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Old 09-30-2009, 05:19 PM   #31 (permalink)
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The song you showed me is a lot more pop-like than "Vocal."

I'm trying to figure out who it reminds me of. I do like it, it just doesn't strike me like the other song did. ^_^
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Old 10-02-2009, 04:56 AM   #32 (permalink)
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Thulsa Doom - Keyboard, Oh Lord! Why Don't We? (2005)



  1. Papa Was
  2. Need the Air
  3. Stay OK
  4. Raisins and Grapes
  5. Tears in the Morning
  6. The Deep of the City
  7. Be Forewarned
  8. The Ballad of Me and Fast Winston Doom
  9. Mr. Slow
  10. Keyboard, Oh Lord! Why Don't We?

Listen : Spotify


Introduction :

Members :

Doom Perignon (Henning Solvang) – guitar, lead vocals since 2003,
El Doom (Ole Petter Andreassen) – guitar,vocals,
Angelov Doom (Egil Hegerberg) – bass , keyboards,vocals,
Fast Winston Doom (Halvor Winsnes) – drums


Thulsa Doom is a norwegian stoner rock band from the Duplex Records label. The independent Duplex label was started by relatively small group of people (friends) who played in a relatively large amount of bands. Among these few people are norwegian celebrities like Kristoffer Schau, Egil Hegerberg and Aslag Guttormsgaard. They and others would make up different concept bands that were mostly just jokes at first (Sin Egen Onkel, Stjerten, Kul Ful Driv Gjøn, mm.), then comedic acts with good songs (Bare Egil Band, Gartnerlosjen) to competent and largely respected acts in norwegian rock that still might not be 100% serious about what they do like The Cumshots, Black Debbath and .. of course, Thulsa Doom.

Thulsa Doom, who tried (at least at first) tounge-in-cheek to appeal to slobs with beer guts who like fast cars and porn, is one of the more serious efforts to come out of Duplex. Perhaps because stoner rock has less appeal or because they did it with less humour, it's also lesser known than most other acts from the label who put out more than one album. They have a knack for long titles and their first album from 2001 was "The Seats Are Soft But the Helmet is Way Too Tight". It was followed up by 2003 album "...And Then Take You to a Place Where Jars are Kept" which contained awesome stoner rock songs like "Why Do You Keep On (Watching the Porno) After You Came?".

Their third album is called "Keyboard, Oh Lord! Why Don't We?" and the title is taken from a line in the lyrics of Paul McCartney's duet with Stevie Wonder, "Ebony and Ivory". Keyboard Oh Lord marks a change in the band's stoner sound as they got a little less heavy and a bit more accessible. Also, singer Papa Doom (Jacob Krogvold) got replaced by Doom Perignong (Henning Solvang).

The band members expressed being greatly pleased with where the band was headed at the time. What do I think?


Song for Song Review :

Papa Was opens up with a harmonious goodbye to the old Papa Doom before the heavy guitar riff comes on. It might be more accessible sounding than previous efforts, but a heavier-than-lead production by Ole Petter Andreassen keeps my little woofer bouncing happily on the floor and turns the guitar and bass into a sonic attack. Although I can't really make out the words and I'm always wondering what they're singing, Papa Was is a good track and a solid opener.

It gets better still when Need the Air comes on with a guitar riff that my girlfriend absolutely loves. Now we can really start talking about a departure from their previous sound because while still leaden with that heavy production, Need the Air also works as a pop song and even has some steel guitar and strings thrown in and becomes almost anthemic. Jarle Medhus made a video for the song which you can enjoy. It suffers soundwise from bad quality, but check it out!




Stay O.K. follows and is a frantic, slightly desperate rock song. It also contains chorused vocal harmonies and more delicate parts that might make the hairs on your arms stand up a little. It is definetly another highlight on this album. Raisins and Grapes is bloody brilliant when it comes in, opening with a little jam before that heavy, sludgy guitar sound comes on. Simple yet effective drumming by Fast Winston Doom and a good vocal performance by Doom Perignon makes this a very good track all-round although it can get a bit repetitive in the end. Next up is a cover of Beach Boys' Tears in the Morning which is a gutsy move by a stoner rock band - although of course Thulsa Doom answers to noone but themselves. The cover is quite good and I like it. In the Deep of the City is a poppy yet excellent track with some very cool 70s organ playing. Be Forewarned, the album's second cover, is an awesome version of Pentagram's song. If you're looking for stoner rock on this album, this is where you're probably gonna find it.

