'polyphonic phone tunes!', production- and otherwise. Not very exciting, eh? After the intro finishes, there is this Floyd-esque spacey part that will repeat itself a couple of times during the song. I've never been a big fan of that, making this a STRICTLY subjective objection (but even I like the introduction of Lunar Sea, where this feels natural and really builds up the atmosphere of a cold, moonlit night. Bullseye!). I'd also appreciate a more powerful organ sound, instead of the often meandering performance. The rest of the songs are all somewhat close to this one, at least big parts of them, when broken down into individual passages. So chances are that if you like this song, you'll like the album. But if you don't...

Another Night is more powerful and classic rock-ish. But I still feel that it suffers from overuse of to few musical ideas, drawn out for 7 minutes. Or perhaps that the ideas don't get time enough for development.

All this makes it sound like I despise this record, but I really don't. Found here is also some very emotional and enjoyable guitar solos and nice flute and as I said earlier, nothing is actually bad, as in sloppy, or untalented. I think there's a fair amount of material for three stars, even the rare four/five star-thingy. But I can't let go of that feeling that this is a band trying really hard to sound like a lot of other bands, all at the same time, somewhat lacking in a clear musical direction.

Taken as a whole: 2.5 stars (going down), as I'm sure fans of this musical blend (obviously, just look at the rating!) will enjoy this.


Report this review (#164771)
Posted Sunday, March 23, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars My favorite Camel album thus far.

Camel seems to have now found the perfect mix of their vocalizations and their instrumentation on this record. Excellent guitar work compliments of the talented Andy Latimer is present throughout, solid rhythm section and good keyboard work. The vocals are so laid back but not in a bad way, they just don't scream at you, fitting perfectly with the constructed yet loose music. I enjoy this album immensely however, I do find it a little too careful to be a doesn't tread much new ground or blow you away but I guarantee a lot of enjoyment. Ahh so good.

Report this review (#165809)
Posted Sunday, April 6, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Maybe the musical peak of my favourite band ever. One of these records any MUSIC lover has to know. You'll find here the essence of progressive rock, perfectly combined with the most beautiful melodies and a lot of virtuousism. Specially wonderful Air borne, in which the time seems to stop for a moment, then turning to life in a memorable way. The whole album sounds like a GROUP work. Of course, there are brilliant guitar and keys solos, but they are perfectly ensambled with the rythm section so that you don't think ok, another virtuoso solo or something so.
Report this review (#168994)
Posted Tuesday, April 29, 2008 | Review Permalink
Prog-Folk Team
5 stars After the breakthrough success of "Snow Goose", Camel could have played safe and gone with another instrumental concept but instead chose to combine the best aspects of that album with "Mirage" to produce arguably their finest album.

Unlike in its predecessor, Camel is less interested in slow mood setting on the opener "Aristillus", and more in immediate impact, drawing the listener into the work from the first moment. With plenty of synthesizers almost overpowering in their attack, an intricate melody emerges and prepares us for the journey. "A Song within a Song" is practically a flute led ballad to begin with, with vocals reintroduced for the first time since "Lady Fantasy", these sung by Doug Ferguson. But after the 2 verses, we are treated to a veritable keyboard fest, and to Camel's ability to turn minimalist themes into magic. "Chord Changes" should please very early fans of the group, with many of those jamming qualities present in their debut but also greater quality control, and the first hints of Mr Latimer's great improvement as an axeman. A slight influence of Mr Carlos Santana is suggested in a variety of ways such as the subtle but clear Latin tinge. "Spirit of the Water" is sung spacily by Bardens and demonstrates Camel's aptitude with short vocal melodies. You might expect a little throwaway ditty but you get anything but.

"Another Night" is one of my personal favourite Camel songs, more of a rocker but with a lot more structure than during the Mirage era. More of an emphasis on minimalist qualities is evident here, and it works perfectly thanks to the ensemble approach. The vocals are also unusually strong and as close to harmonious as you will get from pre Chris Rainbow Camel. "Airborne" is one of Camel's softest and most beautiful songs, featuring a lovely flute led melody, gentle vocals, and spacey keyboards. While I feel that "Lunar Sea" is somewhat overrated, most consider it one of Camel's all time best works. It debuts under a wash of mellotron and gives prominence to synthesizers, bass, drums and guitars at different times.

Not for the first or the last time, Camel proved with Moonmadness that they were an evolving band, swayed more with the madness of love of their craft than commercial fortune.

Report this review (#170612)
Posted Sunday, May 11, 2008 | Review Permalink
TGM: Orb
2 stars Review 33, Moonmadness, Camel, 1976


This album was my third Camel album, and like The Snow Goose, it simply failed to captivate me like Mirage did. At first, I was fairly impressed with Andy Ward's more substantial drumming contribution, and the band seemed to have cracked what they wanted to do with the vocals. However, the problems with the album soon seeped through. I didn't, and don't, like either Lunar Sea or Chord Change, the former, especially, being boring as Hell. The keyboards often sound weak to the point of being ineffectual, and Ferguson's bass isn't especially impressive. Additionally, the album as a whole is quite conservative, unlike Mirage, which was consistently interesting and daring, or The Snow Goose, which, while not my cup of tea, was pretty diverse throughout. Pieces from Mirage, especially, developed a little, while those on here remain pretty static.

Aristillus begins the album with a fairly whimsical synth-driven track with Pete Bardens' keyboards everywhere and occasional background muttering. After a minute, slightly more substantial moog-work is brought in to bring the song to a conclusion. Generally meh.

Song Within A Song is the first of the softer, vocal-inclusive offerings of the album, with a combination of rather ineffectual Bardens keyboards and Latimer flute introducing us to the song. The highlight to this opening is an interesting percussion contribution (providing some mysterious textures) from Ward with an accompanying Ferguson bass-part. Once the vocals come in, the song improves substantially, seeming more directed, with a soft, relaxing mesh of voices and the flutes and synths feeling much better placed. A good groove with a neat keyboard riff and some Latimer-Ward created textures in the background lead us on for another minute. A slightly funky (for want of a more sonically pleasing word) section doesn't really do much for me, with its synths again feeling meaningless and light, but the conclusion with clashing percussion from Ward and renewed synth or guitar (can't tell which) is much more satisfactory.

Chord Change is the first of the two mainly uptempo and rather dubious pieces on the album. We get rather weak set of guitar parts from Latimer, monotonous bass and drums and occasional irritating 'dah-dah dahdahdah-dahdah dah-dah-dadah' vocals. A brief break with a soft guitar solo accompanied by a capable rhythm section, glockenspiel and swelling background organ included. A gradual build-up with some rather strained organ-work leads up a return to blandness. This piece is rather characterised by a fairly cheerful, conservative nature, and I wish that Latimer had perhaps rocked out a little more.

Bardens' Spirit Of The Water (originally a piano solo) is dominated by piano, a watery, distant vocal and a couple of flute additions over the top of the piano. The night-time, watery feel is handled perfectly. I'm not sure whether I prefer this version or the demo solo.

Another Night is definitely the most rocking of the songs here, with a comfortable chord-based Latimer, some delightful block organ from Bardens and some sophisticated and interesting drumming from Ward. The vocals work smoothly in conjunction with the music. An interesting combination of the organ and guitar soloists and the rather blunt bass-led rhythm section gives a springboard from which the guitar-part and hollow drums can burst in again. Two enjoyable solos from Bardens and Latimer respectively lead us on to an unfortunately awkward fade. Still, I like this one.

Air Born begins with a rather pastoral flute solo (and some piano beneath it), and then takes off with a relaxed groove, very nice mellotron and some excellent guitar-playing from Latimer. A tolerable (I'm not really sure if a stronger one would have helped or damaged the song) vocal brings us through the song. Flute and acoustic weave together a light atmosphere for us, but a wallowing moog and slightly tacky sound effects could probably have been left out. Latimer's gentle vocal brings us on to the conclusion with grandiose drumming and mellotron complimenting the acoustics. Another good piece, but not approaching the masterly levels on Mirage.

A deep, shimmering set of keyboards (though overly repeated, in my opinion) gives rise to the groove of Lunar Sea, which is the second of the conservative pieces on the album. Latimer throws in an extensive guitar solo, but listening to it feels like a chore rather than a delight, and a repetitive rhythm section (especially Ferguson) does nothing to help. Bardens takes the next solo, which has its moment, though I find it difficult to get the irritating bass part out of my head and just enjoy it. Following that, Latimer and Bardens gradually become more cooperative in their soloing, with a completely bland and damaging-to-the-song groove from Ferguson, who provides the songs highest moments by not playing. Another solo from Latimer, while Bardens joins the rhythm section, leaves me rather cold, but again, I think it's the background and not the solo that's the problem. A yawn-worthy combination of the guitar, the opening keyboards and some windy effect leads us out. In short, a terribly bland piece of music.

Onto the bonus material:

The single version of Another Night is a welcome addition, as it has all the great parts and none of the un-helpful ones from the original piece. The piano solo version of Spirit Of The Water is nice, perhaps preferable to the one finally included. A live version of Song Within A Song has a better sounding opening, and is overall a rather more satisfactory and fleshed-out piece. Good inclusion. A ten minute live version of Lunar Sea has a slightly less prominent and annoying bass part and more emotional soloing (especially from Latimer), but is essentially the same song at heart. So, not masterly, but much better than the studio one. Finally, this segues into a live rendition of Preparation and Dunkirk from The Snow Goose, with a very successfully conveyed atmosphere and feel in Preparation giving way nicely to the great guitar soloing and martial drumming of Dunkirk. This inclusion provides a very nice end to the 'full' remaster, which is something I have to compliment the Camel re-release range for: despite including bonus material, the album always ends very neatly.

All in all, I'm not that big a fan of the album proper, with a couple of enjoyable highlights. I'd give the remaster complete with bonus material three stars, but the original album's material only two. Two stars it is. The remaster is a generally good album, which I enjoy listening to. Fans of Camel obviously like the sections from the original studio album, but I really don't, and think that someone who hasn't shown much interest in other albums by them could pass it over without really missing anything. Mirage (and, to a lesser extent, The Snow Goose) is much more exciting, in my opinion. Sorry for the stupid overuse of remaster meaning 'album with bonus material', but my brain is scrambled today.

Rating: Two Stars (Three for the remaster with bonus material) Favourite Track: Another Night (or the live version of Song Within A Song)

Report this review (#171447)
Posted Sunday, May 18, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Moonmadness is the fourth album from symphonic proggers Camel and the highlight of their career IMO. It was the end of the original line-up as bassist Doug Ferguson would leave after this album. The first four albums from Camel do have a special place in my prog rock collection even though I´m not the most devoted fan in the world. Their music has always been strangely calming to me. Very pleasant listening experiences. They have the most soft sound in the world as if they played in cotton.

The music is symphonic prog rock with lots of vintage keyboard sounds, flute and the melodic guitar playing from bandleader Andy Latimer. The vocals are not very dominant and they only appear in about half the songs. People always bitch about Came´s vocals but I have always found them nice and calming. They are not fantastic but they suit the music fine. The vocals duty is split between the members of the band which really can´t be heard as they all have similar sounding voices. I think their vocal style reminds me of some of the Canterbury scene vocalists.

Unlike most of my fellow reviewers I wasn´t too impressed with The Snow Goose which I quite frankly found a bit boring. It means the world to me that Camel have chosen to add vocals to Moonmadness even though they are pretty sparse. Not surprisingly my favorites on Moonmadness are Song Within a Song and Air Born which are the longest songs with vocals on the album. Another Night even though it is a good song is a bit too much on the commercial side for me. Chord Change and Lunar Sea which are the longest instrumentals on Moonmadness are very good songs too though, so don´t think I don´t like the instrumental songs. Chord Change is the most exciting for me.

The musicianship has reached it´s peak in Camel with this album, and everything just sounds so good.

The production is excellent. A school example of how seventies prog rock should sound if you like the softer version.

I think Moonmadness is one of the best albums Camel has ever made. I don´t feel that it´s an essential album for prog rock even though it´s excellent. I´ll rate it 4 stars and I will recommend this to anyone who likes soft progressive rock that doesn´t offend anybody but still has enough substance to please just about every prog head I know.

Report this review (#173024)
Posted Wednesday, June 4, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is one of the most classical prog albuns of all times! The flute is remarkable in Song within a song & Air born. I have Latimer's influence in my guitar hobby times. I hope to hear good news from his recovery. I made some sketches of the songs I mentioned and encourage you to do the same with many other classics like Never let go, Ice and other unforgetable passages we know!
Report this review (#178223)
Posted Saturday, July 26, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars One of the definitions that can be applied to the word extraordinary would be "a work of art where the difficult seems effortless." On "Moonmadness," as the group known as Camel smoothly traverses through intricate passages involving tricky tempos and unusual time signatures, that rare ability is abundant and makes this collection of tunes a joy to experience. Coming off the heels of their celebrated "Snow Goose" album, this one finds these gifted musicians to be more confident than ever and the cohesive tracks presented are a testament to their professionalism, dedication to their craft and their hard-earned, accumulated experience. (And is this one fantastic example of glorious cover art or what?) The shame is that well over three decades passed me by before finally discovering this band's unique charm. Yet I think many proggers who grew up in the USA adoring British bands like Yes, Pink Floyd and Genesis are in the same clueless situation because Camel received little or no radio play over here and they were never promoted properly to garner the attention of those who would have flocked to their sound. Like me. Alas, better late than never, I say.

