Bigelf, Hex

Chuck Eddy

By Chuck Eddy

on 04.22.11 in Reviews



California stoner-doom quartet Bigelf call their publishing “Evil Beatle,” which sums up their proggish brand of magical mystery metal: steeple-spiraling harmonies and melodies unheard-of in the Sabbath-worshipping caverns of bong-rock, hitched to a funeral-swinging physicality that fellow post-Pepper's art-pop travelers of the 10cc/Supertramp ilk never touched.

Belated stateside arrival of an eccentric hard-prog gem.

This third Bigelf album, released on Warner Sweden in 2003, took nearly half a decade to see micro-indie light in the U.S. "Sunshine Suicide" echoes "Buick Mackane" by T. Rex; a section of “Pain Killers” could be 1971 Alice Cooper covering Napoleon XIV; a rhythmic riff in the otherwise autumnal “Disappear” mimics Pink Floyd's “Money”; “Bats in the Belfry I” opens with arch fusion geometry reminiscent of Crack The Sky or the Tubes channeling Zappa. I detect some King's X in there somewhere, too. Thing is, you don't need to pick up on such references to appreciate how the band gives coherent structure to their largely eccentric songs.

Though track times frequently exceed six minutes, even the trippy mellotron parts almost never devolve into mere noodling. Themes, surprisingly uncryptic, range from insanity to nuclear Armageddon to the music biz—the latter in the witty “Rock & Roll Contract,” whose cynicism might now count as prophetic.