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Bigelf Into The Maelstrom album cover
3.61 | 93 ratings | 5 reviews | 25% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2014

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Incredible Time Machine 3 (3:57)
2. Hypersleep 4 (5:37)
3. Already Gone 5 (3:29)
4. Alien Frequency 5 (4:15)
5. The Professor & The Madman 4 (5:59)
6. Mr. Harry McQuhae 5 (6:13)
7. Vertigod 5 (3:58)
8. Control Freak 5 (2:51)
9. High 3 (7:11)
10. Edge Of Oblivion 5 (6:34)
11. Theater Of Dreams 4 (4:02)
12. ITM (8:10) :
- Destination Unknown
- Harbinger Of Death
- Memories 5

Total time 62:16

Bonus CD from 2014 SE (USA) :
1. Control Freak (freak Mix) (3:09)
2. Control Freak (remix) (2:50)
3. Alien Frequency (remix) (4:14)
4. Alien Frequency (demo) (2:45)
5. Hypersleep (demo) (3:23)
6. Mr. Harry McQuhae (demo) (3:21)
7. Theater Of Dreams (demo) (2:48)

Total time 22:30

Line-up / Musicians

- Luis Maldonado / lead guitar (3,8,10)
- Damon Fox / keyboards, guitar, bass, vocals, co-producer
- Duffy Snowhill / bass
- Mike Portnoy / drums

- Anna Vocino / vocals (2)
- Monte Najera / backing vocals (7)
- Billy Wesley / backing vocals & gong (7)

Releases information

Artwork: Thomas Ewerhard

CD InsideOut Music - IOMCD 397 (2014, Germany)
2xCD Inside Out Music ‎- 0676-2 (2014, US) Bonus disc incl. Demos and Remixes

2xLP Inside Out Music ‎- IOMLP 397 (2014, Europe)

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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BIGELF Into The Maelstrom ratings distribution

(93 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(25%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(40%)
Good, but non-essential (26%)
Collectors/fans only (7%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

BIGELF Into The Maelstrom reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Second Life Syndrome
2 stars Well, I'm at a loss on what to say about this new release from Bigelf. "Into the Maelstrom" is an interesting album with highs and lows, and plenty in between, too. Bigelf has something of a cult following, and it's been a long 5 years since their last album. So, I think the expectations and anticipation are pretty high, especially with Mike Portnoy stepping in to take over on drums.

I'm going to be honest. Maybe I just don't like Bigelf's style, or maybe it's just this album, but my first experience with them has been one of annoyance. "Into the Maelstrom" is annoying. It's boisterous. It's impossibly over the top, brick-walled, and devoted to fun. That may appeal to many out there, but it is a big turn off for me. I find the songs to be repetitive affairs that generally focus on sounding retro. I have no idea why this is labeled progressive at all, as they must barely ride the edge.

Their style is certainly influenced by Black Sabbath. Everything from the low, groovy guitars to the annoying vocals are taken straight from these metal masters. Bigelf adds just enough strangeness and eeriness to make a sound that is all their own, but the classic rock/metal underpinnings are definitely the foundation for everything else. Because of this, the instrumentals (very few) are rather predictable and sound like something I've heard a million times. This is especially true for the guitars and bass.

I do, however, really enjoy the keys. I found the mix of organs and atmospheric synth to be delightful and a huge elevation for the rest of the music. Portnoy does a decent job on this record, though his drumming is more or less by the numbers. There are few fills and such that I found really good, though. All in all, I found nothing special at all about the instrumentals or any of the performances.

The album is made up of a bunch of catchy songs. I was really surprised at this. Consequently, I find most of them disappointing, unsatisfying, and downright abrasive. "Control Freak" and "Edge of Oblivion" come to mind here, as they are big, pounding, shallow affairs. There are some good songs on here, but almost no great or excellent songs. I really like the track "Alien Frequency" with its interesting keys and its more complex structure. The rest of the songs? They're okay. Most of the tracks on "Into the Maelstrom" sound much the same, as I even kept checking because I thought that I might have hit the "repeat" button or something.

Is this a terrible album? No. Not really. It's just so darn irritating and boring. It sounds like an Ozzy Osbourne record sometimes. If that sounds good to you, then you'll enjoy this. If not, then stay far away from it.

