Ask the Toll Troll for a Refund
Neo-proggers KingBathmat bring you another set of multiple 8-minute mini epics of Howe-approved, symphonic rock balladeering with their sixth release, Overcoming the Monster that is sure to satiate your hunger for all things prog. Maybe. After 40 or so years of progressive music, do KingBathmat have what it takes to relieve those searching high and low for the next generation of prog, or will it fall victim to the pretensions of aimless, mid ’80s Adrian Belew-ian wankery? Well, let’s go ahead and potion up, cast renew, call attention to all healers and spin that 20-sided die on our quest for the answer.
Halloween Haunt just came early this year, as the tom fills kerrang and organs swell. Pause, please, for the piano’s gentle weeping is having a duet with Dennis DeYoung’s long-lost brother. “Sentinel” calls for you to finger the sky as if the frets in your mind’s eye are set ablaze, as you rock with all your gawping, puffy-shirted glory like the Pied Piper rocking a Flying V. Think Mike Rutherford doing his impression of Slash, and you’ve got “Sentinel.”
Perhaps this rocks far too hard and we gotta visit the soundtrack from a ’70s Kubrick film. Enter “Parasomnia,” a nightmarish crooner laden with glockenspiel, Moog leads, U.F.O. meets Foo Fighters breakdowns and a really fucking long run time. Nine and a half minutes? Prog is awesome, make no mistake, but this fucker could have been cut a little short. There are about 15 false endings, for God’s sake. At least there’s this harmonized synth guitar shit going on at the end. That’s pretty tight. But not nine-and-a-half-minutes tight.
Alright, the expletives are starting to come out. KingBathmat progs too hard, and it’s difficult to tell if that’s a good thing or not. Check this out: Title track “Overcoming The Monster” is busting some ’70s power pop leads before some leftover Fripp riffs straight into Opeth’s B-sides catalog. Too much prog, boys. This is getting silly. Hey, Gabriel-era Genesis is fine and all, but sometimes you gotta stop all the Tolkien shit, ’cause this is 2013 and we have computers and shit. We’re all tired of this “foraging through the woods looking for gnome king” nonsense. Does the listener need some sort of imbued scimitar to battle the forest imps, or recite some celestial warcry before entering the grotto of lost souls? The only way for this album to get more prog would be to rewrite the whole thing in Aramaic or some other dead language and re-track the vocals under a bridge once inhabited by toll trolls deep in Western Europe.
Oh, holy shit. No way. You’re… wait… come on! THE LAST TRACK HAS “KUBRICK” IN THE TITLE? No way, dude. This is getting out of hand. Well, “Kubrick Moon” has officially broken prog. Prog is dead, and we’ll just have to wait for KingBathmat to start the Renaissance. And that’s all that can really be said. Really. If you’re an old-school prog fan and enjoy long-winded spelunking kinda stuff with non-stop drum fills and synth solos, wizard battles, etc., maybe Overcoming the Monster is your type of thing. Otherwise, there aren’t enough warrior chicks riding mutant dragonflies to save this thing.