BIGELF - Into The Maelstrom

Kategorie: CD-Reviews | Genre: Classic Rock, Prog, Psychedelic/Space Rock | Heft: Jahrgang 2014, eclipsed Nr. 158 / 3-2014 | VÖ-Jahr: 2014 | Wertung: 9/10, Album des Monats | Label: Inside Out | Autor: MB

When you enter Bigelf's rehearsal room in L.A., you experience the ultimate retro trip, a brightly colored journey back in time to the seventies. Only here you have the opportunity to listen to the Beatles and Black Sabbath at the height of their career during a joint session. The amazing thing: Bigelf have been using this concept since the early nineties. Together with bands and artists like the Black Crowes, Jellyfish and Lenny Kravitz they belonged to the first US retro rock wave worth mentioning. The big success was denied to the band at that time. But thanks to "Cheat The Gallows" (2008/09) and her participation in the prestigious "Progressive Nation" tour with Dream Theater and Opeth, she was suddenly on everyone's lips. But instead of shooting the fourth album into orbit in 2011, the band suddenly lay on ice. Nothing worked anymore. Once again the former Dream Theatre drummer Mike Portnoy, who singer/keyboarder/guitarist Damon Fox (with his inevitable top hat seems like a mixture of Willy Wonka ["Charlie and the Chocolate Factory"] and Rasputin), gave encouragement to in this phase and who himself can be heard on the new album instead of Steve Frothingham. Yes, Bigelf also has heads rolled, and so guitarist Luis Maldonado replaces Ace Mark as the second newcomer. But the long crisis of meaning also had its good side: The quality of "Into The Maelstrom" even surpasses that of "Cheat The Gallows" - by far. Admittedly, Bigelf make uninhibited use of the rich fundus of rock history, but the twelve perfectly composed songs, among which not a single failure can be lamented, sound incredibly fresh and alive. The album is - as the opener "Incredible Time Machine" suggests - an LSD-laden trip through times and epochs: It ranges from weird psych ("Vertigod", "Mr. Harry McQuhae") to dazzling classic rock ("Edge Of Oblivion", "ITM") and slightly progressive arrangements ("High") to compact Beatles songwriting ("Already Gone", "Theater Of Dreams"). An almost inexhaustible palette of styles and moods. "Control Freak" and the enormously varied climax "High" celebrate the doomed heaviness of the early Black Sabbath. Damon Fox sounds like a vital Ozzy at times, only to recreate all four Beatles at the same time in the next moment! Even the strictly analogue production sounds authentic and warm. The time for the big breakthrough has come for Bigelf once again. If not now, when?!

Top track: High

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