MESSAGE — From Books And Dreams (review)

MESSAGE — From Books And Dreams album cover Album · 1973 · Heavy Psych Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
cannon
Great cover. I tend to associate it with another Krautrock album, Delusion from McChurch Soundroom. Similar cover, lyrical content, sound and style.

The Dawn Anew Coming, the debut from Message in 1972 takes a progressive melodic fusion of psych, jazz-fusion and folk and shades it with an overcast of a heavy sky. Early Tull, King Crimson, Uriah Heep and Wishbone Ash. Well done prog.

As with thier first album, the band entered the studio with the great German producer, Deiter Dirks in 1973 and released, Of Books And Dreams. Ominous and repressive, a conscious effort to uncover the unconscious thought that effects personality through morbid fears and compulsions that accompany dreams. A play on the psyche, lyrically and musically.

"Sleep" introduces the listener with spoken words over a tumultous and tempestuous psychedelic/space splattering. A terrifying trip though trivial.

Sliding into deeper unconsciousness, "Dreams And Nightmares (Dreams)" culminates with the bass and the psychically induced guitar sequence from Allan Murdoch and expands and finally explodes into a ravishingly riff. One of the better openings I have heard from a heavy prog song in the first half of the '70's. The vocals of Tom McGuigan scream in, somewhat dischordal but deeply discerning. Fortunately it's Murdoch guitar that dominates most of this track with McGuigan's vocal chorus sustaining and limited in only in two parts of the song. At the ten minute mark, Murdoch slaps down a Iommi-esque solo that could be transported from Sabbath's self-titled debut. After the manic solo the bass slowly pulses and winds down this terrific and trembling track. The apex of the album.

Track three, "Turn Over" hears for the first time McGuigan's sax soloing over an eerie ambient guitar and then a rhythmic riff kicks in and the sax snakes out a shivering free-form jazz/psych synapses. Overload.

"Sigh" is the most melodic track from the album and McGuigan's vocals are annoying and overbearing, almost abrasive but fortunately at around the three and half minute mark Murdoch takes over with his guitar, showcasing shifting styles and sets the rhythm for the insane sax soloing and interplay for the next three minutes and the last two minutes ends as it as begun, with the addition of a sinister scream sequence. "Ahhhh".

The second part of "Dreams And Nightmares", "Nightmares" is 13 minutes of Krautrock psychosis. "Introducing The Myth" opens up with McGuigan's Mellotron as a sombre backdrop to his restrained vocals which are actually not so abrading as to his abandoning screaming. Again it's the chilling interplay of Murdoch's guitar and McGuigan's sax that take over this nightmare, "The Unpleasent Spell" and eventually the sandman (McGuigan) speaks in a suffering, aggravating and daunting tone. The closing of "Nightmare" trembles and traumatically tails off into silence. Terrific and terrifying.

If you're searching for a scary, spine-tingling sound experience, this is it. This album is mostly tagged as Krautrock but the sub-genre encompassess so many styles from proto-metal to electronic experimentation, so don't be decieved by the label as the Germans (though Message is half British) can be prolific at being heavy and dark. Really this is guitarist Allan Murdoch's trip though Tom McGuigan's multi-instrumental talents are substantial, it is his vocals that might be disturbing to some. The production of Deiter Dirks is somewhat similar to that of Nektar's first three albums in which he also produced as he did with many of the "heavier" Krautrockers in the early '70's.

Message would then make a signficant shift on thier next album to a jazz-fusion/eclectic prog and then sadly meander into that menancing "mainstream", melodic AOR/hard rock style that so many did in the mid/late '70's.
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