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Somnambulist Paranormal Humidor  album cover
3.59 | 36 ratings | 7 reviews | 6% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2001

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. In the Mindwarp Pavillion (8:09)
2. Pathos of Least Resistance (7:37)
3. Destiny, She Said (7:23)
4. Infant (inst.) (1:30)
5. Troy Built Helen (10:10)
6. Died & Gone (6:00)
7. Paranormal Humidor (13:20)

Total Time: 54:09

Line-up / Musicians

- Terry Clouse / bass guitars
- Jody Park / synthesizers, organ, & piano
- Charlie Shelton / electric & acoustic guitars
- Jo Whitaker / drums & percussion
- Peter Cornell / vocals

Releases information

The Laser's Edge

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SOMNAMBULIST Paranormal Humidor ratings distribution

(36 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(6%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(53%)
Good, but non-essential (29%)
Collectors/fans only (12%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

SOMNAMBULIST Paranormal Humidor reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by lor68
3 stars The album of their maturity for this band, characterized by a modern dark mood, enriched with an heavy sound of a dissonant guitar, sometimes reminding me of that one by "Deus Ex Machina", in other circumstances resembling a different style, but anyway closer to such a modern "progressive steel" sound (probably a "3 stars and an half" score is righter for the present work being sometimes a bit boring)... anyway I prefer a diverse orientation, talking about this genre, that is somewhat more "fusionesque" and less "Crimsonian",closer to the stuff by "Gamalon", but it depends on my tastes naturally!! The present work is more personal in comparison to their debut album, beng always harsh, but for sure it's more personal. Nevertheless honestly, by comparing for instance another heavy progressive album of the same period, that is "Conservation of mass" by the Canadian "Hamadryad", I prefer these latter, because the poliphony and dynamics too- contained inside their remarkable debut album- are better performed and arranged in a more clever way...well I don't like to affect your opinion, so you can choose according to your personal tastes!!

Very interesting stuff!!

Review by Dan Bobrowski
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I would really like to give 3.5 stars for this release. It's defintely good, but it's also not for everybody. I bought this without reading any reviews, just a suggestion from an Echolyn fan. I jumped into the disc without preamble, never looking at the liner or knowing what I was getting into. The first thing that grabbed my attention was the singers voice, very much like Chris Cornell of Soundgarden/Audioslave. I wasn't put off by that, rather, a plus. I've always thought CC had the best voice in modern rock. Cruising along I was swept up by the Wakeman-like keyboard work, solid bass (some sweet fretless, BTW) and swirling percussions. The tunes swung back and forth between wonderfully familiar classic prog terrain and bombastic Soundgarden frenzy. Don't get me wrong, THIS IS NOT PROG METAL. They do hint at it here and there, but this a long way away from metal.

I finally had a chance to look at the liner, the photo looked dead on like Chris Cornell. What the? The name below the photo read Peter Cornell. Wow, I didn't know he had a brother. Interesting. But really, that's not even the facinatiing part of the drama. It's the music. A clash of genres, yes, but more than that. This album was produced by Fred Schendel and Steve Babb, best known as the creativity behind Glass Hammer. I have a bit of Glass Hammer, but this would never be confused as a spin off. This is new, a fresh face on the world of progressive rock. I will be the first to admit, however, that many of the "classic prog" aficionados may cringe at the metal moments or Peter Cornell's occassional growling rage against the world vocals.

The lyrics are good, not great. Lines like, "It was better when we lived like monkeys" gets a snicker from me, I can't help it, it reminds of the band that had the, "why don't we do it like they do it on the Discovery Channel." I get can't help but find the humor in that.

A short solo acoustic guitar piece, Infant, is a small gem in the midst of all the other mayhem. I can't help but be smitten with these acoustic beauties.

I heard Mr. Cornell has since left the band. It will be interesting to see which direction this band heads, they have an eclectic style, hugely talented musicians and enough creativity to avoid rehashing the glory days of prog. This was good enough to make me curious as to how good their first release is.

I would suggest this disc to those who like their prog a little heavier than classic prog, find prog-metal too over the top, or those who constantly search for something different. It's worth the cost.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars It's quite complex and very entertaining, musically .!

