Pig Farm On The Moon - Orbital - 2002
“Fasten your seat belts before taking off
because there’s no turning back
once you find out that words are only dust.”
[Dedicated to all those who believe without seeing.]
If you take a look at our review section, you will notice that there
are a lot of progressive and/or symphonic bands in South America. We reviewed
the albums of bands from Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Venezuela,
Costa Rica, Cuba …
For Europeans a lot of “unknown” bands can be discovered in this continent. And there are some very talented bands over there. This review is about a band from Venezuela with the strange name Pig Farm On The Moon. The band already played at the most important Festival in North America, Baja Prog in Mexicali.
Lidian – vocals, acoustic guitar; Ivanov – electric guitar; Darío Sosa – electric guitar, acoustic 6 & 12 string guitars; Salomón Lerner – keyboards; Gustavo Borrero – electric bass, double bass; Gilberto Finol – drums; Arturo Soto – electric guitar; Laurent Lecuyer – keyboards; Igor Lara – violin; Rosa María Barrios – viola; Darlenys Zamora – cello.
The music of Pig Farm On The Moon (PFOTM) is announced as “a mixture between Yes, Genesis and ELP with a touch of Dream Theater and a lot of PFOTM. All the tracks are sung in English and the lyrics tell fantastic and surreal stories”. To be honest with you, I’m always a little bit skeptical when I read this. Eight out of ten bands have a record company who tells “they sound like Yes and Genesis”. The marketing and promotional departments think this is the best thing to do to get the attention. They think the reviewer will think “interesting!” but I think “boring! – not interesting!” Don’t understand me wrong, I love the old Genesis and Yes. But my intention is to discover new progressive bands and share this with our readers (You!) to spread the word.
So I was prepared for the worst. But this is one of those special albums. You know after two minutes of listening, this is a good album with great music. This is a strange phenomenon and it is not happening very often. Maybe you know that feeling, which never disappoints you. This is a band that makes progressive music, forget all those names because PFOTM is making a mix that in the end is only recognizable as PFOTM music. For a debut album this is a very good achievement. There are only five tracks on this album. They dare to start with a track of 16 minutes, and that is not the longest one because the fourth track counts almost 19 minutes!
The album opens with “Awaken from reality” (16:04) which includes “The trial”, “The voice” and “The reason to live”. After some industrial sounds the track starts with a beautiful melody on the keyboards. In the first three instrumental minutes there is so much happening, nice delicate melodies meet their aggressive counterparts. Then we hear the first English vocals without a terrible accent, bravo! The music has often that typical warm South American Sympho atmosphere. The composition has a lot of variation. The melodic guitar melodies are followed by up-tempo aggressive and heavy parts. I even hear some jazz fusion followed by a Holdsworth (UK) guitar lick. The warm parts with the vocals bring a band like Tempus Fugit in my mind.
The second track is an instrumental and it is called “Genesis” (9:28). Because there are no vocal parts, the keyboards have a more important role. Fantastic track for keyboard lovers. In the end the piece get some classical touches by the use of viola, violin and cello. There are lovely keyboard and guitar solo’s in this track, never a dull moment. You never can say PFOTM sounds like … because the next thirty seconds could be completely different. The band members are masters in mixing all their influences into a scarcely recognizable melting pot.
“I lost my wings” (12:19) includes also the more experimental side of the band. But it is almost impossible to describe their music because when I was writing the previous sentence the band switched to fairy tale like music with delicate vocals and acoustic guitars. I love this but the band is making it hard for me to write this review. Maybe I succeed with the next track. It is called “The Queen Maibe” (18:55) and it starts musically spoken where the previous track ended. This long suite is divided into the following parts: “Into the goblings woods”, “Meeting the Queen”, “The journey through the shadow’s rift”, “Facing Lot” and “What I left behind”. This is again a track with big contrasts. Music with fairy tale like vocals ala Glass Hammer is combined with vocals who remind us of Dream Theater’s vocalist James Labrie. Also in this track, some great melodies and fantastic keyboard solo’s. It is just amazing to hear the variety in styles in one song. Glass Hammer meets Dream Theater. A lot of bands in the heavy sector are putting some keyboards into the music and say: We are now making progressive metal. PFOTM is doing the complete opposite!
The last track is called “The return of the rain” (8:32). Like the previous track I think that Glass Hammer fans will like this type of melodic fairy tale music. Next to the melodic parts this track also includes some very fast keyboard/guitar parts.
Well there are no weak compositions on this album. This is a delicious debut album from Venezuelan band Pig Farm On The Moon. They have a bright future ahead. And I’m very curious how this band will develop. Latest news is that they have a new drummer and that they are working on a next album. I think that this album will appeal to fans of bands like Glass Hammer and other Sympho/Prog bands with a lot of keyboards. If I was talking about wine I would say this is a very good year!