By now, we know that this is not really stoner rock anymore and so The Ballad Of Me And Fast Winston Doom may not come as a surprise. It's slow and heavy and while not a favourite, it does send the band in a new direction. At times, it reminds me a bit of Seigmen, another norwegian 90s somewhat dark grunge-act. Mr. Slow ups the pace a bit and is a rock song with great dynamics and once again visits by the thick wall of sound. Vocal harmonies and heavy guitar mixes again with excellent singing by Doom Perignon.

Quote:
They said creating something from nothing could not be done. If you hear these words, we have proven them wrong. This is the tale of the sacrifices made to create the life you lead. A new life. A better life. Hah!
With those words start the epic 9 minutes title track Keyboard, Oh Lord! Why Don't We?. Variations in themes and some excellent guitar wanking help keep it interesting while still heavy enough to sink an aircraft carrier. It drags on a bit at the end, but I still consider it a good closing track.


Review Summary :

Those who expected a real stoner rock album from Thulsa Doom may have gotten slightly disappointed, but if you throw expectations to the wind (or if this is your first encounter with them), you might find that "Keyboard, Oh Lord! Why Don't We?" is a surprisingly fresh sounding album. Drawing on more influences from 70s rock and pop acts like the 60s Beatles and The Byrds allows for more variation and the production is rock solid and tight as a duck's cloaca. Doom Perignon, while not as stony (or "trashy sounding") as Papa Doom, does a good job and I actually prefer him as a singer. In fact, it sounds like they just recently discovered they all could sing because this album has a lot of harmonious and good backing vocal performances from the other members as well.

I've been to a couple of concerts with these guys and while they sound tight on the record, they're every bit as good on stage. This album, their latest, is a solid rock album and Thulsa Doom does not get enough credit. Get it if you like stoner flavoured rock music with the occasional pop influence!


Toretorden's Treasure Trove score : 5/6


favourite songs : Papa Was, Need the Air, Stay O.K., Raisins And Grapes, Tears in the Morning, Be Forewarned, Mr. Slow.
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Old 10-02-2009, 12:22 PM   #33 (permalink)
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Damn nice review.

I had never heard of them until this.

You definitely have me interested in the earlier stuff. Their 2003 release seems like a good starting place for me, in theory -- not exactly of the beer-bellied variety, and I think I'd prefer a stoner undertone more than a whimsical one.

Does that one get your approval too?
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Old 10-03-2009, 02:34 AM   #34 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by 6underground View Post
Damn nice review.

I had never heard of them until this.

You definitely have me interested in the earlier stuff. Their 2003 release seems like a good starting place for me, in theory -- not exactly of the beer-bellied variety, and I think I'd prefer a stoner undertone more than a whimsical one.

Does that one get your approval too?
The earlier ones are also fine albums, but from start to end they're not as good for me. Still, the songs have tons of style and attitude, but the mainstream appeal is rather less than on their last one and the songs are stylistically less varied which is part what makes the albums a little less likeable.

So, less variation and less mass appeal. There are good and bad sides to both, I think. On the upside, they've got tons of attitude and style and the cool factor is rather high (I think).

Here's Birthday Pony from their 2001 debut, "...And Then Take You to a Place Where Jars Are Kept"! Note that this is the old singer, Papa Doom.




edit :

The bassist and the guitarist also play in Duplex band "Black Debbath" which is a more whimsical stoner rock/doom metal band. They were quite similar back in the days and I think the bands have diverged more after Keyboard, Oh Lord. Black Debbath's songs are mostly in norwegian except their album "Welcome to Norway" (2001) which is a kind of doom metal tourist guide. Here's the song "Mongo Norway" from that one which is about the night life in Oslo.

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Old 10-03-2009, 02:43 AM   #35 (permalink)
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Great review as usual Tore. Im huge into the entire dessert, stoner, doom, sluge scene so I am definitly gona check this out. I let you know once im done!
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Old 10-03-2009, 03:11 AM   #36 (permalink)
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Great review as usual Tore. Im huge into the entire dessert, stoner, doom, sluge scene so I am definitly gona check this out. I let you know once im done!
Thanks!

I might write a review about Welcome to Norway as well one day. It's a fun album - definetly not meant to be serious, but some of the songs (like Mongo Norway) are quite good I think!

One thing about norwegian culture is that we're a bit scared of embracing the cheese. The bands above are quite conceptual and cheesy and I think humour makes it safe for them to take it as far as they want. Without it, they would be ridiculed for being serious about something cheesy. It's a large part of the key to their success in Norway.

