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Arzachel - Arzachel  CD (album) cover

ARZACHEL

Arzachel

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.64 | 178 ratings

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NetsNJFan
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Next too Pink Floyd's "Piper at the Gates of Dawn" and the omnipresent "Sergeant Pepper", this lone album by Arzachel is one of the best psychedelic albums ever. Arzachel (also known as Uriel) is essentially Egg + Steve Hillage. The band recorded this album in one afternoon, making it all the more remarkable. Boasting ethereal organ from Dave Stewart (who has not made a bad album) and the oh-so English vocals of both Mont Campbell and Steve Hillage, this album is a real treat.

It starts off with the short and efficient "Garden of Earthly Delights", a track driven by Stewart's organ and alternating verses sung by Hillage and Campbell. "Garden." is an incredible track that gets things off to an energetic and decidedly English beginning. "Azathoth" brings things down a bit, featuring haunting church organ and distant vocals from Hillage. Moving at a slow, stately pace, one hardly expects the organ-noise, which erupts halfway through before falling back into its hymnal melody. "Queen St. Gang" is an understated instrumental which continues much in the vein of "Azathoth", slowly churning along but progressing beautifully all the while. "Leg" is a bit less successful than the previous three tracks, delving into blues and away from the delicious psychedelia. It reminds me of Jethro Tull circa 1968-69 with organ instead of guitar. The album concludes with too long jams, "Clean Innocent Fun" which is pretty good, though derivative. The second jam, the sixteen minute monster, "Metempsychosis" is better than any 60's Pink Floyd instrumental in terms of madness. It slowly moves along, gaining momentum, and Hillage and Stewart in tandem are both ugly and hypnotic in this piece. It finally concludes with some distorted organ. Apparently the band watched the clock during the whole jam and only played until they had an album filled. The song is incredible however, but takes a few listens. True, experimental psychedelia at its most acid laced.

Overall, and excellent and energetic record. It shows just how talented these young kids were at the time, barely out of high school. Dave Stewart, obviously, shows the greatest promise here and goes on to become one of progressive rock's most famed musicians. Steve Hillage and the rest aren't slouches though. Highly recommended to fans of Psyche, Space, blues and Canterbury, it hits all of the bases.

4/5 Stars: Excellent, but not essential.

(Note: This album was made under funny pseudonyms, due to contractual reasons with Decca. (Egg had recently signed.) The clever boys use the names of depsied teachers as covers. For example, Dave Stewart becomes "Sam Lee-Uff").

NetsNJFan | 4/5 |

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