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Camel - Moonmadness CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.38 | 2232 ratings

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Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Moonmadness is a tough one for me. On one hand, the dreamy and pastoral symphonic vibe feels prosaic and at times even bland; on the other, the band blends in moments of upbeat energy and lush beauty. It's a mixed bag, which I don't feel deserves the 50+% 5-star rating it has here on the Archives. As of this writing, I've listened to the record 20 times, and am still wondering where the "masterpiece" label is coming from. With that being said, Moonmadness is still quite good. Let's dig in.

Overall this album blends approachable symphonic prog with a delightful rock energy. At it's heaviest, Camel is still somewhat wimpy rock, but that's not a problem here. For Moonmadness, it's all about the vibe, which is quite enjoyable. We're given mostly instrumental works with good variety. If you like dreamy flutes and lush keyboards--you're covered. If you like excellent instrumental chops and a jazzy undertone--you're good. If you like the occasional up-swell of guitar rockin'--don't fret. Basically, this album has something for everyone ... with one notable exception: the vocals. Ferguson's vocals here are not good. They sound processed and pushed into the background, maybe in an attempt to mask their unenergetic feel. Lyrically what few moments of singing are fine, sort of simple but evocative. Bottom-line here is that you won't be touched or inspired by vocals, but by the atmosphere.

Musically the songs are deft and played quite well. Keyboard standouts by Bardens deserve attention, while the rhythm section of Freguson and Ward sound great. Camel's instrumental proficiency really can't be balked, which is maybe what pushes this album into 4-star territory for me. It's hard to pick a standout, because the songs flow nicely and each have a lot of twists and turns packed into each.

If you're in the mood for thoughtful, meditative prog-rock that sort of unfolds as you listen Moonmadness is right up your alley. It's not a masterpiece in my opinion, and may leave some listeners feeling like they just took a dose of ambien, but most fans of classic prog will be ready for another hit.

Songwriting: 4 - Instrumental Performances: 4 - Lyrics/Vocals: 2 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 3

Prog Leviathan | 4/5 |


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