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Gong - Rejoice! I'm Dead CD (album) cover




Canterbury Scene

3.92 | 187 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars With the onset of their new release ?The Universe Also Collapses" (awaiting eagerly to listen to it) I'd like to return to their previous album, which in my opinion deserves more attention here at PA. Since passing of Daevid Allen, the remaining members of the band took - with Allen's own blessings - the Gong's music further on.

Led now by immensely talented British-Iranian guitarist/vocalist Kavus Torabi, the band consists only of musicians involved in recent incarnation of Gong (accompanying Allen on his last album, 2014's "I See You") . The five musicians have found a new ground how to spread the wings to show their real potential. Far away from being just a supporting band, this is a tremendous effort full of great chemistry, interaction and inspiration.

Musically, "Rejoice I am Dead" offers a wide spectrum of moods with vintage atmosphere yet futuristic expressions. Album doesn't provide an instant gratification - it needs to be revealed by repeated listening. Still, at places it sticks very quickly in the head and desire for repetition comes naturally with further curiosity. There is quite strong old-school Canterbury vibe combined with jazz/fusion drive. Music is ranging from furious to dreamy with nearly-stoner passages. Ethereal, masterful glissandos of Fabio Golfetti (known from a Brazillian space-prog outfit Violeta de Outono) are contrasting with heavier, complex yet infectious Torabi's guitar parts.

Cheb Nettles and Dave Sturt form powerful and intricate rhythm section and Ian East's woodwinds intertwined in the structures are perfectly counterpointing the other instruments. The album is full of energy, dynamics, dazzling extensive build-ups and excellent pace without dull or too self-indulgent moments. "The Unspeakable Stands Revealed" is apparently a magnum opus here. Torabi's influence is dominant but apparently not as obvious as in his other band, Knifeworld. There is definitely a collaborative essence into it. Sturt is a main co-writer, with his own haunting piece "Model Village" - only song where lead vocals are traded to Golfetti. Even Steve Hillage makes cameo performance - extended trademark solo. And finally, there is Daevid Allen. Apart from his presence in spoken parts, it's his "spirit" that obviously drives the album very much. Let's also not forget his songwriting credits on couple of tracks.

Separate mention goes to lyrics. From highly abstract metaphors to the critique and analysis of today's system and direction of humanity - or rather dehumanization. Notions of "capitalism autopsy" or lines such as "Reflections that reveal the mystery further, Serve only to reflect the thing itself.." echoing profound philosophers such as Marx or Hegel.

Gong is one of the rare examples, when the band naturally transformed into larger-than-life entity. They can continue, evolve naturally with new generation of musicians, without losing its fundament, reason for the existence. The powerful combination of music and lyrics make this album truly a piece of art. It is a bit insane mix - thought-provoking, almost frightening and coldly realistic yet metaphysical, satirical, cynical, light-hearted and amusing.

Although it is hard, in a way, to draw direct comparisons, I consider "Rejoice I am Dead" as their most complete, balanced yet and thus also one of the best things ever made under Gong's name, alongside with "Radio Gnome Invisible: Angel's Egg".

stewe | 5/5 |


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