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Beardfish: Mammoth

And the stone said…

Wow! What a great album by a fantastic band. Granted I have heard little of Beardfish in the past but this album was one great introduction to them. The sixth album by Beardfish is a pretty good improvement from what little I had heard from their other albums. It mixes great jazz riffs with progy backings to really add to the overall feel of the album.

One reason why I really like this album is because of the jazz elements incorporated in it. Since I myself am a jazz saxophonist the jazzy elements really make this one special. I really like how Beardfish puts little samplings of jazz tunes into their music while still mostly staying in the prog range. One song that really shows this is "And The Stone Said" which, in my opinion, is the most jazzy on the album. Besides great saxophone melodies, David Zackrisson does a great job on guitars. They blend very nicely in with the rest of the instruments on the track, providing an overall smooth and laid back feel. And, if you are looking for and epic "And The Stone Said" is a great song for you. Topping out at around 15 minutes, it sets a good tone for the whole album. In the beginning of the song the guitars are absolutely superb and are right in sync with the keyboards, which are expertly played by Rikard Sjöblom who also doubles as the vocalist. It also includes a short but noticeable section where it sounds a lot like The Beatles "Magical Mystery Tour".

Speaking of vocals this album has much to offer in that category. Rikard Sjöblom's voice plays along well with the saxophone and guitar melodies in almost all of the songs. There are just a couple of places throughout the album where his voice seems okay instead of great. Like on the track "Tightrope" where a lot of the time while he is singing there is no one playing an instrument. For his voice, I think there needs to be at least something to back him up since it makes him sound so much better. But other than "Tightrope" his voice is very good, especially on the tracks "And The Stone Said", "The Platform", and "Without Saying Anything".

The production on this album is another great highpoint that really caught my attention. It makes Mammoth almost sound like an early to late 70's prog recording, which is to say that it is absolutely superb in almost every way.

Mammoth, as I said before, has a great sound and feel to it that any prog fan would enjoy. I enjoyed this one much more than a lot of recent prog releases since I am a sax player and the production is absolutely awesome. Throughout the whole album the sax, keyboards, and guitars really pop out and are showcased perfectly. For a great release, Beardfish gets 4 stars.

Track Listing
1. The Platform
2.And The Stone Said: If I Could Speak
3. Tightrope
4. Green Waves
5. Outside / Inside
6. Akakabotu
7. Without Saying Anything (feat. Ventriloquist)

Added: March 29th 2011
Reviewer: Brian Block
Related Link: Band MySpace Page
Hits: 4295
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Beardfish: Mammoth
Posted by Jeff B, SoT Staff Writer on 2011-03-29 19:39:20
My Score:

Since their inception in 2000, Beardfish has gained a reputation as one of Sweden's finest progressive rock exports - surely no small feat when one considers the shocking number of quality prog bands from the country. Mammoth lives up to (and often exceeds) the expectation that Beardfish has established for themselves in their decade-long history. This is yet another stellar effort from this great band, which should come as no surprise to their dedicated following. Whether or not this matches up to their previous efforts depends on the listener; all I know is that Mammoth is one hell of an album and a warm recommendation from this reviewer.

For those who know Beardfish, Mammoth is unquestionably their work. Expect symphonic progressive rock (in the vein of Yes) intermixed with jazzy Frank Zappa influences and hard rock-tinged riffs. Songs like "Akakabotu" show the fusion-influenced side of Beardfish - this is also a style the band also has down pat. There are also some sections where I'm reminded of Van Der Graaf Generator (maybe because of the semi-dark atmospheres with saxophone solos). Beardfish may not be the most revolutionary band out there, but they deliver their style better than most acts for sure. Every song here is a memorable prog rock tour-de-force filled with stellar musicianship across the board. In terms of musicianship, I especially have to applaud Rikard Sjöblom. His use of vintage keyboards (particularly the organ and mellotron) is simply irresistible for a keyboard freak (such as myself), and his vocal performances certainly aren't shabby either. In addition to the vintage instrumentation, the production also sounds a bit "retro" to these ears. The production is polished and professional sounding, but maintains a clean and somewhat-raw atmosphere throughout. That's how I like my symphonic prog to sound.

Beardfish has been delivering quality prog rock for over a decade now, and Mammoth is definitely another "mammoth" effort from these seasoned Swedish veterans. Fans of the band will want to make sure this gets in their collection, and people who are new to Beardfish may also want to give this a shot. Mammoth is a great album and I'm sure it'll be making its way into many "top 10" lists of 2011. 4 stars are well-deserved for this remarkable achievement.

» Reader Comments:

Beardfish: Mammoth
Posted by Karl Jones on 2011-05-15 10:30:09
My Score:

Fantastic album..Akakabotu probably my favourite Beardfish track. Jazz/ prog rock heaven, can listento this all day.

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