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The Mercury Tree - Spidermilk CD (album) cover


The Mercury Tree


Heavy Prog

3.61 | 53 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

1 stars It is rare for me to venture as far as writing a review on this site, so I guess it shows just how much this album pissed me off. As much as I appreciate Mercury tree's innovation and good intentions (I really do!), for me the end result is practically unlistenable.

Before anyone would want to throw rocks at me, I want to start this review by saying: I obviously AM aware that this album was written using a 17-note microtonal scale and I am not opposed to jazzy progtunes such as Seven impale, King crimson, as well as some of the other Mercury tree albums. So even though I must admit that I had some doubts when sitting down to have my first go at this album, I did still want to believe that I will be the right audience for this wicked idea and tried to keep an open mind.

Unfortunately the first listening proved me wrong right off the bat, as simply speaking I could not even finish it. I did get further into the album with the second and third listens, however it did not change either my rating or my opinion that it is a flawed idea to build a whole album on the concept of a 17-note scale. In my view there is a REASON why an octave is split in 12 equally-spaced notes. It sounds right, it sounds more natural, the human ear is much more used to it. I really appreciate the idea of a few musicians going against this flow though (gosh, how difficult it must have been to learn such cord progressions!), however listening to the end result feels more like buying a beautiful car without wheels. I can go out to the garage every once in a while to rest my eyes on its beauty, however a car is for driving, so if I cannot do that then why buy one?! In other words, Spidermilk is great musicianship and excellent talent mixed with innovation, yet many "traditional" proglovers will consider it to be more like a fail, a musical experiment gone wrong, because for them it will just sound dissonant noise that hurts the human ear when taken in big doses. So unless you are seriously into avantgarde / progressive jazz and have a stomach for weird stuff, you may find it very difficult to get a grasp on Spidermilk and find ANY melodies to hook on to in this serious amount of chaos rambling straight on for 50 minutes. Two more things to add would be that the drummer at least is trying to save what he can (luckily there are no scales for him to follow), but what the singer does (singing using a 12-note-scale for 17-scale-songs) again achieves the opposite for me. If it did not sound dissonant enough by then, this throws me off even more.

Maybe if I had not listened to so much "traditional" prog before my ears would not bum so hard now? Maybe that is true. And so kudos to everyone who gave this a five-star-rating. I understand why and I really envy you guys. Yet I am landing firm on a 2-star-rating for the first time on this site.

Porcupineapple | 1/5 |


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