.. The same also makes it hard for the black metallers of course.
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Old 10-05-2009, 02:55 AM   #37 (permalink)
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Default Alan Parsons Project - Tales of Mystery and Imagination (1976)

The Alan Parsons Project - Tales of Mystery and Imagination (1976)



  1. A Dream Within A Dream [instrumental] – 3:43
  2. The Raven – 4:01 (ft. Leonard Whiting on lead vocals, Alan Parsons lead vocal through an EMI vocoder, backing vocals by Eric Woolfson)
  3. The Tell-Tale Heart – 4:40 (ft. Arthur Brown)
  4. The Cask of Amontillado – 4:29 (ft. John Miles)
  5. (The System Of) Dr. Tarr and Professor Fether" – 4:15 (ft. John Miles and Jack Harris)
  6. The Fall of the House of Usher - 15:04
  7. To One in Paradise – 4:14 (ft. Terry Sylvester)

Listen : Spotify



Introduction :

Alan Parsons as a famous audio engineer, musician and record producer should need no introduction, so I'll try to keep this one short. In the 60s, he worked with engineering successful albums like The Beatles "Abbey Road" and "Let It Be". In the early 70s, he engineered Pink Floyd's well known and loved "Dark Side of the Moon" album, something he's quite famous for as well as producing other acts for EMI. Parsons had his own manager, scotsman and musician Eric Woolfson, whom he had met in the Abbey Road studio in 1974. Together, they made the Alan Parsons project (supposedly named after Alan because of his fame) where Alan would produce and engineer songs written by the two. Their debut album was based on the works of the famous and slightly macabre Edgar Allen Poe, favourite writer of many a young goth. Tales of Mystery and Imagination was released in 1976 and features guest artists such as Arthur Brown ("The Crazy World of Arthur Brown") and Leonard Whiting (british actor). Neither Alan nor Eric considered themselves real singers and preferred to look elsewhere for vocal talents. The album also contains major contributions by the band Pilot who Alan Parsons had done production for.

After it's release, the debut became a success, yet Alan himself was not completely satisfied. 11 years later in 1987, before rereleasing the album on CD, he worked through the album song by song and added to it such as narration by Orson Wells, synths and additional guitar solos. The following is a review of this 1987 reissue.


Song for Song Review :

The album opens with narration by Orson Welles as music trickles in and creates some initially lush sounds that turn into an accessible bit with a simple bass, drums and fingerplay on guitar. The track is A Dream Within a Dream and serves mostly as an introduction into the album, although an enjoyable one as such. When the song is done building up to a small climax, it degrades until we're left with the beating bassline that continues into the next track, The Raven. The Raven is considered an Alan Parsons classic and is notable for being the first song recorded with a vocoder which gives Alan a robotic voice as he sings through the first parts of Edgar's poem by the same name. In the poem, a distraught lover is visited by the raven Quoth that won't leave. Quoth observes the lover's descent into madness and keeps reminding him of his lost love by repeating the word "Nevermore". That's a rough summary. The poem is loved by many and so should the song be because it is excellent! It's quite dynamic with rocky parts, pompous orchestral parts and moments of beauty with some wonderful choir backing vocals. Leonard Whiting does the lead vocals and, despite lacking confidence in his own voice at the time, does an excellent job! Here's a fanmade video for the song.




The next track is a rock song, The Tell-Tale Heart in which the memorable and slightly maniacal Arthur Brown makes a charming appearance. It's pompous, catchy and features much screaming and lisping to the listeners delight. It also features slower orchestral bits and a guitar solo, but Arthur Brown's crazy vocal performance definetly takes center stage. Thank you Mr. Brown!

The Cask of Amontillado is sung by John Miles and contains the album's most beautiful moments. It's a lush ballad with orchestral elements and lovely harmonious backing vocals. More dramatic orchestral parts add some variation and keeps it from becoming too soppy. This song is my girlfriend's favourite from this album and she even said she'd like it to be played at our wedding. Suffice to say it's easily likeable.

Doctor Tarr and Professor Feth is another highly likeable rock song with a groove and some catchy lyrics. Before it ends, it revisits musical themes from A Dream Within A Dream, The Raven and the Tell-Tale Heart, reminding us that this is a concept album.

