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Sleepytime Gorilla Museum: In Glorious Times

Sleepytime Gorilla Museum's music practically defines the MIO genre. This is Metal In Opposition to that industry's accepted norms -- it is in-your-face avant garde and cocks a snoot at all conventions associated with the established, traditions of metal.

In Glorious Times is dense, intense, extremely technical, very complex and seriously quirky - and it sounds like nothing you've heard before. One of the primary characteristics of this album is the many sections of controlled chaos -- dissonant blocks of sound with mixed time signatures, which yield a challenging listen.

If you enjoyed classic King Crimson's THRAK or Red, or any of their heaviest releases, you may enjoy this. That doesn't mean it sounds at all the same - In Glorious Times is easily twice as heavy as Crimson's heaviest - but it shares many characteristics. The sometimes jarring dissonance, the unresolved harmonies, the tension, and the challenge it presents.

The previous Sleepytime releases were always odd, a bit heavy, and hard to categorize. This one falls more squarely into the metal camp - in fact, there are also far more traditional extreme metal elements than Sleepytime Gorilla Museum's previous records, and in a first for the band, there's some genuine death metal growling here. Track 2 "Helpless Corpses Enactment" is pure death metal. Very sophisticated compared to most practitioners of that genre, to be sure, but death metal nonetheless. For those progressive music fans who just can't take the so-called 'cookie monster' growls, just program your CD player to skip track 2 and you'll be happy. But if you're comfortable with death metal, that song might be one of the better examples of death metal you'll hear all year.

The crystalline female vocals we enjoyed on the band's prior albums are sadly not as evident here, and those odd voiceovers that characterized the last 2 records are present on this new release as well - in fact those voiceovers are becoming a Sleepytime Gorilla Museum trademark.

So In Glorious Times has tons of appeal for avant garde prog and metal fans. Let's hope it isn't too extreme for the prog fans, and it's probably too complex for the traditional metalheads. It deserves a huge audience in both camps though - and it deserves its full 5-star rating.

Track Listing:
1. The Companions
2. Helpless Corpses Enactment
3. Puppet Show
4. Formicary
5. Angle of Repose
6. Ossuary
7. The Salt Crown
8. The Only Dance
9. The Greenless Wreath
10.The Widening Eye
11.The Putrid Refrain

Added: May 4th 2007
Reviewer: Duncan Glenday
Score:
Related Link: The Band's Website
Hits: 5253
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Sleepytime Gorilla Museum: In Glorious Times
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2007-05-04 08:21:42
My Score:

The surprises don't stop on the latest from California's Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, In Glorius Times, now finding their home on The End Records, which seems like a perfect fit for this avant-garde/metal/prog act. I mention those three genres because the music of SGM, if you are not familiar with their eclectic sound, encompasses elements of those styles, yet sits firmly in none of them. Their music is sometime savage and extremely heavy, like on the brutal & technical death metal of "Helpless Corpses Enactment", and at other times quirky & majestic, which can he heard on "The Companions" and "Puppet Show". Part Faith No More, part Frank Zappa, part Mr. Bungle, part King Crimson, and part Strapping Young Lad...make any sense? Probably not, but in all honesty, the music of SBM doesn't make a hell of a lot of sense, but that's the beauty of it. Guitars mix with keyboards, percussion, and assorted strings & homemade instruments for a varied sonic platter, and there's no shortage of oddball male and female vocals permeating each song. Just when you think they have one style flowing from one track to the next, they hit you with a curveball and totally do an "about face" to really send you for a loop. Case in point, the intricate prog and grinding fusion of "Formicary", a real pulsating number with surprising groove (just listen to those sumptuous bass lines!) and complex arrangements, which totally deviates from the avant-prog & metal songs that come before it. "Angle of Repose" could almost be some long lost Magma track, complete with quirky female vocals and soaring violin. The whole CD moves like this, so strap your seatbelt on and get ready for an interesting ride.

Don't expect to pop In Glorious Times into your CD player and get some immediate warm and fuzzies...this one will take a few spins to fully entrench itself into your brain. When that happens, be prepared to fully experience and begin the journey into the Sleepytime Gorilla Museum. It's a trip you might not make it back from.



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