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Sleepytime Gorilla Museum


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Sleepytime Gorilla Museum In Glorious Times album cover
3.92 | 137 ratings | 18 reviews | 34% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2007

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Companions (10:04)
2. Helpless Corpses Enactment (5:57)
3. Puppet Show (4:15)
4. Formicary (5:46)
5. Angle Of Repose (7:53)
6. Ossuary (4:35)
7. The Salt Crown (8:40)
8. The Only Dance (4:20)
9. The Greenless Wreath (6:51)
10. The Widening Eye (5:09)
11. The Putrid Refrain (2:55)

Total time 66:25

Line-up / Musicians

- Nils Frykdahl / guitar, vocals
- Carla Kihlstedt / violin, percussion guitar, bass harmonica, hurdy gurdy, vocals
- Michael Mellender / guitar, xylophone, trumpet, percussion, toy piano, vocals
- Dan Rathbun / bass, dulcimer, vocals, co-producer, mixing
- Matthias Bossi / drums, glockenspiel, xylophone, piano, backing vocals

- Per Frykdahl / voice
- Dawn McCarthy / backing vocals (2)

Releases information

Artwork: Per Frykdahl

CD The End Records ‎- TE082 (2007, US)

2xLP Blood Music ‎- BLOOD-157 (2016, Finland) Remastered

Thanks to inpraiseoffolly for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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SLEEPYTIME GORILLA MUSEUM In Glorious Times ratings distribution

(137 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(34%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(30%)
Good, but non-essential (20%)
Collectors/fans only (11%)
Poor. Only for completionists (5%)


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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by thellama73
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Another unbelievably good record from Sleepytime Gorilla Museum. I had been anticipating this album for a long time, and I was terrified it wouldn't live up to my expectations. Thankfully, though, those fears have been put to bed. I must admit however, that on my first listen I was a little disappointed. This is because, as others have said, the album is denser and less accessible than "Of Natural History," but after a few repeat listens I realized my error.

I have seen the band live a number of times, and so I had heard a lot of these songs as they developed along the road. It is a treat to hear them so thoroughly fleshed out in a studio form. The only disappointment is that the percussion guitars don't sound quite as massive on record.

"The Companions" starts things off wonderfully, beginning slow and brooding and then exploding into chaos, concluding with a beautiful Spanish feel. Nils is in fine voice and Carla has never sounded better. In fact, her versatility is showcased in the stellar "Angel of Repose," my personal favorite track on the album, where she shows herself capable of both soft cooing and full on belting. I didn't know she had it in her.

The Greenless Wreath is another highlight, but really there's not a weak moment on the album, not even the full on death metal of Helpless Corpses Enactment or the twisted answering machine messages. On the whole, it's slower and more meditative than their previous outings, but it's as least as good as anything they've done to date. Let's hope they keep it up!

Review by el böthy
4 stars 3 years have passed since SGM released their magna opus album that is "Of natural history", an album so diverse, so original, so intelligent and weird that it would give second thoughts to continuo to most bands, because. how do you top that? There is no way the same band could top it, no chance at all. So, what then? Should they have call it a day after it? Hell no!!! The Sleepy are way too good and way to intelligent to continuo without looking at the past, and that's what they did. "In glorious times" is a step back in order to take two steps forward, it seems SGM got rawer, simpler and more direct with this one. but only, and I repeat, only on the surface. Just like in the rest of their catalog it takes quite some time to fully grasp the world that is every song in this album, how deep it all goes and how good it really is. Guitars are more predominant here, as well as Carla´s vocals (which are getting better and better and it seems she has finally found her own style instead of the Bjork derivation from previous albums). But the album does suffer from one thing. While "Of natural history" had a swamp of homemade instruments which made some of the most unusual sounds ever heard, it seems this time they aren't that predominant. Of course this is all in the "not do the same thing twice" policy in which this guys, and gal, work, which is more than respectable. but I do miss them a bit.