A delightful little ditty called "Aristillus" opens the album and, despite the fact that it was written by guitarist Andrew Latimer, it's almost all synthesizers layered over a marching percussive beat and establishes an unassuming, playful air right off the bat. It's nearly impossible to dislike this short but endearing instrumental number. "Song Within a Song" follows and it is one of the most seamless performances you'll ever come across in prog. As you'll hear throughout the proceedings the vocals are good but so subdued that they tend to blend into the background. That's the sole aspect of their talent they seem to be insecure about but, for the most part, it doesn't detract from the overall presentation. Latimer's excellent flute playing is exquisite here, the interjection of a lively guitar/bass riff prevents the song from becoming boring or predictable and Peter Barden's tasteful synthesizer ride towards the end is hypnotic. It's a first-class cut of prime prog from start to finish.

The band shifts into a higher gear for the jazzy "Chord Changes," a harmony guitar-based tune where drummer Andy Ward shines like a supernova as he slides and glides gracefully over the musical landscape behind the group. Midway through they slow things down and allow Andrew to dazzle with warm electric guitar runs and Peter with a stunning Hammond organ solo that can only be described as magical. Aficionados of that majestic instrument will undoubtedly be impressed. After a return to the initial up tempo jazz motif the song slowly fades away but remains firmly seated in your prog consciousness. Just when you think they've peaked, along comes the heavenly "Spirit of the Water." Beautiful doesn't do it justice. A serene union of flute and keyboards joined with a haunting vocal fed through a Leslie speaker cabinet (giving it a cool underwater ambience), the only criticism I have is that it's entirely too brief in duration. I could blissfully swim in it for another five minutes or so.

"Another Night" is a more commercial venture somewhat rooted in the then-popular Alan Parsons Project style. But here the diminished vocals are a distraction, making the opening verses come off as rather pedestrian until the all-music break arrives and the tune veers off into a very engaging direction led by Doug Ferguson's strong bass lines. The song develops well-needed drive as it evolves and both Latimer and Bardens contribute spirited solos toward the end. "Air Born" starts nicely but loses momentum the moment the vocal melody enters, marking the nadir of the album. Don't get me wrong, it's not bad at all but it's also not particularly memorable. "Lunar Sea" serves as a wonderful finale, though. This instrumental piece begins with mysterious synthesized strings hovering like mist over a still pond before a sizzling, jazzy groove rises like the summer sun and takes over with Ward again splintering sparks from his drumkit, guiding the group through the song's exciting hills and valleys. I consider the ARP synthesizer (so very popular in the seventies) to be one of the most misused and horribly abused inventions of that era but, in the hands of a master, it could be wholly entertaining and that's what Peter accomplishes with it here. His lead is tactful and leisurely performed, showing all keyboardists how it's done. Andrew tosses in a white hot guitar solo prior to the number dissolving back down into the spacey aura of the introduction. This is great progressive rock not to be overlooked.

I'm not partial to hearing loose studio run-throughs that often get slapped onto reissues but here the "bonus" tracks actually live up to their promising title. The single version of "Another Night" actually benefits from the vocals being more upfront in the mix than on the original. The unadorned demo version of "Spirit of the Water" not only surprises but mesmerizes. It's just Bardens performing the song alone on the piano but it is nothing short of drop-dead gorgeous and I could listen to it over and over again. Maybe it's just me but all I can say is "Wow!" Including live recordings as extra cuts is most appreciated and the pristinely engineered and mixed performances of "Song Within a Song," "Lunar Sea" and (from Snow Goose) "Preparation/Dunkirk" are perfect compliments to the CD. With Camel not being a "jam" band, they add little to the studio renditions but the way the band delicately fades in and out on "Lunar Sea" is awesome and Latimer's passionate guitar ride on the same song is remarkable.

With so many reviews already posted for "Moonmadness" it's obvious that, when it comes to Camel, I'm an over-the-hill late bloomer. So be it. Can't do much about it now except to play catch up and start collecting and enjoying their fine prog creations one album at a time. It will be a pleasure. 4.3 stars.

Report this review (#178243)
Posted Saturday, July 26, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Camel continues to explore the genre of progressive rock with the next release - Moonmadness. In my opinion, after these unique albums like Mirage and The Snow Goose, the band decided to take different way for its career. These two albums explored everything what one progressive rock band could dream for. And honestly Moonmadness doesn't produce the same feeling in me like these two predecessors. The musicianship is just completed and remind me to other albums played in the same slow technique manner - Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here and Dark Side of the Moon and Premiata Forneria Marconi's Stati di immaginazione. But the one big thing that embarrass me is the songwriting. I don't consider the songs to be completed enough and I think this part of the album is far behind the musicianship on the release. I can't forget to mark the last song of the album as the best by far here - Lunar Sea. It is full of surprises and tempo changes. It comprises of irregular time signature - just beautiful. For the song - 5 stars. I consider the album is much weaker than Mirage and The Snow Goose and little weaker than the homonymous Camel album. For the album around 3.75!
Report this review (#178421)
Posted Tuesday, July 29, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars It's a fact that Moonmadness is one of the best Camel albums. But in my opinion this could be one of the best albums of the 70's which is anyway-I mean in terms of sales too, as there is so much more potential inside the songs of this album. I think that the intros of Lunar Sea and Airborn are some of the most beautiful and emotional music I've ever heard! Airborn's main melody, played by Latimer is in my opinion emotionally overwhelming-I still get chills, some 25 years since I've first heard it! Quite the same happens for Lunar Sea intro... But as I've said I think that these songs could have been named as 70's classics-the song development could be greater and more adventurous...great songs anyway. If Song Within A Song was sung by...let's say Steve Walsh or Jon Anderson even better I believe that Camel would have had a big selling hit single... Excellent song by any means anyway... Spirit Of The Water is also a very special song but needed some more development, some more adventure alike Nimrodel. Chord Change is just excellent, no more words needed Summarizing, Moonmadness has much better production than the previous Camel Albums, much better technique, in a way better songwriting but lacks a bit the adventure and the fantasy of Mirage album or the grandeur of The Snow Goose. It is still a great Camel album.
Report this review (#189980)
Posted Thursday, November 20, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Many consider this to be Camel's best album, and if it weren't for the two of theirs that are better, I'd probably be inclined to agree.

Coming off the heels of the band's excellent prog rock powerhouse Mirage and their gently brilliant instrumental album The Snow Goose, Moonmadness mixes both of them without truly foraying into as much adventurous genius as either of them. The songs are all great, but they do not come across quite as convincing nor as enthralling. The vocals are much less inspired to me than on Mirage, and the compositions a bit more jam-oriented than on The Snow Goose. Do not mistake the meaning of all this. Camel's third strongest album simply implies a wonderful release of progressive music, and not one to be ignored by any means at all. Fans of Camel will love this. Fans of Pink Floyd will likely love this. Fans of prog in general can probably find plenty to love here. It's just not quite on that plane of quality that its two most recent predecessors find themselves on. The flute is not quite as prominent nor as unfettered, but the drums and bass form the rhythm section in a way that actually is much more remarkable than on any other Camel album.

The first track is the short instrumental bit Aristillus, opening the album with a mildly upbeat sound over which an odd-sounding keyboard jingles out the melody. It turns quite nicely into Song Within a Song. This track is mostly slow-moving, beautiful guitar/bass unisons displaying the melody. About four and a half minutes in, the song changes for a bit (song within a song?), featuring more driving rhythm and a nifty keyboard ditty bounced around. The music turns majestic for a few moments, drums flying with cymbals and snare quite evocatively, before turning around at the last moment to remind us of the way the song sounded at the beginning. Chord Change sounds more like earlier Camel at the get-go, fast harmonized guitars marking out a melody. Andy really shines on his frets here, completely showing up his often-considered rival David Gilmour. In truth, this track in a lot ways hearkens back to The Snow Goose. A spiraling clean guitar solo makes up the middle section of the tune, slowly giving way to a new keyboard melody that slowly gains ground and intensity. It suddenly launches into a quick solo. The tempo and feel keeps growing under the force of a guitar as the song fades out. Short of Lunar Sea, this is the strongest track on the album. Spirit of the Water wraps up the first side, being a gentle song with a good melody and kind of lackluster vocals.

Side two begins with Another Night, a cowbell driven rock tune marred only by a slightly weak vocal melody. The mid section features a wonderful bass line that truly powers the song much further than its verses can provide. The guitar once again harmonizes with itself to play the melodic lead throughout the instrumental interlude here. Finally, a snappy guitar solo closes out the tune in true Latimer flair. Air Born waltzes in next, though this track is a more straightforward and less clever ballad than its predecessors. It's not terribly remarkable save for some quirky and tasty flute. The true highlight of the second side is the near ten minute track Lunar Sea. Akin to Chord Change, this song features no vocals. However, much of it is gentler. It opens with a bit of keyboard soundscaping, before the bass lays down the ground and the guitars walk all over on top. It settles down after a moment so that an electronica sort of key sound can play a melody (which eventually becomes a solo), but the tempo will return. With it comes some organ and another guitar solo, all still completely held in check and at the same time propelled forward by some absolutely wonderful bass guitar. The music then changes and grows even wilder about seven minutes in, with Andy Ward flailing about wonderfully on his drumset. This fades into a closing soundscape.

In all, Moonmadness has too many weak spots to truly qualify as a five star album, but it quite easily stands in the four star range. Any fan of Camel needs to listen to this one. It's not the best place to start, but it's a great second or third one to listen to. Highly recommended.

Report this review (#190407)
Posted Monday, November 24, 2008 | Review Permalink
Eclectic Prog Team
5 stars Camel's fourth studio album is brilliant, and one of the best they have ever done. After the instrumental concept album The Snow Goose, the band decided to do something more in line with what they had done previously. There isn't a weak moment on this offering, and every passage of it is so memorable.

"Aristillus" This short instrumental marks the beginning of lush journey of sound. It has the feel of a march, and is laden with synthesizers. Drummer Andy Ward can be heard chanting "Aristillus Autolycus" over and over, apparently because he was the only one in the group who could do it. The piece ends with a descending, whistling synthesizer.

"Song Within a Song" One of the best tracks on the album, this one has several phases, each of which is never repeated. After a satisfying introduction, there is a pleasant flute section that leads into both of the verses. Doug Ferguson sings lazily here; the dreamy lyrics actually demand this serene vocal style. After two verses, there is an uplifting section of guitar that builds up to a simple but effective synthesizer solo section. The final moments of the song are even more elevating than what came before.

"Chord Change" One of two lengthy instrumentals, "Chord Change" has a solid guitar theme and several respectable transitions. It gives Latimer an ample opportunity to shine, and shine he does. The anticipation of some parts and the sudden but surprisingly smooth shifts from briskness to calm and back again mean that this song would have been right at home on their preceding album, The Snow Goose.

"Spirit of the Water" Fleeting and mystical, flute and piano soon give way to Peter Bardens's pensive and hushed voice. The effects make him sound as if he is singing underwater. This is a song about inevitability.

"Another Night" Several layered guitars fade in before breaking down to the main riff. Latimer's singing is similar to that of Ferguson's on "Song Within a Song." The chorus lays off the distorted electric guitars and employs a flanging effect. During the instrumental interlude, there is a clever bass line, organ in the background, and eventually, some beautiful dual guitar work. The third verse forgoes a chorus in favor of an upbeat organ solo, and soon enough, a well-done electric guitar solo.

"Air Born" Soft flute and piano begin this lovely song, after which strings and electric guitar take over. This time, Latimer's singing is comparable to Bardens's on "Spirit of the Water." The vocal melody is agreeable, as is the interlude of flute and acoustic guitar that follows. The instrumental section features electric piano runs, long guitar notes, and the sound of something like air rushing past. After a vigorous third verse, the whole band reprises the introduction. It is a song full of variations, but one that is tightly orchestrated.

"Lunar Sea" After an atmospheric opening (featuring Ward blowing into a container of water through a hosepipe), the bass and drums fade in, in a rapid 10/8 time signature. Latimer delights us with a soulful guitar performance on this lengthy instrumental, before Ferguson brings about a merry bass line that provides a solid foundation for an extensive and spirited synthesizer solo. After the keyboard part, Latimer steps into the spotlight once more, this time delivering a fiery solo on electric guitar. The song ends as it began.

Report this review (#191612)
Posted Wednesday, December 3, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars I can't believe it's another symphonic prog album!!!!!

Moonmadness is the last album released from Camel's best period in the 70's. After the incredible "Snow Goose" the record company put some pressure to the band so they would not release another instrumental record again. There is not a change of direction for the band in the sonic department since the style is typical symphonic prog ( a little bit watered down may I add) with Camel's features: Emotional guitar parts , athmospheric keyboards and equal participation from every one of the band members.

Aristillus is a short instrumental drenched with synthetizers , although I don't think it will be revered as a masterpiece , there is nothing annoying about it as well. The second number is a typical Camel song it starts with very nice flute by Latimer. Unluckily , this song features vocals and these are quite uninspired. But that's the only flaw I can find on " Song within a Song" since it features very well made athmospheric parts both with synthetizers and guitar. The melodies are memorable as well. As a note , I can add that both Latimer and Bardens share the vocal duties here. " Chord Change" is not as strong as the previous number , I have heard loads of instrumentals like this one. Probably the wrong thing about it it's that on the previous number the song felt like we were on a space voyage and suddenly we are taken back to a jam section with the next tune. Still , this song has an interesting middle section that reminds me of the Snow Goose which is good in my book . " Spirit of the Water" was originally intended to be a keyboard solo but it features some really depressing vocals instead.

