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Beardfish - Mammoth CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

3.94 | 657 ratings

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Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
3 stars 'Mammoth' - Beardfish (6/10)

While I gather that this will be an instant love for many of the fans that have been waiting to hear what Swedish prog rockers Beardfish next have in store, the band's sixth album 'Mammoth' feels a bit undeserving of its title. Although having quite enjoyed what I had heard from the band prior to this, I would not consider myself any such avid fan of the band's work, instead preferring to tread where their best work lies; being their peak double-work 'Sleeping In Traffic'. While 'Mammoth' again engages the listener in an impressive mix of vintage progressive hard rock and keen musicianship, the album lacks both the magic and edge of their greater works, resulting in something that retraces steps already taken, with the same skill but much less conviction.

Perhaps it is Beardfish getting a bit too polished for their own good, but I no longer hear the edge or grit that one could hear in the hard rock band's more successful material. While the band seems very content to use vintage equipment in their music, the production (and even some aspects of the performance) are too neatly refined to mesh well with it. Chief among these performance issues are the vocals of Rikard, who is still a great vocalist with a warm voice, but many of his cleaner parts feel as if they are far too concerned with hitting the right notes at the best possible pitches, as opposed to letting the raw emotion get through.

Although not a new issue to the band's sound (and- on that note- likely not a problem to begin with among many fans) is the fact that the band typically rests on the sound of 1970's hard rock, while tending to offer little fresh or modern to the sound. That being said, Beardfish works with this style remarkably well, and with such fifteen minute pieces as 'And The Stone Said' to boast here, parts of 'Mammoth' should do the retro-prog scene proud. Quite a few of the songs here feel a tad too derivative from their sources, although the best material on the album is quite fantastic. The piano piece 'Outside/Inside' (which seems to act as an intermission between heavier rock numbers) is an absolutely beautiful respite from the heavier songs. Then there is the instrumental 'Akakabotu', which stands as being overtly retro in nature, but throws in some charming saxophone parts and melodies to make it stand out from the rest. Then- of course- there is the fifteen minute cornerstone of 'Mammoth', 'And The Stone Said: If I Could Speak', which opens and closes with a powerful melodic lead reminiscent of Santana, before breaking into some great Hammond organ work.

Suffice to say, 'Mammoth' is indeed, a mixed bag of the great, the decent, and the mediocre. As talented a band as any other, Beardfish does the retrogressive hard rock very well, but if this album is any clue, they need to rekindle some of their organic quality they had with 'Sleeping In Traffic' to get back on par.

Conor Fynes | 3/5 |


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