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Guapo Great Sage, Equal Of Haven album cover
2.74 | 19 ratings | 2 reviews | 11% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2000

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Mountain Of The Five Elements (4:14)
2. Blessed Albania (2:42)
3. Zero For Conduct (3:30)
4. Five Cornered Square (3:44)
5. Ten Years Of Heisei (1:14)
6. Sakura (4:22)
7. Perfect Blue (5:07)
8. El Topo (16:01)

Total Time: 40:54

Line-up / Musicians

- Matt Thompson / guitar, bass, electronics
- Dave Smith / drums, percussion

- Caroline Kraabel / alto & baritone saxophones (2,4,6,7)
- John Edwards / double bass (7)
- Andy Thompson / MiniMoog (8)

Releases information

Artwork: Nuvish

CD Pandemonium Records ‎- PAN041 (2000, France)

Digital album

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GUAPO Great Sage, Equal Of Haven ratings distribution

(19 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(11%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(11%)
Good, but non-essential (68%)
Collectors/fans only (11%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

GUAPO Great Sage, Equal Of Haven reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The absence of reviews for this album had lowered my expectations towards this early Guapo album. I had feared it might have been a very premature Guapo, only hinting at what they were to become. But I must say it has been a most pleasant surprise!

All known Guapo elements are in place, the persistent intensity, the heavy bass sound, the crazed rhythmic impetus, the barely controlled levels of noise and chaos, the energy of punk and the musical expertise and ambition of Magma.

Most tracks are pretty short in nature, which makes for a very dynamic and varied album. Some surprising elements of world music make their appearance here, especially the influence of Kletzmer folk is undeniable and almost makes them sound like Nomeansno doing Alamaailman Vasarat stuff. Blessed Albania is an excellent example. Also Zero For Conduct continuous this sound. In a way these tracks even remind me of the Italian avant-garde of Area, be it in a punk format again. Both songs are excellent.

Two short songs follow with a very noise-industrial type of approach. None of both are my favourites; or rather let's say I got to be in the mood for them.

With Sakura, Guapo takes a direction that would be continued on the ensuing albums: heavily marching rhythms and dark solemn atmosphere. As with most short tracks on the album, the music remains rather static, the songs end more or less like they started, with little development of themes or crescendos along the way.

After a little Samla Mammas Manna style exercise, the album reaches its peak with El Topo. Just like Sakura, this is the Guapo you might know from Five Suns. In 16 minutes the band develops the ideas more thoroughly. It's a very powerful track, similar to Magma's Da Futura, a bit heavier though, like a fully armoured Magma armada, ready for Galactic battle.

This album is vibrating with energy and inspiration, and it's a solid album that won't disappoint Guapo fans. But in view of what this band still had in store, 3.5 stars will have to do.

Review by Sean Trane
2 stars Almost three stars, really!!!

Last Guapo album before they would dramatically change their soundscape to a Zeuhlish-post rock, GSEoH is pretty much in the line of its three predecessor, often veering in dissonant and hardcore experimental math rock. I won't try to decipher what the trio is up to in terms of esoteric concept - provided there is one, but the artwork album name and track names seem to imply at least a little something ? since the band keeps instrumental and it all seems shallow dressing-up of the difficult music. When I say trio, lead blower Caroline Kraabel only plays on half the tracks, and it's mostly the Smith-Thompson duo that fill up the sonic wall;;; But when Caroline does blow in her saxes, it's anything but meaningless. As the album goes on, the trio invited a couple of guests for the last tracks (as if they needed help to beef-up their sound), as the least we can say is that the album is filled with long crescendos, sometimes ala Crimson.

The album starts with a brooding oppressive crescendo soon developing in a weird hardcore klezmer rock (ala Alamaailman Vasarat, but without horns) Total noisy chaos is reached with the thankfully-short Ten Years Of Heisei, where the trachy hardcore math rock nears epic proportions, but this is not positive. Elsewhere (in Sakura) the album offers a little aural rest with a repetitive sludgy riff. Also starting quieter is the Perfect blue piecen, where Kraabel gets reinforcements in the sax dept, with Edwards coming in. And the final track gets the help of Andy Thompson's Minimoog, and it adds the electronic weirdness to the oppressive crescendo.

Well in the line of its predecessor, it would be a while before Guapo would release another album, most likely because they had to find O' Sullivan that would change the band's sound drastically since his instruments werekeyboards, which are almost totally absent on the present TGSEoH. This one is hardly essential, unless you care for Guap's Mk I era.

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