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DJAM KARET

Eclectic Prog • United States


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Djam Karet biography
One of the first new prog bands to emerge on the 80's and 90's scene. The music is hard to categorize, switching among many different moods and styles, sometimes with psychedelic influences. Long improvisations, and main influences are OZRIC TENTACLES and KING CRIMSON.

"The Devouring" and "Burning The Hard City" are considered by many to be one of the best prog albums released in the 90s. DJAM KARET have taken their trademark sound of blistering guitar solos, atmospheric passages, and instrumental prowess and added old school prog rock keyboards. The resultant music is a great delight for the guitar fan as well as the adventurous rock listener.
GREAT BAND!!!

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Buy DJAM KARET Music


New Dark AgeNew Dark Age
CUNEIFORM RECORDS 2017
$57.96
$7.08 (used)
Regenerator 3017Regenerator 3017
CD Baby 2014
$9.93
Sonic CelluloidSonic Celluloid
HC Productions
$9.93
Live At OrionLive At Orion
CUNEIFORM RECORDS 2017
$13.99
$7.98 (used)
Reflections From The FirepoolReflections From The Firepool
CUNEIFORM RECORDS 2017
$16.28
$4.20 (used)
The Heavy Soul SessionsThe Heavy Soul Sessions
HC Productions 2010
$9.93
$9.83 (used)
The DevouringThe Devouring
CUNEIFORM RECORDS 2017
$29.99
$13.47 (used)
Swamp of DreamsSwamp of Dreams
CD Baby 2015
$23.70
A Night For BakuA Night For Baku
CUNEIFORM RECORDS 2017
$14.61
$17.27 (used)
TripTrip
CD Baby 2013
$10.99
$6.39 (used)
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Djam Karet ?Burning The Hard City with Japanese inserts & OBI USD $29.99 Buy It Now 7 days
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DJAM KARET discography


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

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

2.25 | 4 ratings
Happy Cancer: McMusic For The McMasses
1982
1.56 | 13 ratings
No Commercial Potential
1985
3.29 | 21 ratings
The Ritual Continues
1987
2.20 | 5 ratings
Kafka's Breakfast
1988
3.69 | 55 ratings
Reflections From The Firepool
1989
3.64 | 55 ratings
Burning The Hard City
1991
3.18 | 33 ratings
Suspension & Displacement
1991
2.74 | 22 ratings
Collaborator
1994
3.65 | 67 ratings
The Devouring
1997
3.65 | 23 ratings
Still No Commercial Potential
1998
3.43 | 31 ratings
New Dark Age
2001
3.09 | 21 ratings
Ascension - New Dark Age, Volume 2
2001
3.27 | 46 ratings
A Night For Baku
2003
3.71 | 47 ratings
Recollection Harvest
2005
4.03 | 59 ratings
The Heavy Soul Sessions
2010
3.88 | 98 ratings
The Trip
2013
3.84 | 101 ratings
Regenerator 3017
2014
3.82 | 50 ratings
Sonic Celluloid
2017

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

3.41 | 11 ratings
Live At Orion
1999
3.80 | 5 ratings
Afghan (Live At The Knitting Factory)
2002
3.67 | 6 ratings
Live At NEARfest 2001
2004

DJAM KARET Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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

4.00 | 1 ratings
A Beginner's Guide Volume 1
2002
4.00 | 2 ratings
A Beginner's Guide Volume II
2002
3.23 | 12 ratings
No Commercial Potential, Rock Improvisations from 1985-2002
2004
4.58 | 8 ratings
Swamp Of Dreams
2015

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

3.75 | 4 ratings
Djam Karet #1
2001
3.80 | 5 ratings
Djam Karet #2
2001

DJAM KARET Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Collaborator by DJAM KARET album cover Studio Album, 1994
2.74 | 22 ratings

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Collaborator
Djam Karet Eclectic Prog

Review by WFV

3 stars If you like your ambient dark, this is the album for you. One look at the album and song titles is enough to tell the listener what is going on with the music. I like that - no mystery, no wasted thought.