The album starts with one of their best songs, the longest one too, I mean of course "The companions". Nil sings with great emotion and also comedy (very typical in him) which gives the music a whole other dimension. The music itself is slow and low at the start, but it builds up, pretty much through out the whole song until it hits a chaotic climax with Nil and Carla doing some of the most haunting vocal harmonies ever heard. and they are in Spanish too, which is quite new in them. An excellent and over the top way to start an excellent and over the top album. "Helpless Corpses Enactment" is by far the heaviest tune of the album, and quite possible of their entire carrier. The whole thing moves around some crazy metalish riffs, Nil's growling vocals, Carla's falsettos and that locomotive like percussion. Another stand out. "Puppet show" is one of those songs that are almost an abstract reunion of sounds and dissonant melodies which could be a disaster in strange hands, but sounds quite impressive done by the Sleepy´s. Another of their trademarks. "Formicary" is the first song where Carla takes the lead. It's a fun song about a man that would be king, and save the world because of how good of a person he is. but of course, this can not happen because. he is too good of a person for this world. Only the Sleepy. "Angle of repose", Carla's second leading song has her stretching her voice from one end to the other, from a soft and high pitched start to a violent growl near the end (if you think a male growl is scary, prepare for a female's). Another stand out and Carla's best vocal job ever! "Ossuary" is just crazy. just crazy. To explain it would take quite some time, crazy is truly the best way to describe it. "Salt crown" is the first segment, along with "Only Dance", "Greenless wreath", "Widening eye" and "Putrid refrain", of a monstrous piece of music, but don't think that this is a sort of epic, it's more like several songs that go good together and have some sort of connection. On a more lyrical and conceptual point of view they might be even more connected, and a story might even be told, but that is a job for a future reviewer, as I don't have the lyrics with me. This piece of music goes all over the field that is SGM, from their slow build ups, to the most bizarre instrumental sections, to phone calls (apparently it's Nil's brother who speaks through the phone here.), to everything expected and of course unexpected from this guys. The last seconds of "Widening eye" and the whole "Putrid refrain" are reason enough to listen to it. But keep in mind that it's not a bit 30 minutes epic song, but a. thing. some creature the Sleepy have developed. listen to it and you'll see what I'm talking about.

To summon it all up. this is some crazy [&*!#]. but it's some of the best crazy [&*!#] out there. Extremely recommend to anyone into the more bizarre realms of music.

As a side note; this is my first review as a Prog reviewer. how exciting!!!!!!!

Review by ClemofNazareth
4 stars I was out browsing stacks the other day and picked up two new CDs: Polyphonic Spree’s ‘The Fragile Army’ and this album. The Spree CD included a DVD, while this one didn’t.

Now, while I wouldn’t mind seeing the Spree in concert, I don’t rank it among my higher aspirations in life. They’re fairly predictable even if their current album is surprisingly edgy for our favorite little Texas cult. But I would have much preferred that Tim DeLaughter spared me his histrionics and Sleepytime Gorilla Museum shown me theirs instead. Like their ancestors Idiot Flesh these guys really have to be seen to be appreciated, although I’m not sure if they are supposed to be taken seriously. I guess probably not.

These guys are a little more coherent than Idiot Flesh, but not by much. The opening “the Companions” is a ranging, intense work that shows the band hasn’t slipped into any kind of predictable pattern yet. “Helpless Corpses Enactment” is another change-up, very heavy and almost metal.

The most interesting work comes pretty early with “Formicary”, a blend of almost wistful vocals from Carla Kihlstedt with a disjointed cacophony of unidentifiable sounds that sometimes sound like music; while “Ossuary” goes heavy again with some throaty growling and painfully harsh violin.

Anyway, if you’ve ever heard these guys you know that this isn’t the kind of music that can be easily critiqued. The stuff is all over the place, rarely wanders into a range of anything resembling most other music you’ve ever heard, and sometimes even sounds like noise for the sake of making noise (which of course is really what it is).

I can picture “The Only Dance” performed live with marionettes on stilts, musicians wandering about the stage in dull white hospital gowns and painted faces, and flashing lights piercing the darkness. That’s probably how it gets delivered in concert I would imagine, and followed by “The Greenless Wreath” as a mad-ranting dirge of agony. This stuff really takes time to digest, and I probably will end up revisiting this review in several months or years and fleshing it out some.

But in the meantime I’ll just say that if you are looking for something very, very different, check these guys out. I don’t have any of their other albums, but I don’t need to to know that they probably are just as raw and calculated as this one.

Not for the faint of heart, and would never be mistaken for anything resembling a classic vision of progressive music. But worth picking up anyway, and easily four stars just for the effort and the fresh sound.


Review by avestin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The theatre of grotesque and bizarre delivers another heavy, creative and original sounding show

Theatrical: that would be the first attribution I'd give SGM and their music. Others would use the usual words like avant-garde and rock against rock pioneers etc. But in the end, this is a show. A show varied in musical styles, instrumentation and in approach to composition. Their albums are a show in which you travel through the different auditory acts. However, this particular release isn't a concept album as was Of Natural History, with its provoking and intelligent story line. Here every song stands by itself lyrically and the booklet has a short note on each. But, I would not want to compare this too much to its predecessor, as that album is a fantastic album that I feel is hard to surpass. This album follows in the tradition of SGM's sound and attitude, if I can call it that.

There are several facets to SGM's music and it's no different here; there's the more metal oriented as is heard on "Helpless Corpses Enactment" (growls, heavy distortion, fast riffs); there's the quirky avant-garde rock side (both in song structure, instrumentation and overall musical approach) in which they show another creative aspect in their music as is heard on "Puppet Show"; there's the more straight forward side such as in the opening song "The Companions" (and to a lesser degree in "Formicary"), where not much madness and quirkiness (in their standards) is portrayed and not much of the two aforementioned styles are prevalent. Just as a note, I'll mention that "Formicary" (aside from being similar to the song "The Creature" from Of Natural History) reminds me somewhat of U Totem's self-titled album (the female vocals, the slightly poppish sounding tune with the avant-garde edge, the type of playing).

