Saturday, March 23, 2013

Birds and Buildings - Bantam to Behemoth (2008)
If a skeptic needed to be convinced that modern prog rock can compete with the classics, then this album would be exhibit A. "Bantam to Behemoth" is a veritable behemoth of an album with some of the most complex and creative musicianship the prog world has to offer and almost every classic prog style being represented from symphonic to fusion to even zeuhl. As the vocals are sparse, this is an instrument-driven album and it is the instrumentation here that earns the band the right to be considered in a class unto their own. The wild percussion, intricate guitars, beautiful piano and saxophone, as well as the absolutely masterful use of the mellotron all make for a stunningly good masterpiece of an album. Along with Steven Wilson's solo albums, I can think of no other modern prog record that captures the musical essence of records such as King Crimson's "Lizard" or Genesis' "Selling England By the Pound" such as "Bantam to Behemoth" does. It's has a distinctly nostalgic quality about it, yet it sounds so fresh -- as though we're still in that incredibly prolific period of the 70's where musical innovations seemingly arose every day. The band's ability to make past sounds fresh and relevant is their greatest strength, and I sincerely hope many more people will discover and appreciate this album as I did.

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