ARTIST:

ARABS IN ASPIC

(NORWAY)
TITLE:

SYNDENES MAGI

(2017)
LABEL:

BLACK WIDOW

GENRE:

PROGRESSIVE ROCK

TAGS:
High-pitched vocals, Old School, Psychedelic
"The Scandinavians deliver here a well-proven 70's progressive rock."
DARIALYS (29.11.2017)  
4/5
(0) opinions from our readers (0) comment(s)

On the occasion of their twentieth year of career, the Norwegians of Arabs In Aspic take advantage of this autumnal period to produce their sixth album, "Syndenes Magi". Behind this incomprehensible title for us French, this curious band name (meaning "Arabs in jelly") difficult to interpret and this enigmatic cover, what is really hidden? Let's discover it without further delay....

From the very first seconds of the eponymous track opening the album, we are back 40 years with this slow and dark mysterious introduction to the mellotron reminiscent of King Crimson's "Starless", the name of their album "Larks Tongues In Aspic" being perhaps at the origin of the Norwegian band's. It would not be surprising given the influence of the Crimson King's influence within this album, such as the bewitching verses of the same "Syndenes Magi" with its "Epitaph" look and the long experimentation with "Moonchild" or "Providence" on the track "Morket 3", where the keyboards again play a crucial importance, faithful to the sound of the time.

Three titles. All it takes is for the quartet to take us with them into their psychedelic progressive universe where we can easily be carried away. However, the exercise was not won in advance, the band being rather known to deliver short compositions. Throughout the album, all the ingredients of the good old progressive rock of the golden age of the 70s are brought together: the songs are long ("only" 9 minutes 34 for the shortest) and full of influences and varied sections, the instrumental parts are of capital importance, the keyboards are present in many forms, and the compositions sometimes do not hesitate to venture into unknown or even risky areas.

On the vocal level, it is also a success. The singing lines are particularly well thought out and perfectly match the melodies played. At the microphone, Jostein Smeby does not do too much and is carried by his companions' choirs at the right times. While the band had already recorded a few songs in Norwegian in the past, this is the first time they have released an album entirely in their original language, perhaps as a return to their roots to commemorate this twentieth anniversary. The first words of the opening title can be somewhat disconcerting as the dialect is foreign to us, but the ear quickly gets used to it, to the point where we no longer even pay attention to it.

The album ends with the very good track "Morket 3", which is 20 minutes and 20 seconds long, and for which the quartet cannot deny the obvious influence that its prolific elders have on it, like the Hammond organ hard-rock solo close to Deep Purple, which roars in the middle of the track, verses similar to those of Pink Floyd's "Echoes" and rhythmed by parts of saturated tenebrous guitar recalling a similar passage on Riverside's title "Saturate Me". Unfortunately, the band get lost a little bit on the way at the end of the track, which contains 5 minutes of uninteresting experimental dissonant ornaments. 

The Scandinavians deliver here a well-proven 70's progressive rock. Despite their twentieth candle, they unfortunately and unfairly remain unknown in the community. With only three tracks written in Norwegian and unusual lengths for the general public, this should not be the album that should reveal the formation. Nevertheless, this last opus proves that after two decades, it is still possible to release (very) good albums and that will be more than enough for us music lovers!


More informations on http://www.arabsinaspic.org/



SIMILAR BANDS:
KING CRIMSON, BLACK SABBATH


TRACK LISTING:
01. Syndenes Magi
02. Morket 2
03. Morket 3

LINEUP:
Erik Paulsen: Chant / Basse
Eskil Nyhus: Batterie
Jostein Smeby: Chant / Guitares
Stig A. Jørgensen: Chant / Claviers
   
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