The five-piece prog formation The Wood Demons is a London and Gloucestershire-based band that started working on their first album in 2017, in the same year The Wood Demons released the EP The Lost Domain, in 2020 followed by debut CD The Angels Of Peckham Rye. The music sounds like a journey through the world of prog, very varied, and adventurous, as progressive rock was meant to be.
1. Arithmomania (9:15) Website info: “The title of this long first composition refers to the psychology of Austrian composer Anton Bruckner, whose precarious balance between an obsession with counting and his fervent faith resulted in famously epic symphonies”. The pleasant mellow atmosphere is blended with a counting voice (very original), synthesizer brass, melancholy violin and twanging guitars. In the final part wonderful work on violin and electric guitar, to me it sounds like 'pleasant pastoral prog'.
2. The Odd Particle (6:19) This one is an instrumental featuring a dreamy hypnotizing climate with intense violin and soaring keyboards, a fine laidback oriented track.
3. Big Game Fishing (5:13) More pastoral prog, this songs contains a mellow atmosphere with warm vocals and twanging guitars. In the final part a moving violin solo, and howling guitar, topped with Mellotron choirs (76-77 Genesis sound), goose bumps!
4. Starstruck (8:38) “And Now For Something Completely Different!”, to quote Monty Python, because in this captivating and compelling track The Wood Demons turn from mellow into heavy, pretty surprising! Website info: “The title imagines an astronaut on a space station seeing the Earth being obliterated by an asteroid. The icily cold middle section paints a picture of total isolation. This song was written after a traumatic year in Simon's personal life, the subject of a forthcoming autobiographical solo album.” Well, about the music, it starts with a mid-tempo and a tight beat, powerful, a bit raw vocals and fat heavy guitar riffs. The aggressive and propulsive sound evokes King Crimson to me, the Red era. Now the violin joins, followed by a blistering guitar solo, and fiery work on the saxophone. Halfway the mood shifts to dreamy with a Mellotron flute, soaring keyboards and twanging guitars, then a wonderful violin solo (from melancholy to sparkling), what wonderful hypnotizing pastoral prog. In the final part the heavy King Crimson-like sound returns, wow!
5. Interminable Beige Thing (2:59) This is a short instrumental featuring an ambient climate with soaring keyboards and intense violin.
6. Angels Of Peckham Rye (7:35) The title track (train station in London) is my highlight on this album, I am delighted with the Arabian vibe featuring a sultry sounding violin, hypnotizing percussion and excellent vocals. Gradually a more lush sound and faster rhythm, the violin shines again. Then a sensational pitch bend driven synthesizer solo (Andalusian sound), moving guitar work, and intense violin play. The compelling final part contains emotional vocals, an inventive rhythm-section and sparkling violin work, I am blown away, what an outstanding composition!
7. All Heaven's Breaking Loose (6:09) In this final track “rock rules”, Hawkwind comes to my mind: a catchy beat, fiery guitar runs and riffs, finally a heavy, psychedelic guitar solo, fuelled by a propulsive rhythm-section, a strong goodbye.
What a debut album, worth to discover!
**** Erik Neuteboom (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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