"Another Night" starts strong , with interesting riffs. But soon the band runs out of ideas , the song feels almost like a leftover from another recording session. And on top of that we have our classic "vocals" issue. Finally , the song fades away without having achieved anything.. The weakest track on this record by far. " Air born" , in comparaison is a much stronger song: Starts with flute , emotional guitar patterns and spacey synths much like "Song within a Song". The vocals feel the mood of the tune right now which is quite a compliment. As a disgression , am I the only one to find similarities between the middle section and Beatles " Flying"? Finally the record ends with the majestic "Lunar sea". Camel really goes space rock here! There is some heavy syntherizer work by Bardens all over this song , but also Andy Ward offers his best drumming performance on the record. This number is by far the most energetic of the album. After the synths there is some frenetic soloing by Latimer pretty much like Mirage's wildest moments. I think this album couldn't have had a better closer than "Lunar Sea"

"Moonmadness" is sort of a mixed bag: A couple of exellent tunes , another good ones and finally some forgettable ones. I don't think this record may sound annoying to anyone's ears but I don't think of it as the most thrilling record you'll find on the site either.

Report this review (#205697)
Posted Saturday, March 7, 2009 | Review Permalink
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
3 stars Camel's highest-rated album was released in 1976, when the original prog movement was already on its way to a slow but steady decline. As often happens in all forms of art, the products of those inevitable stages in the creative cycle have a languid, somehow world-weary quality that many people find very appealing. In fact, their beauty, even perfection in a strictly formal sense (think of the elegantly curving shapes of Art Nouveau artifacts) is often undeniable.

Moonmadness is one such product: harmonious, full of softly flowing melodies, devoid of any sharp edges, definitely soothing. The very names of the songs project a peaceful, vaguely New-Age vibe, with all their references to air, water, and the inevitable moon. The music is flawlessly executed, the vocals soft and muted, the tracks blending almost seamlessly into each other. It is the polite face of prog, offering just enough compositional intricacies to keep fans satisfied and avoid accusations of sell-out. However, those listeners who need to have their attention constantly engaged and stimulated will ultimately find this album disappointing, even boring. Moonmadness soothes the ear, but never once does it challenge it in the way prog milestones like Close to the Edge or Larks' Tongues in Aspic can do.

Even more so than its predecessor, Mirage, which occasionally featured some slightly more energetic moments, Moonmadness is an orgy of lush keyboards, tasteful guitar licks, and sweetly pastoral flutes (check in particular Air Born). Andy Latimer's vocals sound even flatter than usual, which in a way makes the instrumental tracks stand out - the actual songs are often nothing short of soporific, as is the case of Song Within a Song (greatly enhanced by Richard Sinclair's vocals in the live version featured on A Live Record). It is not a coincidence that the album's highpoint is the 9-minute-plus instrumental Lunar Sea, possibly Camel's finest hour. Initially driven by Doug Ferguson's pulsing bass lines and Andy Ward's measured beat, it slows down in the middle in order to allow Andy Latimer and Peter Bardens ample room to display their skills, then picks up the pace again. Latimer's guitar work is particularly good here - there is no denying that he is a fine guitarist, no matter his vocal shortcomings.

The 2002 Decca remastered edition of the album offers a real bonanza for Camel fans. Not only does it feature alternative versions of Another Night and Spirit of the Water, but also three previously unreleased live recordings - respectively Song Within a Song, Lunar Sea, and a tantalising excerpt from the band's third album The Snow Goose, the solemn, majestic Preparation/Dunkirk. None of these versions, however, differ significantly from those already present on the album.

Don't get me wrong, in spite of my criticism of the album, I find Moonmadness a thoroughly pleasant listen, and even give it a spin with some frequency. However, as I already stated in my Mirage review, calling it one of the best-ever albums in prog is, at least in my opinion, somewhat of an exaggeration. It is perfectly all right to want to avoid the excesses of the more avant-garde subgenres of prog, and go for music that does not tax the brain (or the ears) too much - and Camel are excellent purveyors of this kind of 'undemanding' prog. On the other hand, I find that a band like PFM does 'beautiful prog' much better than Camel - unfortunately, their not being English undeniably plays against them (and their English-language albums are anything but representative of their better output).

Therefore, I will stay with a solid 3-star rating. Good album indeed, but in no way essential. If you bother exploring a little further afield, you might find that there are so many real masterpieces just waiting to be discovered, and even change the way you see prog.

Report this review (#206691)
Posted Thursday, March 12, 2009 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
4 stars Camel explore very unique territory with each release. This is their fourth album and definitely one of their best featuring some of their most eclectic symphonic prog tracks such as Song Within a Song and Lunar Sea. I had heard these tracks on a compilation and knew I would sooner or later be getting this CD. The album features in the top 40 best prog albums in the Mojo magazine prog special.

I was not disappointed. Each track is beautifully, masterfully executed with incredible musical virtuoso playing from each member. Latimer's guitars are perfectly balanced by Ward's drumming and the keyboard talents of Barden's. The keyboardist also trys his vocal talents on Spirit of The Water which is phased out psychedelic beauty. The instrumental sections of each track are the highlights, not taking anything away from the vocal talents of the band who all take turns on this release.

Song Within a Song is what it purports to be, a song hidden within another song and it does feature many metrical time changes as is akin to the music of Camel. Air Born is a beautiful sonata style piece that virtually ebbs and flows on the air. This is a similar style to The Snow Goose, the previous album that was purely instrumental.

The best track on the album is Lunar Sea, a 9 minute extravaganza, that works as a multi movement suite, in the great classical tradition, but this is symphonic rock. It has become a staple of the Camel live concert and features as a bonus live track, equally as well executed. In fact the bonus features on the Decca remastered CD are a definite drawcard. There are 5 in total - the single version of Another Night, a demo of Spirit Of The Water, and live 1976 versions of Song Within A Song, Lunar Sea and Preparation / Dunkirk. The bonus material clocks in at over 30 minutes! This caps off a great CD release. The best of Camel is right here, make no mistake.

Report this review (#216514)
Posted Monday, May 18, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Yes-meets-Pink Floyd sans singing (oh but there are some dandy space rock moments) for an all out moon land bar fight.

This is another album from Camel, with whom I've just recently been acquainted. They feature a very striking and lush use of synthesizer and keyboard work, that I haven't seen in such vivid display, not even from yes.

The album begins on an absolutely captivating note, that is drenched in delicious keyboard melodies. The song progresses fervently, and dances mystically and majestically through your ears. To the tune of a name Aristilus. It serves as a bright and magnificently catchy introduction to the world of Moonmadness.

Next is the more fleshed out (but calling any of these songs shallow is a bit farcical) and drifting Song Within A Song. That flute work flowing seamlessly in tune alongside the band is heavenly. I've never heard such dramatic and enjoyable interplay between keyboards and flute such as this. Really, the interplay the band proceeds to utilize is of an amazing caliber. Vocals pop in, and I suppose Camel have been given a lot of flak for vocals in the past, what with only about twenty words spoken through this entire disc, and the last album being entirely instrumental, but they fit the music very well, in the context of Moonmadness.

I speak highly of atmosphere, and it is for a reason. I feel that atmosphere is quite important to an album's flow and cohesion. It keeps things together, and makes the entire journey fluid and emotionally evocative. This particular album has one highly rewarding atmosphere to be mined. Chord Change has a much more symphonic rock bent to it, as it jogs fervently. They attack just as skillfully as they float. I must commend the rhythm section for being so damn tight and necessary, without sagging into pointless frills. Spirit Of The Water culls more instrumental prettiness. It also has some very watery vocals to add flavor. I must also make note of the diversity within the somewhat short album. Flute, Piano, keys, guitar, all riding high the lead melody lines.

For a somewhat underground progressive rock band, I'd never expect so many lush and tasteful melodies are to be discovered within. Not only can they defiantly rock in context, but they lay down some highly emotional and powerful tunes. Another Night has an almost space cowboy western feel to it. Air Born features the most prominent (and beautiful) use of flute, as it twists itself around an enchanting piano section. This is all before it breaks itself into a space-faring drifting rock segment.

This all culminates into Lunar Sea. The finale, and what a blistering one. No one could ever say Camel weren't competent. The slender and hallucinogenic opening lifts and leads one to be shot mercilessly by a jazzy onslaught. The rhythm team kicks the game into passionate overdrive, and the band leads the guitar across an absolutely ethereal solo. This eventually reaches many evolving sections, as the song flows brilliantly. The guitar ferocity quelled by swelling synthesizer work, only to be met by the most violent and aggressive part of the disc. As the keyboard and guitar trade off, biting at each others necks. The climactic and biting solo section contained herein is shocking. After the smoke clears, you have a bookend of oceanic rest. Fantastic.

Camel have released a masterwork in the form of Moonmadness. The playing is splendid, and nothing ever devolves into boring technicality for that sake. All the band members have ample opportunities to shine, and songwriting is put ahead of any pointless meandering, and we are given a well thought out piece of art.

Best Moment - Lunar Sea

Worst Moment - I couldn't say, it's all great!

***** Lunatic stars

Report this review (#220259)
Posted Monday, June 8, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
4 stars Moonmadness is a favorite among many of us and so it is for me. However, to praise it with 5 stars seems a bit exaggerated and it's no match for the two preceding albums.

The reason is that Camel have adopted a more light and mellow sound that listens away a bit too easily to catch my attention for 40 minutes. I miss the bite and energy that made Mirage so enjoyable. On top of that, the album also features the kind of toy-moog leads that are hard to stomach for me, especially so on Song Within a Song and Chord Change, of which Chord Change almost dives into muzak prog. Too undemanding for a 5 star prog album.

However, from Spirit Of The Water onwards the songs are a lot stronger and the laid-back atmosphere starts to work. Spirit Of The Water, Another Night and Airborn are high points of 70's prog and essential. But, since the first half of the album contains too much spoiling moments for me.

Report this review (#237610)
Posted Sunday, September 6, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Wow. The best album demonstrating Camel's dreamy, Floyd-esque vocals. I can imagine Gilmour singing these songs, and imagine listening to a lost Floyd album. Of course, you'll hear other elements as well - a smidgeon of King Crimson, a tasteful rendering of early Genesis.

I've made a version of my own MOONMADNESS: added "Nimrodel" as the opener, and tacked on "Mystic Queen" (from CAMEL) and "Starlight Ride" (from BREATHLESS) at the end for my own Floydian head-trip. (These 3 songs are the dreamiest and most Floydian from Camel, besides the tunes found on MOONMADNESS.)

As highly recommended as THE SNOW GOOSE. I only wish I had discovered these albums when I was 13 (instead of 20-plus years later), the same age when I discovered Floyd. Better late than never, I s'pose.

Report this review (#252126)
Posted Sunday, November 22, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Camel - Moonmadness (1976)

This is one of the best Camel album featuring some of their most memorable compositions. Latimer's solo's are perfect, the keys are subtle and professional, the bass acceptable and the drums good. The vocals of Latimer aren't the best around, but they soot the sound of the band and make me feel at home. I tend to like vocalist that aren't that good, but just do their best.

The synthesizer intro Aristilus is a bit dated, but the compositions is good. Song within a song is one of my favourite Camel tracks. It's couplet theme is so strong, it's spacey and sad and expresses a feeling of loneliness and acceptance. While the song is not to be seen as a compositional breakthrough, the impact still is very big. Chord Change is an instrumental track that reminds a bit of the instrumental parts of the debutalbum. It is enjoyable throughout, but again not very ground-braking. Spirit of the Water is mini-masterpiece. A very nice melodic/harmonic track with drowsy vocals by Latimer. The track has been perfected on the later live album Coming of Age, but on the album it is also very powerful. On side two Another Night shows the rougher side of Camel with a serious rock track with catchy melodies with an hypnotising edge to it (for me). Air Born is another great track with the known Camel elements. The album closes with the nine minutes version of Lunar Sea, on of the big live tracks of the band. The track keeps my attention for nine minutes long, but is also suitable as a warm background track. The guitar and key interplay in the track is magnificent and the rhythmical section is very strong here. The main feature of the song is however the vibe that is very special and unique. The underwater/spacey sound of the song makes it very adorable and suitable for an intensive live concert.

Conclusion. A great Camel record with enough moments of brilliance to be a mentioned when talking about classics like Mirage and the Snow Goose. I would not call it essential prog, but this is surely an excellent addition to your collection! Four stars! Musthave for fans of the band and the symphonic genre.

Report this review (#255021)
Posted Tuesday, December 8, 2009 | Review Permalink
The Quiet One
5 stars Camel Madness

While I'm not used to reviewing a popular *prog* album giving it the same rating as most reviewers give it, but nevertheless I feel I have to give my own opinion about this album since I see a lot of the non-Camel fans that either consider this their only decent effort or, on the contrary, a weak effort compared to Mirage. Being a big fan of Moonmadness, I understand most of these people's opinions and can't denie many aspects that the album is associated with, yet I love it for what it is.

To start with, Moonmadness, but generally Camel overall, were never and will never be considered much of a rockin' Progressive Rock band, if not quite the contrary, a rather melancholic and chilling affair which is quite clear on The Snow Goose. However, with Mirage and, in a lesser extent, their debut showed Camel clearly playing in a pretty heavier way than they're known for, thus prog fans who prefer a more active and instantly memorable Progressive Rock definitely consider any of these two albums their best albums, and by far since The Snow Goose and Moonmadness(their other highly acclaimed albums) tend to delve into the melancholic and jazzier progressive kind of affair, definitely albums that are neither instantly grabbing nor meant to rock out with.

Nonetheless, as a big fan of the four aforementioned albums I've always considered Moonmadness to be their musical peak, in both senses, compositionally and instrumentally. While Moonmadness definitely follows the instrumental and melancholic mood of The Snow Goose, Camel expanded from there and added the rock substance that The Snow Goose, while it's not that it lacked in a negative way, but simply didn't have because it didn't need it. This new rock substance however is not used in the way Mirage used it(for a rawer and energetic sound); Moonmadness fuses this with the melancholic aspects and as a result they created the perfect, matured, balance between the lovely tranquility of The Snow Goose and the edgier Mirage. The perfect example of this is the outstanding performance on Chord Change which changes drastically from the semi-frenetic jazzy-esque intro with Doug and Andy Ward giving a splendid rhythm, to a totally calm and charming atmosphere with Andy's delightful guitar playing and then leaving the spot for the overlooked, great jazzy keyboardist, Peter Bardens to finish this brilliant soulful passage.