The Fall of the House of Usher at a little more than 15 minutes is the most ambitious track on the record (although it might be split into several tracks depending on the release). It opens with another monologue by Orson Welles on music. If you're expecting a prog-rock epic, you might get surprised when the prelude part plays like a piece by a symphony orchestra and several parts of this song sounds like it could be in a soundtrack for a classic creepy movie. The Pavane part has a more traditional rocky bit although with some strange sounds like harpsichord and what sounds to be a mandolin. The end, Fall, sounds a bit like a symphonic orchestra playing the musical equivalent of that part of the nightmare just before you wake up. On the whole, it's good - but it's sadly not the reason why I put this album on and as such, I wish it was a little shorter. However, if you're looking for feelings of Poe-ish suspense and sounds of the eerily supernatural, this is where you have the biggest chance of finding it.

The One in Paradise featuring Terry Sylvester is a serene rock ballad that opens with a bit on the guitar that reminds me of Buckethead's "Watching the boats with my dad". It's enjoyable, but not more so than the other pre-Usher tracks.


Review Summary :

The album has been critizised for not being quite as spooky and macabre as Edgar Allen Poe's works which it is based on and aside from a few moments on The House of Usher, I wholeheartedly agree. That doesn't mean that this is not a good album. Although the last parts can drag on a bit, it's got all good songs and a couple of them, The Raven and Cask of Amontillado, could even have hit potential. For an album that is considered prog-rock, it is quite accessible and I think anyone would find a song or two that they like from this one even if they haven't heard much prog before. The different singers and different songs add variety enough to keep it from becoming boring. As you'd expect from an audio engineer/producer with a resume like Mr. Parsons, the sound of the album is impeccable. Nothing is half-assed or sloppy and the only slightly bad thing about the perfect production is that is makes the album sound a little artificial at times.

In other words, despite a slight disappointment with the lack of complexity, replayability and Poe-ish mood, the strength of some of these songs alone make this album my favourite from the Alan Parsons project. It can safely be recommended to anyone who could at all consider picking up an album from the 70s.

Toretorden's Treasure Trove score : 5/6

Favourite tracks : The Raven, The Tell-Tale Heart, The Cask of Amontillado
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Old 10-06-2009, 01:32 PM   #38 (permalink)
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Default Return to Forever - Return to Forever (1972)

Chick Corea / Return to Forever - Return to Forever (1972)



  1. Return to Forever" – 12:06
  2. Crystal Silence" – 6:59
  3. What Game Shall We Play Today" – 4:30
  4. Sometime Ago - La Fiesta" – 23:13

Listen : Spotify



Introduction :

Chick Corea is a famous jazz pianist and fusionist with several grammy awards behind him. In the 60s, he became a member of Miles Davis' Band and contributed on several of Miles Davis' later albums like Bitches Brew and On the Corner.

Return to Forever (band) is one of the big 70s jazz fusion group alongside contemporaries like Weather Report and Mahavishnu orchestra. Chick founded the band after becoming a scientologist in 1972 whereupon he decided he wanted to communicate more with the audience and felt the avant-garde jazz he was then dabbling with wasn't listener-friendly enough. However you feel about scientology (I'm not a fan), Chick has claimed to get a lot of inspiration from Mr. Hubbard's teachings and Return to Forever's discography is a treasure trove of jazz fusion riches where basically every album is a safe bet.

Return to Forever's debut is credited both to the band, serving as their debut, and as a Chick Corea album. It is widely regarded as an electric jazz classic.


Song for Song Review :

The first song by Return to Forever on their debut Return to Forever is the song named Return to Forever. It opens softly and carefully with a haunting melody played by Chick Corea on electric piano. Singer Flora Purim and flute joins in for quite a ghostly mood that my girlfriend complained is too creepy. However, it doesn't last long before it breaks up and we're thrown into the next part of the song where a steady, filling drum rythmn provides a foundation on which an airy piano and flute jam and improvise over. There are a couple of simple hooks that are real earwigs. Much to the listener's delight, we get a return to the spooky theme - which I find so gods-damned enjoyable even if it's only there for a few seconds - until we're thrown into another jam with a driving rhythmn and some simple hooks that seem to come and go. The music almost has a mysterious trance-like quality that makes it quite a laid-back listening experience despite it's fast rhythmn and occasional screams towards the end. Before it's over, we get one final return to the ghostly theme. As we say in Norway, all good things come in threes (don't ask me why) .. And this track is marvellous!

Crystal Silence is a bit of noodling about by Chick before he's joined by Joe Farrell on saxophone. That might sound a bit boring, but it's a thoroughly delicious and warm listening experience, completely laid-back and enjoyable. Laying down on a couch listening to this with your eyes closed might be the best way to enjoy this, but the comfort might put you to sleep.