Review by rdtprog
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Heavy, RPI, Symph, JR/F Canterbury Teams
4 stars I had my first introduction to this band a couple of years ago but i didn't take the time to listen properly to their music. But this time i did and i am glad because this cd is really something special. Their music is a original combination of hard-rock, psychedelic and prog rock. The band use vintage sounds and instruments and wear some influences from the psychedelic era of The Beatles with a singer that can take the tone voice of John Lennon, but other times it changes in something more evil depending on where the style of music is going. Some hard rock riffs are very similar to Black Sabbath. You can feel a little dose of insanity in they way the band use many tempo changes while keeping the melody intact. The vocals are very effective by delivering plenty of nuances.

The band has succeed to create a very good cd, that is keeping the momentum in the second part of the cd with even more progressive elements and more space allowed to the keyboards. I don't know if this is their best cd, maybe i have missed something before, i will check that later. A nice addition to your progressive collection!

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars After the long wait from 2008 when Bigelf released the excellent album "Cheat the Gallows", there was a bit of disruption from members of the band and Damon Fox, the frontman of the band, was debating whether to continue in music. Mike Portnoy, the ex-drummer from Dream Theatre, convinced Damon to continue on, and so a new Bigelf album suddenly appeared after the long break with Portnoy as the band's new drummer.

So, was there much of a change from the previous sound? Not really much, but that is a great thing when it comes to the retro-inspired heavy prog rock style of Bigelf. With the new album, you get the shot in the arm from the great drumming talent of Portnoy, but you also still get the amazing and infectious hard guitar hooks, excellent organ and mellotron in abundance as before, and the obvious influences of Black Sabbath, David Bowie, Queen and The Beatles. The band wears their influences on their sleeve, and believe me, they deserve to be raised up on the high standard that their influences are on. The music is retro, yet it is original and specific to the band. This album does tend to be a little thicker in atmosphere than the previous albums, but not enough to turn anyone that is familiar with their sound against them at all. The rhythms are ever changing, the tracks have multiple themes and prog elements running rampant through each song.

Every single track has it's own surprises and personalities. There are heavy tracks and others that are softer, at least in parts because the music is always changing. It is dramatic music, never really going over the top in pompousness, but it is there in enough quantity to keep things fun and interesting. There is enough in each track to keep things interesting for several years worth of listening, just like their other albums. There are some amazing noteworthy tracks, namely the complex "Mr. Harry McQuhae" and the strange yet original sounding "Alien Frequency". If there were more tracks like these two, then this would have been a 5 star album because of their progressiveness beyond what the band has previously done. There is the powerful and completely proggish multi movement work "ITM" which clocks in at over 8 minutes and then there are the shorter, yet not at all diminished in creativity, tracks like "Already Gone" and "Control Freak", which even in their brevity, still contain some great ingenuity and even have room for impressive soloing.

The music is heavy, but not without quieter breaks in the action. The music has a certain level of flamboyance, which is to be expected considering their influences. This album takes the sound of the prog bands that were popular in the 70's and moves them a step further. If the prog sound of the 70s was allowed to continue on without the influence of the New Wave sound of the 80s without so many prog bands trying to adjust their sound to fit in with that sounds, then this album is the logical progressive sequence that we could have expected, the same instruments used by those bands taken to the next progressive level, yes including the mellotron, and plenty of it. This is music that shouldn't be ignored in prog circles, especially those that yearn for great bands that continue the true legacy of 70s progressive rock.

I gave a 5 star rating to "Cheat the Gallows" which I stand by. There wasn't a lot of progression evident from that album to this album, and like I said before, that is not a bad thing and that by no means signifies that this is a lesser album. But with progressive rock, I come to expect a little more of a progression in the overall sound of each album, and this one, other than being a little denser, is not much different in sound from the previous album. I still recommend this album but not as an essential album as the previous one because of that reason. It's still great music that I enjoy immensely, but not different enough from before, so it can't really be considered essential. But I can easily give it 4 strong stars, and who knows, I may even change my mind as time proves it's ability to continue to be interesting.

Latest members reviews

3 stars Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Up to a point. Of all Mike Portnoy's post DT collaborations, his teaming up with Damon Fox for Bigelf's ambitious 2014 album Into The Maelstrom is the least celebrated. Portnoy adds solid drumming without showboating and this album is really Fox's ... (read more)

Report this review (#1456602) | Posted by SteveG | Wednesday, August 26, 2015 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Bigelf is unabashedly one of my favorite bands. Like many, I was introduced to them by Mike Portnoy's Progressive Nation 2009 tour. I was blown away by dominating showmanship and a completely heartfelt vintage sound that embodied many of my favorite early metal and progressive rock bands from ... (read more)

Report this review (#1145189) | Posted by Daggor | Monday, March 10, 2014 | Review Permanlink

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