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Sleepytime Gorilla Museum - In Glorious Times CD (album) cover


Sleepytime Gorilla Museum



3.92 | 137 ratings

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5 stars Sleepytime Gorilla Museum is the offspring of "Idiot Flesh", a band that was delightfully crazy and totally out there. SGM rose from the ashes of Idiot Flesh and pretty much continued where that band left off, progressing and getting better and better. Yes, there is still that insanity that runs rampart through the songs, but the music has become increasingly smart and amazing. The sad thing is, that SGM only produced 3 studio albums, again each one excellent, but each one progressing the sound further. The band, for some reason just wasn't embraced as they should have been.

So, by the time you get to this album, if things were always progressing, then you would assume this must be their best right? Yes, I do believe it is. Everything SGM has produced has been challenging, yet brilliant, yet somehow they just kept outdoing themselves. However, the appreciation for the genius of this album seems to not be apparent among most listeners at first, and such was the case with me. Now, however, I sit down and listen to this work of advanced craziness and I have come to the conclusion that their swan song was their best. It's a shame that the band couldn't have been appreciated by those that should understand their music, the lovers of prog rock, specifically RIO and/or Avant-garde metal progressive. Now, calling this band metal progressive is going to throw prejudice on their music because too many proggers will be turned off thinking this is metal. But let me assure you, this is not metal that your burned out brothers listened to. This, like I said before, is genius, and the sound, even though it leans to the loud and noisy side of things, it is still so varied and dynamic unlike anything else in metal. In a previous review, I said that SGM is probably more like some of Mike Patton's crazier side projects, and that is really the closest you can come to comparing the overall sound. But, believe it or not, all craziness and chaos aside, this music is so much more mature in it's uses of musical theory, dissonance, dynamics and overall composition. Each song is so much better developed too.

The album starts out with a prog epic called "The Companions" which is excellent musical drama that lasts over 10 minutes. This is a well developed endeavor and starts things off quite impressively. The band utilizes an evil thread throughout their music, in the same way that many other avant garde prog bands do, but SGM uses extremes so much better than a lot of other bands. Next is the black metal satirical song "Headless Corpse Enactment" which utilizes lyrics from James Joyce's "Finnegan's Wake", however, the words still sound like they could have been written by a black metal band, and the growling vocals back that up. The difference here is that the instrumentals are very complex, yet they are still heavy and pounding. "Puppet Show" however, takes us off in a different direction and actually approaches the Idiot Flesh sound more than anything else on the album, but, again, much more mature.

"Formicary" is a wild ride of vocals from Dan and Carla with the oddest of harmonies. The accompanying instrumentals make this track sound like someone took early Kansas and Tool, but them in a bowl, took a potato masher and mashed it all together. Carla's violin is as heavy and crazy as the guitars and percussion, and fits so well in the music. Without her violin, this band wouldn't be the same. At times, it is the heart, even though it is not always as pronounced as one would expect, it adds dimension to what would otherwise be a lot of crashing guitars, complex rhythms and wild ass percussion, not that that is a bad thing, but the strings are what give the music and individual tracks the character that is needed. And don't worry, the violin is just as crazy as everything else. You will also notice that the almost funky sound of the guitars in this track is very reminiscent of King Crimson's "Thrak" and would represent the sound that would have been produced if Robert Fripp had decided to take that sound another step further, which Fripp did, but while his step was in the "improv" direction, SGM take it in the "even more chaotic" direction.

The album continues to excite and entertain, as in the amazing track "Angle of Repose" which starts off with Carla sounding like Bjork in a band without so many keyboards and then just goes off in it's own direction. Anyway, I think this will give you a good example of what to expect here. The tracks continue to be challenging, to say the least, and the sound on this album at first seems more inaccessible than they others (not that they are always that accessible anyway) and it does have a thicker sound, but it is all done so well.

Again, it's such a shame that the band had to pull the plug after 3 albums. There was so much talent and songwriting genius here, that too often the music went way over the listeners heads. Possibly too loud for a lot of prog lovers, but way, way too complex for most metal heads, you just have to give this music time, but if you are someone who appreciates complex music, then you will get it. At first listen, I would have given this only 4 stars, but now that I have heard it several times, and each time I grasp something else amazing about the music, and I find myself loving more each time I hear it, I have advanced this to masterpiece status. Some may think that is extreme, but for avant-metal-prog, this is some of the best. Easily 5 stars and this is how it should have been done.

TCat | 5/5 |


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