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Bigelf - Into The Maelstrom

AKelly   (133 reviews)

Posted: 07/16/2014 | Comments: 0 | Rate:

I had never previously heard of Bigelf, but thanks to a sticker boasting that it featured Mike Portnoy on drums I was intrigued to see what this album sounded like. Much like Portnoy's other recent project The Winery Dogs, it is stylistically different than Dream theater while still obtaining progressive elements. I shouldn't take away from the fact that Bigelf has been around for over 20 years and you should check out this album regardless if you knew Portnoy played on it or not. Frontman Damon Fox has writing credits on all songs except for one collaboration, which is very impressive considering the sonic complexity yet memorability of the songs. It's a great mixture of 70s prog rock and more modern-sounding prog rock. There's also some psychedelic elements added in there and the band verges on metal at points.

I've never been huge into prog rock, but one band I do enjoy is Genesis, especially their output with guitarist Steve Hackett. I found a familiar sound in "Edge of Oblivion" and "Theater of Dreams" that both sound like they could have been featured on Genesis's Nursery Cryme album had they not been as heavy and a bit doomy. It's also hard not to hear a Beatles influence on the opening 40 seconds or so of "Already Gone" and the sitar opening and vocal harmonies on "The Professor & The Madman." "ITM" sounds a bit in the vein of Jethro Tull complete with a flute solo. It also clocks in at over 8 minutes, making it the lengthiest song on the record.

All of these influences mentioned doesn't take away from the creativity and great songwriting showcased. The record twists and turns through a slew of different sounds that never sounds like it's ripping off any of the bands mentioned. The performance by all the band on this record is top-notch and Mike Portnoy certainly doesn't overplay or try to steal the show. If you're into progressive rock of any type or era you should definitely check this album out.

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