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Old 02-17-2009, 03:47 PM   #31 (permalink)
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Now that you mention it, I was actually considering picking Entropia over Remedy Lane, but since I consider the latter more varied and less of a story-based concept album, I ended up with my previous review.

Now, on to the main attraction!! Today's obcure prog. gem review has to do with...*drumroll*.......SATAN!

Black Widow - Sacrifice (1970)


Track Listing

1. In Ancient Days (7:40)
2. Way to Power (3:58)
3. Come to the Sabbat (4:56)
4. Conjuration (5:45)
5. Seduction (5:38)
6. Attack of the Demon (5:37)
7. Sacrifice (11:10)

Ah, the occult. Demons and Satan and the damnation of the human soul...all of which unfortunately become part of a great cliche which pervaded so much heavy metal from the 80's onwards and has since become a thing of derision for those who despise the era. And, if you ask who gave rise to this trend which became prevalent in bands who formed at that time, you will receive the same answer from almost anyone who thinks they know a thing or two about music: "Black Sabbath".

The funny thing about common knowledge, however, is that there for every time something holds true, there are twice as many supposedly "common" facts which are DEAD WRONG. For although Black Sabbath were the first commercially successful group to incorporate the kind of Satanic imagery you'd hear talked about in Church back in 1968, there was one forgotten band in the woodwork who formed long before ol' Ozzy picked up the mike, a group who took such themes to a far darker and more interesting place with this 1970 LP, Sacrifice, a little known bunch who originally formed in 1966 as Pesky Gee!, incorporating devilish themes into their various shows until they broke up and reformed in 1969 as....

Yep, you guessed it. Black Widow. One of the best bands of that time period...who nobody really knows about. But then again, that is why this review is here, to inform the masses that they existed and are waiting to be listened to!!

The Review: This album actually hit #32 on the U.K. Albums Chart back in '70, but it was quickly forgotten within a week or so despite how different it was from anything else being done at the time. Flute, sax, a little bit of organ, and plenty of crazy keyboard and guitar antics all about Satan and Hell and all sorts of controversial things pervade this album....and yet its all so upbeat, anthemic even, despite the occult edge and ensuing controversy that this album's release caused upon release...before being forgotten anyway.

Well anyway, I would consider this album very proggy in places (especially the title track), a route Sabbath wouldn't take at all unfortunately. The arrangements defy the chorus-bridge structure for the most part, and there's lots of jazzy interludes amidst the sort of drumming, flute, and guitar playing you'd associate with Krautrock bands of that time. Lyrically its nothing to write home about, as I'm not a Satanist and find that whole thing humorous for the most part. Still, my enjoyment of the album is not lessened because, on the instrumental and delivery side of things, its ****in' jamming!!

So, if you're interested in what Satanic proto-prog/jazz-rock sounded like back in the day, I'd give Sacrifice a whirl for the...hell of it. Its fun, instrumentally and compositionally sharp/inventive, and it leaves quite the impression on a would-be listener like a good record should. Highly recommended.

Album Verdict: 5/7

Here is a YouTube vid of my favorite track from the album, In Ancient Days. Bon apetit'.

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Old 02-17-2009, 08:38 PM   #32 (permalink)
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I disagree, Electric Wizard and several "real" metal bands use the occultic pulp image and it works quite well for them. The 80's was all about the musicians wearing half-shirts or tight leather. *shiver*
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Old 02-18-2009, 03:35 AM   #33 (permalink)
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Wee, In Ancient Days sounds great .. Getting it.

Thanks again Ant-man!
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Old 02-18-2009, 04:55 AM   #34 (permalink)
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ANTETTREYTE FG

I was played Sabbath Days down the phone once and i forgot about them! Can I get a PM, i will make it wirth your while. with virtual hugs

*hugs*
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Old 02-24-2009, 02:47 PM   #35 (permalink)
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Darn you, now everyone knows that my weak point is hugs from the opposite sex!!

Time for a review of an album I've been digging for awhile-

The Tangent - The Music That Died Alone (2003)


Track Listing

1. In Darkest Dreams (20:06)
2. The Canterbury Sequence (8:06)
3. Up Hill From Here (7:08)
4. The Music That Died Alone (12:45)

So, what happens when you put saxophone god David Jackson from VDGG together with guitarist Roine Stolt and bassist Jonas Reingold of Flower Kings fame? Furthermore, what happens when symphonic prog, funk, jazz, electronica and the Canterbury Scene all get mashed together into a tasty brew that actually ends up tasting really, really freakin' good?

