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(45:36, Karisma Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Oh My Gravity 9:49 2. Windshears 6:32 3. Eschaton Horo 8:29 4. Extraction 6:34 5. God Left Us for a Black-Dressed Woman 14:12 LINEUP: Stian Oekland – vocals; guitars Erlend Vottvik Olsen – guitars Haakon Vinje – keyboards Tormod Fosso – bass Fredrik Mekki Wideroe – drums Benjamin Mekki Wideroe – saxophone
Prolusion. The Norwegian band SEVEN IMPALE was formed back in 2010, and has released an initial EP and one full-length album to date. "City of the Sun" is the name of the latter, and it was issued through the Norwegian label Karisma Records in the fall of 2014.
Analysis. Some people, especially those who listen to a lot of current music, will sometime become somewhat jaded with the music made today, questioning the very existence of the various genres they tend to cover as one encounter a lot of bands pretty much exploring similar musical landscapes. For those with an affection for progressive rock in that situation, a band like Seven Impale will most likely be a stunning discovery. A band that does something new with this type of music, and at the same time maintains clear and distinct musical ties to the origins of the genre. They are self-described as jazz rock; personally I'd rather describe them as an eclectic band, but with strong ties to jazz rock. This is a band that is truly impressive on their first outing. If you want groove-laden brass and jazz rock you'll get them aplenty. Delightful, almost dreamladen escapades stand side by side with powerful passages where sax, organ and guitars assemble in powerful, dark-surging majesty, and even the occasional lapse into free-form escapades and more loose, searching sequences of the kind you get when a band that improvises is waiting for a new direction to form. But there are also sequences with a more regular progressive rock expression to them, both careful guitar and vocals driven sequences, as well as vintage organ and guitar driven constellations. Some textural details, reminding of post rock, may or may not be present, while quirky indie-flavored escapades that wouldn't have been out of place on an album by The Mars Volta or a similar kind of band. They top it all up with occasional forays into loud, booming bass driven runs that touch base with metal in terms of dark aggression. The impressive aspect of this album is that everything is seamlessly woven together. There's a natural, organic flow to everything, to the point where you get arrangements that would have come across just as vital on a ‘70s album as one released today, constructions that truly manage to blend the old and proven with the new and refreshing. Just about as close to perfection as you can get from my point of view. When that has been said, this is also a production that is fairly demanding, and especially if you're not used to music that is truly challenging at times, this is an album that can leave people alienated. As such this is a production that needs to be played with full attention, and I suspect some will need to give this album a few spins before they manage to follow the flow.
Conclusion. Seven Impale has released quite the impressive debut album, a quirky, sophisticated and challenging ride that blends jazz rock, progressive rock and arguably even progressive metal into a cohesive and rather appealing brew. Dreamladen and careful, even frail at times, but also bombastic, aggressive and at times more than a little bit complex. With a strong groove, and always with a good ear for melody as well. Highly recommended, especially to those who prefer their progressive rock to have strong ties with jazz as well as being challenging and demanding on multiple levels. Top-10-2014
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