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Fungus - Better Than Jesus CD (album) cover

BETTER THAN JESUS

Fungus

Heavy Prog


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SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
4 stars Let's start saying that the only weak thing of this album is the production that's not properly "perfect" on some tracks, like the engineer was not the same on all the album. On the first track, in example, the echoes of the rehearsal room hasn't been canceled and it makes it sound like just a rehearsal. Luckily it's not the same on all the tracks.

This opener, "Share Your Suicide", is opened by little vinyl noises, a keyboards layer in Vangelis/Wright style and a speech. The Italian accent of the bassist is strong but not as terrible the German of the Eloy mastermind Frank Bornemann. This keyboard layout acquires a Floydian taste tanks also to the Vocoder, but when, after 3 minutes, the proper song begins, the heavy guitar and drums justify the Heavy Prog classification. The speech over a clean guitar adds a touch of krautrock for a while. Now the the sound is "full" the environmental thing about the production is no longer perceivable, but the guitar should have had a better treatment as the solo is unbalanced to one channel.

On "25 Grams" the acoustic guitar seems a little untuned but this may have been a choice. Apart of that this song is very good. There's a good solo, the vocals are powerful, the organ in the background is at least mimic of a hammond.

"Smoke" is a sort of classic rock, and effectively it rocks. AT this moment I don't have comparisons in mind, but there's a clear early 70s mood. Uriah Heep, maybe. The "stop" at minute 4:30 with some "noises from the street" is a non essential interruption, but the reprise which follows is even more classic rock oriented. Black Sabbath, Colosseum, Family, Doors come to mind. Very nice.

on "Tanks..a Lot" the acoustic guitar is better tuned. The baritone choir and the vaguely folk environment remind me to a darker version of Tuatha De Danann without Braia's flute, but the connection with the old rock and even with some RPI is still present.

"Hang On Your Lips" starts like a hard rock song with blues influences. Also the vocals are better than on the other songs. The vibrato on the vocals is not the same of Chappo Chapman but on those chords and good enough. The whispered vocals which follow are not that good unfortunately. Question of tastes probably, but I don't like this part of the song, also because it's another one lacking in production. Apparently the author(s) wanted to give it the structure of a mini-suite. The third part with the piano in foreground is quite good and is followed by a good guitar riff.

"Logical Fish" is the most "eclectic" song. With a good bass line and frequent changes in signature it's hard to classify. Maybe it's a bit Crimsonian, but I can't say. The keyboard in the final part sounds a bit Eloy.

"Eternal Mind" crosses the borders with neo-prog. The melodic intro of piano and acoustic guitar (with a bit of flanger) sounds "neo" but when William sings it's a blues oriented song, so also this song looks back. This song reminds me to a band I was used to listen to some (ehm...many) years ago, the "Climax Blues Band" but I can hear echoes of Moody Blues too. "neo-proto-prog" ? The album is closed by a short fusion track, few more than a joke but very well arranged and played. Here the guitarist shows some jazz skill. It's the kind of closers the early Caravan were used to put in their albums, but it shows a path that the band may choose to follow in the future, who knows? It's an excellent instrumental totally disconnected from the rest of the album.

This album is very good,. I'm undecided about being "generous" and rate it with 4 stars or being a bad guy and give it "only" three. Because I've been not very fair with the solo album of the bassist "zerothehero" let's compensate a bit. It's a 3.5 stars that I'm rounding up. By the way, we may discuss about it being an "excellent addition" or not, but I think nobody will be too concerned about showing it in his collection.

Report this review (#822329)
Posted Monday, September 17, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars Five piece Italian band Fungus was founded in 2002 and released three albums. This is their second one from 2010, with the 'slightly provocative' title Better Than Jesus. It was an own production with a limited edition of 500 copies.

The music is a wonderful trip to the era between the late Sixties and early Seventies, I notice obvious hints of Pink Floyd and The Doors (especially because of the Jim Morrison-like vocals in several tracks). The Hammond organ freaks will be delighted, most of the 8 tracks contain cascades of Hammond organ, often in strong interplay with the powerful and fiery guitar work. The most captivating element in Fungus their sound is the combination of pure rock and psychedelia and the intense, pretty emotional moments. This adds a special flavour like the sensitive electric guitar with organ in the excellent first composition Share Your Suicide. And the dreamy acoustic guitar with warm vocals and piano in Hang On Your Lips and the twanging acoustic guitar, beautiful piano play and romantic vocals in Eternal Mind (it reminds me a little bit of The Crystal Ship by The Doors). Good musical ideas can also be found in Logical Fish (a strongly build-up synthesizer solo) and the instrumental Spammology (swinging with funky bass and delicate interplay between guitar, organ and piano). My first (and only) musical encounter with Fungus their music turned out to be a very pleasant time travel.

Nice addition Paul, thanks.

Report this review (#1903181)
Posted Wednesday, March 14, 2018 | Review Permalink

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