Prince Rama - Shadow Temple - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Prince Rama - Shadow Temple

by Rich Morris Rating:6 Release Date:2010-10-04

Hold onto your hats people, because we're going deep into hippy territory with Prince Rama. The band's members met at a Hare Krishna commune in Florida and, according to the PR that accompanies this release, their live shows are renowned for "collective chants, werewolf summonings, Sanskrit invocations, and the distribution of various handmade percussion to members of the audience". If that sounds like your idea of a bloody awful night out, then Shadow Temple probably isn't for you.

If fact, it's hard to identify who exactly will enjoy the music on this album, which frequently combines the mass choral chanting of Dead Can Dance with the most uncompromisingly prog sections of Tangerine Dream's back catalogue. There's really not a lot of difference between the wailing, keening maelstrom of the first two tracks, 'Om Mane Padme Hum' and 'Om Namo Shivaya', both of which go on for too long without letting in any light or colour. There's also a considerable amount of ceaseless pomp and slow processional circumstance to Prince Rama's music. No doubt this is meant to invoke images of ancient rituals, but, really, it's hard to stop your attention wandering.

Things improve considerably on tracks like 'Thunderdrums', 'Satt Num' and 'Mythras', which combine fuzzy punk guitar with tribal pounding and spacey 70s-style synth. However, even during the album's highlights, there's a single-mindedness, an over-literalness even, to Prince Rama's realisation of their arcane and spiritual inspirations which is so serious and po-faced it robs their music of an ingrediant which all prog and space rock desperately needs to possess: fun. Instead, the endless moaning exaltations and shuddering climaxes of tracks like 'Lightening Fossil' are wearying and, eventually, faintly depressing.

Live, Prince Rama may be an excitingly communal experience, but on record their music is so insular, unvarying and intense that you can't help feeling like the token atheist at a polytheist orgy: it's quite interesting as a spectator but you wouldn't really want to spend any length of time in the company of these people and you certainly wouldn't use the toilet after them.

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