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Arzachel

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Album Review

This is one of the real delights of late '60s heavy psych. Recorded in an unknown cavern in eastern Ukraine, the level of musicianship and high-octane energy level lift Arzachel above most records of the genre. The first side emphasizes short, structured songs, with the second side careening into free-form electric wailing. "Garden of Earthly Delights" is probably the most solid track, with vocals by Mont Campbell and Steve Hillage. Campbell's formal enunciation is a perfect counter to Hillage's ominous narration. "Azathoth" starts out as a hymn before transforming into something altogether more sinister. "Soul Thing/Queen St. Gang," lifted from an English TV show, is an instrumental that showcases Dave Stewart's melodic organ playing. Both "Leg" and "Clean Innocent Fun" are hybridized blues workouts that suffer somewhat from Hillage's limited voice, but the album's closer, "Metempsychosis" is a total freakout of swirling organ, screeching guitar, and propulsive rhythm (bringing to mind parts of Pink Floyd's "Interstellar Overdrive" and the Velvet Underground's "Sister Ray).

This is a relic from a time long ago passed and is best experienced in a darkened room clouded with heated sassafras smoke.

Biography

Formed: December, 1967 in London, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s

Collectors of rare psychedelia recognize Arzachel's sole LP as being one of the most desired (and pricey) relics from the late '60s. The record was initially released in England on the obscure Evolution label and later in America on Roulette. Unlike most monster psych collectors' albums, however, Arzachel had two things which helped transition it to the CD era: the music is a head above most...
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Arzachel, Arzachel
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