SGM's previous release, Of Natural History, is one of my favourite albums, and though I don't think this one reaches the same peak as that one, it is a very strong and good album in its own right. In Glorious Times might not be, to me, as superior, compelling, heavy and boundary pushing as Of Natural History but this is only a relativistic issue, if you will. After all, I can't think of many (or any) bands composing and playing this type(s) of music, so powerful and creative, not afraid to go further on, experimenting, going wild, and bringing various styles into their music and creating their own new style and for that they deserve much respect and praise.

If you're an SGM fan, or simply liked their previous albums, then there's no question about it, go get this one! If you're not familiar with their music, this is actually a very good album to get acquainted with their music as I find it more accessible then the others; not as deterring as the previous albums might be to new listeners not used to their style. Either way, this is an album to experience; a show that is put on for you the listener to discover a different way to make music.

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "In Glorious Times" is the glorious third effort by the demented US ensemble, developer of a clever, complex rock inspired by thrash, experimental metal, chamber-rock, Henry Cow/Art Bears avant-garde, radical psychedelia, Goth and musique concrete, all of them converging in a peculiar progressive framework. "In Glorious Times" bears an unmistaken aura of aggressiveness and gloom that flows all through the album's repertoire, but the band also introduces some other mysterious, restrained nuances, strategically inserted in order to both work on variation and enhance the power of their most extroverted side. The band creates a very consistent scheme with a wide room for variation among the constant darkness. The album's firs t10 minutes are occupied by 'The Companions', an eccentric display of emotional darkness that goes on articulating its own crescendo from its tortured interiors toward a psychotic delirium hardly tied up by the precise boundaries of the basic musical ideas. This helps to make the transition onto the closing reprise very natural. With a similar cadence but also with a bigger presence of the metallic and Goth elements, 'Helpless Corpses Enactment' offers a wicked homage to James Joyce's 'Finnegans Wake', bringing an overwhelmingly creepy spirit to the words. Those moments in which the guitar riffs and violin phrases come to their mutual fruition may remind us of Kayo Dot at their wildest. 'Puppet Show' is like the soundtrack to a circus of horrors, full of sinister numbers performed by avenging specters (perhaps an extension of the ghouls' dance in the 1962's film 'Carnival of Souls'?). This opening trilogy sets the purely SGM-esque atmosphere, meant to establish the conditions for a possible communion with the listener: the one who is open to the idea of music waking up and exorcizing their most excruciating fears will go on through the remaining repertoire. 'Formicary' is definitely not as explicitly psychotic as the previous three tracks - it is closely related to the playful sense of adventure of Art Bears, with an added touch of frontal grayness, created out of the merging of experimental metal and Crimsonian psychedelia. This is the first track with Carla assuming the lead vocalist's role, paired with bass player Dan Rathbun. The following track finds Carla as the sole lead singer, enthusiastically delivering a sensual mixture of Anna-Sofi Dahlberg, Daghmar Krause and Björk (actually, over-Björking Björk). It is indeed a monster number, one of the album's undisputed highlights. The confluence of Crimsonian sonorities and Gothic sonic flows adopts a special intensity with the inclusion of urgent country-meets-Celtic ambiences; the climax that is increasingly building from minute 4 until the electrifying closure at minute 8 is captivating in its neurotic splendor, magical in its desperate manifestation. The first section of 'Ossuary' has a notably less dark air to it, even perpetuating the folkish aspect that had been introduced in the previous track. But this moment of peculiar serenity doesn't last too long, since the visceral guitar riffing and Nils' nihilistically guttural singing erupt to bring some more darkness to the fold. 'Salt Crown' is the album's second epic, which is cleverly sustained on a fluid linkage between the languid moments and the explosive ones, with clever variations in between. The continuum is very well accomplished, the mid section bearing a mesmerizing fire: very clearly, the musicians are in total control of the noise they create, making it seem so easy to make highlight songs out of the longer ones. Definitely, it is another highlight. 'Only Dance' finds the band leaning close to the standards of post-rock, opening a window to the band's reflective side (not a sweet side, anyway). The placement of this piece makes it work as a bridge toward the following song 'Greenless Wreath', which gets started as a sort of sad liturgy in homage to a dying world - the purgatorial side of classic Univers Zero is easily noticeable. The track's closing section is an exercise on atmospheric psychedelia, not too frantic, built on a semi-tribal rhythym section. 'Widening Eye' has a more progressively demanding structure - an amazing instrumental piece partially inspired by 73-74 era King Crimson, with added touches of UZ (again), plus the usual radically experimental metal thing defining the overall frame. With its less-than-3-minutes span, 'Putrid Refrain' picks up the closing riff of 'Widening Eye', dissolving it into a minimalistic set of layers and messages on the phone. "In Glorious Times" is an affirmation of SGM's peculiar genius in the field of current experimental rock - a very recommended gem for this year 2007.
Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I guess that it's safe to say that this Sleepytime Gorilla Museum-release is not as good as the two previous studio albums although it definitely has its moments! Like, for instance, the great Helpless Corpses Enactment, a track that has to not only be heard but even be seen. I strongly recommend for everyone to check out the videos for Helpless Corpses Enactment and Widening Eye to get a better understanding of the band behind this impressive body of work!

