KingBathmat - 'Overcoming The Monster'

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KingBathmat - 'Overcoming The Monster'

Will find a treasured place in the music collections of some of our readers.

It was only three issues* ago that I was extolling the virtues of this quirky British prog rock outfit's previous album 'Truth Button', and now the band's seventh album has already appeared!

Once again there is a nice, heavy theme underlying the music, focused this time upon "psychological obstacles (monsters of the mind) that are manufactured in our thoughts, both internally through our insecurities, externally by the outside influence of others and collectively through the mass media which uses fear as a tool to manipulate our perceptions. 'Overcoming The Monster' addresses the need to ignore these clandestine forms of control and rise above the illusory obstacles that are placed in our path in order to deliberately block opportunities that are accessible to everybody."

So what of the music? Well, once again it is a demanding opus but also a very interesting prospect as the listener permeates all that is going throughout its 50 minutes and six tracks. It is best described as very heavy prog – almost doom-laden a la Black Sabbath at times – but with a great mix of tempo, sound and instrumentation and one that I have found to be a very intense experience. John Bassett and his cohorts have certainly pulled out all the stops and this is once again a quite remarkable self-production.

At just under nine minutes, 'Sentinel' partially sets the scene for what one can expect throughout the album, and a brooding riff-heavy introduction leads into a gentle, contemplative, melodious vocal section out of which grows a very heavy percussive's an involving track which is followed by 'Parasomnia'. No wonder this is a driving beast of a song, draining energy from the listener! Both 'Overcoming The Monster' and 'Superfluous' are grinding and demanding numbers, both lyrically and musically. And by this stage, one reflects upon the fantastic performances by all the band members (who are not named in the booklet). There's nothing out of place, and they create a massive sound. Meanwhile, for those who care, there are no extreme vocals, the message being delivered by Bassett in traditional mode. The album is concluded with the shortest and then the longest track, and the emotional impact of what has preceded them is maintained.

Whether this is an album that one can "enjoy" is debateable. It can certainly be admired, but it does conjure up quite a dark picture: and I think this was the intention. Nevertheless, it will, I am sure, find a treasured place in the music collections of some of our readers.

Paul Jerome Smith

(*of Fireworks Magazine)

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