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Album cover

Lord of Mushrooms - Lord Of Mushrooms

Artist: Lord of Mushrooms
Title: Lord Of Mushrooms
Label: Musea FGBG 4456.AR
Length(s): 53 minutes
Year(s) of release: 2002
Month of review: [03/2003]

Line up

Julien Vallespi - lead vocals
Julien Negro - bass, vocals
Laurent James - guitars, vocals
Quentin Benayoun - keyboards
Volodia Brice - drums

Tracks

1) Void 8.55
2) Predictions 9.07
3) The Man Outside 7.33 MP3 or RealAudio
4) The Dream 5.51
5) Collision 5.41
6) Coma 9.02
7) Afterlife 7.44

Summary

On the back cover this seems like one of your average progmetal band, but the bio points more into the direction of modern prog for this band from France.

The music

Void begins rather low-key (had to turn op my volume), but turns out to a rather typical modern progressive rock track. My first thought goes to Jadis, also because of the sound of the vocals which are similar to Chandlers although a bit higher. The instrumental interlude is a bit more fiddly then what Jadis usually does. The guitar sound is sharp here, some of the instrumental meandering might remind a bit of Spocks Beard, but the melodic material is not as strong and appealling. I also have some problems with the mix, the singer sounds far away, the drums are too loud. And this something that comes out awkward in music where the quality hinges on the vocal melodies.

A piano opens Predictions, which again sounds very much like Jadis and some Enchant as well. I am not sure what it is exactly, but the music here simply does not strike a chord with me. It seems to me that the song, especially the vocal melodies lack distinction, they fill the void between the instrumental parts and I find them rather tiring. The most likable parts about this track are the keyboards, and the fast guitars runs which stay in the back. The drumming is good enough, but it lies too much on top of the music. Past halfway we get a Latin interlude in the song, somewhat oriented on Chick Corea. The song ends with filmic keyboards.

The Man Outside is better, especially since the vocal melodies are good this time, with some typical Beard intermezzo's in there. The guitar can be quite rough on this one, but this is mainly a balladic track with some jazzy excursions in the beginning. Unfortunately The Dream is less likable again. I have to admit though that the band is taking chances on this one with the heavy droning middle part, some good guitar playing and interaction with the pounding piano there. But the vocal parts are a bore.

On Collision, we have two vocalists, one singing in low second voice to the other. It doesn't work well. Again, the jazziness in the keyboards strike me on this track. With Coma we open rather softly with nylon string guitars and filmic keyboards. Then the pace comes into the song, it seems we are on for a long instrumental introduction. The rhythm guitar start the drive, the keyboards move into Rudess like territory: lots of fiddling about going on. Again, the band inserts a jazzy influence here and there, something they do in almost every track. In the middle the song is quite pacey, with occasional injections on the keys. Melodically the song is not that enticing, seems mostly playing for playing sake. The final part is thematic and on the mellow side of things.

Afterlife makes on me a somewhat underproduced impression. The vocals are very much in the back, some of the parts being quite nice and identifiable (the solo up-tempo one and the part leading up to it), some being more vague and uneventful. Vocal harmonies is something this band should practice on a bit more, or simply avoid. Plenty of tempo changes in this track. The instrumental part behaves more like that of a jazzrock band.

Conclusion

A bit of Jadis, a bit of Spock's Beard with a strongly present jazzy, meandering feel to just about all of the tracks. The compositions are not that great though, too much meandering and fiddling about going on, without any recognizable goal and often with too little appeal in the melody department. My favourite among the tracks is The Man Outside, where the good vocal melodies make for a good anchor.

© Jurriaan Hage