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Bigelf’s Into the Maelstrom ~ Quite the Trippy, Prog-Rock, Sabbath-Inspired Journey!

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By SethM

This week I decided to dig into some of the promotional material I received and the first thing I pulled from my grab bag was Bigelf.

BigElf can useBigelf was new to me but turned out to be one of the more interesting bands I have heard of late. It didn’t hurt that from the first notes I was reminded of Sabbath, most noticeably in the guitar riffs but also in the vocals that have a tinge of old school Sabbath as well.

In all honestly, I am not sure how to describe Bigelf other than to say I really liked them. Into the Maelstrom is like a cool modern flashback to the 70s so, curious person/music lover I am, I needed to do a little research while the album was playing.

Here’s a recap of what I found out:

Formed by Damon Fox and Richard Anton in Los Angeles in 1991, Bigelf are a “psychedelic/glam-tinged hard rock” band that recorded their first EP, Closer to Doom, in 1996. With some lineup changes over time, they recorded their first album, Money Machine, in 1997 ~ but it wasn’t released until 2000 on Swedish label Record Heaven. Since then, they have recorded two other albums and 2 other EPs. Into the Maelstrom is their latest effort and their fourth full album.

Maelstrom is a damn good effort and as a side note, features Mike Portnoy of Dream Theater and The Winery Dogs on drums. (If you haven’t checked out our recent coverage of The Winery Dogs, give it a read HERE and check out their amazing album as well.)

Bigelf and Mike Portnoy (second from right) right before their first and only rehearsal for PN14

Bigelf and Mike Portnoy (second from right) right before their first and only rehearsal for PN14

As I continued listening, I started wondering what would happen if someone took some acid and went on a psychedelic trip where they combined Sabbath with Muse and The Beatles. Then I realized I was already on that trip ~ without the acid ~ and what would happen is some freakin’ good shit!

Caution...an Elf at work!

Caution…an Elf at work!

Every track on Maelstrom seems to offer something different yet equally intriguing and I couldn’t help (and didn’t want to!) being easily sucked into everything Bigelf is selling. Kicking off the album with “Incredible Time Machine,” the band throws you back to the previously mentioned 70s vibe, which remains through all of the tracks but is most notable in songs like “The Professor and The Madman” and “High.” With heavier distortion, a song like “Edge of Oblivion” sounds like it came right off a Sabbath album (I mean that as a compliment) while “Theatre of Dreams” sounds more Beatle-esq. With each subsequent track, I was also reminded of the band Enuff Z’Nuff (You remember them, right, from their charting singles “Fly High Michelle” and “New Thing?”), but Bigelf is more prog rock whereas they were more 80s prog pop.

If you’re a fan of any of the previously mentioned bands, prog rockers like King Crimson and Yes, or even Bowie and Queen, you need to hear Bigelf.  Into the Maelstrom closes out with “ITM” and at over 8 minutes and 3 parts, this track takes every band I mentioned as well as others and jams them all together for the final trip of this 62 minute adventure.

If you dig the sound of the 70s, then grab yourself a turntable, a copy of Maelstrom on vinyl, some Easy Wider rolling papers with something good to stuff in them (Flashwounds of course only condones this in Colorado, where it’s legal) and a six pack of Schlitz; you’ll be in heaven!

Tracklisting:

"ITM"

“ITM”

Incredible Time Machine (see the video HERE)
Hypersleep (watch the video HERE)
Already Gone
Alien Frequency (watch the video HERE)
The Professor & The Madman
Mr. Harry McQuhae
Vertigod
Control Freak
High
Edge of Oblivion
Theater of Dreams
ITM
I. Destination Unknown
II. Harbinger of Death
III. “Memories


For more information, check out the Bigelf website and go Like them on Facebook … and don’t forget to Like us, too! 

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