Camel - Moonmadness
And today "Moonmadness", the fourth studio album of "Camel", released March 26, 1976.
It's undoubtedly a masterpiece that has influenced many artists and which even Mike Akerfeldt of "Opeth" defined in 2004 as an album that changed his life.
This is the latest album with the classic "Camel" lineup, which included Andrew Latimer, Peter Bardens, Doug Ferguson and Andy Ward. For the next album, the band will make a lineup and sound changes, when they replace bassist Doug Ferguson with Richard Sinclair from "Caravan" and saxophonist Mel Collins from "King Crimson".
The band enters the studio after the meteoric success of the instrumental concept album "The Snow Goose" and felt the pressure upon them to produce another successful masterpiece. Expectations from "Camel" were very high after "The Snow Goose" and the band was very worried that they would not be able to deliver the goods. The band members were sure that there was no chance that they would succeed in surpassing something as big as "The Snow Goose", but in the end, they did succeed in a big way!
Unlike the previous album, this is not a concept album and there is not even a specific theme that runs like a second thread between the album's songs.
Under pressure from the record company, this album features vocals performed by all the band members (well with Andy Ward it's just spoken words in the instrumental section "Arsitillus"). The members decided that each of them would bring a song that would reflect his personal character. In this way, all the songs starting from the fourth song on the album, represent a member of the band. The song that seals the first side of the vinyl - "Spirit of the Water" reflects keyboardist Peter Bardens and is even sung by him. "Another Night" represented bassist Doug Ferguson, "Air Born" represented Andrew Latimer and "Lunar Sea" the drummer Andy Ward.
"Moonmadness" is considered a Progressive Rock classic, with a soft and peaceful atmosphere compared to the band's first two albums, with melodic, catchy, and accessible melodies. From the opening instrumental track "Arsitillus" that puts us in the mood of the album, to the sound of the raging winds at the end of the amazing piece "Lunar Sea", there is not a single spare note here.
The album is ranked 58th on Prog Magazine's list of the 100 greatest prog albums of all time.
In 2018 we were privileged to see this album played live from beginning to end in the band's performances at the "Shuni" Amphitheater in Israel.