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ELEPHANT9

Jazz Rock/Fusion • Norway


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Elephant9 biography
An offshoot project from members of Norwegian groups Shinning and Supersilent that could translate in Mwandishi meeting Keith Emerson. Drummer Thorsten Lofthuis ((Shinning) and keyboardist Stale Storlokken (Supersilent) are completed by bassist Nicolas Haengsle to make a power trio that can rival the best, beit in the great70?s decade or in the last two.

Their sole album (so far) was recorded in late 2007 and released early next year on the Rune Grammofon label under the weird and misleading name of Dodovoodoo, which would suit a DVD much better. The music developed is a sizzling hot jazz-rock (more the early 70?s-type ala Mwandishi or Mahavishnu) rather than the cooler and more ethnic later 70?s fusion. But mixed in there are some heavy keyboards (Fender Rhodes but also Hammond organ) that make you think of Herbie Hancock and Keith Emerson (in the more symphonic interventions) or Dave Stewart without the fuzz. I am impatiently waiting for a little brother from this bunch.

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DodovoodooDodovoodoo
Rune Grammofon 2008
Audio CD$43.82
$11.88 (used)
Walk the NileWalk the Nile
Rune Grammofon 2010
Audio CD$11.78
$11.75 (used)
Elephant9 Walk The Nile Other SwingElephant9 Walk The Nile Other Swing
Records
Audio CD$33.23
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ELEPHANT9 discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

ELEPHANT9 top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.78 | 41 ratings
Dodovoodoo
2008
3.75 | 61 ratings
Walk The Nile
2010
3.87 | 22 ratings
Elephant9 With Reine Fiske: Atlantis
2012

ELEPHANT9 Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.00 | 1 ratings
Live At The BBC
2011

ELEPHANT9 Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

ELEPHANT9 Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

ELEPHANT9 Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

ELEPHANT9 Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Elephant9 With Reine Fiske: Atlantis by ELEPHANT9 album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.87 | 22 ratings

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Elephant9 With Reine Fiske: Atlantis
Elephant9 Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 4.5 stars. Norway's own ELEPHANT9 are back trampling everything and everyone in their path. This time they've brought along Swedish guitar legend (in my world he is) Reine Fiske to add his psychedelic and fuzzed out guitar to the mix. I guess this was just in case we weren't all freaked out enough by their first two studio albums. Yes i'm holding up my white flag, please take me prisoner !

We get two songs before Reine arrives so lets look at them first. "Black Hole" is a 9 minute ride into chaos as the drums pound with relentless precision as the bass digs deep and the organ just flat out spreads it's nastiness all over God's green earth. Not for the faint of heart people. It's even haunting towards the end just in case your hair wasn't yet standing up straight. "The Riddler" is more about atmosphere until it kicks in hard before 1 1/2 minutes. My God ! It does settle back and yet this is far from being anything close to calm as they continue to storm the soundscape. Man the drumming is so impressive and the organ is simply nasty and anything but normal. "Atlantis" is calm to open with floating organ-like atmosphere and more. Things start to build 2 minutes in it would appear but then it settles back. Beautiful stuff here as Reine's guitar cries out. A change before 5 minutes as a steady beat takes over as the organ and guitar continue. The guitar is almost screaming 7 minutes in as Reine starts to rip it up. This continues to the end.

"A Foot In Both" has Reine on nylon- string guitar while the bass player strums a 12 string acoustic on this one.Guitar and keyboards lead early. Cool stuff and fairly laid back too. Drums after 3 1/2 minutes help out. Good song. "Psychedelic Backfire" is slow to build but there's something evil about to burst forth you just know it. Dark is the word after 2 minutes. It's like waves of dark psychedelia coming down on us again and again until a change 5 minutes in. Growly organ, a beat, bass and guitar then start to lead but there's still no light. Great ending too in this amazing track. "A Place In Neither" is brighter and more alive as drums and electric piano standout in this short 2 minute tune. "Freedom's Children" opens with some excellent guitar and organ as the drums pound. So good. It settles back after 2 1/2 minutes then kicks in again quickly. Great sound ! Check out Reine after 5 1/2 minutes. Nice. This is intense the rest of the way like a runaway train.

Man i'd love to see these guys in concert with Reine on stage with them. My kind of music !

