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Bigelf: Cheat the Gallows

California's Bigelf have been wowing audiences now for over a decade with their brand of 70's inspired retro rock, and their latest Cheat the Gallows is another super release from these guys. Combining elements of Black Sabbath, David Bowie, The Beatles, Deep Purple, The Who, Atomic Rooster, Pink Floyd, and ELO, Bigelf consistently bridge the gap between heavy rock, prog, psychedelia, and British pop-rock, and they do so once again here on Cheat the Gallows. From the opening glam/crunch of "Gravest Show on Earth", to the bluesy yet proggy romp of "Blackball", this thing kicks off into high gear. Check out Damon Fox's tasty Hammond organ and electric piano trading licks with Ace Mark's stinging guitar licks on the latter, reminding of vintage Deep Purple, and the added sax leads bring some jazz feel to the track as well.

"Money, It's Pure Evil" is like a long lost hybrid of Pink Floyd & The Beatles,Damon's vocals very much sounding like a mix of Lennon & Waters, while Mellotron flutes and scorching guitar licks permeate the mix for what ultimately is just a great heavy pop song. Classing Bigelf doom is ever present on the bombastic "The Evils of Rock & Roll", complete with ominous Mellotron, huge guitar riffs, and pounding drum work from Froth. The chugging middle section will easily make Black Sabbath or Deep Purple fans extremely happy with its headbanging fury. After the progressive pop of "No Parachute", a cute little number with plenty of vintage synths & Mellotron, as well as a scorching David Gilmour inspired guitar solo, the band lurches into the symphonic "The Game", a stunning pyschedelic pop number with more Beatles/ELO elements, Mellotron & Hammond soaring throughout the mix, and Fox's lead vocals passionate yet powerful. The band rocks out with some Bowie-meets-Uriah Heep styled boogie on "Superstar", a heavy rock number that just screams 1973, while "Race With Time" once again pushes the Pink Floyd button, with a touch of Black Sabbath thrown in for good measure. Vintage keyboards collide with crunchy guitar riffs on "Hydra", and the CD closes with the melodic number "Counting Sheep", a tune that makes you wonder what ELO's Out of the Blue album would have sounded like with heavy riffs to go alongside the soaring vocal harmonies and strings.

This CD is just so impressive on so many levels, you just need to hear it to believe it. I'm on the fence though about giving this a perfect score, as a tiny fraction of me says that despite how memorable these songs are and how well played the whole affair is, the guys really haven't advanced their sound at all over the last 12 years, but hey, in the long run, who cares. I'm cool with retro type stuff like this as long as it sounds fresh and the songs are well written, catchy, and push all the right 70's buttons. Cheat the Gallows does that and then some. Hopefully the US will follow Europe and realize just how great this band really is.

Track Listing
1. Gravest Show on Earth
2. Blackball
3. Money, It's Pure Evil
4. The Evils of Rock & Roll
5. No Parachute
6. The Game
7. Superstar
8. Race with Time
9. Hydra
10. Counting Sheep

Added: November 10th 2008
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 2848
Language: english

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