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Colin Masson - The Mad Monk And The Mountain CD (album) cover


Colin Masson


Crossover Prog

3.98 | 61 ratings

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Andy Webb
Special Collaborator
Retired Admin
4 stars Vocal Oldfield -- and great stuff too

Colin Masson is the guitarist for the prog-folk band The Morrigan. He took his style and influence with that band to his own solo project, and his most recent album, The Mad Monk and the Mountain, has that same folky feel with a fantastic spice of atmospheric and sweeping grandeur. With obvious heavy influence from Mike Oldfield, Masson is able to fuse a delicious blend of his own folk background with a more rocking feel. Overall, the album is great, with some beautiful melodies and guitar work accenting the overall atmosphere and ambient sampling and keyboards added in. Each of the 6 tracks of quite lengthy, which keeps me happy, not only because of my affection for long songs but also because each track has been filled with numerous trinkets and themes to please just about any prog lover. From rocking guitar lines to dramatic and mellow vocal passages, the whole album is a blast and a really unprecedented underground gem.

The album is a concept album, which is made obvious by the story-like introduction 'Two Lighthouse,' about isolation. The music is quite descriptive of such a bleak theme, with minimalist atmospheres gracing folky and often rather melancholy harmonies and melodies. The compositions have no shortage of might, soaring into the upper echelons of sound with sublime harmonies between the powerful yet extremely serene vocal harmonies and the mellow atmospheres backing them. The quiet music is extremely sobering; although the music does not have the punch a heavy metal song might have, the atmospheres crafted by this musical master are no doubt powerful. He has, effortlessly, harnessed the true power of music and used it to his ultimate advantage. The diverse nature of many of the tracks keeps the listener tuned in and interested, and overall the entire album is a real blast to listen to. Although some of the keyboard voices may seem a bit 'over-synthesized' and at times extremely new-agey, the music is still superb, giving forth a radiant aura of pure bliss.

The mostly-instrumental album has no shortage of pep either, with Masson at times riffing away and at other plucking away at his guitar in a supreme manner (especially with the impressive finger picking track 'Caradon's Surprise'). All throughout the album you can see he has no shortage of skill behind every instrument he brings to the album. The Oldfield- esque instrumental aura emitted by much of his guitar lines is another great additive to this album, accenting some of the atmospheric sampling fantastically. Overall, this album is a truly great display of such a minimal cast of musicians. Masson and his companion singer Cathy Alexander make up this band, and the two have truly crafted one of the best albums you've never heard. This album truly earns a solid 4 stars.

Andy Webb | 4/5 |


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