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SOMNAMBULIST

Crossover Prog • United States


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Somnambulist biography
SOMNAMBULIST is an American band with a dark sound. This group develops a refined and fiery progressive rock. The music features compositions based around intricate and syncopated ensemble passages. The musician's music blends influences of KING CRIMSON in the "Lizards" period, FRUUPP, CAMEL or PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI, due to their impressive and solemn endings.

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Paranormal HumidorParanormal Humidor
Laser's Edge 2001
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$4.73 (used)
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EAR (Electro Audio Response)
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SOMNAMBULIST discography


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SOMNAMBULIST top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.42 | 37 ratings
Somnambulist
1996
3.57 | 29 ratings
Paranormal Humidor
2001

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SOMNAMBULIST Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Paranormal Humidor  by SOMNAMBULIST album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.57 | 29 ratings

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Paranormal Humidor
Somnambulist Crossover Prog

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Some five years prior this sophomore album (the band is not highly productive), "Somnambulist" released a very good debut album which was closely linked to the eclectic genre IMHHO. Complexity was the main word.

So; what has changed between then (96) and "now" (2001)?

The music is still passionate and eclectic: it combines fantastic interplay, some mellotron lines and a superb musicianship. I am less positive about the growling that be heard here and there.

The phantom of "Yes" and "ELP" can be felt during the excellent "Pathos of Least Resistance" but what comes next is only a pale repetition. The more I listen to this album, the more I have the feeling of "déjā vu". Of course the musicians are skilled (but this is again nothing but normal while you are a professional band); but in comparison with their debut, the band sounds out of steam.

Above average "Troy Built Helen" saves the day but when I am confronted with "Died And Gone", I can't help: it sounds as too many US bands featuring to play the music of the giants. This means almost pastiche with the last track I have mentioned.

Five years to achieve this album is quite long and shows that there was with no doubt a creative problem within the band. At least, this is how I can interpret this release. There is some good stuff available but no more: very little innovation nor confirmation of their very good debut on this "Paranormal Humidor".

Three stars.

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 Somnambulist by SOMNAMBULIST album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.42 | 37 ratings

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Somnambulist
Somnambulist Crossover Prog

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

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.

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 Paranormal Humidor  by SOMNAMBULIST album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.57 | 29 ratings

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Paranormal Humidor
Somnambulist Crossover Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Who knew that Chris Cornell (SOUNDGARDEN etc.) had such a talented brother. Peter Cornell is the vocalist here, he also wrote all the lyrics. His vocals style is all over the place, he's quite talented. I must say this album has been a huge surprise for me.The bass is deep and all over this record. Plenty of organ and mellotron as well. Lots of variety from heavy to modern symphonic. This is a treat.

"In The Mindwarp Pavillion" opens with what sounds like a monster breathing as the clock ticks away. Then we get this sample of a preacher letting his audience have it. Haha. Then these crashing sounds come in followed by a fairly heavy soundscape of music. Drums lead the way and Cornell is screaming in the background. Real vocals after 2 minutes. Love the melody with vocals after 3 1/2 minutes. Emotional. The previous melody returns with drums leading the way. Guitar and mellotron end it. Great opener ! "Pathos Of Least Resistance" is about suicide. Huge bass early as organ then guitar come in. Great sound. Vocals and mellotron follow. A calm after 2 minutes. It kicks back in with some ripping guitar, chunky bass follows. Love the mellotron, guitar and bass 6 minutes in. Some great organ work in this one as well. Excellent tune. "Destroy...She Said" reminds me of ECHOLYN but heavier. A mellotron storm early but it's still heavy. Sinister organ as drums pound. A dreamy sound after 5 1/2 minutes is brief. Killer track. "Infant" is an instrumental of intricate guitar melodies.

"Troy Bult Helen" has some good vocal sections early. Mellotron after a minute. Some tasteful guitar 2 1/2 minutes in. Passionate vocals later. It calms down with lots of atmosphere to end it. "Died And Gone" is both catchy and heavy. Drums pound away as we get some good organ runs and deep bass. A guitar solo after 3 minutes. "Paranormal Humidor" is the over 13 minute title track to close out the album. This one is dark and heavy. Some angular guitar before 2 1/2 minutes as the bass throbs. More powerful organ runs 7 minutes in. The guitar 8 1/2 minutes in lights it up. Mellotron a minute later as it settles down with processed vocals. It kicks back in with some huge bass and a dark mood. Nice drum work as well.

These guys offer up a feast of different sounds and moods that keeps me coming back for more. Fantastic album. Easily 4 stars.

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 Paranormal Humidor  by SOMNAMBULIST album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.57 | 29 ratings

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Paranormal Humidor
Somnambulist Crossover Prog

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars The second album from Somnambulist called Paranormal Humidor was released in 2001 which means a new album is long overdue if the band still exists. I really liked their debut album for itīs raw and pretty strange prog rock style. The Style has changed towards the more polished on Paranormal Humidor even though that doesnīt mean Somnambulist has become a straight prog rock band. They still draw influences from many genres which would fit them nicely into the eclectic prog rock catagory.

Somnambulist is at the same time a very modern sounding band and a very traditional seventies inspired prog rock band. There are lots of seventies keyboard sounds on Paranormal Humidor while other parts of the music sounds more modern for example the vocals which tends to have a comtemporary approach. Sometimes Paranormal Humidor reminds me a bit about another american prog rock album namely Cathedralīs The Bridge. But while Cathedral generally sounds a bit more grounded in the seventies Somnambulist is a much more modern band.

