Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Ring Van Möbius - Past The Evening Sun CD (album) cover


Ring Van Möbius


Symphonic Prog

3.72 | 50 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

siLLy puPPy
3 stars The retro prog scene has really picked up in recent years with some bands eerily emulating the past masters with uncanny impeccability with bands like Wobbler and All Traps On Earth mysteriously weaving the distant past into the present with great success. Add one more band obsessed with the early years of prog, RING VAN MÖBIUS from the extreme west coast of Norway in the municipality of Karmøy south of Bergen. What is it with Scandinavia's obsession with prog's golden years? The band claims to play progressive rock straight out of 1971 but made today and it appears that the classic Van Der Graaf Generator album "Pawn Hearts" is the primary targeted inspiration for their debut album PAST THE EVENING SUN.

This band is basically a power trio that in staying true to the era, utilized only analog equipment that adds a sense of veracity to their claim. Thor Erik Helgesen may not don a magic hammer of the gods but he cranks out the Hammond L100, Fender Rhodes, Clavinet D6, Moog Satellite and Korg MS20. Thor is also the vocalist. Håvard Rasmussen plays bass and Dag Olav Husås is the percussionist. While not officially a band member Karl Christian Grønhaug appears on much of the album as an unofficial fourth member with healthy doses of saxophone squawks and jazzy touches. Yes, the Van Der Graaf Generator signs are strong and it doesn't get any more "Pawn Hearts" than an album claiming to be from 1971 that has three long tracks that clock in at around 22 minutes, 6 minutes and 12 minutes. Oh, and the total absence of the guitar can only bring forth more comparisons.

All this basic obsession with VDGG would seem that this album could be the perfect train wreck of wannabeism run amok, but despite the perfect tailoring to fit the 1971 timeline complete with an album run time of 39:28, a complete dedication to period piece analog equipment and recording techniques and a healthy dose of respect for those who existed in that year the band does muster up its own unique sound that sort of occupies the cracks between the bigwigs of the day. While VDGG worship provides the lion's share of ideas, so too do the following: King Crimson's "In The Court Of King Crimson", Emerson, Lake and Palmer's debut album's keyboard heft, Atomic Rooster's more experimental moments and healthy doses of early pastoral symphonic prog that only Genesis could conjure up on albums like "Nursery Crime." PAST THE EVENING SUN could very easily have just been called "The 1971 Album" and been done with it, but the band seems to prefer to remain slightly mysterious having released little info about themselves and allowing the listener to decipher where this band would fit into the scheme of things had it really emerged in that year.

While the song lengths are similar to "Pawn Hearts," the tracks are in reverse order with the longest, the title track which is made up of six mini-suites, appearing first and the second longest appearing last. Only the shortest connecting track remains in the middle. And while all these comparisons may evoke a sense of "how could they?," the truth is that in the end PAST THE EVENING SUN does not exactly sound like any of the bands of their inspiration despite the obviously elements of the era finding a modern day retro rendition with the exception of some notable moments such as around the five minute mark of "Chasing The Horizon" that clearly borrows that funky hyperactive keyboard segment from "Man-Erg." However, one thing that stands out after a single listen to PAST THE EVENING SUN is that this album lacks any rock sizzle and floats by in a dream state. It seems like it never really jumps into overdrive and remains a mid-tempo pastoral time capsule for its entire run.

So with all the most sublime influences delivered to the world in 1971 by the gods, this must be the best retro album of all prog existence, right? Well, unfortunately i cannot say that it is. While the band took the time to check off all the proper boxes to ensure a proper tribute to their golden year of choice, somehow they forgot to craft memorable songs with outstanding instrumental performances. First of all, while Thor Helgesen is clearly trying to evoke Peter Hammill as his time period vocalist of choice, he completely lacks Hammill's dynamic vocal style and overall charisma. With the lack of the dynamism of strong vocal led melodic deliveries, the instrumental interplay seems lackluster despite the wide range of atmospheric textures, time signature rich meanderings and period piece timbres that nail all the keyboard variations, Fender bass techniques and jazzy saxophone squawks. In the end the album comes off with all the Van Der Graaf Generator expectations but ultimately delivers Rare Bird results and by evoking all the top dogs of the day, ultimately let's me down as it fails to reach such lofty goals.

So in the end PAST THE EVENING SUN doesn't even come close to capturing the psychedelic progressive mind trip that "Pawn Hearts" was and remains to be as it approaches a half century in existence but this adventurous debut album isn't exactly horrible either. It does succeed in displaying the band's knack for reinterpreting the past in a modern day context and although i don't find this debut album quite works on all levels, it signifies that with a few more attempts at the drawing board and a bit more variety in their dynamics and compositional fortitude that the band could emerge a few years down the road as the next Wobbler or All Traps On Earth who for the most part made it sound easy to replicate the sounds of yore and translate them into the modern era. While not achieving the desired result, RING VAN MÖBIUS remains a band to keep your eyes gazed upon because there's certainly a masterpiece waiting to emerge from this ambitious troop of all things retro prog but only after going back to the drawing board and ironing out the kinks that are keeping this album from standing up on its own terms.

3.5 stars rounded down

siLLy puPPy | 3/5 |


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this RING VAN MÖBIUS review

Social review comments () BETA

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.