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KingBathmat - Overcoming The Monster CD (album) cover

OVERCOMING THE MONSTER

KingBathmat

Psychedelic/Space Rock


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Second Life Syndrome
COLLABORATOR
Post/Math Rock and Crossover Teams
4 stars The cover artwork is the first thing you see when you pick up a new album. It can attract you, or it can totally disgust you. KingBathmat's new album "Overcoming the Monster" was going to be a tough sell for me because the artwork for this new album is probably the worst I've seen this year. It's detailed, yes; but it's downright hideous. So, going into this album, it already had one strike against it.

"Never judge a book by its cover" goes the old proverb. This is especially true for this album. While the cover artwork is terrible, the music therein is actually quite good. KingBathmat's seventh album "Overcoming the Monster" is a psychedelic journey that discusses the psychological obstacles that we, others, or the media place in our heads. It explores the idea of ridding ourselves of these walls, and living to our full potential. I think this concept is great, and should especially apply to this music. This music takes some growing, and it takes an open mind.

KingBathmat's style is an eclectic mix of prog rock, psychedelia, alternative music, grunge, and maybe a little post-rock. It is well-mixed, so it does not feel disjointed at all. So, they comfortably mix bludgeoning guitar riffs with proggy, psychedelic keys. The bassist does a great job of bringing the funk, as there are some very unique bass lines and even a few bass solos. The drummer performs admirably, and the vocalist seems to be able to change his tone to fit the atmosphere well. All of this creates a sort of tongue-in-cheek humor that surrounds the music, though the theme is serious.

Their last album, "The Truth Button" felt a little off to me, but the new album features much stronger song writing. The songs are almost catchy at times, and they seem to be dabbling in more epic song structures, too. The word of the day for this album is "variety". That's what this album has. For instance, "Sentinel" is a great rocking piece, while "Parasomnia" is a moody piece with epic keys and dreary atmospheres. Again, "Superfluous" is a well- structured, melodic rock track, while "Kubrick Moon" is a 10+ minute epic piece with some outstanding keys and guitar passages. This band can play very well, and they show it will some open display of their noodling finesse.

While this album is very strong, I would point out the uneven nature of the album. It starts out with two very strong tracks, and then it takes a nosedive with "Overcoming the Monster". Yes, the title track is a weak one. Next, it soars with "Superfluous", and then takes the biggest dive with "Reality Mining", a track that is very disjointed and experimental to a fault. Yet, then they recover with the stunning "Kubrick Moon".

Overall, the album is the strongest I've heard from them; and, while it contains some unevenness, it deserves every proghead's attention. It really brings a grungy Pink Floyd vibe to the table, and that appeals to me. So, ignore the artwork, and give this album a go.

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Send comments to Second Life Syndrome (BETA) | Report this review (#990650)
Posted Monday, July 01, 2013 | Review Permalink
ProgShine
COLLABORATOR
Errors & Omissions and Crossover Team
4 stars I hadn't been aware of the English band KingBathmat untill last year when I received a promo copy of their album Truth Button (2012) and I was quite surprised with that album (read the review here: progarchives.com/Review.asp?id=941695). Now I'm following the band, cause they're something new in the Prog world.

But KingBathmat is not a new band, in fact, the just released Overcoming The Monster (2013) is their 7th album. The band was kind enough to send me, once again, a promo copy of the album, a month before the release date. I don't like to post reviews before you can actually buy an album, so I decided to wait for the release. Once again KingBathmat join forces with StereoHead Records and Overcoming The Monster (2013) follows its predecessor, Truth Button (2012), in terms of sound. KingBathmat is still unclassifiable. Which means that their mix of Progressive Rock and Alternative Rock is still the main force, but you can feel many things happening on the tracks.

Overcoming The Monster (2013) is also a conceptual album. It deals with a psychological theme. The 'monsters' that we create in our heads and sometimes we have to overcome them to follow with our life. Like its predecessor it also has 6 tracks in 51 minutes of music, which means that with the exception of one track all of them are between 7 and 12 minutes.

When you press play and you start to listen to their first single, 'Sentinel', you can feel the power in the band's sound. Also, you can see that David Georgiou (keyboards) is more present. 'Parasomnia' is the second track and starts as a horror/thriller soundtrack, as if it was an opening song for a movie. It has a great bass line by Rob Watts and once again good keyboards. I think that Bernie Smirnoff drums was a bit faded in the first track, here he's more present. A powerful track.

