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Arabs in Aspic - Strange Frame Of Mind CD (album) cover


Arabs in Aspic


Heavy Prog

3.65 | 78 ratings

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2 stars Wolfmother on steroids

Seeing this band name, I immediately thought of King Crimson. High-towering mellotrons, jagged riffing and the occasional heartfelt singing. Oh yes we've heard it before. Whenever bands start emulating The Crimson, we're no doubt in for a Red meets In The Court of the Crimson King experience, and that is probably because those are perhaps their most successful and charismatic albums. Then again who could ever hope to lift the heritage from an album such as Lark's Tongues in Aspic - no matter what this Norwegian act call themselves. Nowhere on this album do I get reminiscent of said album. No apart from those jagged guitars and the mellotron, I actually don't hear anything resembling King Crimson, but far more in the vein of current Aussie rock n' roll gasoline fire-house Wolfmother.

The comparison is quite apt I assure you. Take Wolfmother's snarling guitars, melody laden choruses and the pseudo Robert Plant vocals, although slightly more writhing and teen-smitten. Then stuff this mother with a boot full of progressive tendencies ie the aforementioned mellotrons, organs and high soaring synthesizers and we've got ourselves a brand spanking prog rock record! I'm sorry for sounding a bit malicious, but that is not my intention. It is just that this band really shouldn't have named themselves after one of the most progressive albums in history (let's face it when Larks' Tongues first came out NOTHING sounded like that), when most of the music hiding underneath this their debut album resides comfortably within the hard rock sphere albeit with some slightly stereotypic prog by the numbers passages. Again I am sounding somewhat harsh here, but don't let that fool you: This is indeed a very competent album, and if you really dig stuff like Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Wolfmother all mixed up with bubbling Hammond organs and the occasional synthesizer outburst, then this album should be right up your alley. The musicians are tight as hell and swing like your daddy on the dance floor, and nowhere does this album loose its breath and count to ten, it just hurls along like a freight- train with cut brakes. Maybe that is the problem I have, because the one time I really got enthralled, the time I dropped everything in my hands and just stood still - listening carefully with my mouth open and peepers wide closed, was the one time these guys sped down and got up close and personal. The track Arabide suddenly transforms into these middle-eastern sloshes of guitar, gently waving back and forth - conjuring up an extremely seductive psychedelic atmosphere, where I truly lost myself in the matter of a few seconds. I hope these guys will investigate this calm, menacing and cradling music some more in the future, because unlike the rest of the album, this thing's truly got some charm and personality to it.

Again, this is by no means a bad album. On the contrary, this is brawny, steam-pumped hard rock with a truck load of all the effects we have come to love about this genre, but to me personally, I'll stick with the original Wolfmother, where things are kept more simple and straightforward.

Guldbamsen | 2/5 |


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