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Track List: 1. Appearance 5:38 2. The Duke 11:45 3. Outside the Ring 2:43 4. A Meaningless Discussion 6:31 5. Morning Evening 6:44 6. Baker's Wife 1:19 7. Wagons 4:55 8. Apocalypse On Schedule 6:40 9. Triumph of Oppression 12:40 10. The Parks 8:25 11. The Council Never Ends 5:06 All tracks: by Moon Fog Prophet. Line-up: Mika Ratto - keyboards; vocals Teemu Majaluoma - guitars; vocals Veli Nuorsaan - drums & percussion Mikko Elo - basses The band's (!) notes: Various other instruments appear uncredited. Special people appearance by: M. Elo, T. Elo, & D. Finley. Produced by Moon Fog Prophet, H. Wetterstrand, & T. Elo. Engineered by Moon Fog Prophet & H. Wetterstrand.
Preamble. Above all, I should note that I asked Mauro Moroni at Mellow Global Media to send me the most innovative and non-standard albums from the label's recent releases. Having received a bunch of requested promo CDs this week, first, I decided to review those by Finnish bands. Which, above all, is due to my knowledge of Finland's Progressive, which is by no means intimate. So, the hero of this review is the "Taunting the Bells Through the Mammal Void" album by Moon Fog Prophet.
The Album. A highest originality, complexity, and intensity, a wonderful eclecticism, hypnotism, mystery, and magic - these are the key aspects of the "Taunting the Bells Through the Mammal Void" album. It consists of eleven tracks, four of which are instrumental compositions. Three of these instrumentals: Appearance, Wagons, and Triumph of Oppression (1, 7, & 9), and the two songs: A Meaningful Discussion and The Council Never Ends (4 & 11), are about an incredibly unique and highly intricate Symphonic Space Metal where, though, the quantity of purely symphonic textures is quite considerable. The song, Apocalypse On Schedule (8) is stylistically close to the predominant stylistics of the album (that I've just defined), though it's a bass, and not an electric guitar, that plays an aggressively 'riffing' role in the arrangements on it. The music on the songs: Morning Evening and The Parks (5 & 10), and the remaining instrumental piece, Baker's Wife (6), represents a truly Modern, very original and, at the same time, highly complex, Symphonic Art-Rock with elements of Space- Rock or Metal. The first of the said songs however, features also just a wonderful instrumental episode where all the soloing parts suddenly transformed into the distinctive features of Jazz-Fusion, which, though, is here completely original as well. There are two singers on "Taunting the Bells Through the Mammal Void", and what is especially amazing, is that the vocals of both of them are operatic. The female vocalizes are heard on the album from time to time as well. Can you imagine a highly complex Space Rock of a dramatic character and with operatic vocals? I think not - unless you get and listen to this album. Nevertheless, purely instrumental arrangements that, by the way, are intensive throughout each of the aforementioned nine tracks, cover about two thirds of any song on the album and, mainly, represent Space Rock jams that are both eclectic and hypnotic. The set of main soloing instruments is here traditional. These are electric and semi-acoustic guitars, synthesizers and the piano, bass, and drums. The parts of hand percussion instruments are present on The Duke and Wagons (2 & 7), and those of organ only on A Meaningful Discussion (4). As for the instruments that these brave and ambitious Finns didn't mention in the CD booklet, these are a violin, harmonica, and acoustic guitar. The excellent, 'velvet', passages of violin is featured on Triumph of Oppression (9). While the rhythms of acoustic guitar and solos of harmonica represent all the instrumental contents that the strangest song on the album, Outside the Ring (3), consists of. In my honest opinion, this song and The Duke (2), which, overall, is about quite a monotonous spacey music, were pointlessly included in this brilliant album. I really wonder why these talented Northerners decide to add two more accessible songs to those nine tracks that I've described first, especially since taken together, they last 58 minutes, which is more than enough for a full-fledged album.
Summary. Nevertheless, the presence of a couple of unnecessary songs on this outstandingly original and complex album doesn't diminish the value of it at all. I warrant you that Moon Fog Prophet's "Taunting the Bells Through the Mammal Void" is just a fantastically innovative and interesting album. Furthermore, I don't remember even a single Space Rock album that would be as intricate as this one. You will need many listens to this album to get into, but it's really worth it.
VM: February 6, 2003
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