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Nordagust - In The Mist Of Morning CD (album) cover



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3 stars Distinctive sound of the North.

Anglagard being the anvil on what's created the Norweigan sound, quickly followed by Sinkadus, Anekdoten and a few others; that approach is a dying genre these days.

Drenched in mellotron and Stratocaster solos, Nordagust is somewhat darker, no blackier than Sinkadus and such. Black atmosphere, black lyrics (pain, separation, crushed dreams, hate and other daily chit-chat) and so on. Not being the technical prodigy that was Anglagard (who is anyway?), Nordagust is throughoutly giving a run for your money with chilling lyrical fog and tragic melodies. A little rest can be heard in the track In the Woods, with a chirping creek and Anthony Phillips 12 strings style.

I do appreciate the moody heavyness, perfect for a day of rain or your regular Egyptian plague.

Yes, the end of the world has now a soundtrack.

Report this review (#369792)
Posted Saturday, January 1, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars Promising debut from this Norwegian band.

This album falls well within the label "nordic depressions". The tempo is sludgy and the music is both folky and symphonic.... with a slight doom metal edge. References are Sinkadus, Anekdoten, The Smiths and The Third And The Mortal. A hint of Motorpsycho can also be added here. The sound is pretty much sludgy doom metal like. But most of all; Nordagust sounds exactly like the Norwegian band they are.

The quality of their material is a bit variable. From the half decent to great. The title track is typical where it winds itself through the forest with an occasional thud and collision with the trees. The best song here is Mysterious Ways with it's multiple themes and long detours into folk rock, symphonic prog and metal.

The vocals are not perfect, but the instrumentation is pretty much what to expect from a nordic depression band. This album has some excellent guitar solos. There is no doubts that this band has something great going for them and they should really hone their skills in the next year. Nordagust may be the next big thing from Norway. This is indeed a very good debut album which has a couple of minor flaws. It is recommended to those who can take nordic depressions.

3.5 stars

Report this review (#384982)
Posted Saturday, January 22, 2011 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Norwegian outfit NORDAGUST was formed in 1999 and ever since has been actively scoring demo tapes. In 2010 the band landed a deal with its native label Karisma Records, and late in the fall the same year it made its official debut with the production "In the Mist of Morning".

If you tend to like the brooding atmospheres of acts like The 3rd And The Mortal and you love the sound of late 70's Pink Floyd, Nordagust has crafted a debut album that should appeal to you. While something of an acquired taste at times, the band's dark and distinct compositions have a unique touch to them that might be described as symphonic art rock of a kind well-suited to act as the soundtrack for The Book of Revelations or a fitting score for a movie documenting the apocalypse, and well worth checking out by those who find these descriptions tantalizing.

Report this review (#412205)
Posted Sunday, March 6, 2011 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Having formed way back in 1999 it's taken Nordagust a long time to release their first album, In The Mist Of Morning coming out in 2010. The band come from Norway and their style of moody and atmospheric prog is inevitably going to draw comparisons with other Scandinavian bands like Anekdoten and Anglagard. In truth they don't particularly sound like these bands but would be nearer Anekdoten than Anglagard and share Anekdoten's heavy use of the Mellotron.

While I enjoy the album I do find that to a large extent, stylistically there's not a lot of musical variation between the ten compositions. The music throughout sticks to a sedate pace and is fairly simply structured. Overall it's pretty dark sounding, very moody and atmospheric with suitably angsty vocals, though I have to admit they grate a bit at times. Despite the lack of complexity, which even for a prog fan is not necessarily a bad thing, the music contains some haunting melodies that get under the skin and any band that wants to rely on such heavy use of the Mellotron is alright with me. Their music is equally defined by some searing guitar work which is perhaps the highlight of the album.

In all, In The Mist Of Morning while no doubt being a good album suffers from a lack of diversity which makes me wonder how the band can grow in the future without going off on a totally different tangent. I'll certainly be interested to see however and hope album number two doesn't take as long to arrive.

Report this review (#444921)
Posted Monday, May 9, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars A promising debut.

I find this album very dark and it's got a lot of mood, but it lacks variation and real prog-chops. It's very much like Anekdoten, with heavy Mellotron and dramatic vocals. Sometimes the vocals are just fine, and sometimes it's not.

Like Anekdotens stuff, the songs have no distinct sound, they sound very similar, making it difficult to tell one song from another.

The guitar soloing is the highlight for me on the album, along with the Mellotron of course. It's difficult to pinpoint any of the songs as highlights really, so I'll just say that I like the album OK as a whole, and that I'm hoping for more diversity on their next release.

3 stars.

