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Of Natural History

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Album Review

An avant-metal spectacle of the most obscene, obese and obstinate, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum sound like a brigade of skeleton soldiers marching through post-industrial cities decorated by the finest of silken banners to cover up the decay. Singer Nils Frykdahl can croon with a baritone even deeper than Simon Bonney, with the same sense of dark philosophy, as he does on the opening "Hymn to the Morning Star." But he's just as likely to bark like James Hetfield caught up in the rush of soiled guitars and battering ram drums of "The Donkey-Headed Adversary of Humanity Opens the Discussion" or "Phthisis" where he is joined by Carla Kihlstedt, a wicked queen at her dark lord's side. The instrumentation is as rich as it is fragmented, with chimes, strings and the sound of clacking chicken bones making way for more distorted oblivion when Frykdahl intones "Let us dream now, the impossible dream of a math professor" on "FC: The Freedom Club." Of course, the debate on where in the serious spectrum this sort of indulgent fantasia music lies is never certain. But if you think Meat Loaf is the ultimate in musical inspired rock-u-drama then this will certainly turn you on your head.


Formed: 1999 in Oakland, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Performance art, art rock, experimental rock, heavy metal -- all are styles of music that have been used to explain one of the more hard to explain bands in all of rock, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum. Some critics have compared the band -- which hails from Oakland, California -- to one of the quirkiest bands of all time, Mr. Bungle, and they may have a point (after all, like Bungle, SGM are not opposed to any musical style, and one of their albums was originally released by a label run by an ex-Bungle...
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Of Natural History, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum
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