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 Elephant9 With Reine Fiske: Atlantis by ELEPHANT9 album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.87 | 22 ratings

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Elephant9 With Reine Fiske: Atlantis
Elephant9 Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

4 stars Third album (if you don't count a vinyl-only live album) from this Norwegian keyboard-lead trio, but this time with the addition of a famous Swedish guitarist called Reine Fiske (Landberk, Paatos & Dungen) for over half the seven tracks. Basically, you're dealing with the usual Elephant9 album (even down to the boring-as-usual Rune-Grammofon label artwork) but with the notable input from one of Scandinavia's most exciting and "out-there" (as in psych) guitarist, which adds a considerable element that can answer Storlokken's wide array of keyboards that include a Rhodes, a Hammond, a Minimoog and piano. Oh yeah, bassist Ellertsen plays also some acoustic 12- strings as well.

Even the opening Black Hole sounds like the chaotic quagmire announced in its title, but the power and interplay between the three compadres is simply irresistible: you'll have the sound up to 11 in no time. A Foot In Both is a much quieter and pensive affair, where Ellertsen's 12-strings guitar takes the lead role above the moog and organ layers. The title track opens on smooth keyboard layers, but gradually Fiske's guitar draws the controlled chaos with its feedback

The long anxiogenic thunder rolls of Psychedellic Backfire suggest that we're in the last throes of the lost mythological Atlantis civilization, where the tsunami waves attack regularly the cliffs of what were once a continent and now only a chaplet of reef. Once the waves have done their destruction, the booming bass and sinister Hammond drones are describing explosion of pockets of molten magma flowing from your speakers and coming in contact with whatever's left of Atlantis' trade goods storage buildings.

Elsewhere, the dominating element in the short A Place In Neither is the demented Ellertsen bass riff. Hendrixian feedback guitar is dominating the first part of the 13-mins+ Freedom's Children, which sports its name quite well. The middle sections speeds up and goes bonkers gradually and starts saturating until its chaotic and explosive end.

Well, despite the addition of Fike, Atlantis is certainly well in the artistic line of E9's discography, while adding a little "je-ne-sais-quoi" (guitars of course) as icing on the cake; and I take the bet that it's probably going to be the apex of the band, unless they add more musicians

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 Elephant9 With Reine Fiske: Atlantis by ELEPHANT9 album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.87 | 22 ratings

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Elephant9 With Reine Fiske: Atlantis
Elephant9 Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by JonnyM79

4 stars Elephant9 are back with their distinctive power trio sound. The Organ-Bass-Drums combination (still sounding like an angry Medeski Martin & Wood on a combination of steroids and speed) is there but this time augmented on several tracks by Reine Fiske - a guitar player I confess I know nothing about - but who plays in an angular electric style somewhere between John McLaughlin and Robert Fripp. The effect of this - plus whatever fiddling Stale Storlokken has been doing with his Organ (ho-ho) has lead to a harder sound that has put a bit more rock into their jazz-rock fusion sound.

For all of that there are still moments when the bass (more prominent and inventive) still catches a seriously funky beat for the organ to improvise around in a Headhunters style workout, and these provide some of the album highlights in Atlantis and Freedom's Children, but most noticeably in the opening track - where I do not know how Storlokken generates the tortured noises he does from his organ - until I looked I assumed it was a distorted electric guitar - are Emerson-style knives involved? Contrast this to the gentle acoustic playing on A Foot In The Bath and the sound seems more varied than previous albums - a band not afraid to experiment

This album confirms that Elephant9 remain the world's bets and most creative Organ power- trio. It should be loved by any Jazz-rock fusion fan and the rockier edge should make it an excellent access point to the genre for fans of heavier prog. Highly recommended.

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 Dodovoodoo by ELEPHANT9 album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.78 | 41 ratings

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Dodovoodoo
Elephant9 Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars Norwegian jamming Jazz-Rock/Prog trio.The formation of the band was an idea of drummer Torstein Lofthus and bassist Nikolai Hængsle Eilertsen,who called Stale Storløkken to contribute on keyboard duties.Only two rehearsals were enough for the trio to decided to move on in a more stable basis,so Elephant9 was born.After some gigs they entered the studio to record their debut ''Dodovoodoo'', released finally on the Oslo-based label Rune Grammofon.

