Rating:
N/A
Bigelf - Into The Maelstrom
3 March 2014


01. Incredible Time Machine
02. Hypersleep
03. Already Gone
04. Alien Frequency
05. The Professor & The Madman
06. Mr. Harry McQuhae
07. Vertigod
08. Control Freak
09. High
10. Edge Of Oblivion
11. Theater Of Dreams
12. ITM
    1 - Destination Unknown
    2 - Harbinger Of Death
    3 - Memorie


Picture The Beatles, Black Sabbath & Queen with OK computer's production! Climb aboard and take the trip...

No, that wasn't me: I was just the humble transcriber of Mike Portnoy's words about Bigelf's Into The Maelstrom. Let me tell you that the ubiquitous Mike wasn't so far from reality.

What's a Maelstrom? It's some kind of an eddy, that happens twice a day near to a Norwegian archipelago. It has fascinated many writers, as Jules Verne in his world famous book Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and Edgar Allan Poe in that sweet, little story that A Descent into the Maelstrom is. It seems that this whirlpool has inspired also some wonderful musicians.

But let's quit Wikipedia and plunge into the music. Six years after 2008's Cheat The Gallows, Bigelf return without two of their longtime members. Guitarist Ace Mark and drummer Steve Frothingham respectively were replaced by Luis Maldonado and that aforementioned nobody that Mike Portnoy is. This leads to the fact that Damon Fox's will, in the songwriting phase, shines now clearer than ever, being he is the only original member left in the band.

Consequently, Into The Maelstrom is less flamboyant and explosive than its predecessor, even if the band's craziness is overall unchanged. This album has a lot of Beatles vibe, reaching the top in the classical "Control Freak", but also inherits the heavy traits from Black Sabbath and Pink Floyd's psychedelia, with an always present - even if sometimes too shy - eye opened to the future.

Into The Maelstrom is slow and mid-paced in its majority, as many doomy releases, but ready to flawlessly go frantic. With tracks like "Already Gone" Fox's creature achieves once again the not so easy task of merging great amounts of influences; creating not just a shattered collage, but a tasty and well-stirred emulsion.

The introduction of the new members was a success. Maldonado's guitar contribution is extremely appreciable and drummer Portnoy manages not to steal the show but rather providing what the album's sound needs, plus some welcome reminders of why he's who he is now. Besides, Fox brings to the microphone some of the best vocal lines of his career.

Bigelf's latest album may not shine in originality or innovation, but is a great reminder of what the 70s brought, without falling into plagiarism. Nostalgia for the older, lesson for the younger, hallucinogens for everybody!


 



Written on 16.03.2014 by
R Lewis
Hopefully you won't agree with me, diversity of opinions is what makes metal so beautiful and varied.

So... critics and advices absolutely welcome.
More reviews by R Lewis ››



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Spirit Molecule - 16.03.2014 at 18:00  
Need to check this one out. I loved the Mad hatter album, I didn't even know they were still around till I saw this doing the rounds recently
BloodTears - 16.03.2014 at 20:35  
It's on my list this one. Still haven't had time to listen to it, but I will.

Saw Bigelf live once and they were brilliant. Too bad I never checked most of their albums properly. That changes now.
Doge of Venice - 16.03.2014 at 21:14  
Had a listen, and in my mind it wasn't great. Probably a little more consistent than Hex, but it was nowhere near as fun and enjoyable as Cheat the Gallows.
Stabby - 17.03.2014 at 03:24  
I'm just thrilled that they've released a new album! It doesn't happen often for this band. This one grew on me. It's easy to form a bit of an opinion after the first few songs and Incredible Time Machine and Hypersleep aren't anything like The Gravest Show On Earth and Blackball to start an album off, but there are some gems later in the album. These guys are a very good kind of crazy.
João Pirucas - 18.03.2014 at 05:05  
It's awesome.
Schnabeltier 24 - 18.03.2014 at 20:04  
"with OK computer's production"
Ok, I'll check it !
theembryo - 20.03.2014 at 09:14  
With obvious similarities to The Beatles' vocal style (to me anyway), I found it an enjoyable release - I'll be putting this on the cue for the work commute. "High" is particularly cool......
Thanks to R Lewis for review!

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