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Ruphus - Ranshart CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

3.16 | 56 ratings

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3 stars I reviewed Ruphus’ debut album about a year and a half ago and wrote that some of it smacked of mid-seventies AOR, and that it was a decent album but overall hadn’t aged all that well. The same applies to ‘Ranshart’, their sophomore release that came out less than a year after ‘New Born Day’.

There are a few differences, albeit mostly minor ones. The opening track isn’t nearly as heavy as “Coloured Dreams” from ‘New Born Days’, and the band manages to deviate from an obvious Yes-influenced style with the almost Styx-leaning (and decidedly non-prog titled) ballad “Easy Lovers, Heavy Moaners”. The vocal harmonies on this one remind me just a bit of Spock’s Beard as well, although the lyrics are pretty much repetitive and disposable.

As with their debut there is a heavy emphasis on keyboards of all sorts, yet with this second album the band does spend a bit more time at least trying to give equal billing to Kjell Larsen’s guitar and (quite noticeably) bassist Aslec Nilsen, who is also credited with the flute but doesn’t really play it much except on “Pictures of a Day”. A second guitarist and flautist from the first album is gone, as is the band’s original lead vocalist Gudny Aspaas which is too band because I liked her voice. The band also had a second keyboardist (Håkon Graf) who has apparently left as well, but they have added a new vocalist in Rune Ostdahl.

While the first album settled into a very period-appropriate heavy prog groove after the opening track, this one balances guitar riffs with synthesized keyboard forays and just enough multipart vocals to sound more like early neo-prog than its heavier predecessor. This is most evident on “Fallen Wonders” and the closing “Back Side” though, while the rest of the album is characterized by the same sort of decidedly mid-seventies as the albums that preceded and followed it.

My understanding is the band took more of a fusion direction toward the end, but if you are one of the many folks who still appreciate that seventies symphonic-meets-art-rock sound, this record may appeal to you. Reissued on CD in 1999, you can still find copies pretty easily although in the U.S. at least you’ll have to import it as I doubt you can find this on many record store shelves. Three stars anyway; a pleasant enough diversion on a late autumn evening or perhaps even a lazy summer afternoon. Recommended for nostalgic types I suppose.


ClemofNazareth | 3/5 |


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