If the album has a spooky opening, What Game Shall We Play Today is completely the opposite which is a feel-good slightly poppy jazz piece with sung lyrics by miss Flora Plurim. Aside from Flora's vocal performance, the song is dominated by Chick's piano and Farrell on flute. It gives me associations to fun, sun, green grass and flowers .. and its yet another earwig!

The last track can actually be split in three. It starts off with a bass and electric piano improv that goes on for quite a while before flute makes it's appearance followed by actual structure a little later, turning it into Sometime Ago. It's another laid-backy feel-good song with singing by Flora. Jams with a lot of flute and electric piano alternate with the poppy theme until the song slows down during a transition, the flute is traded for a sax, and the song turns into La Fiesta which is one of Corea's standards. There are no sung lyrics this time, but parts of it has a clear melody line played on the saxophone. Castanets and a somewhat more intense energy gives the song a sometimes flamencoish feel and of course the song is ripe with jams and solos. Excelente!


Review Summary :

Aside from a bit of noodling at the start of the last track, there's not really much negative to say about this album. The sound is relatively simple - you usually have dense (but not heavy) drumming forming a foundation with electric piano and flute or electric piano and sax playing and jamming on top, giving the music a very light feel. The bass is also excellent, sometimes predictable and other times unpredictable, either joining in with the flute and piano or siding more with the drums. It's clear that these are excellent musicians, yet for all their instrumental mastery, this is not a flashy record. Compared to later Return to Forever albums like f.ex Romantic Warrior (which is also excellent), the music is often less melody driven and the focus seems to be more about sounds and what they evoke in us, perhaps especially on the title track which is my favourite of the bunch. There's still a fair share of earwigs on this album and all hooks are relatively simple and effective.

On the whole, the album comes across as very improvisational and quite laidback, despite often fast tempos and wild solos. All the songs have a relaxing softness about them and they're just the thing to listen to when I'm at work, counting bugs.

At the moment of writing, this is my favourite jazz fusion album and I just don't seem to tire of it. I would recommend it to anyone who could enjoy jazz or jazz fusion and I think it's an easy album to like. Much of it's attraction is appearant, but even more is subtle and my tip to those who wanna try this one out is to just put it on while you're posting here or doing something else. Don't expect it to grab a hold of you instantly, but give it a spin and see where it takes you. I'm sure you'll like it!


Toretorden's Treasure Trove score : 6/6


Favourite tracks : All of them!

Many thanks to Anteater for getting me into these guys
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Old 10-07-2009, 05:41 AM   #39 (permalink)
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Default Gentle Giant - Octopus (1972)

Gentle Giant - Octopus (1972)



  1. The Advent Of Panurge – 4:40
  2. Raconteur Troubadour – 3:59
  3. A Cry For Everyone – 4:02
  4. Knots – 4:09
  5. The Boys In The Band – 4:32
  6. Dog's Life – 3:10
  7. Think Of Me With Kindness – 3:33
  8. River – 5:54
Listen : Spotify



Introduction :

Members on this album :

Gary Green - Guitars, percussion
Kerry Minnear - All keyboards, vibraphone, percussion, cello, Moog, lead and backing vocals
Derek Shulman - Lead vocals, alto saxophone
Phil Shulman - Saxophones, trumpet, mellophone, lead and backing vocals
Ray Shulman - Bass, violin, guitar, percussion, vocals
John Weathers - Drums, percussion, xylophone


The very much celebrated Gentle Giant are much loved here on MB and should require no introduction with the prog crowd, but here's one just in case. They're an early british prog band that started when the multi-instrumentalistic Shulman brothers joined up with the also multi-instrumentalistic Gary Green and Kerry Minnear - and then drummer Martin Smith (see members). Gentle Giant are renowned for their virtuosity, complexity, creativity and somewhat unique style. Basically, they were a bunch of guys talented with a wide range of instruments who had a knack for making music with odd hooks, twists and turns™. According to a proclamation in their second album Acquiring the Taste's album sleeve, the band wanted to "expand the frontiers of contemporary popular music at the risk of becoming very unpopular". Unfortunately, that goal was lost when they buckled under pressure after the punk wave, but despite some sad efforts to appeal to the masses later on in their discography, their first 7 albums are all widely regarded as prog gems.

Octopus from 1972 is their fourth album and their last as a sextet. It also featured a change in lineup from the previous album, changing drummer Malcolm Mortimore for John "Pugwash" Weathers who would stay with them for the rest of their discography. Weathers is one of prog's ugliest men, but still quite charming and strangely iconic. Aside from a diversity in instruments, all members except Mr. Pugwash do vocals on this album. The album name "octopus" is a play on words combining "octo" meaning eight and "opus" which means musical composition, reflecting the 8 tracks on the album. The UK cover art seen above was done by Roger Dean for great prog justice.