The second effort by Somnambulist "Paranormal Humidor" has demonstrated their steadfast progress in their music direction. Enjoying this album is very entertaining for me because I can have a mix feelings being in modern world but a bit of trip to the past through the sounds of organ and mellotron in the vein of sometimes like King Crimson, sometimes Van der Graff Generator, with some nuance of ELP. Well, actually I can say that Somnambulist has their own music identity which is quite hard to find similarities with other legendary or modern bands. But for sure I like with the facts that their music is tightly composed, complex, and unpredictable with relatively no catchy melody. That's not the case with enjoying the music of Somnambulist. What you need to do is just sit down, relax, enjoy the stream of music Somnambulist (Terry Clouse / bass guitars, Jody Park / synthesizers, organ, & piano, Charlie Shelton / electric & acoustic guitars, Jo Whitaker / drums & percussion, and Peter Cornell / vocals) is playing. You will find how the band brings your mind somewhere with their compositions. Typically, you will find their music has relatively high density but it's quite enjoyable. It's definitely not the kind of music that you can sing along easily like Genesis' "Afterglow" or King Crimson' "Epitaph" as most of the songs featured in this album have practically no catchy melody.

The opening track "In the Mindwarp Pavillion" (8:09) gives you movie theater nuance with some narrative at the opening part followed with complex music that flows like a combination of Van der Graff, England and King Crimson music. "Pathos of Least Resistance" (7:37) starts simple with drum work followed with a music where bass guitar is very dominant augmented with weird keyboard work and vocal line. This song has excellent keyboard solo in the middle. "Destiny, She Said" (7:23) is much accessible and it has slow tempo. "Troy Built Helen" (10:10) starts with nice acapella followed with great music dominated by keyboard in quite strange arrangements, in the vein of King Crimson. It's really a good intro part, especially with the keyboard sounds at the background. "Paranormal Humidor" (13:20) is a very nice song with ambient style at the opening part, original in nature as I have never heard this kind of style. The music moves faster in tempo and in more complex arrangements .. oh this makes me much more attracted with the music - especially the stunning combination of guitar, keyboard and Bill Bruford-like drum work. Excellent!

Overall, this is a truly excellent addition to any progressive music. You must enjoy this album with an open mind to get the full subtleties of the music. Yeah, it's really a progressive music. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The second album from Somnambulist called Paranormal Humidor was released in 2001 which means a new album is long overdue if the band still exists. I really liked their debut album for itīs raw and pretty strange prog rock style. The Style has changed towards the more polished on Paranormal Humidor even though that doesnīt mean Somnambulist has become a straight prog rock band. They still draw influences from many genres which would fit them nicely into the eclectic prog rock catagory.

Somnambulist is at the same time a very modern sounding band and a very traditional seventies inspired prog rock band. There are lots of seventies keyboard sounds on Paranormal Humidor while other parts of the music sounds more modern for example the vocals which tends to have a comtemporary approach. Sometimes Paranormal Humidor reminds me a bit about another american prog rock album namely Cathedralīs The Bridge. But while Cathedral generally sounds a bit more grounded in the seventies Somnambulist is a much more modern band.

The album starts with a blast. Itīs seldom I have heard such a powerful start to an album. Samples of a real tv- preacher ( Maybe Jimmy Swaggert ?)shouting out what will be gone ( the Chevy Chases, Eric Estradas and the weirdos of Hollywood) when armageddon comes is just hilarious ( or scary depending on what mood Iīm in). The sample ends with the preacher asking: Are you afraid to Die ? Are You afraid to Die ? Which leads directly into the first song In the Mindwarp Pavillion. Itīs such a great song with itīs subdued vocals in the vers and the beautiful chorus with itīs grand keyboard chords. I wonīt forget to mention the chaotic opening riff either. Itīs such a great song.

Pathos of Least Resistance is also a great song. Note the Genesis like keyboard part in the middle of the song. Maybe a bit too much of a ripp-off but beautiful never the less. Personally I donīt mind when it sounds so good. Destiny, She Said is the third song, and again itīs a great track even though the kind of hard rock chorus isnīt much to my liking. Itīs the same with Died & Alone later on the album. Itīs the weakest song on Paranormal Humidor and I donīt like the chorus much. Infant is just a small instrumental while the two long tracks Troy Built Helen and Paranormal Humidor are among the highlights of the album.