The title-track shows us that keyboards and guitars are more into tune know. And that John Bassett is still the driven-force in the band. But this time he assumes the guitars, completely and they're a great deal in the band's music, but here with more melodies too. Once again, the bass makes itself present with clever lines. 'Superflous' is very heavy as soon as it starts. It becomes a bit more melodic and Prog with lots of synths. I do think that the drums are a bit on the fake side on this track tough.

'Reality Mining' is the shortest on the album and a weird piece of music, but in a good way. At the same time it is the most 'Pop' on the album, in a Beatles way. The longest track, 'Kubrick Moon' closes the album. Atmospheric is the right word to describe it. Towards the middle the song gets a punch of energy and goes in a full power section, great by the way.

Just like its predecessor, Overcoming The Monster (2013) is a very good example that Progressive Rock mixed with more 'modern' approaches can be made. Sometimes bands end up copying themselves when it comes to this 'modern prog' and all of them sound the same. When it comes to KingBathmat, they're quite unique in what they do. And you have to respect them for that! Highly recommended.

(Originally posted on progshine.net)

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Send comments to ProgShine (BETA) | Report this review (#1003703)
Posted Tuesday, July 23, 2013 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover Team
4 stars I was on Facebook one night, when I was interested to find someone telling everyone about this great German prog band that he had come across called KingBathMat. As I pointed out, the last time I looked they were very British (and according to their website are from Hastings), so I am somewhat intrigued to understand why someone thought they were from across the Channel? But, it does go to show that after multiple albums and a discography going back to 1998 (when the band was just John Bassett) these guys have somehow stayed very much under the radar for most people. But, with some bands starting to get more recognition possibly this could be their time. If only I could work out how to describe their music.

Here we have music that at times is heavily dosed in psychedelia, then at others it is Muse at full blast, then it is space rock, then art, then it is all mixed up so that I have no way at all of working out what to say, but smiling while I'm typing it. If you want keyboards mixed with harmony vocals and lots of clapping then this is the album for you, at least on "Reality Mining". It is progressive in the truest sense of the word, bringing in multiple styles and types of music then mixing them all together in a way that is different and exciting, vibrant and fresh, without ever losing sight of their musical roots.

"Kubrick Moon" has some wonderful guitar (and is that a theremin I hear in the background?) that is delicate and spacey, full of emotion and restraint that also contains a naivety that is quite late 70's indie alternative in many ways, while also containing some Twelfth Night moves to boot! That is one of the joys of this album for me, in that it refuses to conform to any particular genre or sub genre, and instead the band take great delight in just doing whatever they like and if it is enjoyed by others then that is fine, and if no-one gets it then that is fine as well.

This won't be to everyone's tastes, and certainly not to those who say that they enjoy 'progressive' music when they mean 'regressive', but to these ears this is easily the most ambitious album of theirs that I have heard to date, and is well worth discovering. www.kingbathmat.com

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Send comments to kev rowland (BETA) | Report this review (#1009000)
Posted Wednesday, July 31, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars With this new album kingbathmat stays true to their style and they deliver the goods once again. Containing six tracks and with a running time of 50 minutes, the album is well balanced. Most of the tracks being in the 7 to 12 minutes range, with a sole exception, each song have all the space it needs to breathe and reach its full potential. There's a feeling of homogeneity throughout the album, some ideas being reused here and there with success.

The album starts really strong with the combo Sentinel and Parasomnia, two top-notch songs with splendid instrumental passages. Both shows the force of the group to create longer songs that stays interesting without being over complex, blending smoother and heavier passages. There's enough variation and complexity to keep the listener attention but the result always stays harmonious.

The following song, Overcoming the Monster, is the weakest point of the album to me. It uses the same ingredients but the end result is not as successful. It feels patchy, especially some of the vocal segments. Happily the last three songs are all excellent, although none can rival with the first two, except the last one. If the tracks Superfluous and Kubrick Moon blend again the same elements in different manners, the shorter and mellower Reality Mining is free of heavier moments. All in all this is a first-rate album from kingbathmat. These guys definitely deserve to be more widely acclaimed.

Edit: many months have passed and I'm now sure this album deserves no less than 5 stars. One of the very best of 2013!

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Send comments to phillihp (BETA) | Report this review (#1064731)
Posted Tuesday, October 22, 2013 | Review Permalink

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