Anyways, Lunar Sea and Song Within a Song are also pretty fine examples of the this blend between The Snow Goose's charm and Mirage's more symphonic rock style. However, something I've noticed specifically in these two tunes is the jazz-fusion feel which works as a main feature unlike in the three previous albums which served as an additional feature solely. To enter in more details with these two brilliant tracks, Lunar Sea is undoubtly the epitome of Camel in the instrumental side of things: it has a one-of-a-kind spacey atmosphere all through the tune in which the rhythm section settles a very addictive pattern in which at first Andy adds an emotive guitar solo but later on it's the turn of Peter and his mesmerizing synth which takes your mind to a ''lunar sea'', simply gorgeous. After that wonderful experience, Andy reprises but with a more ferocious guitar playing and the rhythm responds the same way. About Song Within a Song, it's a much chilling track full of lush keyboards and some sweet flute work very alike that from The Snow Goose. The few vocals that the song has are drowned with a watery-effect and fits with the song and the album perfectly. The song finishes with a great instrumental passage with Peter's fabulous synth work.

The four remaining tracks are a bunch of pretty good tunes which full-fill the album's mood very well. Air Born and Spirit of the Water belong to the gentle, melancholic and dreamy style of The Snow of Goose, very beautiful. Another Night, on the other hand, is Camel playing the rock style of Free Fall again but without the rawness neither the edge of it, still pretty decent with a rockin' organ solo at the end. Finally, Aristilus is a pompous introduction to Moonmadness played solely by Peter Barden's set of keyboards.

As you have may noticed, my conclusion is definite: this album is essentially Camel's peak; it has the group's whole heart and soul in it and still there's room for their underrated talents at full shape. Surely not one of the best Prog Rock records ever made, but it's still a very unique masterpiece even when it doesn't feature any innovations or lots of complexity: the same goes for Pink Floyd's masterpieces, though you can add the innovation bit to them.

Report this review (#261393)
Posted Monday, January 18, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Mirage! The album that opened my eyes to progressive rock and music in general 2 years ago (along with Selling England By The Pound).

At that time I was completely amazed by Mirage as being my first contact with music and I didn´t care to listen to Moonmadness and other albums, since I could not stop listening to it and I thought no band could achieve another album as good as Mirage. Then I started listening to more Genesis material like Lamb and Pink Floyd, since my father showed me Dark Side of the Moon and I was amazed (not knowing it was prog, though I liked the complex atmosphere of DSOTM).

I had almost forgotten Camel when my cousin played Song Within A Song in the drums a year ago, with the song being played in the computer. I couldn´t believe I was listening to something like that song! I heard this album bit after bit and after I was completely overwhelmed by each song of the album, I finally decided to buy the album, not having heard Lunar Sea at that time!

This is one of my favorite albums, and listening to this album in a summer night looking at the stars and the moon is an experience only few live to know how it is like. Each album is to listen at a certain environment or mood and it can totally change the way you listen to the album, or whether if you like it or not. The cover of the album is also one of the things that makes this album so good, I always get lost in the landscape of the cover while listening to Moonmadness...

"Aristillus" - one of the best intros to an album ever! Fully symphonic and instrumental, it has a dreamy atmosphere that fits perfectly the main theme of the album: the moon! Basically it is a synthesizer playing a recurring theme and from here you can see that although this album is an instrumental based album, it is very different from The Snow Goose . It is also important to note the great bass pedals all over the song and the also great bass played in the small bridge that leads to the same theme 'till the end of the song. Perfectly done! - 7.5/10

"Song Within A Song" - one of my all time favorites! Every part of this song is perfect, again a very dreamy feel that makes Camel's music pure magic. I swear I cried the first time I listened to this song. Emotional flutes and voice in the first part that takes you to the sky, and then it builds up a climax that ends in a synthesizer that immortalizes this song as one of the most incredible songs out there! - 10.5/10

"Chord Change" - a very laid back instrumental piece, very relaxing, that kind of reminds me my vacations in Jamaica in the first part where the main instrument is the guitar. Then it begins the second part where a more emotional guitar takes place and then the keyboards "enter the scene" to create an even more emotional piece. Oh, and that finish! A solo containing elements of both parts - 9/10

"Spirit Of The Water" - a very relaxed song where only piano and voice are present. Latimer uses voice effects to create a dark and calm feel, like he is singing underneath water, which fits well with the lyrics. There isn´t much progression, but still a great song! - 6.5/10

"Another Night" - this is a overwhelming song that could have perfectly been taken from Mirage as this is a more rocking song. However it continues to have that epic mood of Moonmadness and the combination of those two elements is what makes this song so good! It is a song that also reminds me the concept of the album (the moon) and it is an high quality track! - 8/10

"Air Born" - one of the masterpieces of Camel, Air Born is a song that starts with a very touching flute and piano that leads to one of the most heartfelt guitar solos ever! The voice is again distorted but what makes this song special is really the flute and the atmospheric feel the synthesizer gives to the song. Then it ends the same way it begun, but in an even more majestic way! - 9/10

"Lunar Sea" - for most this is the highlight of the album. Well, it is also one of my favorites and it deserves an honorable mention, since I didn´t like this song the first time I listened to it and it grew on me in unexpected ways. Now, after I understood the concept and the complexity of this song, it is for me one of the best songs in prog. It begins with a synthesizer and some bubble effects (is just Fergusson with his head in a bucket of water) for about 1 minute, then drums begin to speed up and finally a unique guitar solo comes in (one of the best guitar solo I've heard). What would be the follow up to a solo like this? Of course it could only be a keyboard solo as good as that. Here Peter Bardens has the chance to show his virtuosity as he travels with is hands through the keyboard from one side to another. Then it leads to a more bass driven part more like Mirage and this song ends the same way it begun, in a powerful way - 10/10

On to the bonus tracks:

"Another Night [Single version] " - this version of the song is nothing particularly special, it is a 3 minute version of a 7 minute song! It doesn´t even repeat the refrain... anyway, it is not a complete waste of time as it also has variations from the original song, but we could live without this single version - 5/10

"Spirit of the Water [Demo] " - in this demo version Bardens also plays the voice and the synth effects in the piano. It doesn´t change much though and because of that it doesn´t turn out to be an outstanding version of the song (it isn´t like Can-Utility And The Coastliners played in Genesis For Two Grand Pianos, where a song with few piano is all changed to that instrument and it turns out to be damn good!). Anyway, the song doesn´t lost qualities so it doesn´t deserve a bad rating - 6/10

"Song Within A Song" - one of my favorite songs from this album played live was a bit disappointing, mainly because they switched the flute with guitar (it does all the difference), but also because the sound isn´t very good generally - 7.5/10

"Lunar Sea" - this live version of Lunar Sea is even better than the studio version. The sound is very good and I prefer the synths in this version of the song - 10/10

"Preparation/Dunkirk" - two songs taken from the culminating moment of The Snow Goose that have a very good sound live, though this version of Preparation is a little different of the album version. Anyway, two great songs taken from one of their Masterpieces but unfortunately they are not the songs that describe the feel of The Snow Goose - 8/10

Well, what can I say more? Go and buy it!

Report this review (#266017)
Posted Saturday, February 13, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars While randomly reading back an old issue of a certain music magazine, with an interview from a certain swedish mastermind. I came across the name Camel, although it took quite a while to buy an album the first one i came across was Moonmadness (i loved the while snow covered plains that inhabited the cover) I took me a few listens to get used to this new sound (wasn't used to this sort of symphonic prog, as i was into more metal at the time)

The whole album is really like some sort of weird lucid dream i'm not sure how else to describe it. It's really atmospheric in my opinion, and it really got me hooked with the opener Aristillus (i'm not sure the instrument used maybe a flute?! but its got a really tasty sound to it) Song within a Song (at first i wasn't aware it wasn't supposed to be an upbeat happy song, until a friend told me and i listened to it again finding the misery within so to speak) Chord Change (a really, what word should I use...Nice maybe yeah its a nice song to say the least with its start and stop tempo at the beginning and going into the song gets even nicer) Spirit of the Water (a short keyboard driven song with distorted vocals, its really quite eerie isn't it? But its a good song) Another Night (I love the drums and guitar on this song and Andy Latimer's vocals are very melodic and easy on the ears) Air Born (Now i know this has got to be a flute opening the song, a very tasty song probably my favorite song on the album Lunar Sea (Probably my second favorite, a long 9 minute song which doesn't ever get boring, a great end to a brilliant album)

A terrific album to say the least and very highly recommended to anybody who's into Prog. The only score that can be given is 5*

Report this review (#267158)
Posted Saturday, February 20, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Along with Mirage, I consider this an essential Camel record. (Sorry, Snow Goose has never made it for me.) There is not a weak spot her at all. From the instrumentals to the songs with lyrics, all is as close to perfection as it can be. I find this to be a "mellow" Camel album compard to others. Light, jazzy, even ethereal in places, but always great. From the opening notes of Aristillus to the close of Lunar Sea (Lunacy) this is a masterpiece of Prog. I do nothave the new cd with extended songs, soI can not speak to their quality. From the fact that many songs on this album became concert favorites and standards, it is easy for me to give this a solid 5 star rating! Excellent job, guys!
Report this review (#276474)
Posted Monday, April 5, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars At first I found Moonmadness to be a bit blah- somewhere between space-rock, symphonic rock, and ambient, and it just didn't work for me. However, one day, it just started to click- all of Moonmadness suddenly just "worked", and I loved the album. MM is peaceful, dreamy music in typical Camel vein, except it's even deeper and more diverse sonically than Mirage, but lacks some of the rocking power of it's earlier companion- that's not to say that Moonmadness is limp or in any way lacking, because it contains it's share of burly guitar parts- however, they are instead smooth and serene as midnight. Moonmadness should appeal to any fan of calm and relaxing symphonic rock, and is one of the best recordings from one of the essential yet lesser-known prog bands. I think that it deserves five stars, because there's so much depth and interest in this piece of work.
Report this review (#277565)
Posted Sunday, April 11, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars There are some album's that make me proud to be a 'prog head' and this is one of them, a masterclass in progressive rock music if ever there was one. I dont think there is anything i would change about this album, well the vocals in the odd track is a little too low in the mix but when the music is this perfect who cares?

From the beautiful SONG WITHIN A SONG and the almost Genesis like groove of ANOTHER NIGHT, this is one prog masterpiece, but like every lover of this album, they really do save the best song for last, it is the epic instrumental LUNAR SEA where the true power comes from on this album. Musicmanship? ahh you havent heard anything yet, i dont think i really hear vocalist/guitarist/ flute player Andrew Latimer play a chord as his fluent lead lines take over with the keyboards and smother the tracks in beauty and grace, like i said the vocals could be louder but i guess thats just my modern prog side comming through;

Aristillus - 8/10 Song Within a Song - 10/10 Chord Change - 10/10 Spirit of the Water - 8/10 Another Night - 10/10 Air Born - 9/10 Lunar Sea - 10/10

My Conclusion? As i said before this album is a masterpiece and a true jem in the Caterbury Scene, i can totally see why its Mikael Ĺkerfeldt from Opeth's favourite album.

Report this review (#282507)
Posted Tuesday, May 18, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars After recording 3 great records came back from where they started and decided to add vocals in their music again.That's what they did and the result was a brilliant,excellent,magical progressive rock masterpiece that everyone will remember forever!When I first heard Moonmadness,I was amazed.Even not following a strong progressive rock program into the album,the melody from all the songs is great!

Aristillus:An excellent small song that was only made by using a synthesizer! Song Within A Song:Exactly as its title and with a great ending! Chord Change:Makes you feel great and mainly at the solo part (from 2 minutes until 5 I believe) Spirit Of The Water:Another small song that shows what playing the piano means! Another Night:Camel's best progressive/psychedelic (somehow) rock song ever made! Air Born:I believe the most melodic song of the album!The ending is great! Lunar Sea:The greatest song ever made in the history of music!Andrew Latimer's and Peter Barden's solo are the best parts of the song and with the very good help of Andy Ward and Doug Ferguson (Andy Ward shows his best on this song and Doug doesn't lose it!) it is brilliant!!!

I believe their best album and maybe the best album ever made!Even the cover makes you feel good!!!

Report this review (#282561)
Posted Wednesday, May 19, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Camel at their peak. This album, by a different way than others Camel albums, has not a weak song. It's an atmospheric album. You can feel as you were between strange places, maybe in the moon or something like that. Just a progressive masterpiece, and the only one from Camel, in my opinion. The music is dominated by Peter Bardens, who shines with his keyboards all the time.

The best track is Lunar sea, an outstanding instrumental of almost 10 minutes. Song within a song is another one, with a superb keyboard solo. Air born is the other highlight composed by Andy Latimer who shines with the guitar and the flute. It's a great song, very emotional. Spirit of the water is a little atmospheric gem. You can feel that something or someone not human is talking there. The other songs are great too.

