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Beardfish - Mammoth CD (album) cover

MAMMOTH

Beardfish

 

Eclectic Prog

3.96 | 646 ratings

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A Crimson Mellotron
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Beardfish released their sixth studio album 'Mammoth' in 2011, with the classic line-up of the band in line; a really solid album but a bit too safe, making it probably the last Beardfish album having this very common and recognizable for them classic prog edge, while remaining Beardfsh-y in every sense of the word.

Not only this, but they decided to make it slightly 'shorter', if any of their albums could be described as short, clocking in at around 52 minutes. For this playtime, the listener gets 7 songs (practically six and one tiny instrumental interlude), some full of epic and grandiose sounds, great riffs, and playful tones, and some very forgettable ones that could have been dropped out? in my humble opinion.

A 'mysterious mood' levitates around this recording, giving an enticing aura that unfortunately is unable to save the poorer compositions from falling into the 'I could skip this next time' category. As usual, for better or for worse, this is an album that can be referred to as 'classic Beardfish', with the playful and adventurous instrumental sections, the melodic and sometimes peculiar phrasing of mastermind and vocalist Rikard Sj÷blom, the jaw-dropping rhythm sections, and some very 70s-reminiscent arrangements.

The album kicks off with the mighty 'The Platform', a powerful heavier track, probably hinting at what sound the band was slowly gravitating towards (and fully embracing from their next album on). This transitions into the 15-minute epic 'And the Stone Said: "If I Could Speak", certainly one of the stronger epics, containing some of the band's most intriguing moments. The comes 'Tightrope', a really weird song from the point of view of its structure, and this seems to be the weakness of 'Mammoth' - it is very ambitious and artsy, the playing is gorgeous but the songwriting is really weak on some of the songs, and I cannot help but think that there are moments of unnecessary noodling.

'Green Waves' is another great song in the spirit of 'The Platform' but it lacks the adventurous nature of the latter, in a way. 'Outside/Inside' is a nearly two-minute interlude-like piece, leading to the instrumental 'Akakabotu', a very jazzy and playful number that could be easily mistaken for something made by a Canterbury Scene band; a guest saxophonist delivers some very mean playing that overall gives the album an originality that cannot remain unappreciated. Finally, 'Without Saying Anything' is certainly the song that I would have left out, I cannot enjoy it as much as the rest of the record, it is too messy.

On 'Mammoth' Beardfish present some fresh ideas, giving once again their own spin of the classic progressive rock sensibility to songwriting and composing music, but also deliver some of their more unimpressive moments on 'Tightrope' and 'Without Saying Anything'. A well-played album but not necessarily well-written, the band obviously has stronger material. But it has weaker, too.

A Crimson Mellotron | 3/5 |

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