This is actually the album that was my gateway to contemporary ambient music. It showed me that it could be cool - if heavy rockers like Djam Karet were into making this stuff I could be into listening to it. I do wish I was more familiar with Kit Watkins - his prog career started with so much potential, I can't help but wonder where his muse took him after shedding Happy the Man and Camel.

This one is certainly for ambient fans and hardcore Karet listeners that are up for a change of pace from their usual recordings.

 Sonic Celluloid by DJAM KARET album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.82 | 50 ratings

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Sonic Celluloid
Djam Karet Eclectic Prog

Review by WFV

4 stars Another splendid entry into the Djam Karet catalogue. Spacey and melodic, the textures are on the light side for these guys. Continuity and evolution are two words that describe this collective that have been making consistently high quality product since the eighties. This isn't product in the Frank Zappa sense, referring to the big label music factories prevalent in his time. No, this is to be digested by guitar loving, atmosphere craving rock and roll adventurers. This is art - any skill raised to a very high level, maybe the only thing I remember from college.

Sonic Celluloid is easily one of my favorite Djam Karet releases, on any given day it could be this one or eight or nine different ones. Still, I tune in for the atmospheres, not necessarily the guitar, and this release is one of the most satisfying as a whole for my tastes. I was tempted to go five, but that would be in my world. This is no overall masterpiece, just a solidly entertaining listen for inclined parties.

 Sonic Celluloid by DJAM KARET album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.82 | 50 ratings

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Sonic Celluloid
Djam Karet Eclectic Prog

Review by Tapfret
Special Collaborator Eclectic & C/JRF Prog Team

4 stars Context is everything. Timing is everything. OK, they can't both be everything. Let's say, one means a lot and the other is everything else. These cliches really came into play when discovering Djam Karet's eighteenth studio album, Sonic Celluloid. As it turns out, this would be my first full dive into a Djam Karet album. I was aware of their existence back in the late '90's when I first delved into the catalog of Wayside Music/Cuneiform Records. The sound did not sit well with me then, or in later happenstance listenings. Admittedly, this is probably because at the time I sought out the very heavy or the very complex at every turn. Djam Karet has never been either of those. In fact, when Sonic Celluloid first hit my ears I was inundating my brain with the artists featured in a Progarchives forum ultra-complex prog discussion. For some reason Sonic Celluloid was the right thing at the right time.

As prefaced, this is not an 'in your face' album. Its an album that invites you in and embraces your presence with astounding subtlety. First off, except for a few spoken word sections, the album is entirely instrumental. Rhythmically less than half of the album that uses a standard rock kit and beats. And where it is present, it does not shy away from the groove. However, large sections of Sonic Celluloid have a spacey, new age feel. But that space is never filler. It is always present and engaging. Much of the ambiance is very reminiscent of Tangerine Dream of the mid-1970's, if a bit more compositionally active and nowhere near as protracted. The electronic textures are complimented by acoustic instruments and the occasional Gilmour-esque warm electric guitar solos. And of course the Prog staple Mellotron is present, though again, subtlety is the key word. All too often it is used to excess in modern Prog. It is used on Sonic Celluloid to produce texture as it was intended.

I suppose there are those that will argue that Sonic Celluloid offers nothing new under the sun, and they are probably right. But what cannot be argued is that this is an album that is diverse and exists in full comfort of that diversity. And at the same time never takes that diversity to extremes. To risk overusing the chief descriptor here, subtle. It is that precise characteristic with the current context and timing of my own listening journey that makes Sonic Celluloid one of my favorite albums of 2017 and an easy recommendation as an essential part of any Progressive rock collection. Not to mention grounds for further exploration of the remaining Djam Karet discography that I have managed to ignore all these years.

