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Somnambulist Somnambulist album cover
3.47 | 40 ratings | 9 reviews | 18% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1996

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Frotus
2. Conqueror worm
3. Return of the son of civilization
4. Globos formas para maņana
5. Pinocchio
6. Multum in parvo
7. Prometheus' lament
8. Torquemada
9. Unlearning folds of red:
i) Weenus de gyro
ii) Waiting underground
iii) Weenus replica
iv) Awoke my precious sleeper

Line-up / Musicians

- Henry Bones / lead vocals, guitars
- Terry Clouse / basses
- Jody Park / keyboards
- Scott Ratchford / drums

- Cliff McPeek / sax (7)
- Megan Wright / vocals (3)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
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SOMNAMBULIST Somnambulist ratings distribution

(40 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(18%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(44%)
Good, but non-essential (28%)
Collectors/fans only (10%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

SOMNAMBULIST Somnambulist reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
2 stars Another one of these typicaly huge US prog sound. just not my cup of tea . To be compared to Magna Carta Label artist or even Spock's Beard, as far as the sound and technicity of music. Fails to interest me beyond the third number and annoys me by the fifth . Just an opinion (even though it is not positive) ,. Should please fans of the mentioned groups
Review by lor68
3 stars Well actually a score in the average is right (probably a "2 stars and an half" score is more sincere), but the impact of this band on the fans loving the "Crimsonian" sound is growing more and more. Their technique is remarkable and their style as well, despite of being often quite dark.Nevertheless this debut album contains a strange contamination, which is similar to the dark sound of "Lizard" by King Crimson and the heaviest passages by Premiata Forneria Marconi (Do you remember the hard guitar excursions by F. Mussida inside the track "La Carrozza di Hans"?!), despite of the harsh and a bit uneven harmonic solutions by the dissonant guitar (anyway a trademark by The Somnambulist). This latter of course (from the point of view of its harmony) has been sometimes compared to the style of "Magnus Opus" by Kansas, but unlike that one contained into such famous suite, the guitar is used in a easier and darker way!! I don't get crazy for this style ,sometimes boring, nevertheless I recognize some remarkable music features within, being derivative in some circumstances only (but it never disturbs me!!); even though the present album is occasionally more personal: anyway finally I regard this work as an interesting recent issue, which is worth checking out at least!!
Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The band called their music as "...dark cinematic symphonic rock fused with unbridled modern aggression...". When I listen to this album, their description of the kind of music the play is about right. Yeah, this is the dark side of progressive rock combining the sound of King Crimson, Van der Graaf Generator, PFM, ELP with some music passages / nuances in the vein of new wave music, especially in singing style plus symphonic rock. The composition is relatively complex, I would say. I was actually not interested with the CD (that I loaned from a friend) judging from its cover. For first 2 or 3 spins I did not really get the music into my mind. But I don't know why I was so enthused to have another spin every time I looked at the CD at my shelf. One thing that probably made me "connected" with this album, was that when there is a lyrical passage that said "Doktor ..doktor ..doktor" combining male and female voices. So intriguing this passage, so I kept spinning again. Having listened to many times, it's time for me to give my view about this album. [am writing this review while sipping my hot capucino at Bistro Café, 11 January 2005. Uuughh . what a great event man . For me personally, reviewing a prog album is a very enjoyable event; as great as listening to its music].

The band history started back in 1993 when Terry Clouse and Jody Park was collaborating on a project. They recruited Jo Whitaker (drums) and Jack Gray (vox) and made an effort to record their work that did not materialize into a commercial album. They defunct and left Jody and Terry alone. With the addition of Scott Ratchford (drums) and Henry Bones (guitar/vocals), they formed a four-piece band called Somnambulist. This debut was released in 1996.

"Frotus " kicks off the album with an Emerson-like soft keyboard solo followed by drum beats that indicate the start of the band's dark saga. The opening part reminds me to heavy influence of early King Crimson and Van der Graff Generator but darker in nuances. Mellotron / keyboard and drumming are stunning, accompanied with solid bass line (it must be a Rickenbaker, I guess). The vocal quality is not perfect however it provides a nice blend with the music. Guitar sound is mixed very thin, but when it comes to fore with keyboard sound it accentuates the song really well.

"Conqueror Worm" starts with an atmospheric guitar, keyboard and bass sounds and it turns to a moderate tempo passage featuring heavy mellotron and stunning guitar. Yeah, you can feel the touch of Fripp-ian guitar style and mellotron sounds. It's an excellent short instrumental piece in the vein of King Crimson.

"Return of the Son of Civilization" is interesting track with sort of unstructured opening (with not so perfect vocal, but it fits the nuance). The music turns to a cabaret / opera style with unique voice combining male, female and children's voice. You can observe this when the lyric is "Doctor .. doctor .doctor". [Yes! This is the passage that I mentioned above. Not melodic but .. memorable man!]. The music is complex. The guitar solo produces unique sound, thinly mixed. Weird but stunning guitar sound. "Globos Formas Para Maņana" blasts off with a complex music, I think in the vein of Van der Gaaf and King Crimson. Despite its complex music and not that nice melody, however this opening produces excellent harmony sounds. Voices enter the music in a unique (and weird) singing style - it does not seem the vocalist sings seriously. But, it's nice though - it has created a very dark nuances. Time signatures used are also unique, blending the sounds of multi instruments used: piano, mellotron, bass, drum (played dynamically) and guitar. The ending part is remarked with a short naration and rather complex music with soaring guitar sound augmented with mellotron and dazzling drum sounds.

"Pinocchio" opens with a classical piano touch followed with dark music led by guitar fills. The guitar fills form a melody, accompanied with a piano. The music flows to a more complex structure with distanced vocal. Bass line and drumming provide a main rhythm of this track. There are repeated melody on guitar part but it's combined with complex mellotron, drum and bass sounds.

