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Gazpacho - Demon CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.86 | 367 ratings

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4 stars Norwegian band GAZPACHO was formed back in 1996, and ever since they started releasing material of their own in 2002 they have quickly established themselves as a popular band both inside the progressive rock environment as well as among those with a taste for sophisticated rock in general that doesn't have a special interest in progressive rock as such. They have been signed with prestigious UK label Kscope for a few years now, and have a total of eight full length studio albums to their name. "Demon" is the most recent of these, and was released in March 2014.

A key element in the music of Gazpacho are the lead vocals of Jan Henrik Ohme. He's got a voice that in terms of vocal approach, delivery and tonal range kind of force comparisons to the likes of Thom Yorke of Radiohead fame, and to some extent towards Marillion's Steve Hogarth as well. He's got the frail, vulnerable part of that vocal approach covered to perfection, albeit without touching grounds with the more extreme angst-ridden delivery that Yorke in particular has been known to utilize. Still, it's a distinct vocal approach that does add a distinct atmosphere to Gazpacho's musical endeavors, and one you need to have a soft spot for to be able to enjoy their music.

On "Demon" Gazpacho have crafted a fairly sophisticated musical foundation as the platform for Ohme's vocals, alternating between sparse, frail passages with standalone careful piano with or without dampened violin support, dampened but sweeping symphonic oriented passages and harder edged, dark guitar driven constructions where the guitar riffs have the occasional organ support creating those majestic, somewhat pompous atmospheres fans of progressive rock in particular tend to favor encountering. The transitions between the various moods flow nicely, freely and naturally, even when the shifts are sudden and unexpected, and the songs all come across as very well developed and cohesive. Some instances of vocal effects enrich the compositions, especially on the second part of I've Been Walking, and I'll add that an impeccable production throughout should please all audiophiles out there. If you are the kind of person that have invested heavily on a top scale music system, this is one of those albums you will appreciate highly on those grounds alone.

Particular features on "Demon" are the use of textured instrument details that adds a slight post rock vibe to the proceedings, both when they explore territories of a more mellow nature as well as when they hit upon grounds of a more layered and elaborate kind, and liberal use of mandolin, violin and accordion gives the compositions and album a distinct folk music flavoring too. Combining the frail, angst-flavored vocals and the stylistic variations previously described with folk music elements gives this album a nice and compelling atmosphere, most often melancholic, more often than not with an underlying feeling of darkness. Concluding epic Death Room is the most intriguing of the compositions in that context, where futuristic, industrial sounding details are used to good and occasionally magical effects to conjure a fairly unique mood, of the kind where you might envision seeing ancient creatures of legend placed in a dystiopian futuristic setting.

I've heard quite a few people raving about this album already, and while I'm not quite as taken with this disc as many others seem to be, this is an extremely well made production. If you enjoy bands that explore dark, melancholic progressive rock of the more sophisticated variety, and especially if you have a soft spot for vocalists who have a style and approach comparable to people like Radiohead's Thom Yorke and Marillion's Steve Hogarth, Gazpacho's eighth studio production "Demon" is a CD you will enjoy, especially if you are a fan of the kind of music the bands of said vocalists explore.

Windhawk | 4/5 |


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