Ladies and gents, please give a round of applause to The Tangent, who with this debut manage to all of this and more with spades.

Thematically, this debut doesn't really cover any new ground that other bands and artists haven't treaded upon before. Nostalgia for past decades, the nature of memory, the spirit of human indecision, etc etc. What we DO hear here that is so hard to come by in modern day prog., though, is a willingness to do other things besides pretending to be another Genesis or Yes. Each track on this debut is a lengthy execution is a different style while retaining a core sound, and the result is great indeed: 'In Darkest Dreams' is the symphonic suite and album opener, sax and guitar taking center stage, while 'The Canterbury Sequence' (my favorite!!) shifts into a unique but very nostalgic sonic recreation of Caravan circa 1971 and Hatfield in terms of style, with verrrrrry jazzy flute and vocal harmonization emphasized. And seriously, how many bands these days even TRY to sound Canterburyish, much less recreate the mood? Wonderful song!!

/gushing off

Anyway...the album's second half has its own share of surprises too. 'Uphill From Here' pulses heavy from the very start, held afloat from below by the sorta electronica vibes you'd expect at a local club. Not bad at all But when we come to the 'title track', we are in for something that sounds like a culmination of the last 3 tracks approaches, but isn't. Its a tour-de-force, morphing itself several times in between the fuzzy sax and piano interludes, excusing itself in ways the rest of the album didn't, ending on a blurry, tranquil note, with flute and piano and electric wahwahs reminiscent of Close to the Edge bidding farawell into the silence and you go "Wow! That was pretty good!"

Review out of the way, I have a few other thoughts in regards to why I consider this worthy of acclaim. I still get surprised every once in awhile, but given my love of Canterbury and jazz-related music, an album like this strikes as especially appealing compared to a lot I hear, because it draws you in with a sound that you just don't really get anymore in most European or American prog. bands. My opinion is that while other outfits stick to their symphonic guns and perform in their niche with overrated virtosity, the kind of jazz-lounge feel you get when listening to The Tangent seems rediculously novel compared to, say, Spock's Beard, Dream Theater or Transatlantic who get praised to high heaven for doing nothing new or even remotely engaging. And don't even get me started on groups like Mostly Autumn or Arena...

Overall, a highly recommended debut from a distinguished group too frequently overlooked by modern day prog. enthusiasts who think The Mars Volta is the only good thing out there. Eat socks!!!

Album Verdict: 6/7

Oh yes, here is one of their rare live performances (the track is from A Place in the Queue, not this album). Enjoy!

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Old 02-25-2009, 07:28 AM   #36 (permalink)
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Hey Ant! You finally reviewed an album I have!
Yes, it's a great slice of music, and I do believe I'll listen to it again tonight. Very different, and totally engaging. Nice review!
BTW I think you mean Mostly Autumn, not Simply?
And what's wrong with Arena?
I know people here frown on music that doesn't push the boundaries, but I just love both of the abovementioned bands for their own sake. They may not do anything particularly new or groundbreaking, but what they do, they do well, and to me, that's really all you should expect of a band.
But then, that's me...
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Old 02-28-2009, 07:58 AM   #37 (permalink)
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come, come, come to the Sabbat, SATAN'S THERE

*ahem*

Thanks for getting me into the Vampires of Dartmoore, what a great one-off, a nice treat. I've read some dissenting opinion, people moaning about it but they are idiots who have no appreciation of... whatever it is. It's a great album to listen to in bed, the closest thing I can equate it to is the soundtrack to a demented 70's porn movie. 10 out of 10's a fair score I think. I'm looking for the Pazop album now, looking forward to this.

