Beardfish
Mammoth


4.4
superb

Review

by Greg Fisher STAFF
March 24th, 2011 | 204 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A lively and admirably diverse retro-prog album that revolves around top-notch songcraft rather than gimmicky technicality.

Hailing from Sweden, Beardfish have already proven that they are a renowned brand when it comes to eclectic prog genre. Their albums have always come as highly regarded among the restricted, yet hectic crowd of progsters. The key to success in their case seems to be the uncanny ability to combine a varied plethora of influences into the music that sounds familiar in a non-archaic manner. Their style clearly derives from numerous progressive acts being at their prime in the good old days of the 1970s. Still, there have been some faults inherent in their full-length releases that amidst some solidly crafted material contained excessively long compositions that failed to cohere. Their newest album "Mammoth" comes to the rescue presenting a significant shift in the band's direction.

First of all, the disc is way more focused than their previous releases. Beardfish have finally recorded an album that flows rather effortlessly by opting for way more focused as well as concise, often hook-driven songwriting. However, there are no apparent changes in the style of music to which they have been faithful throughout their whole almost 10-year career. As a result, "Mammoth" is both relatively accessible and intricate relying on constant alternations of time signatures, motives and moods. While the references to prog rock juggernauts such as King Crimson and Gentle Giant might be overly apparent at times, the album has its own specific atmosphere that warrants its longevity.

The musicianship seems to improve with every subsequent release of theirs. "Mammoth" serves as a proof by showcasing a more vibrant hard rock approach. The guitar shredding is heavier than ever and totally audible bass sections play an indispensable part in the band's admirably layered compositions making them far groovier. Still, the infectious melodies are very prominent thanks to the imaginative instrumentation as well as fitting vocals of Rikard Sioblom who often surprises with his range; for instance, by delivering an unexpectedly harsh hard rock performance in the album's standout composition "Green Waves" which comes as an epic hard rock anthem. In fact, Beardfish are at their best when their music is edgier and heavier as in the mighty opener "The Platform" which blends various mood changes seamlessly.

What especially distinguishes "Mammoth" from other similar releases is its diversity. Capitalizing on a hard rockish approach, the album still holds a healthy dose of surprises. "Akakabotu" is a jazz-inspired freakout of a track that makes a splendid use of saxophone, whereas melancholic ballad "Tightrope" works as a delightful send-up to psychedelic rock of the 1960s. On the other hand, 15-minute-long "And The Stone Said If I Could Speak" is hardly unusual for them, yet it's conceived with such a strong sense of imagination and melody that it ranks among their most accomplished epics. The same statement could easily be applied to far mellower "Without Saying Anything" that ends the album on a playful note.

All in all, "Mammoth" feels like a breakthrough album for Beardfish who approach their blend of fairly derivative retro-prog with well-structured, cohesive compositions that revolve around superb melodies. That's the excellent way to whet the current fans' appetite for the next album garnering some well deserved recognition in the process.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
greg84
Staff Reviewer
March 24th 2011


7464 Comments

Album Rating: 4.4

"Green Waves" live:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZwwzDAH81U

Jethro42
March 24th 2011


12634 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Okay, okay I understood; I need to get this haha. You took me by surprise on this one, really. Excellent review bro. 'Green Waves' rawks hard. Band's typical soundscape is barely recognizable on that track even though it's all the good old lineup.

North0House2
March 24th 2011


5889 Comments


Lol 'Beardfish'? That's legit.

Digging: BRNS - Patine

greg84
Staff Reviewer
March 24th 2011


7464 Comments

Album Rating: 4.4

@Jethro: Thanks so much bro. Well. I haven't been very subtle lately. Haha. And yeah. This is probably
their heaviest effort to date.

DurzoBlint
March 24th 2011


1195 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

King crimson in recommended... that alone is enough to make me check it out. Plus the name and album cover are good.

acorncheese
March 24th 2011


7119 Comments


Lol had NO idea these guys were releasing a new album this year. Sleeping in Traffic pt. 1 is just so good.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
March 24th 2011


7464 Comments

Album Rating: 4.4

@DurzoBlint: You couldn't make a better decision today. Ha. The band is well known among the prog
rockers. This is their 6th album.

DurzoBlint
March 24th 2011


1195 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yeah my prog rock knowledge is... poor and questionable at best. Just listened to green waves and enjoyed it, I guess this is more music I need to get. If I were to check out their previous albums too, what is their best / good place to start?

acorncheese
March 24th 2011


7119 Comments


Sleeping In Traffic Pt. 1

greg84
Staff Reviewer
March 24th 2011


7464 Comments

Album Rating: 4.4

Check out this one. Then, Sleeping In Traffic Pt. 1 and 2.

DurzoBlint
March 24th 2011


1195 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

alright thanks, I shall get those 3 albums... legit ofc... *shifty eyes*...

scissorlocked
March 24th 2011


3511 Comments


a Beardfish review? now, that's news!!

these guys are great, good job greg

Digging: Low Roar - Low Roar

Jethro42
March 24th 2011


12634 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

You apparently can't go wrong with Beardfish;
http://www.progarchives.com/artist.asp?id=2808
Based on ProgArchive's ratings, I've only picked up ''Sleeping in Traffic part II'' so far. I'm gonna change that situation.

acorncheese
March 24th 2011


7119 Comments


Pt. 1 is much superior imo

greg84
Staff Reviewer
March 24th 2011


7464 Comments

Album Rating: 4.4

Thanks scissorlocked. I'm bringing prog to the aisles of Sputnik. Not for the first time.

cb123
March 24th 2011


2059 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

nice review man, will have to check this out, only heard destined solitaire from these guys

Jethro42
March 24th 2011


12634 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'm bringing prog to the aisles of Sputnik

You have the ProgJect' official approval, mate.
Keep on spreading that prog!

greg84
Staff Reviewer
March 24th 2011


7464 Comments

Album Rating: 4.4

This is much better than Destined Solitaire imo. You should def give this a spin.

Cool Jethro. Glad I don't pose a competition. ;)

acorncheese
March 24th 2011


7119 Comments


Listened to a little of this. Liked what I heard a lot more than Destined Solitaire.

scissorlocked
March 24th 2011


3511 Comments


Jethro and Nag are the official mayors of Progcity man, your contributions are also welcome any time. Just be careful not to piss progmaster

go spread that prog!



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