Produced by Damon Fox. Recorded at The End, Lund. Engineered by Ian Lehrfeld and Carl Grandberg. Additional recording at Varispeed, Lund. Mixed by Ian Lehrfeld and Kevin Wilson at Radiostar Studios, Weed. Additional engineering: Rich Veltrop. Mastered by David Schultz at Digiprep, Los Angeles.
Of the 195 CDs in this project I have only seen three of the artists live in concert: Kreator, Motörhead and, remarkably, Bigelf. I saw them on the Prognation ’09 Tour with Opeth and Dream Theater.
Their live set was a good, old fashioned rock show. It felt like I had been transported back to the 60s or 70s, the stage dominated by two enormous Hammond-style organs and jammed in between them their own mad hatter Damon Fox: all hair and top hat.
If you’ve ever wondered what you would get if you mixed in equal parts the sounds of The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Clutch, and Orange Goblin then wonder no longer. The answer is Bigelf.
The album kicks off with “Madhatter” which has a sludgy, stoner-sounding riff in the Orange Goblin/Clutch ballpark but which morphs into a trippy early-Floyd chorus before returning to the opening riff.
“Bats In the Belfry II” reminds me of The Beatles Abbey Road or Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band era in its orchestration and vocal treatment. It has a psychedelic 60s feel to it.
“Disappear” opens with a smooth bass riff around which a very simple organ line winds itself. It sounds like a Faith No More b-side. But it’s brilliant. The melody gets into your head and more than once I’ve found myself humming it to myself hours after listening to the album.
The same for “Rock & Roll Contract”. I’ve found myself walking down the street singing lines from that song out loud. Unusual given that the song opens with a solo piano that leads into a very Beatles-sounding melody.
The opening riff to “Black Moth” clearly draws more than a little inspiration from Led Zeppelin’s “Dazed and Confused” before heading in its own direction as a ponderous song with a rolling guitar riff that must be so fun to play.
And that’s the thing about this album. It’s tremendous fun to listen to. It’s an effortless listen. It draws on so many classic rock influences that it immediately sounds familiar, it immediately sounds contemporary (how can it be ten years old?!), it immediately sounds like a classic album in its own right. But it never makes the mistake of sounding like a cliché or a pastiche.
I was a bit nervous about listening to this album because I’d enjoyed their live set so much, I didn’t want lose some of that magic. I needn’t have feared. This is a brilliant album. It is varied, it’s interesting, and there is something for everyone. It’s prog, it’s doom, it’s classic rock, it’s heavy metal, it’s psychedelic, it’s stoner, it’s sludge. It’s Bigelf and I love this album.
Review score: 95%