If you think narrow-minded as far as music is concerned, the Swedish band Brother Ape might bring you into a lot of trouble. This trio combines progressive rock with elements of fusion, modern music and even some singer-songwriter influences. Thus they created a unique and recognizable sound and now they come up with A Rare Moment Of Insight, their fifth album since their debut in 2005. I wondered if the band had been able to improve again, because so far every new album exceeded the one prior to it. Well, the answer has to be yes. Brother Ape have the power and intensity to improve with every new album they record. So it's easy to say that A Rare Moment Of Insight is their best album to date.
Opening track Juggernaut Now immediately grabs you by the throat. Drummer Max Bergman plays like a reincarnation of drum destructor Keith Moon (The Who). He creates a complicated but pleasant sounding foundation for the dissonant bass line of Gunnar Maxén and the vocal melodies of vocalist-guitarist Stefan Damicolas. A nasty guitar solo is the finishing touch for the perfect opening of the album. Chrysalis contains slightly distorted vocals and programmed music turn into catchy and Muse-referring music. When radio stations have an open mind, this song should be appropriate to get some airplay with its nice bass line, its steady drums and in particular Stefan Damicolas' voice. In Ultramarathon some Rush-references appear alongside the already noticed influences of a band like Muse, but also Porcupine Tree. In this song Damicolas gets the chance to show that he's a fantastic guitarist. Listen to the ending solo and you'll catch my drift.
And now for something completely different: Seabound is an acoustic ballad, just a guitar and two perfectly balanced voices with an orchestral sounding keyboard and a piano in the background. Close your eyes and enjoy. Instinct has a drum pattern that could have been used by the Norwegian trumpet player Nils Petter Molvaer. It sounds electronic, but it's very tightly drummed. Over this electronic jazz rock drums, the powerful vocals carry you away. This certainly is another highlight. Next is Echoes Of Madness, the longest track lasting over nine minutes. On this one we can experience the band's full potential as it is built on percussive drumming and impressive guitar riffs. Damicolas's vocals take you on an emotional trip and the stunning guitar solo does the rest. In short: impressive, written in capitals. Shifting down in speed the next song is The Art Of Letting Go opening with keyboards nice and easy, but when the band are shifting gear, the guitars and the majestic vocals take over. Damicolas excels again with another guitaristic highlight. Final piece In A Rare Moment is an instrumental piece just played on an acoustic guitar which perfectly reflects the quality of this great band.
A Rare Moment Of Insight can be regarded as another highlight in the career of this Swedish trio. If only three people can create such a special album like this, the only thing you can give them is respect. I enjoyed this fantastic album from the first note until the last. The music of Brother Ape combines many elements from different kinds of music resulting in the special sound of the band. Let's push the repeat button for I want to listen to it all over again!
**** Pedro Bekkers (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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