The album presents a band full of energy,creativity but also an improvisation mood but with a very tight and unique playing.''Dodovoodoo'' sees Storløkken delivering double keyboard attacks,often surrounding his jazzy dominant electric piano with obscure synth work.He also uses the Hammond organ in a frenetic way,reminding of the 70's, when a young KEITH EMERSON was torturing his own Hammond on stage.Impressive performance to say the least,accompanied by a poweful and dynamic drummer and a strong bass player playing fast and furious bass lines,this one must be one of the most dynamic rhythm sections ever.The influences are many,from the jazzier and more improvisational side of E.L.P. to the abstract offering of Canterbury bands like THE SOFT MACHINE or HATFIELD AND THE NORTH.Additionally the album contains also some spacier parts with hypnotic bass lines, background synths and distinctive electric piano to make Elephant9's sound a bit more diverse.

This album contains a vast amount of music power and often sounds like a jamming session than a well-arranged effort.For the mystified of the style,this is a pure delight,though I recognize many will have a hard time absorbing all this dense energy.Still the album desreves a warm recommemdation,for this is a trio with good ideas and a very rich sound.

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 Dodovoodoo by ELEPHANT9 album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.78 | 41 ratings

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Dodovoodoo
Elephant9 Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Bonnek
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

3 stars Big pounding drums, swirling Hammond organs, eerie sounds and chunky bass engaging. This Norwegian collective know their chops and deliver an album with improvisations that are both free and tight, rocking and at the same time spontaneous.

Just like the follow-up "Walk The Nile", I instantly would want to buy tickets to see them in concert, but at home this album never sets the house on fire. A recommendable feature for most, but I prefer music that does. It's hard to tell what's missing, but I blame the lack of really memorable grooves and compositions that similar sounding bands like Guapo and One Shot have for instance. The atmosphere and intensity is present though and the playing is wonderful.

Despite my misgivings this is an enjoyable album from a great band. Overall I prefer it to "Walk The Nile", and the album gets better and more weird towards the end, where "Direction" ends the album on a high note. 3.5 stars

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 Walk The Nile by ELEPHANT9 album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.75 | 61 ratings

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Walk The Nile
Elephant9 Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

3 stars 3.5 stars really!!!

Second album from this Norwegian instrumental Hammond-driven power trio, much in the same line of their debut, not least in the similar artwork department, despite being much less in the JR/F mode than before. Still depending on Storlokken's keyboard madness on two of prog's most legendary instruments, the Hammond organ and the Fender Rhodes electric piano (much-under used here), the group's music explodes with power from your speakers and grabs you by the gut as you're literally hypnotized by the generous growls of the organ, pushed by the powerful and driving (but not always refined) drumming from Lofthus and the rollicking and frolicking bass from Eilertsen.

Much like their previous album, the spectrum is relatively varied, ranging from an ELP-like workout Fugi Fonix, Hardcore Oriental (well I wouldn't call it far-east, either) and Aviation, to the much-slower intimate piece with the Hammond drones of the awesome almost- ambient and nightmarish title track, to a jammy-jazzy Habanera Rocket (don't ask;o))) and the over-powering closer. As a 70's vintage sounds freak, you'll find Walk The Nile a rather irresistible as it will flatter you eardrums into submissions by sending tingue of sonic orgasms directly into your frontal lobes.

Unfortunately, despite a fairly-wide spectrum and always enthralling power, what lacks in this album (and in retrospect to their debut) is a different colour, or an instrument to add and answers Storlokken's keyboards (something that also plagued his 'mentor' Emerson), maybe a guitarist or a wind player. Indeed, once the opening pleasure of discovering the album, by the fifth spin, it sort of becomes a little saturating to listen to it in a full session, because it's a bit too much of the same, because Storlokken doesn't switch enough instruments. The other remark I have is that the drumming might have been a bit more subtle at times (not as loud as well) and better recorded, especially at the start of the closing John Tinnick track, the only non-Storlokken composition.

While this album figured in my top 10 releases of 2010 (which is quite a compliment), it's not likely to make a lasting impression throughout the still-long decade to come, so I wouldn't call the album essential. But this doesn't make any less worthy of acquisition, if only for the sake of the odd musical orgasmic jolt you'll enjoy. Happy premature intellectual ejaculation.

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 Walk The Nile by ELEPHANT9 album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.75 | 61 ratings

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Walk The Nile
Elephant9 Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Bonnek
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

3 stars You got to love how this album sounds, big pounding drums full of depth and attack, grinding Hammond organs wrenching out the eeriest possible sounds and a rumbling bass engaging in a twirling battle with the drums. These guys know how to interact musically and I wouldn't doubt a second to go and see them live in concert if I had the chance to do so. I'm sure they set the place on fire!