Song for Song Review :

Advent of Panurge comes on without warning, delivering the first lyrical line as soon as you press the play button. "There coming over Charaton Bridge" - then some strange noodlings before the second line is delivered. If you're new to Gentle Giant, this may already weird you out a little. The song continues to bring some awesome vocal performances before it dives headfirst into an tight, jammy groove as Weathers comes in with the drums, building up suspense through twists and turns™ until it reaches what might be the refrain. Describing every song in detail will have me writing a bigger wall of text than I think anyone would enjoy reading, but this song is amazing and possibly my album favourite. It has several little themes that work well together for dynamic perfection. The song is about the friendship between Pantagruel (a giant king) and Panurge, two characters from François Rabelais novel series "The Life of Gargantua and of Pantagruel" from the 16th century. If you like GG and this sounds familiar, it's not their only song to be inspired from these works - as is f.ex the opening track of their second album "acquiring the taste".

Raconteur Troubadour is a more medieval-inspired song where lead singer Derek basically takes the role as a troubadour come to the village square. It is a perhaps just a little bit more straightforward than the opening track, but still sure to confuse first-time listeners. However, loveable as it is, it's another top track from this album.

I Cry for Everyone is a rock song with drums and a guitar riff from the get-go. Of course it has all of the Gentle Giant creativity thrown in. When I first got to know this album, I thought of it as a bit of filler, but the more I listen to it, the more I love it. The song is inspired by the work and beliefs of the absurdist Algerian-French author and philosopher Albert Camus.

Knots is gods-damned brilliant! It opens with some amazing vocals and the whole thing is just splendidly catchy. This might be the strongest contender for the best track on the album for me. It's based on the book "Knots" by psychiatrist Ronald David Laing who wrote about mental illnesses, particularly psychotic experiences. I found a live performance where they play the song which I will embed here for your enjoyment, but beware that the version they play here is not like the studio version from the album. There's a lot left out and a lot thrown in, such as a bit from "Edge of Twilight" which is a song from their second album. The vocal parts are all Knots though!




Despite crappy sound quality and Pugwash not doing much - If that's not awesome, I don't know what is.

The Boys in the Band won't let anyone down either. It starts off with someone laughing and a coin being spun on a table before it bursts into life with an instrumental piece that has more twists and turns™ than a bucket of eels. Aside from the frantic first theme, there are more relaxed parts with moog, saxophone and more. Excellent!

Dog's Life is the shortest on the album and is a lovely, slightly melancholic song about a dog's life which I guess is quite a departure from some of the other topics touched upon.
Pat him on the head, give the dog a bone;
Use a friendly tone, he won't leave you alone.
No one understands like old faithful.
The verses in particular are quite enjoyable and all in all, another excellent tune.

Think of Me With Kindness is a piano ballad which my GF loves. I love it too and of all the songs on the album, this is perhaps the most emotionally evoking piece. However, it's not this kind of stuff Gentle Giant is most famous for. Yet it's still accomplished and beautiful with occasional GG twists™.

River grabs a hold of me from the start. It's arguably the rockiest song on the album and has a great violin riff before sung lyrics join the mix. It also contains a fleeting middle part with some lovely singing and a blues-rocky last half with accompanying guitar. It is not a contender for favourite for me, but still a good track and a nice way to end a great album.


Review Summary :

I'll start with the negative first. The only thing I can find to really complain about is that Octopus seems to lack focus or wholeness. My other prog sixes reviewed so far, Caravan's For Girls Who Grow Plump in the Night and Yes' Close to the Edge, have songs that are conceptually similar and sound like they belong on their respective albums. Gentle Giant's discography doesn't seem quite as conceptual in general and their sound didn't change that much so some of the songs on Octopus sound like they could just as well have been on one of their other albums. Also, they generally don't evoke the kind of emotions and imagery some of the other classic prog albums do.

However, this is made up for by Gentle Giant's unique, delightful and fun sound. They were amazingly creative and many of the catchy hooks in this album (there's a lot of them) are so weird and so unique, yet so effective. All the tracks are good and there are more ideas floating around than you can shake a very large stick at - and they're all good! Generally speaking, GG must be a wealth of inspiration for young proggers today and Octopus is often viewed as having been released at the start of their peak period.

