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Beardfish – Mammoth: Review

March 28 marks the release date of Mammoth, the upcoming album of the progressive rock band Beardfish. The Swedish quartet is known for their consistently good releases in the past, and this one is sure to add bulk to their already strong catalog. Any fans of the band, or of progressive rock in general, should be nothing less than pleased with this release.

The Music (rating: A)

  1. The Platform
  2. And the Stone Said If I Could Speak
  3. Tightrope
  4. Green Waves
  5. Outside Inside
  6. Akakabotu
  7. Without Saying Anything (Feat. Ventriloquist)

Mammoth has a very strong progressive feel with many jazz elements incorporated into it. Even the instrumental tones resemble that of the older, classic progressive rock bands. There are unmistakable influences of progressive legends such as Zappa, Yes, and King Crimson, though not as strong as their earlier releases. This one takes more of a straightforward hard rock approach. Still, with Beardfish nothing is ever straightforward. There is less of an experimental or artsy approach as the Sleeping in Traffic two-piece, but this record undoubtedly overflows with progressive intricacies and unorthodox melodies. Any fan of the band or genre will be no less than impressed.

There are many strong aspects regarding this album, but among the most appealing is the overall structuring of the songs. Every song contains many complex and abnormal leads and melodic phrasing, but they are given their fair share of time in the spotlight. Instead of being simply a standout surprise, they are elevated to a level in which the audience can easily form an emotional connection with. Beardfish shows a grandeur of patience with every song, often dwelling on instrumental pieces as to expose the listeners to the full potential of each section – nothing less. Whether it be with reprises or with humongous, Mammoth-like buildups, the band really knows how to paint a single phrase in a million different lights.

With this band, it is understood that the instrumental and musical execution are both at a high level of complexity. It is not forced though, and its complexity is more layered and less upfront (like that of Dream Theater). There are still nice displays of jazzy saxophone parts, instrumental showcasing, and all the beauty of progressive rock,  but it simply is not excessive or unwarranted. Even more commendable, the band reaches out to a variety of styles with their natural affinity for progressive rock. Whether it be the hard rock stylings of “Green Waves” or the mellower side with “Tightrope,” there is not a moment in Mammoth that feels out-of-place in the record or in the band’s collection. Of course, the album does not hit the most extremes of styles and actually remains in a fairly close quarters, but they are able to break many boundaries with their musically masterful minds and instrumental talents which most others are unfortunately incapable of doing.

Whether it is just me or the record, something really clicked with Mammoth. It took a few listens to fully embrace, but this one is a real winner. The musicianship is fantastic and diverse in its approach and style, and the instruments are no less appreciable. The melodies in their most basic forms are beautiful, and they are built up to their fullest at all times. And to top it all off, they are able to evoke the nostalgia and finesse of progressive pioneers without even having been there! All in all, Mammoth is another amazing piece by the Swedish elites, Beardfish.

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