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Lord Of Mushrooms (France) - 2002 - "Lord of Mushrooms"
(53 min, "Musea")

Track List:

1. Void 8:55 
2. Predictions 9:07 
3. The Man Outside 7:33 
4. The Dream 5:51
5. Collision 5:41
6. Coma (inst.) 9:02
7. Afterlife 7:44

All tracks by: Lord Of Mushrooms, except
3: by Vallespi & Benayoun,
4: by James & Vallespi, 
7: by James, Vallespi, & Benayoun.
Produced by Lord Of Mushrooms.


Julien Vallespi - lead vocals
Laurent James - guitars; backing vocals
Quentin Benayoun - keyboards
Volodia Brice - drums
Julien Negro - bass; backing vocals

Preamble. And quite right you are! It was by no means necessary to write here that the eponymous album by the French band Lord Of Mushrooms (mush rooms?) is their debut. However, it's done already, and the written word remains. Which, in this very case (mind!) is, regardless of whether the word was really written or just typed:-)

The Album. Every Prog-lover knows that most of those contemporary bands that perform music in the vein of any of Progressive's classic three genres, namely Art-Rock, Prog-Metal, and Jazz-Fusion, don't shine with originality. So it is always great to hear music that remains highly original despite the fact that its classic origin is beyond any doubts. Certainly, saying so now, I mean Lord Of Mushrooms. The music that is presented on their debut album is, overall, of a unified stylistic concept and represents a real, diverse and complex, Classic Symphonic Art-Rock with elements of both of Prog-Metal and Jazz-Fusion. Though of course, such objects as the album's boundary tracks: Void and Afterlife (1 & 7), are free of any frivolous elements - yeah, those from the camp of Jazz-Fusion. Down to Earth, it also must be mentioned that there are three more tracks on "Lord of Mushrooms" that sound a bit different than the others, even though they're of the same predominant stylistics of the album. These are The Dream, Collision, and Coma (4, 5, & 6). The first of them features quite a long and highly innovative instrumental part that consists of Prog-Metal and Jazz-Fusion-related structures that are just wonderfully interwoven with each other. Can you imagine the interplay between heavy and, at the same time, complex solo-like riffs of electric guitar and jazz-like passages of piano, all of which are very fast and highly virtuosi? My dream to hear something like this again came true on The Dream. Before, I heard such an amazing combination of Prog-Metal and Jazz-Fusion only on the inconceivably underrated Black Sabbath album "Never Say Die" (1978). (Neither Cynic nor Atheist and any other bands that also tried to combine Prog-Metal and Jazz-Fusion impress me as much as Black Sabbath on the entire Side B of the said album and Lord Of Mushrooms on the said song.) Collision (5) is notable for the outstanding solos of bass that, moreover, play here the same important role as those of electric guitar and synthesizer. Also, Collision is the only track on the album where Jazz-Fusion is presented by solos of guitar, and not those of piano. Finally, the only aspect by which Coma (6) differs from all of the other tracks on the album lies in the absence of any vocals here. The number of the vocal and instrumental parts is approximately equal on all songs, except for still the same The Dream and Collision where instrumental arrangements cover about two thirds of each of them. Nevertheless, these very instrumental arrangements are always intensive on the album - regardless of whether there are vocals or not. Now, it's time to let you know that the main soloing instruments here are electric guitar, piano, various synthesizers, bass, and of course, drums. The solos of organ (sounds like Hammond B3, by the way) are present only on The Man Outside (3), while passages of an acoustic guitar on the said song and also on Coma (6). The latter is the only track on the album that features the parts of a string ensemble, while 'simply' lush passages of synthesizer are also heard on Predictions (2). Well, I see I have listed all the tracks that this album is made up of in this review, too (i.e. as usual). Oh, singer (almost forgot of him)! The band's vocalist is the only musician here whose parts, i.e. the voice and the way of singing, remind me of something (someone, of course). Hmm: Yes! This is Simon Boys from the UK band Thieves' Kitchen.

Summary. Need I say that the music of Lord of Mushrooms is filled with all the possible progressive features that are typical for the genre they've chosen? No? Indeed, no verses in this review, so at least I won't list those features here. To be serious on the whole, I liked this album as a whole. But while there are no holes in any of these very tasty mushrooms, I still prefer The Dream. As a last resort though, I can always regard it as a real Lord of Mushrooms, all of which, nevertheless, are of the nobility as well.

VM: November 29, 2002

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