So why is this album a letdown in comparison to the last two? I'm actually not really sure but from what I've heard the band abandoned their homemade instruments for the more conventional ones on this record and that has definitely something to do with it. But that in itself was the result of signing to The End Records. In result, most of the performances feel a lot less daring than the work they carved out on Grand Opening And Closing and especially Of Natural History.

Let's just hope that Sleepytime Gorilla Museum will achieve a new creative peak with their next release and that In Glorious Times was a transitional album that helped the band readjust themselves in the new setting. A good, but non-essential release.

***** star songs: Helpless Corpses Enactment (5:57)

**** star songs: The Companions (10:06) Formicary (5:52) Ossuary (4:37) Greenless Wreath (6:50) Widening Eye (5:24) Putrid Refrain (3:01)

*** star songs: Puppet Show (4:16) Angle Of Repose (7:23) Salt Crown (8:27) Only Dance (5:21)

Total rating: 3,71

Review by EatThatPhonebook
1 stars When I listened for the first time to "Of Natural History", I didn't like it. It then grew up on me. So when I picked up "In Glorious Times", and when I realized at my first listen that I didn't like it, I thought it was eventually going to grow up on me. I was wrong. Still today I can't enjoy this album much, probably because of it's excessive experimentation in some parts (don't get me wrong, I love experimentation in music, but at a certain point: when it starts to be barely tolerable, I can't stand it.), and also because of the growling of the singer, even though I never really mind this type of vocals.

Despite these things, there are some good moments: the first song, "The Companions", has some great haunting moments, "The Salt Crown" is another great piece that reminds me of "Babydoctor" a little. "Angel Of Repose" is excellent as well, since the melody is surprisingly cathcy and the experimentation is incredible.

These are the best moments. But the rest is easily forgettable, and, in my opinion, not really worth the whole 67 minute listen.

Review by frippism
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars You can see an improvement in every Sleepy Time Gorilla Museum album. Their first one "Grand Opening And Closing" was a bit of a mess, though definitely shined in many places. "Of Natural History" is one of my favorite albums of all time, yet "In Glorious Times" is more or less perfect. The sound is definitely the same, yet has been dramatically altered. The music has a more organic, and simpler feeling most of the times. Yet SGM uses the simpler elements in their music to push with sonic experimentations and more or less perfect songwriting. There's no insane shows of skill like in "Of Natural History" (well there are in some parts but not as showy and all displays of virtuosity are to advance the song itself). In many ways it just feels like SGM took what made it great and made it even better.

For one, Carla Kihlstedt's voice has gotten itself a whole lotta more personality. I really like her voice in the first album, but it did sound bit like Bjork's. Here she has really gotten her own style. She roars and screams (Wow... "Angle Of Repose" is a good example...). Her violin playing is definitely excellent just in all the other albums. Nils' voice is one of the better one's in all time. It's like the gods of metal were all: "WE HAVE DECIDED UPON A COMMONER WHO WILL BESTOW HIS AWESOME VOICE UPON ALL WEAKLINGS AND IT SHALL MELT YOUR FACE AND YOUR BRAIN SHALL EXPLODE AND BE COLLECTED BY A WALKING TURTLE ZOMBIE WHO WILL ASSEMBLE IT AGAIN ONLY SO YOU CAN HAVE IT EXPLODE AGAIN" more or less. Though for the most part he doesn't sing in the metal voice I have explained above. He displays his truly, just unnatural vocal range, reaching high squeals which just give you chills. Truly one of the greatest vocalists the world has ever known. The musicians are all incredible. I particularly like multi-instrumentalist Michael Mellender, who displays a wide range of instruments (it does say ALL THINGS under what instrument he plays on the album page so um... dude). Matthias Bossi returns with incredible drums ("Helpless Corpses Enactment" is like kapaow!) and Dan Rathbun's on bass. Dan's a mostly streamlined player though considering the more laid back feeling of the album in general it's the music beautifully and his choice of notes is really touching. Oh and Nil's guitar work is even better than "Of Natural History". Loud screeches and insane arpeggios and lines are awesomely awesome in this album.