Report this review (#283358)
Posted Monday, May 24, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars CAMEL is one of my favourite band, i own the whole discography, but this one is tne real number one just before SNOWGOOSE .I remember in the mid seventies,i was wondering about CAMEL what is this? real band or cigarettes advertising? One day a friend of mine put MIRAGE on the turntable and wao ! This is real band and real good music ! A few weeks later , i saw MOONMADNESS in a little record shop and bought it immediately, it's been the beginning of a lovestory with CAMEL. The beautifull cover is in perfect adequacy with music,soft pastels colours in a dreamy and misty mood,however with some fulguranf guitar parts LUNAR SEA and strange keyboards lanscapes . In the beginnings, i was only keen on the B side,i felt obsessive with those beautifull melodies and cloudy vocal parts,i specialy love the opening flute part for AIRBORN, it's a real succes.I only starded to explore the B side a few weeks later, SONG WITHIN A SONG, CHORD OF CHANGE, and the very poetic SPIRIT OF THE WATER, each time i listen to it ,i think of PETER BARDEN what a pity he left the band after BREATHLESS and what a sadness he died a few years ago. PETER did nice solo records but rarely great except a few tracks, he makes me think a little bit of TONY BANKS not by music but by the way he did his best inside the band.The funny thing with MOONMADNESS is that ANDY LATIMER was not keen on it , he thought he had not time enough for writting and recording because of many tours,but the fact is that this album is a real achievement, a pure jewel that makes me feel as the PAVLOV'S DOG each time i see this beautifull cover.Bass player DOUG FERGUSON will leave the band after this and RICHARD SINCLAIR ( from CARAVAN ) will replace, so that ANDY will think a while changing the band name into CARAMEL for the next album RAIN DANCES 5 STARS .
Report this review (#293555)
Posted Friday, August 6, 2010 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
4 stars Camel's follow-up to Mirage and the Snow Goose was basically an album highlighting the best features of the two. Starting with short instrumental titled Aristilus, clearly intended to reminds us of the latter release, followed by a strong reminder of the former album with Song Within A Song!

Still, it's not all that simple with this release since we do also get a few hints of the things that are to come in the near future for Camel. Spirit Of The Water is keyboard-arranged ballad with a distortion effect added to the vocals that, I guess, are suppose to created a watery effect. This new approach is then followed by a song that could almost be considered a straightforward pop tune, luckily Another Night is saved by its instrumental middle section from becoming just that. We would unfortunately hear more of the abuse in the sound-effect department and a steady decline in Camel's songwriting in the next couple of years. But before worrying about all that, let's indulge ourselves in the beautiful conclusion to this excellent release!

Since it was impossible for Camel to top their previous releases, the band decided to make a slight change in their direction. Even though this was not entirely apparent on Moonmadness, the decline would be slow but steady over the course of the next few releases. This has of course little to do with my appreciation of this great album well worth it's excellent addition-rating!

***** star songs: Aristilus (1:59) Song Within A Song (7:18) Air Born (5:04)

**** star songs: Chord Change (6:48) Spirit Of The Water (2:09) Another Night (7:00) Lunar Sea (9:14)

Report this review (#296606)
Posted Sunday, August 29, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Camel at their Best

In the second tier of classic prog groups sits Camel, a talented group of Englishmen who draw on many of the classic bands of the time. On Moonmadness, the sound has shifted from the Santana of their debut to a distinctively Floydian tone. However, where Pink Floyd were masters of atmosphere and emotion, Camel takes their palette and ups the compositional standard. The instrumental sections are significantly more complex, while vocals take a secondary role. Camel is truly prog where Floyd was a category of its own.

Camel's music is always mellow - slightly behind the beat, snoozy moods, long sustains and reverbs. But hidden in this atmosphere is some very impressive single note lines, guitar- keyboard interplay, and tight drumming. Truly musician's musicians, on this album Camel has perhaps created the prototype of classic prog. Songs like "Chord Changes" and "Lunar Sea" would have a reasonable place in a disc of "This is Prog."

I've come back to this album numerous times, and have always been simultaneously impressed with the instrumental parts and flabbergasted at the uselessness of the vocals. Most of the vocals are processed and monotone, not painful but also adding almost nothing to the songs. There's no surprise why the band had chosen to do a completely instrumental album previously.

What makes Moonmadness my favorite Camel album is the compositions. Each one maintains identity as a song, has some gem of sound to offer the listener. The melodies are better, avoiding some of the awkwardness of even the band's greatest hit "Lady Fantasy" from Mirage. Here the vocal lines act as a layer in small helpings, which is an appropriate use. This was never a band with a great line or hook.

This was another hard to rate album. It is perfect for what it is, but also has its inherent flaws. Four stars but highly recommended. If you get only one Camel album, get this one.

Report this review (#327590)
Posted Saturday, November 20, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars While Side 2 of the original album is one of those oh-so-rare nearly flawless sides of music, Side 1 rarely drew me back for more. "Song Wthin a Song" is pretty--almost too pretty--though the vocals are a weak point. Flutes are pretty but nothing like IAN ANDERSON, THIJS VAN LEER or JOE FARREL. The song structures are so simple and single layered, single melodied. The later CD had a much better version--the 'demo'--of "Spirit of the Water." Also, I never really lliked the Camel drumming style--call it the Michael Giles school of soporific drumming. I'm glad to have heard some of Camel's live recordings to know that there can be a little life in the songs--that the drums don't always hold them back. Still, string together "Another Night" (9/10), "Air Born" (9/10), and "Lunar Sea" (10/10) and you have one helluva twenty minute ride into liquid space!
Report this review (#330942)
Posted Tuesday, November 23, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars With their fourth album Camel turned on US market. What means after quite ambitious Mirage and Snow Goose, they simplified music, made it easier accessible and added more elements of jazz fusion in it.

On this album Camel doesn't sound as British art-rock band any more. Long synthesizer's passages and multi layered relaxed guitar sounds over them sound far from sophisticated sound of early albums (some even counted early Camel as Canterbury scene band).

They still have some great melodies, musicianship is competent and well balanced, music if a bit too much polished and simplistic still has signature of their early years. Much more spacey, aerial and relaxed, this album's compositions shows their turn to more commercial direction they choose for years to come and what in fact destroys their future just few years later.

Possibly best Camel release showing their more commercial side. Far not so good as earlier works though. For real good Camel's music go to Mirage or Snow Goose.

Report this review (#335228)
Posted Friday, November 26, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Warm, poignant and moving; this might be the most touching Camel album I've heard, and I'm not a guy known for giving emotion a weighing factor. Somehow, Camel always goes under my own radar and I never really figure out how good they are until I pop in an album and listen. MOONMADNESS really defines symphonic prog well, something that I really can't say about most symphonic prog albums I've heard.

Only ''Chord Change'' and ''Lady of the Water'' are clunkers. Even the opening ''Aristillus'' and its ominous march like theme is enough to turn heads and rupture the spine. The emotion and grandeur just pours out ''Song Within a Song'' and ''Air Born'' with some of the best vocals I've heard from Camel. But it's the rocker ''Another Night'' and the frantic synth piece ''Lunar Sea'' that really steal the show offering the full potential of Camel's songwriting abilites as well as the potential of the whole genre.

If you're looking for a good experience from a symphonic prog album but without overloading on the bells, whistles and bombastic decorations, MOONMADNESS is for you. Keep a box of tissues handy just in case.

Report this review (#335642)
Posted Friday, November 26, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Ahh this is amoung my favourite Camel albums. It's moodier and a lot more gentle than albums like "Mirage" (which I also like a lot). "Moonmadness" really hits the spot for me. Some people have likened the album's sound to Pink Floyd. Some of it is spacey in the same way but I think there are still some elements of Camel's typical sound on here too.

"Chord Change" starts off in the typical jazzy Camel flavour but then the music changes and turns mellow and romantic in the middle of the song before returning to the jazziness again. Splendid stuff. "Lunar Sea" is also a classic Camel styled track. Many of the songs are nicely structured with lots of unexpected changes. The most attractive moments are on "Song Within A Song", the lulling "Spirit Of The Water" and "Air Born" but everything on this album is suberb.

Overall there's a dreamy, atmospheric feel and the songs are a lot softer than ever. This is a really cosmic album. Trust old Frankie with this one. Your progressive rock collection just somehow wouldn't be the same without it! 5 stars.

Report this review (#337738)
Posted Monday, November 29, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars One of the greatest albums of all time. Yes, this does stand up to giants like Pink Floyd, King Crimson, and Genesis.

So "Moonmadness" is mostly dominated by keyboards and the flute. Camel uses many intricate synthesizers that really take this album from one level of prog to the next. Andy Latimer will fill you with emotion and not just on the flute. He does a beautiful job on Chord Change with the guitar. It may be simplistic but very satisfying. Andy Ward really works the drums well on Song Within a Song.

"Moonmadness'' has absolutely no weak tracks. Every song was well written and played to the best. Easily 5 stars! There still is one flaw though. Without the bonus tracks the whole albums only 38 minutes long...

Report this review (#349946)
Posted Saturday, December 11, 2010 | Review Permalink
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
5 stars This is very easy to review. It's Camel's masterpiece: the album on which they have finally found their definitive sound, but as it happened with Pink Floyd, their first big international success is also the starting of their troubles and the beginning of a huge number of changes in the lineup. It's unfortunately the last studio album featuring the very prog bassist Doug Ferguson.

The short opener "Aristillus" is no more than an intro that could have been developed a bit more. The album starts effectively with a great track. "Song Within A Song" is a 7 minutes track that contains all the elements of an epic and my favourite track of this album.

On "Chord Change" we discover for the first time the jazzy side of Camel. This track has unusual signatures on which Latimer plays very cleanly. A taste of the albums to come. Only when it slows down there are reminds of Snow Goose. It features also a great hammond background.

"Spirit Of The Water" is Pete Bardens' masterpiece in terms of songwriting. Until now Camel weren't famous as lyricists. This two minutes song is a poetry. In two minutes Pete Bardens is able to transmit the feelings that Dave Gilmour has put into the 8 minutes of High Hopes.

The side B is opened by "Another Night". it's strongly connected to Snow Goose even if it has lyrics. What makes this album a mastepiece is also the fact that it contains elements of both the early Camel and what they were going to become.

As Another Night, "Air Born" is a fantastic slow song. The vocal effect enhances the voice of Andy Latimer. This song is effectively made of a part with lyrics, in line with Snow Goose and an instrumental part which anticipates the athmospheres of Rain Dances.

"Lunar Sea" is the epic. It features great solos of both Bardens and Latimer. The odd signature on the jazzy part is strongly sustained by Doug Ferguson's bass and Andy Ward sweats a lot on the drums. Another little masterpiece (little only because it's below 10 minutes). It's technically speaking the best track and an excellent closer.

Maximum rating of course.

Report this review (#354758)
Posted Thursday, December 16, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars I know that I am probably the 600th person to say this, but this album is Camel's magnum opus. Moonmadness is not only my favorite Camel album, but one of my favorite albums ever. This is the final album to feature Camel's classic line-up (Andrew Latimer, Peter Bardens, Doug Ferguson, and Andy Ward). They have produced great classics like Mirage and The Snow Goose, but this outshines them both. Thankfully, I was able to get the original cover of this album thankfully (the one that you see on this sight) rather than the strange cover of a camel in an astronaut suit. This album will take a couple of listens in order to fully appreciate it. The album was originally intended to be a compilation of the personality of the band members, as I will mention below

Aristillus is a quirky little synth instrumental that opens the album. Even though this song lasts only a couple of minutes, it is able to hold itself together with the rest of the album.

The next song (Song Within a Song) shows that vocals are not the strong point of the band. However, this does not hurt them in any way since they use it sparingly. The song starts off rather soft and ambient for the first half and then becomes a wonderful jam session in the second half.

Chord Change is an instrumental that shows off the jazz influence of Camel. There really isn't much more to say except that it is one of the highlights of the album. According to the band, this song was supposed to be about Peter Bardens.

Spirit of the Water is a small interlude that is really the most surprising bit on the album. I mentioned that Camel's strong point is not vocals, but this song really uses it well. Peter Bardens piano and Andrew Latimer's flute dominate this song and like Aristillus, this two minute piece is as of much value as the other longer songs.

Another Night is definitely the most "rocking" song on the album. This song is about bassist Doug Ferguson. Another Night reminds me of some of the songs on their debut album such as Slow Yourself Down and Arubaluba.

Air Born (the song about Andrew Latimer) opens up with Andrew's flute, giving the song a feeling as if you're floating on the air. The flute continues to dominate the song and has a spectacular climax.

Lunar Sea (lunacy, get it? haha. Apparently this song is about drummer Andy Ward) is the highlight of the album. Opening with Peter Barden's spacey synth's, it follows with Doug and Andy bass and drums, and then Andrew Latimer gives us a wonderful jazz influenced guitar solo. The song then transform into what Camel does best; a duel between Andrew's guitar and Peter's keyboards.

Sadly, this group and album are rather underrated when compared to other prog-rock brethren like Pink Floyd, Genesis, or Yes. However, I find Camel to be just as good as these bands. If you enjoy these groups and if you enjoy jazz, you will definitely enjoy Moonmadness and Camel's other opus'

Report this review (#368068)
Posted Thursday, December 30, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is a slightly different album for Camel. The first records are all about Andy Latimer showing what a great guitarist he is backed by great musicians who came into their own over the course of each album. Moonmadness however is all about Peter Bardens who has great moments all through every song starting with the Keyboard centric short introduction to the album Aristillus. He them has fantastic solo moments in Song Within a Song and throughout the rest of the album. This is not to say Latimer, Ferguson and Ward are forgettable in this album because that isn't true each member gives a fantastic performance in every song. Andy Latimer does take on a more supportive role on this record giving camel a fantastic new keyboard centric flavour which has put this record far above the rest for some fans. This album is very much a continuation of the great work done on The Snow Goose and is the sound of years of learning and work put into a progressive rock masterwork.
Report this review (#369503)
Posted Saturday, January 1, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars The masterpiece of the Camel? I think not,because for me this post belongs to "Mirage". But"Moonmadness" is a great progressive album and one of the best things I ever I heard in the last times.Unfortunately I have discovered this wonderful band recently.

