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Gargamel: Watch for the Umbles

Here's another winner from the folks at Record Heaven/Transubstans Records. Gargamel are a prog band from Oslo, Norway, whose debut album Watch for the Umbles is sure to make some waves among lovers of 70's styled progressive rock music. Hints of Van Der Graaf Generator, especially in the lead vocals and raging Hammond organ, as well as bands like Univers Zero, Eloy, Anglagard, Anekdoten, and King Crimson, can be heard throughout this CD. Overall, the music is pretty dark and ominous, littered with keyboards (Hammond organ, Mellotron, electric piano, Moog synths), guitar, flute, cello, saxophone, bass, and drums. As the album kicks off, you are assaulted by the Deep Purple meets Van Der Graaf Generator madness of "Ties", a lengthy and hard rocking prog number with beefy yet angular guitar riffs and wonderful Hammond organ passages, as well as creepy cello. "Strayed Again" is a wonderful near 13-minute epic with cello and flute battles, not to mention heavy guitar work and organ, and trippy electric piano. Lead vocals are in a similar style to VDGG's Peter Hammill, filled with plenty of emotion and angst. There's some dreamy and chilling sounds on "Below the Water", a dark piece highlighted by cold vocals, biting lead guitar, haunting cello, and waves of Mellotron & electric piano. The Mellotron is once again at the helm on the intro to "Into the Cold", an upbeat number with loads of stabbing flute, cello, and electric piano. The band goes for some dark yet majestic psychedelic sounds on "Agitated Mind", which starts off with gently picked electric guitar chords before the mysterious vocals and spacey electric piano kicks in. This ones a near 18-minute monster that will instantly bring a smile to the face of Eloy or Pink Floyd fans. In fact, near the mid-way point on this tune, I was reminded of "Echoes" by Floyd with all the keyboard effects and atmospherics.

It's hard to imagine that Gargamel will fail to make a splash with Watch for the Umbles, a dark and complex prog rock opus that has all the characteristics that lovers of the genre want to hear. My guess is we will be hearing much more about this band in the months ahead, along with bands like Wobbler, who are also keeping 70's prog alive. Highly recommended!

Track Listing
1) Ties (8:46)
2) Strayed Again (12:52)
3) Below the Water (6:43)
4) Into the Cold (11:52)
5) Agitated Mind (17:42)

Added: January 29th 2006
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 3069
Language: english

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