The songs? Like Shwowzies. Each song I can really rave about for ages. I mean it starts so beautifully with "The Companions" which the lyrics are song at times in Spanish and are great. "Helpless Corpses Enactment" is the only true heavy metal song and the album. And it is metal (Accent on the t (one of the funniest comments in Youtube were about this song and I didn't write this all credit goes to yaddah yaddah but he's a genius: "I don't know. This just might be all the Metal I need... this video is like "have you had enough Metal?" and you're like... "naw, I'm good. Really, it was great. Thanks". And then the video is like "No, I don't think you've had enough. Here's some more Metal." and you're like "whoa. Uh, dude..?". Except you say it in kind of a quivering voice. And then it gets in your face and is all like "RrraaahhhHHHHHH!!!")). Other incredible highlights are "Formicary" which is creepy as crepes. Mellener's vocals are incredible. Ossuary is a great oriental sounding instrumental. I want to mention also very warmly "Salt Crown", which is really beautiful. Nils' vocals there can drive you to tears. And "The Only Dance" which has one of the more beautiful melodies I have truly ever heard (it was actually stuck in my head for months before I remembered what album it was and when I found it again I was hyper for a few days listening to that song on repeat).

To conclude I can really say that this is an overhaul of "Of Natural History". Just a truly perfect album (well no album's perfect but this is damn close). I mean it takes a few listens but not many to truly appreciate this masterpiece for what it is. All prog fans should like this and not only RIO fans. This album has just the right amount of experimentation and melodies to make it a very powerful and emotional piece of work.

P.S. The lyrics here are also some drastically better. The album is a concept about Nils' brother who died due to complications from bipolar disorder. I won't lie there were times I was almost driven to tears (but I'm a man and am super tough so I wasn't.) the lyrics are sung with a lot of passion and a lot of energy, and deserve an honorable mention.

Review by Warthur
4 stars Sleepytime Gorilla Museum's In Glorious Times finds the band in a slightly less theatrical mode than their preceding album, with the music seeming more real and immediate; if Of Natural History was a Vaudeville conception of avant-metal, this is more of a gritty and realistic movie soundtrack. Musically speaking, the band seem to be out to fuse the disturbing territories of Mr Bungle with the creepy chamber rock of Rock In Opposition legends Univers Zero, though the bizarre vocal approach is a 100% Sleepytime Gorilla original. Either way, the album is another successful experiment in balancing musical complexity and experimentation with way-out-there creepiness.
Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
5 stars Sleepytime Gorilla Museum is the offspring of "Idiot Flesh", a band that was delightfully crazy and totally out there. SGM rose from the ashes of Idiot Flesh and pretty much continued where that band left off, progressing and getting better and better. Yes, there is still that insanity that runs rampart through the songs, but the music has become increasingly smart and amazing. The sad thing is, that SGM only produced 3 studio albums, again each one excellent, but each one progressing the sound further. The band, for some reason just wasn't embraced as they should have been.

So, by the time you get to this album, if things were always progressing, then you would assume this must be their best right? Yes, I do believe it is. Everything SGM has produced has been challenging, yet brilliant, yet somehow they just kept outdoing themselves. However, the appreciation for the genius of this album seems to not be apparent among most listeners at first, and such was the case with me. Now, however, I sit down and listen to this work of advanced craziness and I have come to the conclusion that their swan song was their best. It's a shame that the band couldn't have been appreciated by those that should understand their music, the lovers of prog rock, specifically RIO and/or Avant-garde metal progressive. Now, calling this band metal progressive is going to throw prejudice on their music because too many proggers will be turned off thinking this is metal. But let me assure you, this is not metal that your burned out brothers listened to. This, like I said before, is genius, and the sound, even though it leans to the loud and noisy side of things, it is still so varied and dynamic unlike anything else in metal. In a previous review, I said that SGM is probably more like some of Mike Patton's crazier side projects, and that is really the closest you can come to comparing the overall sound. But, believe it or not, all craziness and chaos aside, this music is so much more mature in it's uses of musical theory, dissonance, dynamics and overall composition. Each song is so much better developed too.

The album starts out with a prog epic called "The Companions" which is excellent musical drama that lasts over 10 minutes. This is a well developed endeavor and starts things off quite impressively. The band utilizes an evil thread throughout their music, in the same way that many other avant garde prog bands do, but SGM uses extremes so much better than a lot of other bands. Next is the black metal satirical song "Headless Corpse Enactment" which utilizes lyrics from James Joyce's "Finnegan's Wake", however, the words still sound like they could have been written by a black metal band, and the growling vocals back that up. The difference here is that the instrumentals are very complex, yet they are still heavy and pounding. "Puppet Show" however, takes us off in a different direction and actually approaches the Idiot Flesh sound more than anything else on the album, but, again, much more mature.

"Formicary" is a wild ride of vocals from Dan and Carla with the oddest of harmonies. The accompanying instrumentals make this track sound like someone took early Kansas and Tool, but them in a bowl, took a potato masher and mashed it all together. Carla's violin is as heavy and crazy as the guitars and percussion, and fits so well in the music. Without her violin, this band wouldn't be the same. At times, it is the heart, even though it is not always as pronounced as one would expect, it adds dimension to what would otherwise be a lot of crashing guitars, complex rhythms and wild ass percussion, not that that is a bad thing, but the strings are what give the music and individual tracks the character that is needed. And don't worry, the violin is just as crazy as everything else. You will also notice that the almost funky sound of the guitars in this track is very reminiscent of King Crimson's "Thrak" and would represent the sound that would have been produced if Robert Fripp had decided to take that sound another step further, which Fripp did, but while his step was in the "improv" direction, SGM take it in the "even more chaotic" direction.

