Six long years after the last Bigelf record, Cheat the Gallows, head 'elf Damon Fox returns with a new lineup (including guitarist Luis Maldonado, longtime bassist Duffy Snowhill, and the inimitable Mike Portnoy on drums) and the best album of his band's career. A dizzyingly tuneful trip down the prog-rock rabbit hole, Into the Maelstrom puts Black Sabbath, The Beatles, and Queen through a psychedelic strainer on such kaleidoscopic cuts as "Invisible Time Machine," "The Professor and the Madman," and the three-part, eight-minute closing title track. Gloriously heavy in spots, meticulously orchestrated in others, Into the Maelstrom is an intoxicating masterpiece from a woefully underappreciated band. DAN EPSTEIN
Check out "Control Freak" from Into the Maelstrom.