ARABS IN ASPIC

The Nor­we­gian prog­gers de­but live al­bum recorded at the Trond­heim club.

Prog - - The Musical Box - MB

The 11-minute Sy­denes Magi be­gins with wispy Mel­lotron chords redo­lent of King Crim­son’s Star­less, but its reg­u­lar mid-paced tread soon morphs into a heavy Sab­bath-like pas­sage. It’s not of­ten that one sees “for fans of Uriah Heep” in con­tem­po­rary press ma­te­rial, but Arabs In Aspic also favour high vo­cal har­monies, and when Stig A Kvam-Jør­gensen’s Ham­mond or­gan joins in with their big twist­ing riffs, it gives con­sid­er­able heft to the sound. Add to that Jostein Smeby’s psych/metal gui­tar style and Alessan­dro Elide on clat­ter­ing per­cus­sion, and

AIA com­bine fa­mil­iar el­e­ments into an orig­i­nal mix. A num­ber of their songs are of sim­i­lar length and as this live set con­tin­ues, one can see a pat­tern. AIA al­low their tracks to un­fold grad­u­ally, some­times achiev­ing a near-Floy­dian grandeur. Pic­tures In A Dream finds them ex­plor­ing melody, with del­i­cate gui­tar arpeg­gios and a synth around the vo­cal lines, but they in­evitably cul­mi­nate in a col­lec­tive power surge. On the rel­a­tively con­cise Mør­ket 2, in­tri­cate gui­tar and or­gan lead into the big fi­nale while Sil­ver Storm smoul­ders, builds mo­men­tum and fi­nally cli­maxes with a spec­tac­u­lar wah-wah gui­tar wig-out.

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