The album continues to excite and entertain, as in the amazing track "Angle of Repose" which starts off with Carla sounding like Bjork in a band without so many keyboards and then just goes off in it's own direction. Anyway, I think this will give you a good example of what to expect here. The tracks continue to be challenging, to say the least, and the sound on this album at first seems more inaccessible than they others (not that they are always that accessible anyway) and it does have a thicker sound, but it is all done so well.

Again, it's such a shame that the band had to pull the plug after 3 albums. There was so much talent and songwriting genius here, that too often the music went way over the listeners heads. Possibly too loud for a lot of prog lovers, but way, way too complex for most metal heads, you just have to give this music time, but if you are someone who appreciates complex music, then you will get it. At first listen, I would have given this only 4 stars, but now that I have heard it several times, and each time I grasp something else amazing about the music, and I find myself loving more each time I hear it, I have advanced this to masterpiece status. Some may think that is extreme, but for avant-metal-prog, this is some of the best. Easily 5 stars and this is how it should have been done.

Review by Neu!mann
4 stars The final studio album from the Oakland, California art-metal eccentrics was another winner, albeit not for every taste. There's very little middle ground here: the music can be loud and abrasive, or (less often) subtle and melodic, but is always pitched to the ragged edge of sanity.

Don't be lulled into false security by the slow opening verses of "The Companions", kicking off the album like an ominous invocation more than a genuine song. It may sound more subdued than usual for this band, but it's the uneasy calm of a boa constrictor that just swallowed a live pig and is looking for its next meal.

The album is certainly extreme, and yet at the same time incredibly eclectic, with a strange theatrical flair making it resemble the original cast soundtrack to an off-Broadway musical about zombie death cults, as scored by Gentle Giant. Old-school progheads are hereby put on alert: don't expect any concessions from a group using arcane instruments identified as Sledgehammer Dulcimer, Electric Pancreas, and the always inscrutable Thing.

The song titles tell their own explicit story: "Helpless Corpse Enactment", "Putrid Refrain", "Ossuary" et al. But there's an unexpected air of refinement behind all the thrash-dada intensity, with lyrics borrowed from the writings of James Joyce and poet Wallace Stevens. The awesome guttural aggression of singer Nils Frykdahl was likewise diluted by the occasional lead vocal by Carla Kihlstedt, although Frykdahl proves (in "The Companions" again) that he can do much more with his voice besides growl like a starving cannibal.

It's too bad the group couldn't stay together long enough for an encore. But maybe three full albums of hardcore progging was enough; any more would have risked complacency, something musicians and fans should always be on guard against. SGM set a good example by quitting while ahead: how many other bands listed on this site do you wish had done the same?

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The California avant deconstructionist cabaret funk band's third (and final?!) album. (No: A new album entitled "Of the Last Human Being" is slated for release on February 1, 2024.)

1. "The Companions" (10:04) total Danny Elfman cabaret. Could come directly from Nightmare Before Christmas 2. It's so powerful and entertaining! (18.5/20)

2. "Helpless Corpses Enactment" (5:57) a little heavier and darker than the previous song: it feels as if it wants to venture into Death Metal territory. A little too vocal-centric for my tastes. I like the second DEVY TOWNSEND-like motif a little better. (8.666667/10)

3. "Puppet Show" (4:15) sounds and feels like a bombastic metal JC Superstar with its choral vocal delivery, while the music in between vocal passages has more of a cabaret noir feel. The use of toy piano, dulcimer, and glockenspiel gives it that Danny Elfman feel again. (8.875/10)

4. "Formicary" (5:46) angular Andy Partridge-like guitar chord sequences promote an odd melody line that is performed by Carla Kihlstedt and Michael Mellender as if female and male conversationalists in a stage one act. Big, chunky bass beneath and circus-like drums really add to the odd KING CRIMSON-esque feel of this one--especially in the central instrumental passage. (9/10)

5. "Angle Of Repose" (7:53) slower, heavy, plodding music with Carla Kihlstedt performing the lead vocal in a fragile- sounding higher register voice. Very cool--and compelling. The musical bed overwhich she sings is very buoyant and supportive until things speed up and turn ominous in the third minute. The music then turns pure avant--yet Carla continues to sing (and contribute her violin). The fifth minute results in new motifs: kind of two, alternating, as Carla continues her narrative singing. Some klezmer influence showing itself in the sixth minute as Carla's vocal turns toward desperation. I think I'd value this one more if I heard the message of the lyrics. (13.33333/15)

