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The Sound of Animals Fighting - Tiger and the Duke CD (album) cover


The Sound of Animals Fighting


Heavy Prog

3.93 | 17 ratings

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4 stars "The Sound of Animals Fighting" was a prog rock supergroup that existed between 2004 and 2008. During this time, they released 3 full length albums and performed live 4 times. The live line-up consisted of 12 members who performed while wearing masks of animals. The group was founded by Rich Balling of "Rx Bandits" and several of the members were also from that group. Also involved were Anthony Green of "Circa Survive", Craig Owens of "Chiodos", Matt Embree of "Rx Bandits", Chris Tsagakis also of "Rx Bandits" and "Technology", and Bradley Bell of "Chiodos" among others.

Their first album was called "Tiger and the Duke" which had a total of 15 performers involved in the recording of the album. Of those 15, five of them provided vocal parts. The album is based on a story, or concept, of a captain of a ship and the title character Duke. The ship is full of crazy animals that make a ruckus as the cargo of the ship. The Captain jumps off the ship when he discovers his sons have started a mutiny. There are two versions of this album, the original which is the track listing above, and a reissue from 2007, where the tracks are remixed and with different interludes, and there are also remixes of 8 tracks from their 2nd album done by artists like "Portugal. The Man" and "Technology". This review will be of the original album.

"Overture" is an eerie beginning with mysterious sounding effects and a drone. "Act I: Chasing Suns" begins with a heavy and fast beginning and screaming vocals. After a short section, things calm and then turn chaotic again with a complex guitar section and then several of the singers singing parts at the same time, probably as characters in the story. There are screaming vocals and normal vocals at the same time. Someone said this album sounds like "The Mars Volta" except more unrestrained. Yeah that really sums it up. The music is complex and extremely progressive, complex and loud. But it is all very well performed just like TMV.

"Interlude" comes next. This is a bit saner, with repeating tonal percussion patterns and great instrumental effects. "Act II: All is Ash or the Light Shining Through It" follows with a progressive Ska style, if you can imagine that. The beat levels out a bit as vocalists sings their parts in a less chaotic way than in Act I, but in a tricky and fairly fast rhythm, with that ska influence also apparent. That Post Punk feel is quite apparent with the odd time signatures and sounds mixing with more standard beats.

The 2nd "Interlude" uses a backwards loop against a forward feeling electronic beat for a nice psychedelic effect. "Act III: Modulate Back to the Tonic" starts with what seems like a harmless beat, but then a spoken word vocal and singing vocal go on at the same time. Suddenly the drums go crazy and the schizophrenic feel of the track becomes more intense. The track goes through several meter and mood changes throughout, sometimes sounding like two songs are playing at the same time in some parts.

The 3rd "Interlude" consists of electronic tones and sounds that seem to be sent through a speed processor as bent sounds and off-tone harmonies permeate the track. "Act IV: You Don't Need a Witness" returns to that wall of sound style from the first act and even rehashes some of the themes from the album. Things calm a bit when the vocals start. But don't expect any style to go on for to long as this track continually changes styles, things can be sane and then suddenly wild and chaotic, but the musicianship is always top notch with a lot of progressiveness throughout. The track ends with electronic effects. "Postlude" ends the album with 6 minutes of electronic experimentation and atmospheric sounds.

The album is a short 34 minutes and, even though the musicianship is top rate, its probably not the best one out of the trilogy to get. It's still good, but not as great as "The Ocean and the Sun", which is their last album to date. The music is quirky and chaotic, and if you don't like The Mars Volta at their most chaotic, then you will not like this, but the other side of the coin holds true also. TMV lovers will love this. But be warned that it is short, but there is a lot of music packed in that half hour of play time. I would like to hear the reissue to see if it is better, and also know that it is quite a bit longer. Anyway, if you love your prog heavy and chaotic, then this is for you.

TCat | 4/5 |


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