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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Famlende Fors0k

One Night I Had a Frightful Dream

Review by Gary Hill

Another album based on the works of H. P. Lovecraft, this is one of the cooler ones out there. It is a little hard to find, but well worth the effort. This one combines ambient music with more standard prog elements and spoken words. All the lyrics but those to one song were spoken recitations taken directly from Lovecraft's writings. While this doesn't completely come across as progressive rock, it certainly is close enough to include it here. I believe that most prog fans will be able to appreciate it, too. I don't know if I can say that about some of the other progressive rock out there. This is weird and spooky, but also very cool. They include both organic and electronic sources in producing their soundscape. For more information or to obtain this disc (at last check it was available both on vinyl and in the form of CDr) contact Lumpy Davy at lumpy.davy@c2i.net.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2005 Year Book Volume 1 at https://garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2005.

Track by Track Review
Supernatural Horror In Literature
Weird sounds begin this in ambient ways. This backdrop is ever so slowly built upon. A thesis that H. P. Lovecraft wrote by the same title is read over top of this background. This is quite cool. The backdrop is a melancholy sedate creeping music. Bass guitar comes in to end it.
The Dunwich Horror
More weird keys start this and form both the back from and insect like electronic chirps. Then a mellow soothing melody emerges over top. This has another spoken recitation taken from Lovecraft' writings. Cacophonic piano eventually takes it, feeling both playful and scary, while other musical elements foretell doom. This turns into a RIO like jam for a short time, then ends.
The Call of Cthulhu
Weirdly altered voices start this and jumble drums enter. A Lovecraftian chant comes in over top of this background. This is appropriately weird. It moves into strange cacophony as it carries on. After the recitation bass guitar (provided by guest Fireaxe's Brian Voth) enters to bring a driving rock beat and noisy crunchy guitar comes in over top of this. This turns into a noisy, but quite cool jam with the occasional Eastern tone. Then weird sounds and more jungle percussion come in and eventually gain control to end it.
The Shadow Over Innsmouth
Noisy weirdness makes up the backdrop to this one.
The Gardens of Yin
Water coming down starts this, then pretty keys enter. This backdrop serves to create the scenario over which the reading plays. This is one of the most effective cuts on the disc.
Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath
Ambient keys and a mournful sax serve as the accompaniment for this reading.
The Festival
This one comes in with the weirdest elements of all, building a mellow melody that feels both pretty, but also other worldly. It gradually builds into a dramatic and very well fleshed out song. This is another standout. Violin and flute play over the top of this melancholy cut. Eventually the pace ramps up to a nervous pattern, moving steadily faster and faster. It drops back to near atmosphere for the closing line.
Al Azif
Weird effects start this, joined shortly by flute. The cut begins building, but only a little. This one is another that is very weird. It gets very noisy is it carries on.
The Ancient Track
A feeling of impending doom comes in with the ambient sounds of this track. This again builds only a little, but is an effectively creepy piece of atmosphere. This eventually gets louder, but the effect is of an ever-closing atmosphere of fear, but also wonder. Eventually it gives way to a new movie soundtrack type melody, but this only stays for a short time, instead dropping back to near silence to gradually end.
At The Mountains of Madness
Sound effects start this and plaintive violin wails come in over top. Other instruments throw hints of a melancholy melody that never full comes in. Indeed, it drops back to only sound effects for the backdrop of the first reading. Then some more melody emerges after the voice retreats, building gradually, but dramatically. When the voice returns the melody lines remain seeming almost to seek to quiet the speaking. This is another standout track.
A Gentleman From Providence
Sci-fi like sound effects conjuring up pictures of a flying saucer, begin this, then eventually disappear. Ambient sounds take over and barely accompany the recitation aft first. This eventually builds up as it carries on, becoming more and more threatening. Weird as it is, this one is very cool. The sounds eventually take over and begin to resemble those that started it. They crescendo and a guitar "laugh" enters and echoes to end the piece. This is the only lyric not written by Lovecraft, but rather written about him.
 
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