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Explorers Club - Raising the Mammoth CD (album) cover


Explorers Club


Heavy Prog

3.34 | 65 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
3 stars A Prog-mammoth

Explores Club is obviously a project strongly inspired by the classic Prog bands of the 70's. But they are not only inspired by these 'Prog-mammoths', they include some of them within their ranks. On the first Explorers Club album, Age Of Impact, we could hear Steve Howe and on this second album we can hear Steve Walsh and Kerry Livgren from Kansas. The presence of these two gentlemen together with the fact that I very much liked Age Of Impact made me very interested in Raising The Mammoth. While I think that it is not up to par with the first, I was not disappointed by this album.

Steve Walsh sings lead on major parts of the album and he is in good form here. Other parts are handled by James LaBrie and some by project leader and producer Trent Gardner himself. Like on Age Of Impact we also hear contributions from some other members of Dream Theater (but not John Petrucci this time). Guitar duties are taken over by Marty Friedman which is not a bad replacement. Still, Raising The Mammoth is a bit more keyboard oriented compared to Age Of Impact. Terry Bozzio of UK fame (among other bands) is also once again aboard. The presence of Prog legends like Bozzio, Livgren and Walsh really lends this project some classic credibility that often lacking in most new Prog bands.

Explorers Club manages to create something interesting of their own; heavily informed by the classics, and sometimes by them, but not copying them. So while Explorers Club clearly belongs to a genre and a tradition, I do not find them derivative. At least not in the blatant sense of so many Neo-Prog and Prog Metal bands trying to sound exactly like their older heroes without having the direct relation to them like in Explorer's Club.

There is a slight Metal sound and feeling on several passages but much less so than in Dream Theater, for example. As I said, Raising The Mammoth is slightly more keyboard dominated reminding of Emerson Lake & Palmer. But there is even a slight New Age/World Music influence in this music but not as much as on Age Of Impact.

The album is divided into two main parts called Raising The Mammoth 1 and Raising The Mammoth 2 (AKA Prog-O-Matic) Gigantipithicus. Raising The Mammoth 1 is in turn divided into three parts. Somewhat confusingly the tracks on the CD do not follow this division, however. The albums having as many as 44 tracks! This makes it the case that hearing this album is mp3 format becomes tedious with a slight glitch between every track. You therefore really need the CD. Might this be the motivation behind having so many tracks?

Raising The Mammoth 1 very good and is up to par with the material on Age Of Impact. Raising The Mammoth 2 (AKA Prog-O-Matic) Gigantipithicus, however, does not only have a very silly title but it is a 28 minute long instrumental that I feel lacks any clear direction. It is not awful by any means but it is not very memorable. This brings this album down a bit.

Still, this is recommended for those who liked Age Of Impact and for those who follow the careers of the individual musicians involved. For the average Prog fan, however, this is a good, but non-essential album.

SouthSideoftheSky | 3/5 |


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