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Arabs In Aspic - Live at Avantgarden CD (album) cover


Arabs In Aspic


Heavy Prog

4.18 | 13 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website


'The Hammond organ rules!'

This Norwegian formation has already released 5 studio-albums, a compilation and now this live album, Live At Avantgarden, my first musical encounter with Arabs In Aspic. During my first lsitening session I got excited about the Hammond drenched sound, and I wondered why I have waited so long to listen to Arabs In Aspic? The li ve CD contains 8, often extended, mid-long compositions: very melodic and harmonic, and simply structured, with obvious hints from legendary prog bands, and loaded with Hammond and wah-wah guitar. But I don't consider it as too derivative, because these guys have managed to blend the sound of their heroes with an own, very tasteful and exciting touch, also due to the native vocals in some tracks, along English vocals in others. My highlights.

Syndenes Magi (11:07) : An intro with soaring Mellotron violins evoking ITCOTCK and Red King Crimson era, then a slow and hypnotizing rhythm (early Anekdoten atmosphere), a heavy and raw guitar joins, with King Crimson assorted percussion and short vocals contributions. The music turns into a more lush and bombastic sound, with mellow Hammond and fiery electric guitar runs. The Norwegian vocals sound inspired and delicate in a mellow climate with dreamy Hammond organ, joined by powerful and moving bluesy guitar work. In the final part the music culminates into bombastic featuring exciting Hammond and biting wah-wah guitar, what a captivating sound!

M'rket 3 (11:43) : A dreamy intro featuring twanging guitar and soaring Mellotron flute, then melancholical vocals join, followed by a slow rhythm follows with an emotional vocal outburst. Gradually the music turns in a more lush sound with bombastic Hammond and wah-wah guitar, reminding me of Italian Heavy proggers Wicked Minds (also on the Black Widow label). The Hammond rules but the band surprises with some electric piano. Then an accelaration, heavy wah-wah guitar, swirling Hammond and a propulsive rhythm-section, close to a psychedelic climate with hints from early Pink Floyd. Next a catchy mid-tempo with swirling Hammond solo and finally a fiery electric guitar solo with swinging clavinet and lush Hammond, now Heavy Prog reigns.

Victim Of Your Father's Agony (11:13) : The Hammond and wah-wah guitar dominate, in a slow rhythm, joined by decent English vocals (with a slight accent) and vocal harmonies, Atomic Rooster come to my mind (organ and hevay guitar riffs). Halfway a dreamy part with vocal harmonies, tender guitar and piano, turning into more bombastic with powerful bluesy guitar and Mellotron violins, nice combination! Then an accelaration with Fripperian guitar and lots of vintage gear: Hammond, Mellotron, Moog synthesizer and Fender electric piano. Next the highlight in this long track, a long and strongly build-up guitar solo, from sensitive to psychedelic and finally biting with heavy wah-wah, accompanied by lush Hammond and propulsive beats, wow, what an exciting blend of psychedelia and Heavy Prog!

Silver Storm (9:22) : First the distinctive sound of the Leslie box tremolo with the Hammond organ, then a slow rhythm with English vocals and bluesy guitar. Gradually the music shifts to a psychedelic wah-wah solo with soaring Hammond, very compelling. Halfway a dreamy atmosphere, slow drum beats, mellow Hammond and hypnotizing guitar work. Then the spectacular use of the wah-wah pedal, blended with Mellotron violins, like 'early Pink Floyd psychedelia meets early King Crimson', very compelling, goose bumps! In the final part another sensational, very biting wah-wah guitar solo, I love it.

One (7:31) : This final track delivers a Deep Purple sound, in a slow rhythm, then moving guitar and soaring Mellotron violins, topped with dreamy English vocals, simply wonderful. Next an accellaration in a sumptuous atmosphere with fiery, wah wah drenched guitar and waves of the Hammond and Mellotron. Halfway Heavy Prog with swirling Hammond, along heavy guitar riffs, propulsive drum beats, and a bass solo with Mellotron sounds, how creative. Then lots of Hammond and heavy guitar, culminating into a bombastic final part featuring wah-wah guitar, lush Hammond and high pitched vocals, like David Byron, a strong goodbey, very much appreciated by the crowd!

Not to be missed by any serious Hammond aficionado who is into Heavy Prog!

This review was previously published in a slighty different version on the Dutch progrock website Background Magazine.

TenYearsAfter | 4/5 |


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