When it comes to the actual compositions, or rather improvisations, I'm less enthusiastic. The album is a great listen but it rarely leaves a lasting impression. The opener for instance translates ELP's Barbarian to a place 40 years further in time and it does that quite successfully, but it's still no match for the original. Also Hardcore and John Tinnick are two more short tracks that follow the same early ELP organ-heavy Gothic vibe. Great work.

Unfortunately, two of the longer pieces (Aviation and Habanera Rocket) quickly become a dull listen, despite the swinging drum and bass interaction. The endless organ jamming doesn't do it for me I guess. Walk the Nile on the other hand is magnificent and easily the album's highlight with its ominous spooky atmosphere. This song manages to maintain an unsettling tension for its full duration. The organ is remarkably more experimental and explorative here.

If we're talking modern power trios with drums, bass and then I'll have to place this album a level behind Guapo. The musical talent in the band is sure abundant, but they haven't managed to make their music satisfyingly memorable. I'm told the preceding album was stronger in that respect. Still, love that sound!

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 Walk The Nile by ELEPHANT9 album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.75 | 61 ratings

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Walk The Nile
Elephant9 Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars An interesting followup to their debut "Dodvoodoo". A lot more Hammond organ on this one at the expense of the Fender Rhodes unfortunately, but this still kills. It's not as intense overall either. The Hammond on here is absolutely nasty.

"Fugal Fonix" opens with some massive Hammond as drums come in pounding. Nasty stuff. Fender Rhodes takes the lead 2 minutes in. "Aviation" opens with some floating organ and lots of atmosphere. Bass around a minute. Cymbals 1 1/2 minutes in then drums as the organ turns evil. It all kicks in after 2 1/2 minutes. The drumming is relentless. How good is this after 4 1/2 minutes ! A calm 7 1/2 minutes in. "Walk The Nile" opens with drums and organ. There's some wickedness bubbling under the surface. The organ is more outfront 2 1/2 minutes in. There's the wickedness 4 1/2 minutes in. I swear the organ is possesed. It's dark with tons of bottom end. Check out the ending !

"Hardcore Orientale" opens with drums that never slow down. Bass is prominant too. Keyboards join in as it plays out. Intense. "Habanera Rocket" is the longest track at around 14 1/2 minutes. It opens as if they've turned down the volume and it very slowly gets louder. It builds and builds then it kicks in before 7 1/2 minutes. It settles after 10 minutes with a Psychedelic mood. It then turns nasty after 13 minutes as the organ rips it up. "John Tinnick" is uptempo right out of the gate. Fender Rhodes is making some noise. Nice. Organ's turn as the drums and bass continue.

Another fantastic release from these talented Norwegians.

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 Dodovoodoo by ELEPHANT9 album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.78 | 41 ratings

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Dodovoodoo
Elephant9 Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Completely blown away, or maybe trampled underfoot is the better way to describe what ELEPHANT9's debut has done to me. This band is from Norway and boasts an all-star cast. I was only familiar with the keyboard player who's played with Terje Rypdal (enough said) and the drummer who's from the SHINING, again enough said. Interestingly enough but not too surprising I suppose is that the keyboards and drums dominate the sound here. This was recorded live in studio to anologue tape. The band that came to mind for me the most was ONE SHOT. It's that incredible and unpredictible drum work along with the Fender Rhodes that brings that amazing band to mind quite often. The difference here is that we don't get the same upfront bass and guitar, rather we get lots of spacey synths ala WEATHER REPORT and Hammond Organ. Speaking of WEATHER REPORT the last two tracks on this album are WEATHER REPORT covers, both from the "I Sing The Body Electric" album.

"Dodovoodoo" opens with odd-metered drumming with some nasty organ runs. This is great ! He's beating the hell out of his drum kit here. Some nice deep bass lines too. "I Cover The Mountain Top" opens with atmosphere as sparse sounds come and go. We get a beat around 1 1/2 minutes and it picks up a minute later with some filthy organ. The drumming is so good,very intricate here. ONE SHOT comes to mind after 5 minutes with the Fender Rhodes. I'm so moved 7 minutes in by what i'm hearing. Crushing organ 8 1/2 minutes in. "Skink" opens with random drum patterns with the organ floating along side. It kicks in at 1 1/2 minutes. Killer stuff.