 Sonic Celluloid by DJAM KARET album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.82 | 50 ratings

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Sonic Celluloid
Djam Karet Eclectic Prog

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

4 stars Psych rock, space rock, jam/improv, electronic, prog-rock, ambient - American group Djam Karet can be all of these things (often in the space of a single track!), but those tags don't quite do this eclectic instrumental band enough justice! The last few years in particular have been a very fruitful period for core members Gayle Ellett, Mike Henderson, Henry J Osborne and Chuck Oken Jnr and others with a number of standout releases, including the single forty-seven minute ambient space-rock journey `The Trip' in 2013, the retro-tastic `Regenerator 3017' a year later and a superior compilation of odds n' ends `Swamp of Dreams' after that, but `Sonic Celluloid' is their first proper studio disc in three years, and it proves to be another diverse and unpredictable collection from the talented instrumentalists, and one that's a lot more electronic-heavy than their last few.

After a moody ambient intro, `Saul Says So' springs to life with eerie Mellotron, coursing bass and trickling electronics, and some ravishing acoustic guitar flourishes are almost joyful and infectious even! There's nicely slinking programmed electronic grooves and chilled guitar licks throughout `Forced Perspective', `Long Shot' is a spacey wavering prog-electronic theme that sounds like the soundtrack to an eerie Seventies sci-fi series before its frantic Hammond organ and scorching electric guitar climax. The mix of drifting synth washes, haunting 'Tron and darker acoustic guitar in the final minutes of `No Narration Needed' might have come from Italian prog-rockers Goblin, and the bleeding and twitching deep-space electronics of `Numerous Mechanical Circles' could almost be Tangerine Dream, with tasty little teases of heroic Mellotron themes emerging as well.

`Oceanside Exterior', `Au Revoir Au RÍve' and `Flashback' are all moodier and atmospheric spacy electronic rockers with reflective guitar soloing spots that call to mind Pink Floyd and Nineties onwards-era Hawkwind, with plenty of spectral synth choirs, Mellotron fire and ticking programming between them. Piano dreaminess and reaching drowsy guitars strains purr through the toasty-mellow `Lower', and the sublime murmuring bass soloing and acoustic/electric back-and-forth of album closer `The Denouement Device' takes a darker, more mysterious turn in the second half making for a very unpredictable finale to the disc.

With plenty of releases in their thirty-plus year career together and never delivering even a slightly average one (ha, you've know they're a great band when even their compilations are superb!), `Sonic Celluloid' keeps up the strong tradition, proving to have quite a liveliness and no shortage of laid-back vibes. Exciting for long-time fans of the group and even an ideal starting point for newcomers, `Sonic Celluloid' just might even be one of Djam Karet's best to date!

Four stars.

 Sonic Celluloid by DJAM KARET album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.82 | 50 ratings

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Sonic Celluloid
Djam Karet Eclectic Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars DJAM KARET have been making music for some 35 years or so. They really deserve some lifetime achievement award for being so consistent with their releases over that time, and yes a ton of great music. I think 5 years is the longest gap between studio albums over that time. "Sonic Celluloid" is a fairly ambient album overall with a significant amount of electronics and mellotron. Mellotron-flute seems to be the go-to sound when it comes to the mellotron. This is headphone music people! There's so much going on when you really listen to this album though, I'm very impressed.

"Saul Says So" opens with atmosphere, and get used to it(haha). Yes a spacey intro with electronics and eventually sequencers surprisingly around 1 1/2 minutes. Keys follow as that spacey atmosphere continues. Drums and bass after 2 1/2 minutes. Great sound here. Guitar a minute later and check out the bass 4 minutes in. Some excellent sounding mellotron in this one as well.

"Forced Perspective" opens with a beat, bass, guitar and synths. The guitar does come to the fore in a tasteful manner and then the sound turns fuller after 2 minutes but it settles back again quickly. "Long Shot" is dark and spacey to start as a sample of spoken words and static arrive. An electronic melody arrives and continues after the sample ends. Mellotron follows and what a majestic sound after 2 minutes. So good! Drums after 2 1/2 minutes and I like the organ before 3 minutes as electronics continue. It kicks into gear with some nice guitar but not for long.