Like the previous "The Snow Goose" is an concept album.But the concept is original: 4 of the songs deal with each one on a band member: "Air Born" about Andrew Latimer, "Lunar Sea" about Andy Ward, "Chord Change" about Peter Bardens and "Another Night" about Doug Ferguson.The other three, "Aristillus", "Spirit of Water"and "Lunar Sea" are about the moon (that's what I think, after all, this is a theme that runs throughout the album).

This album is significantly more psychedelic than the previous ones, as can be noticed by the use of spacey synths by Bardens.I personally prefer the keyboard here than in "Mirage. " An example is the great "Aristillus", which opens the album in style with its powerful synthesizers, which compose the whole song.

"Song Within a Song" is a great song but his great vocals are, unfortunately, scarce. "Chord Change" is the weakest track on the album and irregular, which does not mean we do not have some good moments. "Spirit of water "is a small track with good vocals.Personally I not think Andy Latimer has a great voice, but his vocals on "Moonmadnes" are above average.

The following three tracks are the best. "Another Night" is the song of the album more balanced and more focused.The work of Doug Ferguson on bass, most excellent (after the song is about him), sorry that he left the band after this album.I would say that this is the best song on the album, but we have "Air Born", the most beautiful music I ever heard of Camel.The sound of flute here is beautiful, and the voice of Latimer was never so good. "Lunar Sea"Is the most psychedelic, spacey keyboards opening this and then the battery gets older, until the song reaches its climax.Although is not as good as the previous two, this song is one of the most classic of band.In some moments i remind to Pink Floyd, especially "Dark Side of the Moon"

Unfortunately, Camel has never had the fame of other progressive rock bands like Yes and Genesis, but it certainly ranks right up there and these must be better heard.

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Posted Wednesday, February 16, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars After the ambitious but largely successful 'The Snow Goose', 'Moonmadness' showed Camel returning to a more conventional prog rock sound. Indeed, this album and 'Mirage' show Camel at their proggiest, whilst 'The Snow Goose' puts the 'symphony' in symphonic rock. However, whilst 'Mirage' sounds more rocky, 'Moonmadness' has a very airy spacey feel to it, largely due to Barden's keyboards. It's good to hear them return to the technical playing heard on the first two albums again.

The worst track on the album is unfortunately the opener. Aristillus is one of the most annoying instrumentals you'll ever hear, with squeaky squeaky keyboards and a stupid bouncing riff. Good news is it's only two minutes long.

Song Within A Song actually sounds more like two songs stuck together. It's very easily to split this track in half, one part including all the vocals, and the second being the 4 minute instrumental at the end. It is an extremely beautiful song, and the instrumental is spectacular. There are more subtle time signature changes scattered around as well. One of my favourites off the album.

Chord Change, like Six Ate, Arubaluba and Earthrise is another Camel instrumental lying in the six to seven minute range, and it sometimes gets confusing to remember which is which, as they all have similarities. I suppose the major difference with Chord Change is that, whilst the other three end with themes heard near the beginning, this track doesn't recycle used themes but instead evolves as the piece goes on. The beginning of the song is misleadingly energetic, because most of the track is extremely relaxing. The majority of this song is extremely pleasant. However, because none of the themes are reused, this track lacks direction. It also fades out at the end, which seems highly arbitrary for an instrumental track. One wants to ask 'Surely you could have faded out at any point. How come you couldn't finish the song?' Listening to live versions reveals that they didn't really have a very good ending at all. This is my least favourite of the "Six-minute Camel instrumentals".

Spirit Of The Water is one of the few songs where I prefer the demo version over the album version. The demo of this track is just Peter Bardens performing this song alone on the piano, and it sounds beautiful. On the album version, there is a slightly annoying flute playing intermittently and the vocals have had special effects done to make them sound watery. In most cases, voice effects are bad, and this is no exception, as it takes away from the acoustic feel of the song. A slight disappointment really.

Another Night is another of my favourites from this album. This might be because it's not airy or spacey at all like the rest of the album, which probably says something about me as a prog fan. This song is similar to Never Let Go in structure: a pop song with a long instrumental and a guitar solo outro. The 'pop song' parts of this song are great! The melody is very catchy and also in 6/8. The instrumental is in some bizarre time signature that I've found impossible to count. The whole song rocks and is extremely enjoyable. For those listening to the bonus tracks, there is also a single version of this song. However this isn't your normal run of the mill shortened single edit. It becomes evident upon listening that the song was completely rerecorded (except maybe the iconic guitar solo at the end) in a shorter format. The middle instrumental sounds really different here. Because of this, the song completely works as a single version, as Camel were able to rewrite it as a short song. Genious!

Latimer's flute opens what is undoubtedly the most beautiful track on the album. Air Born is a soaring peice, with beautiful guitars, keyboards and flute. For the long spacey instrumental, an interesting use of time signatures is made: listening closely shows the instrumental is based around a 4/4 + 5/4 + 4/4 + 4/4 structure.

The longest track on the album Lunar Sea is an extended prog rock instrumental work out. The track title is a play on words: 'Lunar Sea' sounds like 'lunacy' and hence the connection to the title of the album 'Moonmadness'. Beginning with some very spacey keyboards, this song starts to get exciting after the 1 minute mark. When the band do come in, they are playing in speedy 5/8, so we know this is going to be good. After the 5/8 section there is an epic keyboard solo, lasting around 2 minutes. Following is some stunnnig guitar work, played in 5/8, which might just be Latimer's most impressive guitar solo. All too soon though this track dissolves back into the spacey keyboards heard at the beginning, and finally to the sound of wind (overused prog cliché much?) Definitely one of Camel's better instrumentals.

Sadly this was the end of an era for Camel. Following the completion of this album, bassist Doug Ferguson would leave the group, to be replaced by the very famous Richard Sinclair, changing their sound forever. As it stands, this album is a must-have if you've ever liked Camel, but there are a few poor moments. Between the first three albums, Camel did not score a single one-star rating in over 1500 ratings! Unfortunately, they failed to score a home run, as the number of one star ratings is 1% for this album. Shame! Moonmadness is Camel's last truly progressive album, before they took a more commercial route. Housed in a striking gatefold sleeve, this is a wonderful example of progressive rock.

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Posted Friday, April 8, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars My breath was taken away the first time I heard Moonmadness from Camel. This is some of the best symphonic progressive rock available and it really does take you on a lunar journey. I've always admired the slight Canterbury sound that Camel has been able to retain while managing to have roots firmly planted in symphonic progressive rock; it really gives their music a unique touch that only they have.

"Aristillus" is a short, synth heavy intro with a steady beat. I've never found this track to be anything better than a good introduction to the album, which I'm sure is its purpose.

"Song Within a Song" is the first absolute classic on the album. It starts with a gloomy synth motif that turns psychedelic smooth jazz with a beautiful flute solo. I probably could have preferred this track as an instrumental, but the lyrics here are equally as gloomy as the initial music, and everything picks up pace eventually to reveal some spacey synth melodies.

"Chord Change" is another classic, but with a swift guitar melody at its inception with fantastic drumming and bass backing it. After some vocal doodling, the pace slows a bit with atmospheric synthetic organ chords and beautiful blues/jazz inspired guitar soloing.

"Spirit of the Water" is mostly composed of a single beautiful flute melody and watery flute solo. This song is beautiful, definitely, but not much more than a beautiful mediator between the previous song and the next.

"Another Night" starts out a steady paced rocker with a straight groove and some funk inspired guitar playing. The vocals here fit very nicely and give the track a very epic feel. The music eventually becomes bass dominated while the guitar softly drones and plays fading notes over the top, creating more of the epic atmosphere. The funk-rock riff reappears and we're treated to both organ and guitar solos that mark the end of the song.

"Air Born" begins with more of the beautiful flute that has been so present on this album, accompanied by some soft piano. Eventually, ethereal synth effects and a beautiful guitar solo fill the soundscape before being dominated by watery vocals and a fantastic bass tone. The rest of this track is mostly an airy guitar solo before more of the vocal sections reappear.

"Lunar Sea" starts with spacey and watery synth atmosphere before rushing bass and flying guitar lines soar from the mix. The bass line that comes next is very reminiscent of Canterbury scenesters Caravan, and spacey synths solo over the bass. It picks up pace later for a shreddy blues-rock inspired guitar solo before reverting to this track's spacey beginnings.

Really, this is a fantastic album and really stands out as one of the best in the Camel catalog. It's mostly symphonic progressive rock, but with strong space-rock and Canterbury scene leanings. The music here is full of moods, often being either playful or incredibly gloomy . I highly recommend this to anyone looking for some of the best symphonic prog available, and I'd say this also has great crossover appeal for Canterbury scene fans.

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Posted Monday, April 11, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars Dromedarific...

This album was my first introduction to Camel and was recommended to me by a friend as 'the British equivalent of Rush!'. I still have no idea what they'd been smoking when they made that comparison, as the band's similarities are minimal. It was about 30 seconds into the synth- driven Aristillus that I realised this wasn't A Farewell to Ye Olde Kings.

The Good: Much lighter and spacier than Mirage, Moonmadness has an almost dream like quality to it. Of the individual tracks Song Within a Song and Chord Change are two of my favorites. Both are quite slow to get going but then have some really cool breakdowns. And then there is the album finale... Lunar Sea. Wow. Every time I listen to this I'm just blown away and I'd probably rate it one of my top five instrumentals of all time. From the windswept opening to the erm... blustery closing(!) this track is truly captivating and the rest of the album just pales in comparison.

The Bad: Whilst the intro to Another Night has all the hallmarks of a classic, not much happens after that. Air Born and Spirit of the Water have a similar story but without the banging opening.

The Verdict: Bit of a mixed bag.

Report this review (#440058)
Posted Thursday, April 28, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars This was my first Camel album. When I first listened to it was probably a 2. But there was something about the music that drew me in. I listened to it again and again with each listen the music became better and better. I kept discovering more textures and sounds. Peter Bardens' keyboards became more lush and Andrew Latimer's guitar just became more awesome. There is also a flute! Ooooh boy, we're in for a good night!

PROS: The album starts out witha short composition called ARISTILLUS. It is definitely one of my favorite tracks on the album, if only if it was longer! The next two songs, SONG WITHIN A SONG and CHORD CHANGE are excellent symphonic prog songs. In CHORD CHANGE, Andre Latimer has a great guitar solo. SPIRIT OF THE WATER, the next track, features some atmospheric keyboards that are fantastic. Side two is made up of three songs: ANOTHER NIGHT, AIR BORN, and LUNAR SEA. The latter is my personal favorite along with the first three songs. LS starts out with more spacey keyboards and has great flow to it. All the songs flow together with such ease. With MOONMADNESS you will be put in a trance with the out-of-this-world keys and smooth bass, your mind will be blown by Latimer and when the album is finished you will only want to listen to it again.

CONS: Vocals. There aren't many vocals but when there is, it's weak. But there is not a led vocalist so what can you do about it.

Overall, Moonmadness is a great piece of Symphonic Prog and should be in every prog fans collection. 4.75

Report this review (#507423)
Posted Monday, August 22, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars The final album of the original Camel lineup sees vocals making a return, but the band's newly acquired expertise in playing mellow, melodic, calming prog is still in effect, creating an intriguing blend between the song-based approach of Mirage and the tranquil nature of The Snow Goose. Standout songs include the dramatic Another Night and the majestic Song WIthin a Song. All the band members take a turn providing vocals (though in Andy Ward's case this involves making nonsense noises for the background of the opening track), but the album is particularly notable for the development of Andy Latimer's singing style. At points, his vocals kind of remind me of Richard Sinclair, making the imminent entry of Sinclair into the Camel lineup make a strange sort of sense.
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Posted Wednesday, October 12, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Camel's "Moonmadness"; the album that started my love for prog. With Camel's classic lineup and the re-instatement of vocals, comes a magical musical masterpiece, words cannot begin to describe. Let me put it this way: this is the 'if you only had one album on a desert island' album for me.

The album begins with a 2 minute instrumental that sets the mood for the second track "Song Within A Song"; my favorite track on the album. "Song Within A Song" is a mellow prog classic, which features amazing vocals and beautiful guitar work. Strings wailing in the background behind a very calm guitar solo as the song progressively gets louder and more layers continue to build upon each other. As the song continues it becomes more upbeat and 'happy' in contrast to the beginning of the song, the drums continue to become more aggressive until the closure of the song.10/10

"Chord Change", while very good, doesn't appeal to me as much as the rest of the album. It begins as an upbeat bluesy tune. Then it transitions beautifully into a very mellow guitar and keyboard piece. Ending in the same upbeat fashion as it began.7/10

"Spirit of the Water" is another outstanding track for me. It begins with stunning piano and flute combination. The flute piece reminds me a bit of "Rhayader". The combination of piano, organ, and flute with stunning vocals make this a masterpiece of a song. The dark, haunting atmosphere is a huge plus in my opinion.10/10

"Another Night" is another favorite of mine, with semi-prominent bass compared to the previous songs. This is a more rock oriented song, with great vocals. The mellow, spacey interludes make this song almost perfect in my opinion. As the song progresses, the drum pattern becomes a bit more complex as they go into a beautiful instrumental improv, when they switch back to the original riff from the beginning of the song.10/10

"Air Born" Begins with a beautiful flute tune, transitioning into a very mellow bluesy tune. Simplistic drumming, synths and a beautiful guitar riff. It then goes into a very atmospheric, spacey interlude with, yet again, amazing vocals, and a ethereal acoustic piece accompanied by some more flute. As the keyboard piece travels back and forth through your head, a guitar sings and bass thumps warmly in your ear, transitioning into the final piece of the song. 10/10

"Lunar Sea" opens with a foray of different synths, and other sounds that meld beautifully together. By now your mind is drifting away into another world. Bass emerges, as do the drums and a melodic guitar piece. A very proggy beginning to the song. The song continues with awesome synth improvs accompanied by a very precise drum beat and a prominent bass-line that will stay stuck in your head for days. Nearing the end of the song the speed greatly intensifies and the drums continue to get more complex. And, to end this masterpiece of an album, you hear what sounds like an airplane in the sky as it flies away. This is a great ending to a terrific album that you can get lost in very easily.

