Monday, October 23, 2006
Many prog-metal bands seem to be a combination of heavy metal, symphonic prog and fusion. SGM is more like where heavy metal meets avant prog and dada. They use a large collection of homemade instruments in addition to drums, bass, violin, keyboards and (occasionally blisteringly loud) guitar. Many of the invented instruments are percussive, like the "slide piano log" that produces the deep, vibrating notes that open "Powerless".
The music ranges in style from the ultra-heavy, paint peeling "1997" to the vaguely threatening lullaby that makes up the first half of "Sleepytime" and the very sparse "Sunflower" (comprised of just intermittent bells and plucked strings of what sounds like a harp). And even though it often gets unusual enough to draw comparisons to bands like Mr. Bungle or Thinking Plague, the music is also catchy enough at times that it might appeal to mainstream metal fans.
To give some idea of the quirkiness of this band - the second track is a nifty instrumental with odd time signatures and shifting accents, and only one word of lyrics, when the vocalist shouts "Ambugaton!". The credits read "music: David, word: Hank Williams". The liner notes are also a mindbender, detailing the history of the dadaist museum from which the band takes its name, and the mysterious characters who inspired it all. Is any of it true? Who knows, but it makes for interesting reading.
The band's live performances are even better than the album. They'll probably appeal to fans of the heavier end of the avant spectrum as much as (if not more than) fans of regular prog-metal. (Year of Release: 2001)
1. Sleep Is Wrong
4. 1997 (Tonight We're Gonna Party Like It's...)
5. The Miniature
7. The Stain
8. Sleepytime (Spirit Is A Bone)
Download: Sleepytime Gorilla Museum - Grand Opening and Closing (63.2MB)