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From Monument to Masses - The Impossible Leap in One Hundred Simple Steps CD (album) cover


From Monument to Masses


Post Rock/Math rock

3.15 | 6 ratings

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RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
4 stars After having loved "On Little Known Frequency" I've found an used copied of this "Impossible Leap". Their personal style shows to be already a band's trademark even with the screamed vocals (not growl, just scream) which almost disapeeared in the two further studio releases to be replaced by speeches. Speech is in any case already present with the strong political contents narrated over a post-rock base with some little hints of Grunge here and there.

Nothing to do with Seattle, their post-rock reminds me, as well as their other albums, to a band that I quite loved in the 80s: the "Felt", at least in the most relaxed and acoustic parts.

"Shapeshooter" is an "unstructured" track, in the sense that it doesn't follow the usual song structure but it's neither a suite or a patchwork of different things as sometimes happens in prog. There's not much "circularity" but the various different pieces are a natural progression. There are no detached moments or fillers or interludes. This is a track which starts in a way and end in a different one.

"From the Mountains to the Prairies" is unstructured as well, but on this track I perceive the "patchwork" effect as the transitions are not very smooth. One remarkable thing is how musically skilled the trio is. Pay attention to the funky-like bass line. The third section of this track, the slow one with a nice guitar harping, releaxed drums and a good bass work fits very well with the speeches and after the words, I still think to "Red Indians" by Felt. The two tracks are very different, it's the mood which is similar. Relistening better, the only rude transition is the first, that makes it effectively more similar in the "unstructure" to the opener.

The short "Quiet Before" could have been joined to the previous track as it fades into this one. The eight guitar chords on which it's based are hypnotic, while the bass changes them into different chords (minors, sevenths and so on) and the drums overcome in the final part leading it to the end fading into "Spice Must Flow". A bluesy track in major chords on which the speech fits very well. The lazy rhythm is transformed by the odd signature brought in by the bass and later by the drum accents. It becomes darker in the second half when even some growl, or better, hard scream appears. Then a repetitive guitar riff is brought into chaos by a drum crescendo. I think it's the best album's track (but it's mainly because I like dark things).

"Comrades And Friends" is driven by a repetitive guitar sequence and a lazy rhythm. A very relaxing song.

On "Old Robes" we can see all the power of a trio. The guitar playing a repetitive part which acts both as main theme and rhythmic base, but without subtracting anything from the bass and drums duties. As in the other tracks the speeches fit very well with the slow parts, like the music is put a little in the background to give room and relevance to the speech, then when it's finished a more intense and rhythmated part arrives. In particular, the way guitar is played in this section makes me think to early Wishbone Ash. There's a similar playing on Pilgrimage even though I don't remember exactly on which track (or may it be on Argus?). There's more circularity on this track to demonstrate that when FMTM want to make something structured, they are able to. It has impressed me the fact that when the keyboard enters the bass is not playing. It means that there's no overdubbing and everything is "really" played. It also mean that the band can perform on live with the same quality of the studio versions without the need of additional players on stage.

There's no transition from that to the closer "To Z". On this track there's a bit of electronic drums, in the beginning, while the bass has I think a bit of chorus. This is the track on which more room is given to bass, however the ensemble works very well and all the things are well integrated.So it's not a trio like Emerson Lake and Power, which sometimes was a keyboard player and two guest (even if great) musicians.

As Overall, this album is as good as their last and the rating I give to it is the same as that.

octopus-4 | 4/5 |


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