Overall, 5/5

If you are just getting into Camel, this is most likely the best place to start. Although Mirage and The Snow Goose wouldn't hurt either ;)

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Posted Friday, November 11, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars By the time of this writing, Camel's music has spanned a number of variants in sound and approach, some less successful than others by anyone's reckoning, even though not all are in agreement as just exactly what connotes their highest and lowest points. Yet there are clear tendencies, and Moonmadness is one that emerges at the top of many people's lists of Camel's albums. I am one those and can say that this is probably my favorite Camel album ever. It is often criticized as being too mellow, a criticism offered to the band in general as well, but to me that is not a detriment. I do not subscribe to the notion that soft & mellow = bad music, as I do not subscribe to the notion that hard & heavy = good music. There was a time when I did think so, but I am far past my teen years now. This is not to say I do not enjoy hard & heavy music; I do. In fact, one of the best moments of Moonmadness is the climax of Lunar Sea where Andrew Lattimer rips his guitar to shreds. In fact, Lattimer had always been the first among equals in this band. That being said, he is but one of two stars on this album, the other being Peter Bardens, whose keyboards give Moonmadness its most unique aural qualities. The driving keyboard dominant Aristillus opens the album and sets the mood. Barden's pulsing rhythms, moog melodies, and swift runs is what the song is all about. Keys also herald the second piece, Song Within a Song. We hear Lattimer on flute lending it a more natural beauty. His dream-like vocals also lend a similar quality. The song reaches some symphonic heights with a powerful guitar-led theme before it goes into a rapid section where Bardens takes the lead again. His lines rise up and down, and keep a character similar to the first track. Lattimer's rhythm guitar is spectacular. It ends on a repeated theme played on the keys, reaching a bright climax. Next comes the instrumental Chord Change, and it is Lattimer's turn to shine. His lead guitar dominates almost the entire time and shows both his melodic nature and ability to just wail. The fast opening section leads to slow and soulful middle. Bardens backing organ gives a bluesy/gospel feel, and he gets a short solo. I find it interesting that Lattimer does a lot of up and down runs on this song similar to what Bardens had done on the previous two. A dramatic bridge leads the band back to a reprise of the opening segment, played at a slightly faster tempo now. The guitar comes forward again. What was originally Side One ends with the short Spirit of the Water. Again, Lattimer offers a dream-like vocal performance, accompanied by Barden's gentle piano and alternated with a melody played on recorder by Lattimer. Nothing in particular develops in the song, but it is delightful. So far, there is little here that would attract your average rock fan. The music alternates between slow sections, mostly with vocals, and space/jazz/rock instrumental passages. This changes. The original Side Two opens with Another Night, a march that powers its way through its entire running time. Andy Ward's drums not only provide the marching rhythm, but his fills and cymbals add a great deal of drama. Lattimer's guitar is the main lead instrument, and all times is very tasty. This is one of the things I like about his work ? it is melodic and thematic, and represents composition rather than jamming. The flute comes back for Air Born. The methods and formats are set by this time: melodic instrumental introduction, thematic bridges, dream-like vocals, great leads and solos. Despite that, this is one of the best songs on the whole album, and everybody gets an opportunity to show his stuff, if only for a quick fill, even Doug Ferguson on the bass. He is the weakest link on this recording, playing adequate but not spectacular bass. At least he keeps the bottom end of things and works well with Ward on the drums. The structure of this song is perhaps the most complex of the whole album, moving from section to section with plenty of bridges. It does not, however, speed up. The whole thing is played at a slow tempo, giving it more of that dream-like nature which is the dominant characteristic of Moonmadness. Perhaps they are saving up speed for the next song. The climax merits its own paragraph. Lunar Sea is the longest track, over nine minutes in length, and purely instrumental. It is also the fastest and one of the great masterpieces of the 70s. A now-typical thematic opening sets the stage, and quickly moves to a guitar-led fast section. This changes to a mid-paced segment with Bardens back on the moog. Ferguson's bass line is so important here, coming to the fore in way not yet heard. His playing is clean and consistent. Lattimer provides some incidental guitar chords, but Bardens is the star. This section, more than any other, gives the impression of being on the moon. Abruptly, we return to another fast section, only even more so, and Lattimer comes out with all guns blazing (or should that be all strings?). This is some of his best guitar playing; I recommend this to all you guitarists reading this ? you can learn a lot here. Fast, melodic, clean, and again at times he just wails, but at no time is he ever out of control. This is an exemplary piece any axe slinger would be proud of. The band as a whole provides lots of energy which helps spur Lattimer to the heights he hits. Reaching a climax, we return to a reprise of the spacey introduction, and everything fades out, ending with some synthesizer sounds reminiscent of outer space. Moonmadness by Camel has elicited a wide variety of responses, both positive and negative. Each piece on the album is organized in more or less the same way, and there are a few dominant characteristics to the album. Yet none of the songs is a mere repeat of any of the others. Bardens' keyboard work here is among my favorite in the entire genre of Prog, and Lattimer gives many first-rate guitar performances. Instrumental melody is one of the strong qualities of Camel's music, and plenty of that is provided here. As I consider this a classic of the era, I can only give it five stars. This album came to my attention shortly after it was first released in 1976 (this was the American edition with the picture of a camel in a space suit standing on the moon ? a picture I really like). As long as I have been listening to Moonmadness, I never get tired of it. It is also perhaps the best known of all Camel's albums. As such, many reading this review will probably be familiar with it. If you have never heard it, and do not care much for Camel's music, this will probably not persuade you otherwise as it is arguably their best album. Not only do I think that the case, but I also think this is an essential album of Prog. So give it a(nother) listen.
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Posted Friday, November 18, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars What can I say About Moonmadness that hasn't already been said before.

This is a true Progressive masterpiece, that rewards repeated listenings and inspires thoughts of wonder and amazement. While at first it may seem to be un-organised, jarring to the ear, it canot be denied that this is an album crafted by true musicians set out to create a unique sound that while not only complex is pleasing to the ear, this is music for the devoted listener, not the typical ipod shuffler.

Highlights are "Song Within A Song" some great keyboards and Flute playing, "Chord Change" featuring a great guitar solo by Latimer, "Another Night" "Air Born" and of Course "Lunar Sea".

Moonmadness is not the first Camel album I would recommend, It is in the same calibre as Yes' "Close to The Edge" as it is an album that deserves undivided attention and reflection to truly appreciate, however it is definitely amongst their best, the only shame is that it came about when the gears of Prog-Rock were beginning to slow down, and as it became clear on their subsequent albums, the music suffered as listeners desired shorter simpler compositions, never the less it is a true treasure of Symphonic Prog.

Report this review (#753767)
Posted Wednesday, May 16, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars Okay, where to start with this album. This is a masterpiece. A grandiose album with great performances, great songwriting and great lyrics. After the mellow and beautiful instrumental concept album The Snow Goose, Camel came back with songs that are stronger and very progressive. Songs that have Genesis, Pink Floyd and jazz influences but still have that Camel touch in it.

Aristillus is a synth prelude to the album that is very well composed.

Song Within a Song is where the album really starts. This is a beautiful progressive song. One of the highlights of the album

Chord Change is a great instrumental. Heavy hitting but soft at the same time.

Spirit of The Water is a great ambiant track. It is very beautiful.

Another Night makes me think of funk music that we can't dance because of it's heavy 3/4 time signature. But it's far more than just that. It's a big progressive song

Air Born is beautiful.

Finally, Lunar Sea is the best song on the album. Heavy and great. It makes me think of jazz-fusion.

Report this review (#794385)
Posted Tuesday, July 24, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars Moonmadness is the last album with the classic line-up and consequently is the last great Camel album. Nothing much has changed from their previous albums except for the re-addition of vocals from Latimer, and perhaps a more focused, song-based writing style compared to The Snow Goose.

The album opens with the brief 'Aristillus' which has a whirling array of keyboards. This segues into 'Song Within A Song,' which is subdivided into three distinct sections. The first is a down-tempo section with some serene flute playing. The second is based around a riff that alternates between 4/4 and 7/8. The final section is upbeat with gliding keyboards throughout. This is without a doubt my favorite Camel song.

'Chord Change' is an instrumental that is mostly upbeat and has a few sections in 7/8. They do slowdown in the middle for some soulful guitar playing from Latimer.

'Spirit of the Water' is a short gentle piano-dominated track which segues into Another Night, which has a slightly ominous atmosphere conveyed by its awesome melodies. 'Air Born' features some more beautiful flute playing, but the guitar is equally as good. The section that begins midway through is a tad repetitive, but the guitar playing makes this rather spacey.

'The album ends with 'Lunar Sea,' an escapade of spacey keyboard and guitar. Every instrument constitutes greatly to the sound, but I especially like the respective bass line along with the keyboards midway through.

Overall, this is bit of a stronger effort than The Snow Goose, and is right on par with Mirage. I would say this is the perfect place to begin to get into Camel, as it is surely one of the best symphonic prog albums out there.


Report this review (#811844)
Posted Wednesday, August 29, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars Camel's fourth studio album and also, their last one with the original line-up. The sound of the album is slightly different if you compare it to their last album The Snow Goose. Moonmadness isn't as complex as its predecessor is even if this is a complete progressive rock album too. The album has a bit of a jazz fusion sound in some points as well.

All of the songs are more or less entertaining and you can't find any fillers here. The longer tracks like "Song within a Song", "Lunar Sea" and the single choice of the album "Another Night" represents the strongest material in here. But I have to mention the short "Spirit of the Water" as well since it's one of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard.

Four stars feels like an accurate rating for Moonmadness. Very solid collection of progressive rock music but still something is missing. Something that differs perfect albums from great albums. Moonmadness is a great album there's no doubt about that.

Report this review (#897938)
Posted Wednesday, January 23, 2013 | Review Permalink
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.

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Posted Monday, February 18, 2013 | Review Permalink
Second Life Syndrome
5 stars Love love love this album! As the first Camel album I'd heard, I was surprised by the sound. I'm not sure what I was expecting (maybe a Yes clone?), but what I got was spectacular synth- driven prog with some gentle vocals, wonderful flutes, and maybe some space rock influence, too.

Right off the bat, I was wowed by the short "Aristillus" with its spacey vibe, and I was continually impressed with "Spirit of the Water", "Another Night" and "Lunar Sea". This music is right up my alley, and now I can see the influence of this band in newer neo-prog bands such as Hidden Lands and Oblivion Sun (both are worth the time). The playful, spacey synth elates my nervous system every time Peter Bardens goes off on another solo. I'm really looking forward to checking out the rest of their discography.

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Posted Friday, July 5, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars this review for LP edition of Moonmadness....

Moonmadness is Camel's forth album and last one with Doug Ferguson. There is a fantastic music and atmosphere in this album. I read some listeners comment regarding Latimer's vocals , this is very subjective manner for me and I really liked what I hear and fits the album which reflects his natural voice to entire album with very natural way.

A side of the album opens and ends with very short songs. Is it possible to create such a great song and merge in 2 min ? Yes, it is.

Album starts with short "Aristillus" (Latimer), an instrumental and spacey opening. Shocking.

"A Song Within a Song" (Latimer, Bardens) starts with a flute part, then a guitar riff takes you into a circle. And it finishes with gliding keyboard section. What a built-up.

"Chord Change" (Latimer, Bardens) another instrumental song, cools down dramatically and great guitar playing here. Less is more.

"Spirit of Water" (Bardens), great piano atmosphere and great lyrics. Last song of A side but nothing stops the river as it goes.

B side has three songs

"Another Night" (Latimer, Bardens, Ward, Ferguson) Very nice start and guitar riff. A rock tune and a catchy melody. Very nice Keyboard solo followed by well-done guitar solo. A song composed by all camel members.

"Air Born" (Latimer, Bardens) is my favorite in this album. I can turn it again and again. Great lyrics and great atmosphere or may be mellotron is something great on its own!

"Lunar Sea" (Latimer, Bardens), is last song of the album . After the "air born " , it is like it wakes you up from a dream, or may be you really learned how to fly. It is instrumental, spacey and juzz-fusion style. Remarkable groove and a masterpiece. If you need to make a guess in a pure progressive rock album, masterpiece is usually the longest one. But it is not as it is long, as it is progressing.

This is the last album of Camel's early era. Later, Doug Ferguson leaves the band, and replaced by Richard Sinclair. This album is a prog rock masterpiece and highly recommended .

Report this review (#1038197)
Posted Wednesday, September 18, 2013 | Review Permalink
Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars Camel followed up "The Snow Goose", a wordless album that finally elevated them into prog greatness, with this, the album that cemented their place in the 70's prog annals.

On the positive side, Camel at this time had completely eschewed the psychedelic jamming that made the first two albums sound like they were recorded almost ten years before their release, and replaced that with more discernible prog compositions, the type that defined the classic mid-70s prog heyday. Musically, they blend a Canterbury-like jazz rock style with more symphonic passages, evoking at times lighter King Crimson, Genesis, and a bit of Pink Floyd.

What holds them back is a tendency to keep songs too light, and often reverting to this lightness after first revealing strong musical themes. Admittedly, however, this quality is what makes me enjoy this album as background music when having guests at an evening patio party.

Standout tracks are Chord Change, which has some dual guitar tracks that remind me of some of the classic Allman Brothers hits, before it changes lanes into some fine solo backgrounds, and Lunar Sea, which just might be the best song Camel ever recorded.

