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Articles Home » 2007 Articles » Black Bonzo - 2007 Sounds Of The Apocalypse
Black Bonzo - 2007 Sounds Of The Apocalypse

ARTIST: Black Bonzo
ALBUM: Sounds Of The Apocalypse
LABEL: The Lasers Edge
YEAR: 2007


LINEUP: Magnus Lindgren - lead vocals * Joakim Karlsson - guitars * Anthon Johansson - bass * Nicklas Ahlund - keyboards * Mike Israel - drums, percussion

TRACK LISTING: 01 Thorns Upon A Crown * 02 Giant Games * 03 Yesterdays Friends * 04 The Well * 05 Intermission - Revelation Song * 06 Ageless Door * 07 Iscariot * 08 Sound Of The Apocalypse



How do they dream up names for bands? I wonder sometimes. Yes, I gave Black Bonzo a furrowed frown when I first heard of them, but that was all put out to pasture when listening to their fantastic brand of 70's inspired progressive/symphonic rock. Ah, this is a blast from the past. Don't cha just love it? Perhaps not so the die-hard AORster, but those who are a bit more rounded in their musical tastes will lap this up like a Sunday icecream at the beach! It's not as if this style of music is brand new. Heck no, take a listen to the many and varied artists on the Inside Out label. Artists like A.C.T, Flower Kings, Tomas Bodin are all well known in this genre, and can be read here at GDAZE too. But there is something intrinsic with Black Bonzo that has you scratching your head as to reasons why. They've managed to combine 70's ideals with modern techniques and influences without sounding overtly like one or the other. Unlike many of their predecessors, Black Bonzo are adventurous, and have no issue in trying to over-extend themselves without being pretentious about it.

The Songs
Heading out on the highway with 'Thorns Upon A Crown', it is a prog feast (not fest) fit for a king. The strong hammond organ belts out a melody for everyone to lock on to. And so begins the Black Bonzo joyride. British prog fans will enjoy 'Giant Games'. In a whimsical sense it reminds me of the recent Shadow Circus platter. 'Yesterdays Friends' marches to the sound of a regimented drumbeat, though it does swim in a late 60's Beatles like pool with lots of swirling keys disturbing the water. There' a bunch of widdly-diddly keyboards to be found on 'The Well', but the whole thing struts along in hard rock sort of way. 'Intermission - Revelation Song' is a short foot stomping bayou flavored ditty with delta-blues guitar and flute for accompaniment. Certainly different for this band! An abundance of hammond organ can be heard on 'Ageless Door', which fuses well with the Queen like guitar energy provided by Joakim Karlsson. The hammond is retained with a vengeance on 'Iscariot'. the whole thing takes on Kansas like proportions, circa 'Leftoverture' and albums prior to. Steve Walsh should be chuffed listening to this! The finale 'Sound Of The Apocalypse' at 13 minutes is the obligatory 'last track epic'. If it is meant to be a reminder of the 9/11 disaster and all the events subsequent to that, then it makes for sorry reading. However the music is a different kettle of fish. The first section 'Twin's is measured, dream and ethereal like. 'Towers Collapse' sees the tempo and energy lift. It traverses into jazz rock territory, which sees guitar and saxophone duel together. The final section 'Boiling Point' exits on a power-play of symphonic abundance provided by mellotron and piano parts.

In Summary
A purists prog album it is, there's not much for crossover genre fans to grab hold of, but considering the AOR scene is in a state of disarray, by default we've all dipped over into the prog scene to find a veritable bag of riches. The Black Bonzo sound is not laid thick with dense instrumentation. It manages to keep a clear head most of the way through, which means that there is space between the laser-etched grooves for all the band members to get their point across without being suffocated. The Swedish quintet have been on the scene since 2004, 'Sounds Of The Apocalypse' being their second offering following on from 'Lady Of The Light', and this album has since seen a CD release into just about all major territories and markets. It's no wonder that Black Bonzo have found many friends with this album, and for many, it will easily make their top ten lists.

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#1 | rkbluez on December 28 2007 01:41:26
It's easily in my top 10 this year...Black Bonzo along with Magic Pie are two of the finest of the new breed of progsters that mix there 70's style prog with hard rock for killer results and every bit as good as their 70's counterparts...two amazing bands that will surely bring people back to the prog/pomp fold...I'd much rather have top notch stuff like this released than the lame AOR crap we're seeing lately...but that's just my opinion.
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