6. "Ossuary" (4:35) opens with a bit of a bluegrass sound palette and feel. A funked-up jazz-rock fusion motif develops in the third minute before the growl vocals and aggressive KING CRIMSON chord progressions begin. As these speed up in the fourth minute one gets the feeling as if the build up of centrifugal force is going to throw one off the merry- go-round but then we are saved by a grounding, pounding, earth-digging pattern that plays out for the final 30 seconds. Interesting. (8.875/10)

7. "The Salt Crown" (8:40) opens with some industrial percussive noises that provide the background for Nils Frykdahl's Judas-like JC SUPERSTAR vocal performance. This is very theatric, very heart-wrenching in Nils' convincingly feigned act of pain and suffering. A THINKING PLAGUE-like musical shift occurs mid-fourth minute and Nils just adapts: his vocals becoming more aggressive with his anguished/angry scream-growls. While I was quite impressed and taken with the tender opening motif, not so with this more angry/aggressive one. Luckily, Nils and the band return to the opening motif in the seventh minute, going even further into the theatric depths of pain and despair. The significance of the recorded voices at the end are a bit of a mystery to me (as they are on several of the album's other songs). (17.75/20)

8. "The Only Dance" (4:20) Carla gets another turn in the lead vocal department with this music that sounds to me quite a bit like the autobigraphical/narrative storytelling of JACK O' THE CLOCK's Damon Waitkus. Even when the music ramps up to loud levels in the fourth minute, there remains some of the deep folk roots that Damon's music exudes. Nice but nothing to write home about. (8.75/10)

9. "The Greenless Wreath" (6:51) there is a familiarity to the style presented by this dirge-like wakes song: something about Nils' MAJOR PARKINSON-like vocal performance; something about the disturbing yet-oddly-cinematic music. Interesting with each and every listen. (13.25/15)

10. "The Widening Eye" (5:09) an instrumental displaying many of the band's odd and self-created instruments within its expanded string-and-percussion tempo-shifting weave. The instrumental palette being founded in picked stringed instruments and clean tuned- and untuned percussive instruments makes for an easier listen than some of their other more densely-populated material. I can easily envision Tony Levin, Bill Bruford, and Adrian Belew enjoying and wanting to join in on this one. (9/10)

11. "The Putrid Refrain" (2:55) what seems like the continuation of the previous song--palette and all--ends with another odd recorded (phone) message. (4.5/5)

Total time 66:25

The compositions and performances are all amazingly sophisticated and artistic, I'm just not as drawn into the music and performances to the degree the I was on the band's previous album, Of Natural History. I think it is Nils' propensity to move into aggressive, almost-growl vocals that sometimes puts me off. Otherwise, I find the ultra- Crimsonian musical constructs to be quite entertaining and refreshingly expansive of other avant/RIO band creations.

B+/4.5 stars; an excellent addition of boundary-expanding avant-RIO music for any and all of the most adventurous prog lovers' music collections.

Review by siLLy puPPy
4 stars The final chapter of the original three albums from Oakland, California's SLEEPYTIME GORILLA MUSEUM before they took an extended hiatus. Pretending they were Spinal Tap and losing a drummer every album, so too does the third album IN GLORIOUS TIMES find the arrival of drummer Mathias Bossi who replaced Frank Gau. Bossi, a seasoned drummer played in a series of challenging bands including The Book of Knots, Skeleton Key and Vic Thrill. Bossi also would marry Carla Kihlstedt, SGM's amazing violinist / vocalist who returns for another stunning performance. Once again, the band delivered another hour plus worth of complex experimental avant-prog metal with a totally new direction.

While the band's first two album's were very theatrical in a demented Vaudville fashion with the music matching the wild performance art routines, on IN GLORIOUS TIMES the band streamlined its sound into a heavier avant-garde metal juggernaut with more inspiration from "Red" era King Crimson or the Swedish prog revival bands like Anekdoten, Sinkadus or Landberk only with a razor-sharp metal edge. If "Of Natural History" was SLEEPYTIME GORILLA MUSEUM's magnum opus to prove they were the worthy successors of the mighty Mr Bungle, then IN GLORIOUS TIMES was the answer to Mike Patton's Fantômos, only SGM had a knack of keeping everything distinct and original no matter how many nods they dished out to past masters. In that regard album #3 delivers with abundance.

A noticeable more brash and metal oriented album from the very start, "The Companions" insinuates the band is back with fairy-tale dreams in avant-folk forests but in reality only stirs up brooding atmospheres that erupt into chaotic discord. Once again graced by Nils Frykdahl's poetic prose set to a demented Gothic crooning persona, the opening track allows a bit of creepy melancholy to sink in but for the most part the album just let's loose with more focus on the heavily distorted dissident guitar workouts than the myriad detours into a labyrinth of musical genres that the first two albums dished out unapologetically. "Helpless Corpses Enactment" jumps right to it with crazed chord progressions laced with brutal prog time signatures and a demented vocal tirade of Frykdahl proving his metal game is on par with any of the scariest screamers, growlers and rage against the machiners out there.