Another solid four star album.

Report this review (#1191851)
Posted Friday, June 13, 2014 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars By mid-70's Camel were reaching their peak in terms of popularity.The band was voted as ''The Brightest Hope'' in a Melody Maker poll, followed by a monumental presentation of ''The Snow Goose'' in October 75' at the Royal Albert Hall in London, with the London Symphony Orchestra.Next album finds the band collaborating with producer Rhett Davis at the Basing Street Studios in London.''Moonmadness'' was somewhat of a concept album, where individual tracks refered to the individual band members with the lyrics becoming again part of Camel's music structures.It was released in 1976 on Decca.

With each new album Camel were getting closer and closer to a jazzier sound and ''Moonmadness'' was no exception with the band flirting more than ever with the Canterbury sound.Soundwise this was definitely one of the most, if not the most, energetic albums produced by the classic line-up of Latimer/Ward/Bardens/Ferguson.With a deep sense for melodic interplays and more complex instrumentals Camel fused elements of Classical, Canterbury Fusion and Jazz in equal doses to deliver a fantastic work, filled with tremendous keyboard parts, genuine guitar moves and some impressive solos on keyboards and guitars, supported by the flawless rhythm section.As a result the music can become very rich at moments with furious battles between organ and guitar, while a number of breaks lead to more mellow themes with a slight psychedelic touch of the past.The symphonic elements are still present (melodic flute parts, atmospheric synths and sentimental guitar lines), albeit more refined and discreet, and the increase of jazzy rhythms and loose soloing (via the Canterbury-styled keyboards and electric piano) eventually offers a unique combination between smooth arrangements and dense instrumental activity, while the addition of vocals is rather preferable compared to the previous album due the emotional voices of Latimer and Ferguson.However the album is mostly instrumental and the band's inspiration is absolutely fantastic at this point of career with some of the best music ideas they ever recorded.

A classic of the mid-70's.Pronounced synthesizers, unique guitar touches and old-styled keyboards complete a work, where Rock, Classical and Jazz Music meet in a fascinating way.Not much more to add, this is at least a highly recommended album from the endless British Prog scene.

Report this review (#1275372)
Posted Saturday, September 13, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars Moonmadness is the fourth album from Camel. It is a very pleasent album. As for me, I like to put this one on when it's dumping snow outside and I have a good mug of hot chocolate. Moonmadness is not exactly the "really" amazing album (I like Snow Goose better) but it is one for the ages.

The album starts with "Aristillus" A two minute tune that sounds very ELPish with a spin. The beat in the background that continues throughout is good, and my favorite part is the bridge at a little past one minute. This is a great instermental to start a great album.

The next song is a bit longer and has lyrics. "Song within a Song" After the into, it calms down with some beutiful flute and background keyboard. Lyrics soon come in and it changes. One thing that does sort of bother me in this full album is the vocals. The song continues beutifully, but it's around the three minute mark when the riff hits. This is an amazing moment in prog history. After a minute of this, the song picks up speed and takes you away for the last part.

Then we get another instermental track. A song called "Chord Change" However I always felt they should have renamed it because "Chord Change" is sort of a boring name. Anyway, this starts with a fast beat and some scat after a minute. Then it calms down more and we get a gutiar solo. This part always made me thing of The Greatful Dead. At the four minute mark, it changes with a lick and a keyboard solo. My favorite part of the song. It slowly builds you up and reprises the into.

The next song is a ballad. "Spirit of the Water." It uses flute and piano, but if you think that's cool, just wait until the lyrics start. Pete Barden makes his voice sort of echo, it's amazing. It sounds as though it's echoing underwater! The piano and flute is also gorgeous and the lyrics are also amazing.

The second side opens with "Another Night" this sort of fades in a lot like "Flight of the Snowgoose". Then the gutiar kicks in. It's a pretty cool riff. The song slows down for the chorus, and then goes back. The instermental section starts close to three minutes. I have to admit, there's some pretty amazing drumming in here. The instermental ends at around four and a half minutes and then melody begains again, with another instermental section.

The next song, "Air Born", begains with a flute and piano underneath. Then you here a melotron sound and guitar. Accoustic guitar also is in it, I always loved this in the background. It then takes over the song with flute. This is a beutiful section of the song, but this song becomes amazing around two and a half minutes. Here, we have a guitar solo with keyboard in the background. It takes me away every time. The song ends with another melody, which really kicks in.

Finnaly, we have the final track on the album. "Lunar Sea" An instermental. The into makes sure you know this is underwater. Then the guitar comes in. This is a sort of fade in. I always listen to the bass of this. It's really cool. The song changes around two and a half minutes with keyboard taking over as a solo and an even better bass pattern. This is really good and lasts a while, but then a riff comes in and at the five minute mark comes the coolest transition ever. We then have the first bass pattern with keyboard taking a melody and a guitar as a solo. And around seven minutes comes a transition to the best part of the the whole album, the final riff. This tops everything off and we then get an intro reprise and some strange sound effects taking up the last minute.

Well, overall I think this album is amazing, though I am not giving it five stars. For much of it drags on a bit, though Camel can do that a lot. And, like I said before, the best time to listen to this is when it's snowing hard outside and your snuggles in a warm home with a nice mug of hot chocolate.


1. Lunar Sea 2. Song Within a Song 3. Air Born 4. Spirit of the Water 5. Another Night 6. Chord Change 7. Aristillus

Favorite quote from the album: "Nothing stops the river as it rolls by." -From "Spirit of the Water"

Report this review (#1409753)
Posted Wednesday, May 6, 2015 | Review Permalink
5 stars Review Nş 3

Camel was my second love after Genesis. In 1975, when I was born to the progressive rock music, the first vinyl record purchased by me was "Selling England By The Pound" of Genesis and the second was "The Snow Goose" of Camel. Even today, Camel and Genesis are the two bands from the 70's, which I listen to with more pleasure.

Although I love "Mirage" very much, my favourite studio album of Camel is and always was "Moonmadness" followed by "The Snow Goose". These two albums have the participation of the two best composers of the band, which are Andrew Latimer and Peter Bardens. In my humble opinion, "Moonmadness" is the last great studio album from the band with the participation of Bardens as band member. It belongs and closes what is usually known by their classic line up and their classic era, which is for me, their best.

The line up on the album is Andrew Latimer (lead vocals, flute and guitars), Peter Bardens (vocals and keyboards), Andy Ward (vocals, drums and percussion) and Doug Ferguson (vocals and bass).

"Moonmadness" is their fourth studio album and for many represents the highest point of the musical career of the group. The album was released in 1976 and was also the last album to feature their original line up. Their bassist Ferguson left the group and Richard Sinclair, ex-Caravan, replaced him on their next fifth studio album "Rain Dances", released in 1977. Mel Collins (saxophone and flute), increased the band to five members, for the subsequent tour, beginning an eight years association with the group as a band member or guest.

The concept album "Moonmadness" has seven tracks. The first track "Aristillus" written by Latimer is the smallest track on the album and is an instrumental piece that serves to open the album. It's an atmospheric song, very melodic and is dominated by keyboards. It represents an excellent mood to the rest of the album. The second track "Song Within A Song" written by Latimer and Bardens is a very calm, beautiful, and melancholic song which contrasts with the deepest voice of Ferguson. It's an excellent song with a nice and relaxing guitar and flute works. This is a typical Camel's song. The third track "Chord Change" written by Latimer and Bardens is one of the tracks chosen by the band to define the personality of each member. This is the song about Bardens. It's an instrumental track that explores magnificently the Latimer's guitar fills and Bardens' keyboard work. This is a very well constructed song with some jazzy touch. The fourth track "Spirit Of The Water" written by Bardens is another short track with a very beautiful piano work complemented by a distant vocal singing. It's an atmospheric ballad, very pretty, and built around piano and synthesizer with Bardens' distant voice adding a very special feel to it. The fifth track "Another Night" written by Camel is the song about the personality of Fergusson. In my humble opinion, this is the rockiest song on the album with its great riffs and the strong Latimer's vocal work. This is the most aggressive track on the album, but still it keeps the usual, special and very unique Camel's charm. The sixth track "Air Born" written by Latimer and Bardens represents Andrew's track and is, for me, one of the most memorable songs ever from the band. The track begins with flute and piano, in a classic style, and suddenly explodes with all instruments and the Latimer's voice. Musically, this is an excellent and very well developed song. The seventh track "Lunar Sea" written by Latimer and Bardens is another instrumental track this time about Ward. It's the lengthiest track on the album and represents, in my humble opinion, one of the best tracks on the album. It's a song with great individual and collective musical performances. The melody of the song changes and evolves all over the theme. It reminds me something spatial, as its name suggests.

Conclusion: After their more experimental and audacious work, their previous studio album "The Snow Goose", the music on "Moonmadness" is more akin to the more traditional English progressive rock scene. The music we can found on it is something between space and symphonic rock. It has a very homogeneous musical quality with a dreamy space ambient and a very peaceful musical atmosphere. Sincerely, if you don't know yet this album, you must listen to it. After all these years, it remains an album very fresh, cool and nothing dated. However, with "Moonmadness" the band's English audience declined, but in USA it reached number 118, the highest chart position that the group ever attained in that country. It's a real must have this album. It sounds cool soon of its first listen, but it grows more and more each time you listen to it. So, I recommend it to everyone who likes melodic progressive rock music. It's recommended to symphonic and psychedelic/space rock fans, particularly to Pink Floyd fans, and it's also recommended to Opeth's fans.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Report this review (#1443346)
Posted Wednesday, July 22, 2015 | Review Permalink
Magnum Vaeltaja
Eclectic Prog Team
3 stars "Moonmadness", Camel's fourth studio album, shows the band continuing to develop the sound that they had introduced on "The Snow Goose". Like "Snow Goose", this release shows Camel's signature mellow symphonic style in full bloom. For some, this meant the peak of their discography, but it's kind of left me a little disappointed. With their debut and their studio masterpiece "Mirage", Camel was a truly unique beast in prog. A sort of Canterbury/symphonic crossover, with light jazz touches and an occasional psychedelic flair. By "Moonmadness", though, the stripped-back symphonic purity of their music moved them from the realm of progressive innovators to nondescript easy listening.

Perhaps that's being a little hard, though. Even though "Moonmadness" is less distinguished, this period in Camel's discography did still retain its own special charm. And don't get me started on the melodies; they're absolutely splendid on here. Indeed, if lush symphonic ballads are your thing, there are a handful of them here that should satisfy your cravings. "Song Within A Song" and "Air Born" are both Andrew Latimer flute showcases, with all sorts of Bardens synth splurges to tug at the heartstrings a little. The album has two true highlights, though. The spacey instrumental "Lunar Sea" offers solos galore and is something of a fan favourite. My personal favourite, however, has always been "Chord Change", perhaps the strongest instrumental in the Camel catalogue. It opens with a fast, playful pace that soon slows down and changes tone (hence the name?) into a stirring instrumental ballad. Andrew Latimer's guitar playing is absolutely stunning on this track, with his aching string bends and soulful runs. It's a real must-hear for fans of beautiful electric guitar music.

Wonderful as the album can get, though, the music tends to be quite tired sounding. I suppose that that's always a risk that artists take when trying to achieve a softer sound, but "Moonmadness" often slips below the ideal balance of mellow and energetic. Consequently, I tend to prefer a lot of the bands who have moulded their sound off of this album (e.g. Asia Minor, Sanhedrin) than the original. "Moonmadness" still has its place, of course. It serves as a fine starting point for those new to prog in general (it was certainly one of my first prog loves), and of course Camel fans should find plenty to love throughout. I also find it to be an ideal album to listen to on still winter nights. With all things considered, this is a good symphonic release that wouldn't be out of place in any prog fan's record collection. 3 stars.

Report this review (#1472262)
Posted Saturday, October 3, 2015 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
4 stars Moonmadness is a tough one for me. On one hand, the dreamy and pastoral symphonic vibe feels prosaic and at times even bland; on the other, the band blends in moments of upbeat energy and lush beauty. It's a mixed bag, which I don't feel deserves the 50+% 5-star rating it has here on the Archives. As of this writing, I've listened to the record 20 times, and am still wondering where the "masterpiece" label is coming from. With that being said, Moonmadness is still quite good. Let's dig in.

Overall this album blends approachable symphonic prog with a delightful rock energy. At it's heaviest, Camel is still somewhat wimpy rock, but that's not a problem here. For Moonmadness, it's all about the vibe, which is quite enjoyable. We're given mostly instrumental works with good variety. If you like dreamy flutes and lush keyboards--you're covered. If you like excellent instrumental chops and a jazzy undertone--you're good. If you like the occasional up-swell of guitar rockin'--don't fret. Basically, this album has something for everyone ... with one notable exception: the vocals. Ferguson's vocals here are not good. They sound processed and pushed into the background, maybe in an attempt to mask their unenergetic feel. Lyrically what few moments of singing are fine, sort of simple but evocative. Bottom-line here is that you won't be touched or inspired by vocals, but by the atmosphere.

Musically the songs are deft and played quite well. Keyboard standouts by Bardens deserve attention, while the rhythm section of Freguson and Ward sound great. Camel's instrumental proficiency really can't be balked, which is maybe what pushes this album into 4-star territory for me. It's hard to pick a standout, because the songs flow nicely and each have a lot of twists and turns packed into each.

If you're in the mood for thoughtful, meditative prog-rock that sort of unfolds as you listen Moonmadness is right up your alley. It's not a masterpiece in my opinion, and may leave some listeners feeling like they just took a dose of ambien, but most fans of classic prog will be ready for another hit.

Songwriting: 4 - Instrumental Performances: 4 - Lyrics/Vocals: 2 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 3

Report this review (#1839801)
Posted Friday, December 8, 2017 | Review Permalink

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