The musicianship is very good and itīs especially nice to hear the interplay between the musicians.

The production is a very modern prog rock production. Itīs very good and makes the music come forth in just the right way.

Paranormal Humidor is an excellent modern prog rock album. Somnambulist is a band Iīm very happy I was introduced to and they have grown considerably since their very good debut album. I just hope they still exist because Iīm sure that if they make another album it will be great. 4 stars is well deserved for Paranormal Humidor.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars Who knew that Chris Cornell (SOUNDGARDEN etc.) had such a talented brother. Peter Cornell is the vocalist here, he also wrote all the lyrics. His vocals style is all over the place, he's quite talented. I must say this album has been a huge surprise for me.The bass is deep and all over this record. Plenty of organ and mellotron as well. Lots of variety from heavy to modern symphonic. This is a treat.

"In The Mindwarp Pavillion" opens with what sounds like a monster breathing as the clock ticks away. Then we get this sample of a preacher letting his audience have it. Haha. Then these crashing sounds come in followed by a fairly heavy soundscape of music. Drums lead the way and Cornell is screaming in the background. Real vocals after 2 minutes. Love the melody with vocals after 3 1/2 minutes. Emotional. The previous melody returns with drums leading the way. Guitar and mellotron end it. Great opener ! "Pathos Of Least Resistance" is about suicide. Huge bass early as organ then guitar come in. Great sound. Vocals and mellotron follow. A calm after 2 minutes. It kicks back in with some ripping guitar, chunky bass follows. Love the mellotron, guitar and bass 6 minutes in. Some great organ work in this one as well. Excellent tune. "Destroy...She Said" reminds me of ECHOLYN but heavier. A mellotron storm early but it's still heavy. Sinister organ as drums pound. A dreamy sound after 5 1/2 minutes is brief. Killer track. "Infant" is an instrumental of intricate guitar melodies.

"Troy Bult Helen" has some good vocal sections early. Mellotron after a minute. Some tasteful guitar 2 1/2 minutes in. Passionate vocals later. It calms down with lots of atmosphere to end it. "Died And Gone" is both catchy and heavy. Drums pound away as we get some good organ runs and deep bass. A guitar solo after 3 minutes. "Paranormal Humidor" is the over 13 minute title track to close out the album. This one is dark and heavy. Some angular guitar before 2 1/2 minutes as the bass throbs. More powerful organ runs 7 minutes in. The guitar 8 1/2 minutes in lights it up. Mellotron a minute later as it settles down with processed vocals. It kicks back in with some huge bass and a dark mood. Nice drum work as well.

These guys offer up a feast of different sounds and moods that keeps me coming back for more. Fantastic album. Easily 4 stars.

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars Some five years prior this sophomore album (the band is not highly productive), "Somnambulist" released a very good debut album which was closely linked to the eclectic genre IMHHO. Complexity was the main word.

So; what has changed between then (96) and "now" (2001)?

The music is still passionate and eclectic: it combines fantastic interplay, some mellotron lines and a superb musicianship. I am less positive about the growling that be heard here and there.

The phantom of "Yes" and "ELP" can be felt during the excellent "Pathos of Least Resistance" but what comes next is only a pale repetition. The more I listen to this album, the more I have the feeling of "déjā vu". Of course the musicians are skilled (but this is again nothing but normal while you are a professional band); but in comparison with their debut, the band sounds out of steam.

Above average "Troy Built Helen" saves the day but when I am confronted with "Died And Gone", I can't help: it sounds as too many US bands featuring to play the music of the giants. This means almost pastiche with the last track I have mentioned.

Five years to achieve this album is quite long and shows that there was with no doubt a creative problem within the band. At least, this is how I can interpret this release. There is some good stuff available but no more: very little innovation nor confirmation of their very good debut on this "Paranormal Humidor".

Three stars.

Latest members reviews

5 stars In Paranormal Humidor, I think I just may have found an album that perfectly fits my taste in music, like a fine glove. With obvious respectful nods to influences of Yes, King Crimson, PFM, and even The Who, Somnambulist delivers a sound that is at once unique, dark, energetic, adventerous, and ... (read more)

Report this review (#53752) | Posted by Cinema | Saturday, October 29, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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