The album starts with a blast. Itīs seldom I have heard such a powerful start to an album. Samples of a real tv- preacher ( Maybe Jimmy Swaggert ?)shouting out what will be gone ( the Chevy Chases, Eric Estradas and the weirdos of Hollywood) when armageddon comes is just hilarious ( or scary depending on what mood Iīm in). The sample ends with the preacher asking: Are you afraid to Die ? Are You afraid to Die ? Which leads directly into the first song In the Mindwarp Pavillion. Itīs such a great song with itīs subdued vocals in the vers and the beautiful chorus with itīs grand keyboard chords. I wonīt forget to mention the chaotic opening riff either. Itīs such a great song.

Pathos of Least Resistance is also a great song. Note the Genesis like keyboard part in the middle of the song. Maybe a bit too much of a ripp-off but beautiful never the less. Personally I donīt mind when it sounds so good. Destiny, She Said is the third song, and again itīs a great track even though the kind of hard rock chorus isnīt much to my liking. Itīs the same with Died & Alone later on the album. Itīs the weakest song on Paranormal Humidor and I donīt like the chorus much. Infant is just a small instrumental while the two long tracks Troy Built Helen and Paranormal Humidor are among the highlights of the album.

The musicianship is very good and itīs especially nice to hear the interplay between the musicians.

The production is a very modern prog rock production. Itīs very good and makes the music come forth in just the right way.

Paranormal Humidor is an excellent modern prog rock album. Somnambulist is a band Iīm very happy I was introduced to and they have grown considerably since their very good debut album. I just hope they still exist because Iīm sure that if they make another album it will be great. 4 stars is well deserved for Paranormal Humidor.

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 Somnambulist by SOMNAMBULIST album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.42 | 37 ratings

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Somnambulist
Somnambulist Crossover Prog

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.

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 Paranormal Humidor  by SOMNAMBULIST album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.57 | 29 ratings

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Paranormal Humidor
Somnambulist Crossover Prog

Review by Gatot
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars It's quite complex and very entertaining, musically .!

The second effort by Somnambulist "Paranormal Humidor" has demonstrated their steadfast progress in their music direction. Enjoying this album is very entertaining for me because I can have a mix feelings being in modern world but a bit of trip to the past through the sounds of organ and mellotron in the vein of sometimes like King Crimson, sometimes Van der Graff Generator, with some nuance of ELP. Well, actually I can say that Somnambulist has their own music identity which is quite hard to find similarities with other legendary or modern bands. But for sure I like with the facts that their music is tightly composed, complex, and unpredictable with relatively no catchy melody. That's not the case with enjoying the music of Somnambulist. What you need to do is just sit down, relax, enjoy the stream of music Somnambulist (Terry Clouse / bass guitars, Jody Park / synthesizers, organ, & piano, Charlie Shelton / electric & acoustic guitars, Jo Whitaker / drums & percussion, and Peter Cornell / vocals) is playing. You will find how the band brings your mind somewhere with their compositions. Typically, you will find their music has relatively high density but it's quite enjoyable. It's definitely not the kind of music that you can sing along easily like Genesis' "Afterglow" or King Crimson' "Epitaph" as most of the songs featured in this album have practically no catchy melody.

The opening track "In the Mindwarp Pavillion" (8:09) gives you movie theater nuance with some narrative at the opening part followed with complex music that flows like a combination of Van der Graff, England and King Crimson music. "Pathos of Least Resistance" (7:37) starts simple with drum work followed with a music where bass guitar is very dominant augmented with weird keyboard work and vocal line. This song has excellent keyboard solo in the middle. "Destiny, She Said" (7:23) is much accessible and it has slow tempo. "Troy Built Helen" (10:10) starts with nice acapella followed with great music dominated by keyboard in quite strange arrangements, in the vein of King Crimson. It's really a good intro part, especially with the keyboard sounds at the background. "Paranormal Humidor" (13:20) is a very nice song with ambient style at the opening part, original in nature as I have never heard this kind of style. The music moves faster in tempo and in more complex arrangements .. oh this makes me much more attracted with the music - especially the stunning combination of guitar, keyboard and Bill Bruford-like drum work. Excellent!

Overall, this is a truly excellent addition to any progressive music. You must enjoy this album with an open mind to get the full subtleties of the music. Yeah, it's really a progressive music. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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 Somnambulist by SOMNAMBULIST album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.42 | 37 ratings

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Somnambulist
Somnambulist Crossover Prog

Review by erik neuteboom
Prog Reviewer

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.


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 Somnambulist by SOMNAMBULIST album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.42 | 37 ratings

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Somnambulist
Somnambulist Crossover Prog

Review by dmwilkie

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. The highlights are the longer tracks 'Prometheus' Lament', which has a magnificently bombastic symphonic opening which I listen to again and again, and 'Unlearning Folds Of Red'. 'Frotus' is also a fine prog track.Sounds on the album range from KC-style instumentals to, at one point, jazzy saxophone. It might be hard work at first, but ultimately rewarding.

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 Somnambulist by SOMNAMBULIST album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.42 | 37 ratings

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Somnambulist
Somnambulist Crossover Prog

Review by elpprogster

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 explore and an excelllent addition to your prog collection.

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 Paranormal Humidor  by SOMNAMBULIST album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.57 | 29 ratings

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Paranormal Humidor
Somnambulist Crossover Prog

Review by Cinema

5 stars In Paranormal Humidor, I think I just may have found an album that perfectly fits my taste in music, like a fine glove. With obvious respectful nods to influences of Yes, King Crimson, PFM, and even The Who, Somnambulist delivers a sound that is at once unique, dark, energetic, adventerous, and exceedingly expressive. Fantastic musicianship. Fantastic compostions. Fantastic explorations into the very dark pathos of progressive rock. The album's best tracks are ... all of them. It's true. Every track is, in my humble opinion, perfect. I've never before experienced progressive music quite like this. It's quality, personality, and power is nearly overwhelming. I hope Somnambulist continues producing music of this quality and style.

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