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(52:46, Apollon Records Prog)
It is safe to say I had been eagerly awaiting this album, as I had awarded their 2013 release ‘The Continuation’ 10/10, and at long last the Norwegians are back with their third album. Any band who starts an album with a song well in excess of 20 minutes are always setting themselves up for critical backlash from anyone who doesn’t really enjoy the genre, but for me I just sat back and let the music build and take me into their wonderful. Flute and acoustic guitar makes one immediately think of classic Camel, but then we move into Jadis crossed with Rick Wakeman and at six minutes one realises there still haven’t been any vocals yet! There just isn’t room for them as the music builds, then just thirty seconds later the music drops in tempo, the piano comes in and Erik Borgen finally makes his presence felt. By now we are in Flower Kings’ territory, and it is time to stop playing “spot the influence” and instead bask in what is yet another quite wonderful album. Harmony vocals? Delicate emotional lead guitar? A keyboard player who moves between Mellotrons and piano? Woodwind? A bassist and drummer in perfect harmony who provide additional melody when it is required and pushes along when there is a requirement to give it an edge? Yes, all of that, and so very much more. There is a refusal to sit too long in any one melody, or to feel they have to confirm to any rigid norms, while also creating progressive music which is very easy to listen to, full of hooks. It is an album to close the eyes to, and then get carried away on the sax line. Then compare opener “The Tree” to third track “Dendrophenia” which is far more rock based, with repeated riffs, showing they can get heavy when they want to. It feels that the band really can do no wrong, as this is the second album of theirs I have heard and it is yet another stunning piece of work. An album to just keep playing, time and again.
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