However, this is not for the prog-squeamish. If you don't like progressive rock, I'm sure you're gonna hate this and if you don't like albums you have to listen to a few times before they start to stick, then you might as well steer clear of this and likely the rest of GG's discography. However, as usual with great prog albums, once you get into it, it will just keep giving and giving .. and this is one of the best! It is an altogether brilliant and fun album.


Toretorden's Treasure Trove score : 6/6


Favourite tracks : Advent of Panurge, Raconteur Troubadour, Knots, The Boys in the Band, Dog's Life


Additional Notes :

This album has also been reviewed by Boo Boo in Boo Boo's Prog Stash thread and was mentioned in Comus' thread Comus' 1001 albums you should listen to before you die. Also, if you like Octopus, check out Anteater's review of Gentle Giant's second album Acquiring the Taste from 1971 in his journal.
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Old 10-07-2009, 09:05 AM   #40 (permalink)
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Default Panzerpappa - Koralrevens Klagesang (2006)

Panzerpappa - Koralrevens Klagesang (2006)


  1. Korallrevens Klagesang I
  2. Korallrevens Klagesang II
  3. Kantonesisk Kanotur
  4. Apraxia
  5. Snill Sang På Bånd
  6. Etyde
  7. Vintervake (Featuring Richard Sinclair)
  8. Frenetisk Frenologi (For Nybegynnere)
  9. Korallrevens Klagesang III
Listen : Spotify



Introduction :

Members :
Steinar Børve: saxophone and keyboards
Trond Gjellum: drums and percussion
Anders Krabberød: bassguitar and Chapman stick
Jarle G. Storløkken: guitars and accordion


Panzerpappa is a prog act from from Oslo, Norway. In their own words, the band plays "progressive rock with a friendly face" but is more accurately described as RIO/Avant-Prog with influences stretching back to 70s bands like Henry Cow, King Crimson and Samla Mammas Manna with a dash of Canterbury like Hatfield and the North.

The band was started up by drummer Trond Gjellum in 1996 and then gained members, most notably Steinar Børve on Saxophone and keyboards. Their debut "Passer Gullfisk" was released in 2000, but the original lineup was not to last. After a lineup change in their second release, the band lost both then guitarist and bass player at the start of 2002. However, lost members are quickly replaced when Trond plays with guitarist Jarle G. Storløkken and bassist Anders Krabberød in a backing band for Canterbury-legend Richard Sinclair during march that same year. Both are offered a place in the band and since, that lineup has produced two more albums, "Farlig Vandring" released in 2004 and "Koralrevens Klagesang" (lament of the coral fox) from 2006.

My own relationship with Panzerpappa doesn't really stretch that far back. All the members are academics and as a group, they sport competance in musicology, theoretical astro physics, social anthropology, philosophy and biology. It was actually during my own biology bachelor that I got to know Anders Krabberød, their current bassist. We both started our biology studies in 2005, but ironically, I didn't really know Panzerpappa before I listened to their last album late last year. That last is the 2006 album "Koralrevens Klagesang" which offers a guest appearance by our much beloved Richard Sinclair (Caravan / Hatfield and the North / Camel) and it got some highly favourable reviews after it's release. However, avant-prog's lack of mainstream appeal keeps it a somewhat hidden treasure whose riches are mostly available for those with a specific interest in the genre.


Detailed Review :

The album starts with what feels like an intro. Koralrevens Klagesang I opens with some mysterious sounds but eventually, brass fades in to a mournful tune lasting for a couple of minutes until Koralrevens Klagesang II comes on. Prog looms as the music turns more chaotic and unpredictable, but it's full of energy and buried within here are some amazingly effective hooks. It's overall feel is mysterious and perhaps slightly sinister. Kantonesisk Kanotur (cantonesian canoe trip) is immediately immersive with a gentle start on keyboards and guitar before a wonderful little earwig flute melody weaves it's way into the music. Not long after, we get the first thematic shift and what follows is a little prog epic where structures shift from tangible to untangible and various melodies and hooks come and go. It feels strong yet quite subtle at the same time and features many hair-raising moments of delight. Excellent!