"No Narration Needed" opens with mellotron as a horn blasts. This is spacey with background sounds. The guitar starts to make some noise. Nice. A change 3 minutes in as a solo bass line takes over then the mellotron returns. Picked guitar will eventually take over in atmosphere. "Numerous Mechanical Circles" has a spacey beginning as the mellotron rolls in along with some spoken words and nature sounds.

"Oceanside Exterior" is laid back and melancholic. This sounds really good especially when the sounds of the ocean arrive. One of my favourites. "Au Revoir Au Reve" opens with atmosphere and a beat. Sounds like vocal melodies of the female variety before 1 1/2 minutes. Guitar a minute later.

"Flashback" is mellow with intricate sounds and guitar. "Lower" features sounds that drift as some sparse piano comes and goes. Suddenly background voices can be heard and the build to a crescendo. "The Denouncement Device" ends it on a high. Intricate guitar, bass and atmosphere early. Love that bass in that spacey atmosphere. Mellotron-flute before 2 minutes and later after 3 minutes. It turns powerful with guitar after 3 1/2 minutes. Nice!

Another quality release from these Californians. What a discography though, such an impressive band and it's so cool that in 2017 they continue to impress. A solid 4 stars.

 Sonic Celluloid by DJAM KARET album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.82 | 50 ratings

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Sonic Celluloid
Djam Karet Eclectic Prog

Review by Kepler62

5 stars Another abstruse offering from these California revolutionaries in their fearless quest to transcend art. Once again, there's no faithfulness to style and anything flies, although conspicuous acknowledgements are made to Jean Michel Jarre and Pink Floyd amongst others without being too pronounced. Those familiar with Djam Karet and their revisionist approach to creating music will find that Sonic Celluloid is much more expressive than some of their previous work. Imbued with waves of keyboards, magnetic instrumental sweeps and electronic scenery each composition possesses it's own curious identity within the concept of music as film.

Contrastive elements and ideas form the notion of an aural gallery. 'Saul Says So', 'Forced Perspective' and 'Long Shot' that introduce the work are more illustrative of the Djam Karet modus operandi. We get dynamic mingling of Hammonds and mellotrons along with cool jazzy electric and acoustic guitar runs, subaqueous bass, and Chuck Okden jr's usual spot on drumming. The latter part of the album shifts into Buddhist mode with tracks such as 'Numerous Mechanical Circles' with it's creeping world beat that resembles some of the reworked material that appeared on Peter Gabriel's soundtrack for the 1984 film 'Birdy'. The metallic 'Oceanside Exterior' with its coastal ambience and 'Au Revoir Au Reve' are sympathetic to one another and induce dreamlike neural sensations. 'Flashback' is like a narcotic with it's looping phantom rhythm, mellotron backdrop and quixotic guitar lines. 'Lower' gets very metaphysical and conveys nothingness. With no beginning or end it just wallows on in lethargic fashion as it cross fades out into human crowd chatter that makes it even more claustrophobic. The most interesting piece for me was 'No Narration Needed'. The piece opens with a lonely introductory melody that is abandoned for a picturesque ceremony in an ethereal garden with exotic lizards perched on rocks and foliage. A Greek bouzouki entertains and is joined by an acoustic guitar. My only qualm: too short. The capstone of this mind meld, 'The Denouement Device', features bass player Henry J. Osborne's melodious bass lines. It sculpts and intensifies, blending multiple melodies using all sorts of keyboard wizardry and electric guitars and is by far the most complex piece on the whole album. At times it reminds me distantly of 'Entangled' from the 1976 Genesis Trick Of The Tail album possibly revealing early musical roots..

