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Misty Mountain Foundation - Cosmic Crossroads CD (album) cover

COSMIC CROSSROADS

Misty Mountain Foundation

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.00 | 1 ratings

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Matti
Prog Reviewer
3 stars This is finally the second album by the Finnish four-piece that plays psychedelic heavy prog much in the spirit of the early seventies. The eponymous, self-budgeted debut was released in 2013 only on a vinyl format. Sadly I'm still the only one who has reviewed it here.... The follow-up was several years in the making. The gatefold (I would have preferred something else, such as lyrics, on the inner sleeve than a close-up of the musicians) of the vinyl contains also the album on a CD, with no printing on its paper container. I'm sure the band didn't save its effort and it must have cost a lot of money to release the album this way. Even if the reception remains modest, you guys should feel proud of what you've done. I feel a bit sorry to rate this one lower than its predecessor, which contained notable highlights -- the longer and more progressive tracks -- and therefor in my opinion showed greater 'growth potential' in the songwriting than what is heard here after the long wait.

The opener 'EXP II' is four minutes of sonic, atonal experimentalism. Ambient meets Krautrock. One can recognize the howling of the seldom heard theremin from the ghostly soundscape. 'Brave New World' is a typical MMF song: the vintage heavy prog sound is dynamic and exciting, the biggest thank you going undisputedly to Esa Rantanen's colourful use of Hammond organ, synths and Mellotron. Now, I'm not sure if it's just the certain stuffiness of Kari Mitikka's vocals, or is the recording of them rather poor. This very same thing bothered me already with the debut. The third track 'Rare Wind' is half shorter and also more boring as a composition. The mighty Hammond la Deep Purple or Uriah Heep is clearly the best feature in it. The downhill carries on to the hard rock song 'Blessed and Possessed' and a totally unnecessary, demo-like reprise of 'Rare Wind'.

The second side of the vinyl contains two long tracks. 'Starchild' gets the honour of being the highlight, which practically isn't a huge achievement at this point. The instrumental intro allows the listener to concentrate on the delicate sounds of Mellotron and other instruments, while the soon arriving vocals represent the rootsier rock approach on this track too. The slower part later on adds the progressive dynamics effectively. 'EXP I' (12:57) returns to the Krautrockish ambience of the opener. The early era of TANGERINE DREAM serves as a reference, but the piece can be hailed as a well-done and deeply inspired excercise on the spacey and psychedelic Kosmische Muzik, instead of being mere mockery.

I think it's respectable to see a band stretching their heavy rock based expression so boldly into the instrumental experimentalism, whether it is something to please the keen listener of the rock side. So, maybe this feature is exactly where the band took time to mature during the last few years. As a whole however, the album feels a little short of strong song material, since three of the five tracks with vocals are rather average.

Matti | 3/5 |

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