August 01, 2020

Màelstrom ‎– Maelstrom (1973/80, CD, Usa)

1. Ceres (5:45)
2. In Memory (4:43)
3. The Balloonist (5:31)
4. Alien (2:59)
5. Chronicles (4:16)
6. Law and Crimw (3:26)
7. Nature Abounds (4:23)
8. Below the Line (5:33)
9. Opus one (5:37)
10. Genesis to genova (7:26)

Paul Klotzbier / bass
Mark Knox / organ, harpsichord & Mellotron (1 to 8)
James Larner / flute, vibraphone, piano, marimbas, harmonica (1 to 8)
Jeff McMullen / lead vocals, electric guitar (1 to 8)
Jim Miller / percussives (1 to 8)
Robert Owen / acoustic guitar, saxophone, piano, Mellotron, vocals
D. Kent Overholser / organ, synths, Mellotron (9-10)
Rollin Wood / percussives (9-10)

Tracks 1-8 recorded in 1973 at Fort Walton Beach, Florida.
Tracks 9-10 recorded in 1980 live at "The Three Rivers Festival" in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

This early 70's band (not to be confused with American metal band MAELSTROM) made some great instrumental fusion with tinges of KING CRIMSON and early GONG. They also mixed early 70's psychedelia with organ and sax evoking VANILLA FUDGE as well as multiple breaks, odd rhythms and complex instrumental interplay à la GENTLE GIANT; the moods and vocals are in the vein of IT'S A BEAUTIFUL DAY.

It is unfortunately impossible to find any info regarding their second album but the first, the self-titled "Maelstrom" ('73), is nothing short of intriguing, exciting and definitely meant for experienced prog ears. Although you'll hear exquisite flowing sax solos that will make VDGG and GNIDROLOG fans' mouth water, astounding GENESIS-style Mellotron and inspired flute play à la JETHRO TULL, their music bears no resemblance to any of these bands. It is a wonderful, spirited and refreshing fusion of seemingly disparate styles that manages to remain symphonic throughout, alternating between quiet, simply structured songs and highly experimental passages and unusual textures.

If you're a fan of EGG and particularly dig their first album, you'll find MAELSTROM's unpredictable style most rewarding as you'll make new discoveries each time you hear them. Recommended.

P.S. Their eponymous LP (1973) was originally released under the title "On The Gulf".

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