I wouldn't say that listening to Sonic Celluloid was like watching a collection of short films in my head Admittedly it's a pretty far out concept and must be approached with a problematic mindset Largely produced under the direction of mastermind Gayle Ellett with contributions of varying degrees from the other members, to those not acquainted with the Djam Karet method Sonic Celluloid will tend to sound disjointed at times. Even I found myself saying, 'why the freak did you have to stop there? I was just getting into it', on more than one occasion. Nonetheless the knowing ones such as myself will revel in this Jewel. Djam Karet madness all the way! It also seems that they are on some sort of fantastic crusade to out-engineer/produce each previous album. The production here is simply exquisite and Sonic Celluloid is definitely one to lose your mind with with the headphones cranked to infinity!

 Swamp Of Dreams by DJAM KARET album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2015
4.58 | 8 ratings

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Swamp Of Dreams
Djam Karet Eclectic Prog

Review by Kepler62

5 stars This is music only the abstracted brilliance of Djam Karet could give birth to. The greatest band that nobody has ever heard of ! Swamp of Dreams contains 6 titles have been dredged up and reworked from various one off contributions that appeared on anthologies and benevolent albums between 1990 & 2006. They have been cleverly presented in reverse chronological order which is a real treat for hard core followers like myself. Dark, vaporous and menacing sequenced rhythmical effects drive each piece with boundless intensity. A multitude of styles and devices are employed and melded together into something that has some semblance of congruity and it is hard to believe that they were all conceived over a 16 year time span. The whole album is characterized by flawless production, superb musicianship and technical prowess.

The opening track, Voodoo Chases The Muse is anchored by a pulsating, regurgitating synth template. A groovy psychedelic guitar riff plays on as if the wah wah pedal was just discovered. Jimi Hendrix meets Tangerine Dream. It then reinvents itself into something more frightening and conflagrated in some bizarre time signature that only aliens can figure out with Moogs and Fender Rhodes going maniac. The Shattering Sky appeared in original form on a humanitarian CD to raise money for victims of Hurricaine Katrina which devastated New Orleans back in the summer of 2005. The sky actually sounds like it's going to fall at the onset as the piece proceeds to work itself into a furious rage with frantic jazz bass and thundering synth barrages and fuzz guitar getting into a real cool groove that unfortunately ends too soon.. I actually googled the meaning of the title of the third track, Pentimento, and came up with two different results and tried to associate them with this psychotic piece. It commences with phantasmagoric spacey atmospheres and then transmogrifies into a manic guitar inferno with globs of plodding tonal wreckage. New Light On The Dark Age and the title track are more coherent and fluid pieces and for the most part are free of all the sonic havoc that has to be dealt with on the other pieces. Inventions of the Monsters is my favourite track. An alternate auditory interpretation of creation possibly influenced by Dali's surreal painting from the 1930's. Grotesque cat, dog and horse sounds can be heard amidst shifting sound walls and spooky tubular bell-like progressions. The whole thing seems to be gradually closing in on the listener in slow motion. Far out terrifying stuff.

I'm unaware of how the pieces that constitute Swamp of Dreams sounded in their initial forms but what has been done here is simply eye watering. A must listen for anyone who wants to grow up to be a synthesizer. Five outa this world stars.

 Still No Commercial Potential by DJAM KARET album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.65 | 23 ratings

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Still No Commercial Potential
Djam Karet Eclectic Prog

Review by PlacesofLight405

4 stars This music is all improvised! Unbelievable combination of dreamy, trippy sounds alternating with prominent guitar and drums. The title is great, the musicianship superb, the sound and mood is lovingly organic, and the creativity within this framework flows like fine aged wine. Fill in any positive adjective you want and it will apply somewhere. If you're not riding the groove after the opening "No Vacancy at the Hotel of Noise" have someone check you for a pulse. This will likely appeal to a myriad of prog fans!