Apraxia continues the mysterious mood in a slightly more serene direction and, probably because it's so fresh in memory, actually reminds me just a little a bit of Crystal Silence from Return to Forever's debut. What I guess might be vibraphone, guitar and bass form a structure with a more free and slightly melancholic saxophone layering melodies on top. Acoustic guitar join in towards the end for a delightful result, making this song the most relaxing of the bunch. Snill Sang på Bånd is a departure from it's predecessors and is cheerful and full of energy like a prog version of your kid's 10th birthday. It reaches some kind of epic climax before we get a thematic shift to something more noir-jazzy and it suddenly sounds more like your theme to browsing clubs in New Orleans. I love this part! Before it's over, we get a quick return to the fun at the start. Overall, there's a lot of contrasts in this song and it's a little more in your face than what comes before it, but they somehow make it work very well.

Yet more mystery awaits on Etyde which opens with guitar and keyboard alternating on a little picky riff of sorts which along with drums and bass serves as a platform for more saxophone on top. When the song is nearly midway, it becomes more sinister and sounds like it could be a theme to something called "Attack of the giant mutant space slug". Sax and a wonderful flute (I love flute) chase the spooky bits away before it's over for a happy ending .. although a return of the mysterious guitar just at the very end may hint at the possibility of a sequel.

Vintervake is the only song with lyrics and they are sung by none other than Canterbury's Richard Sinclair. The track makes for such a delicious listening, I get shivers everytime I listen to it. Richard does not steal the show entirely, Panzerpappa's performance on the track is confident and it's definetly their song you're listening to. However, there are some different themes flying around here, but the best are still the parts with sung lyrics. If I knew what they were, I'd sing along. Vintervake has a subtle beauty that is rare and canterbury appreciaters should definetly look this one up.

Frenetisk Frenologi (For Nybegynnere) (Frenetic Frenology for beginners?) is the album's longest track and is of the more playful and fun sort. There's certainly a lot going on in different layers, you have the sax doing much of the melody with drums and bass forming a solid foundation, but you also have guitar, keyboards and other percussion instruments making their appearances somewhere in the middle of it all. It's a rich listen and you might have to close your eyes and tap your foot to soak it all up. Thematic shifts make the song much more chaotic and we even get some aggressive sounding moments with distorted electric guitar building up to a climax about halfway after which everything becomes quiet .. Then sax comes back in to a background of what sounds like wind and some strange distortive noise. At this point, the song has a somewhat mournful post-apocalyptic feel and in my mind's eye I see dust blowing around empty concrete buildings. It doesn't take too long before the playful theme from the start makes it's return. More thematic shifts happen with some lovely performances on guitar, flute and piano before it's all over.

Like nr. 1 serves as an intro to the album, Koralrevens Klagesang III serves as an outro although it's a wonderful little song that would stand confidently also outside of this album. It plays somewhat on the theme of the first, but this time with a lot of acoustic guitar and with a more medieval folky flavour than the first. It's a melancholic and serene little guitar tune that could lull you to sleep if you let it. Lovely!


Review Summary :

At first, I didn't really want to review this one because my friendship with one of the band members might put my credibility as a reviewer at stake and there's also the chance he might read this which scares me a little bit. However, after a chat with Anteater who also suggested I do this, I realized I'm not the only one who thinks the album is worthy of praise around here and, seeing as it has all the weird norwegian names and so on, it made sense that I would be the one to do it.

Stepping back a bit and looking at Koralrevens Klagesang in it's entirety, it's main impressions to me are melancholy, mystery, moments of beauty but also the odd sinister, spooky sounds like you'll find in other RIO acts like Univers Zero. True to their own friendly description, there's also a sprinkling of cheerfulness and fun. Performances are superb all round and the album sounds amazing with rock-solid production. There's a lot of instruments being played over the tracks but they all stand out as clearly as they should in the mix and to me, it all sounds right. There's plenty of warm sounds and lush reverberations floating around. One thing that strikes me as weird is that listening to it again with a slightly more analytical approach, I'm surprised at how vivid some of the imagery the album conjures up is. It makes me wonder a bit why several of the songs have such nonsensical titles (frenetisk frenologi is a good example). However, their slightly whimsical approach is part of Panzerpappa's charm and it's nice to see again that something that sounds so accomplished doesn't have to be 100% serious all the time.

As an avant-prog album, I think it's quite accessible. A lot of it's appeal will be subtle and may take a few listenings to get, but where some albums in the genre may feel exclusive, this one will probably have an instant appeal which will only grow over time. No, I wouldn't recommend it to everyone, but for those who like a little prog and know a little RIO, Koralrevens Klagesang is a little treasure just waiting to be discovered.

Panzerpappa is a group with highly skilled and competent musicians and Koralrevens Klagesang is (as far as I know) their finest moment yet. This is actually the best norwegian album I've heard in a long time.


Toretorden's Treasure Trove score : 6/6
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