Carefully constructing the right gloom and doom is the name of the game before the volcanic eruption of metal mania detonates its might. "Puppet Show" almost begins as an avant-prog tribute to Magma with the entire band engaging in a vocal sing along but cedes to a demented dissonant piano that seduces the violin into a game of contrapuntal warfare. The strategy of IN GLORIOUS TIMES is to simplify the musical approach and let the creative music mojo manifest in other ways, in this case in contrapuntal instrumentation that weaves massive webs of avant-prog counterpoints and unusual syncopative approaches. While the guitar, bass, violin and drums almost completely dominate this album with an almost total abandonment of all those clever self-made tricks and trinkets that Dan Rathbun decorated the first two albums with, softer passages do allow some intricate percussion and lullaby effect sounds to be heard.

Unlike the previous two albums, IN GLORIOUS TIMES doesn't flow perfectly with a few tracks like "Formicary" not jiving as it feels like a forced display of avant-prog technicalities without the melodic build up to justify it. The following "Angel Of Repose" finds Carla Kihlstedt in the vocalist's seat and on this one she channels her inner Bjork and sounds like the Icelandic diva only set to an oddball mix of psycho-jig fiddle playing and avant-metal extremism. It's a bizarre track but it only sets the stage for the most crazed and unhinged track of all, the heavyweight "Ossuary" which gives a glimpse as to what King Crimson's "Red" might've sounded like if Gentle Giant was invited to join in. The track single-handedly conjures up the most haunting soundscapes of the entire release with jittery avant-prog guitar workouts working in opposition to equally nerve-wracking bass lines, brutal proggy percussion and Kihlstedt's violin shredding.

The album is on a more even keel than the previous two with the same basic build ups and climaxes with the usual SGM trademarks thrown in for good reason therefore the rest of the album pretty much follows in the footsteps of what has already been established in the first half of the album. Frykdahl trades in his Vaudville persona for some sort of demented psychotic philosopher who tortures himself over some mighty peculiar subject matter. The album is overall more rhythmic although unabashed avant-prog workouts do take things into the wild west for moments of brutal prog orgasmia, the album more or less follows a more controlled musical flow which i find to remind me most of Anekdoten's earliest albums. IN GLORIOUS TIMES also delivers an abundance of abrasive and grating sound effects like the grittiest industrial harsh noise album there are to be found. Unlike the previous albums that offered a bit of respite on the closing track, "The Putrid Refrain" ushers the album out with shrill sound effects.

SLEEPYTIME GORILLA MUSEUM fans fall into two basic camps: those who love the diverse kaleidoscope effect of the Vaudville meets avant-prog metal of the first two releases and those who love this more streamlined heavy prog meets extreme metal approach of this one. Personally i fall into the first camp but i have to commend SGM for not just copying and pasting its excellence par none of the first two releases. This was a bold and daring experiment that although to my ears not quite as pleasing from beginning to end, nevertheless showcased the darker and more abrasive side of the band where every member was allowed to showcases their stunning virtuosity. This album is more equivalent to sonic terror as opposed to the Disneyland meets Devil Doll style of the early albums. This is one that never really stuck with me but as i've revisited it for the sake of this review, i've found i've been missing out on a very unique and intricately designed album that is quite fascinating in its own right. The more uniform approach allows the band to gel in a way that is absent on the earlier albums. It also allows the vocalists to excel in ways not possible before. An excellent album even if not quite as perfect.

Latest members reviews

5 stars This album by SGM is a concept album, dedicated to Per Frikdahl, Nils's brother, who suffered from Bi polar disease, which caused to his death eventually. Per was deeply involved in the band's visions and art works, such as the museum, the adversary, and all rest. Lyrically it contains general ... (read more)

Report this review (#260128) | Posted by ShW1 | Saturday, January 9, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This effort by SGM didn't impress me quite as is a prog album that does sort of blow you away on first listen but doesn't really gain as much on further listens, particularly because the metal moments are only good for the shock value, I know this sounds really closed-minded, I just thin ... (read more)

Report this review (#144215) | Posted by endlessepic | Saturday, October 13, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars What can you say? Another excellent, atmospheric, eclectic, disturbing, demanding, thought-provoking and thoroughly enjoyable release by SGM. The range of styles employed on this album makes it harder to "get" than Of Natural History and at times I didn't know whether I was coming or going during ... (read more)

Report this review (#139076) | Posted by scarista | Wednesday, September 19, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Jawdropping. I have been looking forward to this ever since I was floored by Of Natural History. Thankfully, SGM did not disappoint. The general concensus is that this album has a very steep learning curve, but I was in love from the first listen. Repeated listens do help you pick out the ... (read more)

Report this review (#120629) | Posted by lightbulb_son | Wednesday, May 2, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars In Glorious Times is an amazing album to say the least. Be cautioned, though, that some may need to take their time with it, the album is intricate and intense, more than that of their previous releases. SGM shows no boundaries, they can be black metal (Helpless Corpses Enactment) and then t ... (read more)

Report this review (#120627) | Posted by mecca | Wednesday, May 2, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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