A perfect balance of space and power, which is the bands trademark. There are many Djam Karet CD's out there worth your time and attention, starting with this one.

 Swamp Of Dreams by DJAM KARET album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2015
4.58 | 8 ratings

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Swamp Of Dreams
Djam Karet Eclectic Prog

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

4 stars For over thirty years now, Californian band Djam Karet have been offering an eclectic variety of instrumental prog rock, covering every style from psychedelic, electronic, ambient, space music and even blues, frequently in the form of completely improvised jamming performances. With a string of superb releases in their back catalogue, and their two most recent works (the spacerock/electronic-infused `The Trip' and the retro flavours of `Regenerator 3017') being especially wonderful, the group have decided to release a vinyl-length stop-gap compilation, `Swamp of Dreams', bringing together assorted rarer stand-alone pieces taken from a range of unrelated compilations spanning the years 1990 to 2006.

`Voodoo Chases The Muse' opens the disc with gutsy slow-burn bluesy snaking electric guitar over liquefied Ozric Tentacles-like gurgling synths, with playful jazzy licks and funky bass sauntering throughout. `The Shattering Sky' presents atmospheric Tangerine Dream-like electronic ticking ambience and droning King Crimson-flecked guitar notes behind brooding heavy Mellotron choirs and bass purring wickedly along the backdrop, but the abrupt quickie fade-out that comes out of nowhere mid-guitar solo is heartbreaking!

Electronic washes and calming acoustic guitar ruminations blend with tribal percussion and a heavy beat that builds in urgency throughout `Pentimento' as strangled Crimson-esque guitar distortion grinds away, and the twitching electronic violations and ebbing/humming drifts in the manner of the early Klaus Schulze works of `New Light on the Dark Age' twist together with tribal- like beats, mangled guitar and an addictive repeated whirring synth theme.

The haunting and dream-like `Inventions of the Monsters' is a crystalline drone that is both ethereal and eerie, and oddly, with its pristine icy synths, buoyant bass and up-tempo drive, the heroic and symphonic title-track closer `Swamp of Dreams' quickly reminds of the Neo Prog bands and could have easily come off almost any early IQ album!

Despite all the scattered tracks originating from over a sixteen-year period, there's still a strong flow that ensures the 44 minute CD works perfectly as a stand-alone album, and while the above mentioned `The Trip' and `Regenerator 3017' stand taller in their discography, `Swamp of Dreams' is simply a great collection of cool instrumental pieces with great playing from a talented group! An easy high recommendation for instrumental prog lovers, let's hope for a second volume of these sort of collected pieces from Djam Karet in the near future!

Four stars.

 Swamp Of Dreams by DJAM KARET album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2015
4.58 | 8 ratings

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Swamp Of Dreams
Djam Karet Eclectic Prog

Review by Slartibartfast
Prog Reviewer

5 stars An excellent compilation of compilations.

All the assembled tracks, recorded from 2006 back to 1990, are arranged in reverse chronological order and nicely work together to feel like an original album.

One of the songs was actually from a compilation that I already had - Dali: The Endless Enigma. Every artist did a musical impression of a painting. They picked Inventions Of The Monsters. I liked it and all the other musician's aural paintings. Djam Karet were unknowns to me then later I encountered A Night For Baku and instantly became a die hard fan. But for those who are familiar with Dali paintings, some are small yet complex. DK takes you along on a on a journey through the painting. The rest of the tracks are also as inspired...

It may just my imagination but hearing their impression of Monsters in FLAC format and pulling up an image of the painting on screen has intensified the experience for me. I would highly recommend listening to this album in that format, though in CD and even in my standard more portable format, WMA, it's not too shabby.

Since I don't have any of the other compilation albums that they have been on I have no other tracks I can compare to Gayle Ellett's remastering enhancements to the prior versions, but Inventions Of The Monsters is certainly improved.

4.5 and rounding up as this is certainly an album that will stand the test of time.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to E&O Team for the last updates

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