"Hymne" opens with atmosphere as synths roll in. The guitar is making some noise. Organ follows as they both come and go. This is an intense but slow moving soundscape. "Misdirection" is led by keys and drums. Spacey synths a minute in. Nasty organ follows. "Doctor Honoris Causa" is spacey to open as a beat joins in. Keyboards follow as the synths stop. It's starting to build. Intense 6 1/2 minutes in. Back to the atmosphere late. A very cool cover song. "Directions" has no real melody as loud and abrasive sounds come and go. Drums and keyboards start to lead 2 1/2 minutes in. Amazing ! A Zeuhl-like rhythm follows with synths and keys. Please stop this is too good to be true. It picks up late.

What can I say, it's darn near perfect for my tastes. If there was less Hammond and more Fender Rhodes I wouldn't be getting back up from that stampede.

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 Walk The Nile by ELEPHANT9 album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.75 | 61 ratings

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Walk The Nile
Elephant9 Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars This congregation of keyboardist Ståle Storløkken, bassist Nikolai Hængsle Eilertsen and drummer Torstein Lofthus is really something: individually coming from musical sources as diverse as free-jazz, metal-oriented RIO and indie pop-rock, collectively they created this magnificent jazz-prog monster that the world knows as Elephant9. Their 2010 album "Walk The Nile" is a firm candidate for membership in any objective Top 5 list of the year's progressive releases. Even though the title is a pun intended for the adage "walk the line", you could actually use the title as a symbol of what the album is essentially about: each track is based on a basic motif (the determined road they walk) that becomes fluidly expanded and/or distorted along the way (as if flowing through a river, the Nile perhaps). Unlike other prog albums that are tremendously focused on compositional schemes, Elephant9 states an abundantly clear ideology of letting the sound flow, grow and evolve in solid jams in order to establish suggestive moods: of course, as this is a power-trio, the moods usually tend to be explicitly powerful. Niacin is one of the most evident references for the band's writing and performing influences, but you can also spot traces from the 70s jazz-fusion tradition (pre-Pastorius Weather Report, mainly), as well as a generous dose of psychedelic ornaments and space-rock atmospheres sticking in for occasional good effect. The opening piece 'Fugl Fønix' installs an agile musical development over a vibrant 6/8 tempo: the trio displays its dynamic energy in full swing, but it is particularly drummer Lofthus who steals an important part of the limelight in the mix. 'Aviation' starts on a different note, introverted and mysterious, almost cosmic, based on minimal organ layers. The bass delivers hints of its forthcoming main line while the drums go rolling in as if building an air of expectation. It won't take long before the trio erupts into yet another demonstration of intense jazz-rock jamming. Once again, Lofthus' drum kit is very prominent in the mix, but it is in the deliveries emerging from Storløkken's keyboards where the track's neuralgic center lies. Track 3 is the eponymous one ? a 10 minute musical surprise whose sonic framework brings an expansion of languid spacey atmospheres. How can I even begin to describe this track's main features? Well, let me try this: a translation of moods from "Phaedra"-era TD and classic Cluster into the experimental drive of early Weather Report with added post-rock seasonings. I don't know if this description has any success at making at least a little sense, but that's the best I can do by now. Anyway, 'Walk The Nile' is a highlight of this album, I am quite certain about it. Next is 'Hardcore Orientale', which brings back the warmth and openly extroverted flair that had made the best of the first 2 pieces: this warmth is conquered after a crescendo that begins in an initial solemn place. 'Habanera Rocket' lasts almost ¼ hour, a long instrumental journey that starts hypnotic and ethereally groovy, not unlike the softer side of Agitation Free or Exmagma: the Eilertsen-Lofthus duo works like an impeccable machine whose monotonous loop efficiently helps to create a controlled atmosphere all the way toward the definitive exquisite groove (the second motif), which is when the keyboards draw grayish sonic figures all over the place. The aforesaid rhythmic scheme could not be surpassed by any synthesized program, no way! Shortly before the 10 minute mark, things grow into fusion territory with extra spacey colors (third motif): later on, a brief deconstructive section intrudes and reveals how well these three guys are capable of interacting in a free-jazz environment. The coda appears in the shape of a reprise of the second motif with enhanced psyched-out moods. The albums end with the 'John Tinnick', a groovy motif displayed on a frantic, architectonic rhythmic pace: an intense Hammond orgy until the end. Elephant9 bears one of the most abrasive sounds in the current progressive area: this sophomore album is undisputed proof of that, and so it is recommended as a very excellent item in any good prog collection.

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