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(43:22, Bad Elephant Music)
TRACK LIST: 1. A Scattering 8:28 2. Crookedness 4:52 3. Grey Malkin 4:50 4. Kettle and Cauldron 3:05 5. Firecracker 5:02 6. Embers 6:43 7. Clamour 4:53 8. They Broadcast My Birthday on a Numbers Station 5:29 LINEUP: Tom Slatter - all instruments with: Alun Vaughan - bass guitar Chrissie Caulfield - violin
Prolusion. UK project MURDER AND PARLIAMENT is a side venture for composer and musician Tom Slatter. The self-titled debut album of this project was released towards the tail end of 2017 through UK progressive rock specialist label Bad Elephant Music.
Analysis. From what Slatter himself states on the website of Murder and Parliament, the core ideas for this album was developed back in 2005 or thereabouts. Dating back to his college days, where "he wrote a portfolio of compositions that were sort of classical (albeit with lots of heavy metal chords and ideas) for string quartet, solo harp and piano." Enlisting the aid of bassist Vaughan and violinist Caulfield, 2017 became the year when these school project writings were to be realized with their full potential. Those who expect to find classical oriented bits and pieces with heavy metal details, or vice versa, based on the above quote will probably be rather disappointed though. To open and conclude this album we're presented with material that, I guess, might be best described as post-progressive hard rock instrumentals, and in between those cuts that opens and ends this album on a more or less related note, we get a great deal of variety. Second cut Crookedness comes across as a lighter intensity take on classic Iron Maiden, broken up with dream-laden plucked guitars and careful keyboards, while Grey Malkin and the later Embers are more in line with the landscapes a band like Ohmphrey's might explore, with jam band tendencies, jazz, hard rock and a wee bit of metal thrown into a pot to simmer. Kettle and Cauldron sounds like a more intense take on Tomita's particular kind of music, while Firecracker has a go at blending folk music and jazz inside a possibly post-progressive general context. Embers, on the other hand, is a mournful almost ambient escapade with psychedelic touches and jazz-tinged undertones that strikes out towards progressive rock territories now and then. Quite the mixed bag of goodies in other words, and all of it instrumental too, just in case that hasn't already been mentioned. The mix and production perhaps not quite at the level many would expect at all times, a bit rough around the edges if you like, and the material do come across as being the work of a younger mind at times too. An eclectic and varied production however, and most likely more than challenging enough for the greater majority of progressive rock fans.
Conclusion. "Murder and Parliament" isn't quite as intense as the band and album title may well indicate, nor is the scale of it as grandiose as the title may appear to reference. But if eclectic and varied instrumental progressive rock is your thing, this is probably a production that will interest you on some level or the other. Personally I'd suggest that fans of band such as earlier referenced Ohmphrey might take note of this album, and I wouldn't be all that surprised if fans of bands such as The Fierce & the Dead might well take a fancy to this album either.
Progmessor: December 30th, 2017
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