I am skeptical about all the contemporary albums you are reviewing though, if it's new in a proggy vein I am generally in danger of hating it; I like the crappy masters of old out-of-print 70's stuff, where the loudness isn't through the roof and the guitars aren't too distorted.
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Old 02-28-2009, 03:20 PM   #38 (permalink)
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Oh, I'm verrrrrry critical of most contemporary prog. rock and metal, mostly because I feel that much of what I love has been diluted for the sake of being relevant to today's generation of listeners who are used to gel-slick production and emphasis on guitar-shredding (Dream Theater, Shadow Gallery, Pendragon, Knight Area, etc) instead of song-structure and composition. Furthermore, the priortization of these latter traits are what gave groups like Anglagard and The Flower Kings a songwriting edge over their more metallic peers back in the 90's, yet on the flip-side plain to see which traditions have spawned more bands and draw larger crowds, as events like Progressive Nation '08 shamelessly illustrate.

Hence, when I do review a prog. album from after 2000, its usually because find it reminiscent (but not derivitive completely) of the things I enjoy in the genre or because it stands out in some way.

But I gotta say though, and maybe its just me, but I really miss the eclectic lyric sensibilities that King Crimson and Yes had back in the 70's that seem absent in a lot of alternative and prog. today. And I'm not talking about The Mars Volta's nonsense or Radiohead's melancholic musings (which are both fine), but that poetic grasp of language which could mean anything or nothing and not hinder one's enjoyment of a song at all. Just like how people used to go pick up vinyls back in stores where the covers and packaging enhanced one's appreciation of the music, that sort of word sense seems to be going extinct.
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Old 02-28-2009, 04:53 PM   #39 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Molecules View Post
come, come, come to the Sabbat, SATAN'S THERE

*ahem*

Thanks for getting me into the Vampires of Dartmoore, what a great one-off, a nice treat. I've read some dissenting opinion, people moaning about it but they are idiots who have no appreciation of... whatever it is. It's a great album to listen to in bed, the closest thing I can equate it to is the soundtrack to a demented 70's porn movie. 10 out of 10's a fair score I think. I'm looking for the Pazop album now, looking forward to this.

I am skeptical about all the contemporary albums you are reviewing though, if it's new in a proggy vein I am generally in danger of hating it; I like the crappy masters of old out-of-print 70's stuff, where the loudness isn't through the roof and the guitars aren't too distorted.
Don't worry about it, I'll send him some african psych-rock for good measure. And some very obscure krautrock and no-wave.
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Old 02-28-2009, 07:13 PM   #40 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anteater View Post
Oh, I'm verrrrrry critical of most contemporary prog. rock and metal, mostly because I feel that much of what I love has been diluted for the sake of being relevant to today's generation of listeners who are used to gel-slick production and emphasis on guitar-shredding (Dream Theater, Shadow Gallery, Pendragon, Knight Area, etc) instead of song-structure and composition. Furthermore, the priortization of these latter traits are what gave groups like Anglagard and The Flower Kings a songwriting edge over their more metallic peers back in the 90's, yet on the flip-side plain to see which traditions have spawned more bands and draw larger crowds, as events like Progressive Nation '08 shamelessly illustrate.

Hence, when I do review a prog. album from after 2000, its usually because find it reminiscent (but not derivitive completely) of the things I enjoy in the genre or because it stands out in some way.

But I gotta say though, and maybe its just me, but I really miss the eclectic lyric sensibilities that King Crimson and Yes had back in the 70's that seem absent in a lot of alternative and prog. today. And I'm not talking about The Mars Volta's nonsense or Radiohead's melancholic musings (which are both fine), but that poetic grasp of language which could mean anything or nothing and not hinder one's enjoyment of a song at all. Just like how people used to go pick up vinyls back in stores where the covers and packaging enhanced one's appreciation of the music, that sort of word sense seems to be going extinct.
Sorry, I was fick and didn't read the moon safari post, just the date attributed to it, indeed it sounds like the perfect antidote to the poison that ails neo-prog. I am going to get the album tomorrow. My album acquisitions of late have slowed to mainly incorporate the updates made to this and Cellartapes' blog, so I have the time to listen, and I know I be getting quality music. Where's Comus lately? There are a lot of albums cropping up and he's missing them!
The Pazop album is pretty immense, Belgian mentalist prog with fiddles and everything. Each song is a concentrated blast of progressiveness and they're all surprisingly short... like Gentle Giant with ADD. Couple of songs fall short of the mark but on a 16 track album it's makes no odds.
Also Anteater see what you think of the last album I reviewed in the 60's psych thread (it's a 1971 release), hopefully you'd like that, link's included.
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