"Multum in Parvo" is destined to be a classical outfit (I think) by the band. It starts with a piano work and the music flows in slow / medium tempo with symphonic style as indicated through mellotron sound. As with other tracks, the bass line is very ovious in a heavy sound.At approx minute 2:52 the music turns complex with great guitar work and clavinet sound during transition! Superb!

"Prometheus' Lament" starts with a symphonic style featuring heavy mellotron sounds. The vocal line is unique and is not good quality (or probably it was intended to be like this). Sometimes the vocal style is like a poem's reading combined with female voice. It's a dark nuance track.

"Torquemada" (uhm .. The title reminds me to Marillion's tune "Emerald Lies" of "Fugazi" album that had this word) is another weirdo kind of music. The opening does not sound melodic - in the vein of ELP, but . it's nice for my ears. It's unique!

"Unlearning Folds of Red" that comprises four sections is my favorite. As usual, it starts with a complex composition, moves forward in relatively fast tempo and turns bit slower with guitar and organ works. The symphonic style is still maintained but the vocal turns into a "screaming" one backed with a complicated organ and mellotron. It's not a typical prog music you would like to introduce to your friends, I think. It's so complex. But again . it satisfies my listening pleasure.

Overall, I do not want to recommend you to buy this CD. Unless .. You are open mind! Keep on Progging!! - Progressively yours, GW - Indonesia.

Review by erik neuteboom
3 stars Here's an interesting album on (fellow Tron-maniac) Ken Golden his label The Laser's Edge, the eponymous debut CD by USA progrock band Somnambulist. Their sound is very overwhelming: heavy rhythms, fiery guitar play and sumptuous keyboard work. The climates are often ominous featuring Fripperian guitar, lots of violin-Mellotron waves and (to me) a bit nerve-racking saxophone play. This music evokes King Crimson during the Larks Tongues In Aspic and Red era. I am impressed by the captivating interplay between the guitar and keyboards (Mellotron waves, sparkling piano, Kansas-like organ and some harpsichorp). But unfortunately, at some moments (mainly in the longer compositions) Somnambulist) seems to loose grip on their music and it tends to become too unstructured/unbalanced, too many shifting moods and too many soli. Also the vocals will cause mixed feelings I think: powerful but quite raw and a bit screamy. Nonetheless, this is a promising debut album, the fans of heavy prog will be pleased.
Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Somnambulist is a great discovery I have made here on Prog Archives. This is a truly innovative and progressive band. The sound of their music is very dark and symphonic in a simple way. The bass is very dominant throughout the album. King Crimson in of some influence even though Somnambulist doesnīt sound like them, there are just hints here and there.

The vocals which are pretty sparse on this album are very great when they appear. Henry Bones has a very diverse vocal style which ranges from aggressive to mellow. With such strong vocals you should think that you would miss them as most of this album is instrumental, but when they appear they help the songs evolve to a higher state. This is great prog rock.

The music is very intricate but at times very simple. There are many different parts in most songs and the songs are not normally structured which is something I favour. Some of the instrumental parts are very exciting too. I especially like the strange guitar solo in Pinocchio. But other than that this is not an album with very many solos on. Itīs more the interplay between the instruments that are so great.

All in all this was a nice surprise to me and I will give this one 4 stars for the innovative nature and dark mood.

Review by ZowieZiggy
4 stars The music displayed on this album is deeply reflecting the characteristics of the Eclectic genre more than the "Cross-Over" melting pot in which the band was dropped. Initially, Eclectic was the genre they were thrown in though (accordingly)?

As some reviewers have already outlined, this is a serious Crimson affair, with early "Ange" parameters as far as the instrumental parts are concerned of course. Because the vocal department (which is rather scarce) has nothing to do with the latter great band I have mentioned, unfortunately.

So, let's focus on the instrumental sections?They are powerful but not heavy, they are dark but not too obscure. The music is intricate but not damned; complex but not inaccessible. In one word or two: quite good.

The good old riff from "Watcher" is obviously borrowed during "Globos Formas Para Maņana" and the band often leaves the ground to a full and Crimsionian affair ("Pinocchio"). Fine and delicate mellotron, sweet guitar breaks, gorgeous bass play and finally, to top the whole story: the guitar work is just splendid. This is the most achieved track from this album, and also my fave. It is great music by all means.

This is one of the best US eclectic prog rock album ever released IMHHO. The vocal department is not top notch ("Prometheus' Lament") but the last section is a wonderful mix between "Genesis" and "Van Der Graaf". I would say that the whole album is quite challenging and it is worth your attention.

I would rate this effort with four stars even if the closing and longest track is not the best one available.

Latest members reviews

4 stars This cd was disappointing at first, as it was not what I had expected, but I persevered and it was worth it. Once you get used to some of the eccentricities of the music, especially the vocals, there is much to enjoy; quirky tempo changes, excellent piano, Hammond organ, synth and mellotron. T ... (read more)

Report this review (#75582) | Posted by dmwilkie | Thursday, April 20, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Almost all has been said above about this album: modern, dark and agressive Prog Rock with Mellotron (good usage overall except on the 8th track). It has anyway to be said that keyboard player Jody Park has a great perfomance at keyboards in general. I really think this is an album worth to exp ... (read more)

Report this review (#60309) | Posted by elpprogster | Wednesday, December 14, 2005 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Sounds good. A strange mix of King Crimson, Italian Prog even Wakeman. Contains a few songs that can blow out your mind, specially "Torquemada" and "Unlearning folds of red". An interesting experiment of fusion with some good performances in keyboards by Jody Par. Truly hard and dark, not for ... (read more)

Report this review (#39874) | Posted by progadicto | Wednesday, July 20, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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