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Brother Ape: A Rare Moment Of Insight

Following hot on the heels of 2009's Turbulence, which was a wonderful mix of frantic rhythms and stinging guitar breaks, comes A Rare Moment Of Insight, which is the fifth album from Swedish trio Brother Ape. The overall structure of album number five follows a similar path to its predecessor, with Max Bergman's busy, but precise beats pulsing behind some understated guitar fills and atmospheric keyboards. On paper it feels like a strange, uncomfortable mix, but the skilled arrangements actually blend the disparate parts together seamlessly, with the end result making a subtle, yet indelible mark.

Things though have changed slightly between Turbulence and A Rare Moment Of Insight. Firstly is that the guitar work of Stefan Damicolas and Gunnar Maxen's throbbing bass is less aggressive this time round, and this may directly affect the second main change, which is that this is a slightly harder, less instant nut to crack. Persevere though and the rewards do begin to reveal themselves, with the mixture of Damicolas' guitars (and keyboards) swaying through songs like "Echoes Of Madness" with a gentle, yet insistent ease. Add to that Maxen's layers of keys and thoughtful bass contributions and the results vary from light, airy release to claustrophobic intensity. What really gels it all together though is the vocals which are also performed by Damicolas, he somehow always manages to sound totally in control of the songs, even though the slight echo on his voice makes him feel slightly isolated and melancholy, whether the music is galloping at full pace, or meandering gently.

The best example of Brother Ape at their deep, dark best comes in the shape of the brooding "The Art Of Letting Go" which slowly builds from a vocal dominated, guitar motif into an intense riff fuelled rocker that builds in ferocity. Oddly enough this setting sees Bergman's percussion at its most restrained, as he lets the other instruments take centre stage. However when the guitars and keys are more refined and understated, as they are on "Juggernaut Now" and "Ultramarathon", the drums busily fill the gaps the other instruments leave with the thickest, danciest grooves you are ever likely to hear in prog rock.

Whether it is through familiarity I'm not sure, but Turbulence still has a slight edge on A Rare Moment Of Insight, as I do ever so slightly miss the harsher tones that are not quite as prevalent this time round. That said, every new listen to this album reveals more shades and textures, ensuring it will be a disc I revisit on a regular basis, and who can ask for more?

Track Listing
1 Juggernaut now
2 Chrysalis
3 Ultramarathon
4 Seabound
5 Instinct
6 Echoes of madness
7 The Art of letting go
8 In a rare moment

Added: January 5th 2011
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Official Brother Ape Web Site
Hits: 2603
Language: english

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