Gargamel - _Descending_
(Record Heaven / Transubstans Records, 2009)
by: Quentin Kalis (8 out of 10)
Named for the Smurf's nemesis, the four lengthy songs of their sophomore had the foundations recorded live in studio and overdubbed with instruments such as mellotron, Hammond organ and Moog. The faux improv is most noticeable on instrumental sections such as the aptly named and labyrinthine (ahem) "Labyrinth". It's not an instrumental project, but the measured use of vocals means it comes pretty close. Based in 1970's progressive hard rock but with a modern production, comparisons can easily be made with Van de Graaf Generator. For an album with loads of trippy sections, this is anything but easygoing, and is imbued with a darkness other '70s hard rock revivalists lack. Be warned: this is a gloomy listen and they have a tendency to wander off on extremely lengthy prog tangents -- aspects which I greatly appreciated, but which understandably, may put off those who want to rock out instead of feeling blue. (Had to get that in somewhere!)


(article published 2/5/2010)

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