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Thule - Ultima Thule CD (album) cover



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3 stars Fascinating stuff this. Very dark and somewhat gloomy, but yet retaining hints of bands like Rush and even Yes's darker moments. A nordic band doing retro 1987!!! Ahead of their time is probably the most accurate description. However, there is something not quite there in terms of compositions and performance. This is no Anglagard, that's for sure. They seem to be more amateurish, which isn't unusual for a debut, but is for those familiar with the nordic onslaught of prog bands in the mid-90's. But then, this was the 80's. All things considered, the recording quality is not bad, and the music itself does have some good qualities. The rhythm section is what probably reminds me most of the 90's nordic bands, but the keyboards and guitar seem to be a bit more "80's" in sound and style. Still, if you can find this album it might be worth hearing what a prog band from Norway in 1987 sounded like. Myself, I got this album on MP3 from a friend, who also doesn't have the original album. But if I could buy it, I probably would. I haven't heard anything else by this band, but this album makes me want to see how they developed over the years. I wonder what they made of the mid-90's explosion of similar bands from their neighbors in Sweden?

On the whole, good but not essential describes this well. Still, considering the year of release, it is an interesting historical anomaly.

Report this review (#120596)
Posted Wednesday, May 2, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars 4.5 stars. THULE are a band from Norway who play a dark and heavy brand of progressive music. I've thought about getting their music for years but the low ratings always held me back. I should have known better and checked these guys out long ago. I mean dark and heavy is my favourite stye of music. I was glad to see "infandous" mention the RUSH flavour in his review because I noticed that fairly quickly mostly with the lead guitar work. Interesting that they show 8 songs on this disc, yet on my stereo it shows only 2 long tunes. And it's very difficult to know when one starts and the other ends so i'll review it as two side long tracks. I should mention the vocals are sung in their native Norwegian language.

Side one starts off with the wind blowing strongly as spoken words come in after a minute. A guitar line is repeated as synths and drums take over. Great sound 3 1/2 minutes in. Vocals follow and then the tempo picks up after 5 1/2 minutes. The bass is excellent and a beautiful guitar solo comes in after 6 minutes. Check out the bass and drums 9 minutes in ! Spoken words join in. The guitar reminds me of Lifeson here and then vocals return after 11 minutes. Great sound after 14 minutes. Drums and bass throb as the guitar solos over top. Vocals are powerful. A calm follows then drums start to lead the way as vocals join in. Check it out 18 1/2 minutes in as the organ and drums dominate with the guitar forcing it's way in.

Side two opens with synths and drums as vocals join in this this spacey atmosphere. The vocals get passionate before 5 minutes. A change after 6 1/2 minutes to an almost PINK FLOYD-like spacey soundscape. The guitar sounds so good before 8 1/2 minutes. A calm 10 minutes in then the drums come and go in flurries followed by some ripping guitar. Incredible ! The bass is huge here. Vocals before 11 1/2 minutes then there's that Lifeson-like guitar again as some fat bass lines and background synths fill out the sound. Guitar solo before 16 1/2 minutes. It turns dreamy before 18 minutes. Acoustic guitar and a calm follow. Organ floats in. Spoken words come in as the wind starts to blow just like the beginning of our trip.

Can't wait to check out some other releases from this band.

Report this review (#216215)
Posted Saturday, May 16, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars From the cold thule......

This band was almost a enigma throughout their lives, releasing self-produced LPs limited to 1000 x. They hails from the North Cape municipality (Honningsvaag) in Norway and is very probably the most northern prog rock band in the world. They are totally isolated from the rest of the Norwegian music scene and very few have ever interviewed them. They are an enigma in a scene where bands are not afraid of promoting themselves. I have always been aware of this band and I was very happy when I finally bought their two first albums, twenty-five years after reading a review of their first album in a very obscure music magazine in Norway. Street Fighter, I think this magazine was called. So, twenty-five years later, I am trying to enter my thoughts into my computer and then through a fiber optical line to the PA server... Strange world !!

Their music is strange too....... A blend of epic music like Pink Floyd and darkened prog like VDGG. Include some large dosages The Smiths in it too and you get the picture. The best song and the very epic Over de iskledte fjell should be regarded as one of Norway's most definate anthems. It is brilliant. The Shaman song has some sami and VDGG influences. Mostly VDGG and I doubt Peter Hammil would had been ashamed of including this song on a VDGG album. The rest of the songs are a blend of the bands mentioned above. The quality is pretty good throughout. There is not a single bad track here, but no classic tracks either. It is a very good album for those into darkened prog. Don't buy it if you are suicidal. The mood are dark throughout this album. Just like a winter day in Honningsvaag with total darkness throughout. Thule is most definate one of these bands I want to know more about and the rest of their albums is on my to-do list. Please regard this as one of the better Norwegian prog rock albums.

3.75 stars

Report this review (#230696)
Posted Sunday, August 9, 2009 | Review Permalink

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