Report this review (#471265)
Posted Tuesday, June 28, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars OK, it's been several years since this was released and several years since I bought it. So what compelled me to listen to this album again? I don't know, but it also compelled me to write these few words.

If you're into gloomy, melancholic Nordic prog, this album is for you. If you like Anekdoten, Landberk, etc, this album is for you. The only thing is, I like this album better than anything Anekdoten has ever done- and I DO like Anekdoten.

Dark, dreary, depressing. These are the kind of moods this album conveys. It is one of the most mellotron heavy modern albums I can think of, and it's really great stuff. The mellotron is the dominant instrument here, although the guitars are also featured prominently- at times on the heavy side. Daniel Solheim, the singer, fits in perfectly with the music, and at times, it almost sounds like he is crying the lyrics.

To me, the highlights here are the 2 longest tracks, "Elegy" and "Make Me Believe". However, each track on the album is worthy of a high rating and the whole album flows from start to finish. Sadly, I think this will be a one shot release. However, it certainly will never be forgotten.

Report this review (#1000943)
Posted Thursday, July 18, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars Nordagust's debut release, In the Mist of Morning, is Scandinavian to the bone, taking into account its predecessors such as Anglagard and Anekdoten yet carving out its own path through the forest with a very doomy, black sound. It's a chalk full of moody and brooding textures, eerie atmosphere, and haunting, gratuitous mellotron. Did I say that there's mellotron on this record? Nordagust essentially banks on the instrument throughout the entire record. With the title track, "In the Mist of Morning," the album starts of fantastically dark and drives melancholic, yet memorable, melodies through the mix while delivering on the tron, first class. "In the Woods boasts one of the most devastatingly sorrowful intros I've ever heard with its slowly progressing arpeggiation backed by keyboard ambience and blended with the sound of a deep forest and a lifeless, icy brook. It's a fairly short piece and could even be considered the prelude to "Elegy," however, the song stands beautifully on its own. This isn't to say that "Elegy" is a disappointment after this intro; all the opposite. The almost over the top emotional vocal performance is one of the best on the album, and its combination of mellotron swells spaced in between sections of gritty guitars provides nice pacing as the listener plunges deep into a northern winterscape, making "Elegy one of the strongest pieces on the album, in my opinion. Wrapping up the album nicely just before the outro is "Make Me Believe," a track whose moments of grim mellotron choirs remind you once again that you are sitting alone, in the dark.

In my opinion, this is a fantastic debut that really moved me with its gorgeously black textures. The question, for me, then becomes, where does the band go from here? While the album is quite good, there's not a lot of variety or moments that show that the band has definite directions towards which they will evolve in the future. Who knows though? Just producing a highly enjoyable debut album like In the Mist of Morning is an accomplishment, and Nordagust nailed it. I bet they have it in them to give us another walk through the woods with more savory mellotron goodness. I'll be eager and waiting.

Report this review (#1287887)
Posted Sunday, October 5, 2014 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Hahahahahahahaha! Mellotron heaven, is there anything really that can top that feeling? Nah! Something about that metallic phantom sound that just gets me every single time. Nordagust comes from Norway, an iconic land that has understood the intricacies of glacial sound that the fearsome mellotron can provide, an irascible instrument that has been historically difficult to master, like a shrewish and seductive woman who refuses to be dominated by anyone and who in fact loves to return the favor and shove her own set of rules down anyone's throat. Swedes Anekdoten, Sinkadus, Landberk and Anglagard as well as fellow Norsemen White Willow have all colluded to create this famous Nordic sound, all ice and fire. We can add Nordagust to the mix, without too much hesitation. Unfortunately, according to their website, the group stopped its activity by 2012, after this debut album had made no inroads or impact whatsoever. Pity! So when I read some reviews and then checked out the sample of "Make Me Believe", I was gobsmacked once again as I have been countless times before in my 45 year love affair with prog. I ordered this sucker 'subito presto' (aka Fast!) and I am glad to include in my collection, just in time for the onset of the glacial Canadian winter, as if I needed a soundtrack to freeze! Truth is the entire disc is one hell of an arctic blizzard, from the grey frostiness of the cover artwork to the sweeping and chilly mellotron howls, these Norse gents have only the shrill voice of singer Daniel Solheim (which will be an acquired taste for many) but his insane intonations only make the music seem more admirable and original. Some have labelled this as a tad too dark and samey, which is perhaps what the endless winter seems to convey at times. If you want salsa, this is definitely the wrong place!

There are tracks that really stand-out, like the opener and title track "in the Mist of the Morning" which is eerily ethereal, hint of drakkars rowing gently in the arctic fog. The Hoggarth-like rant is plaintive and the guitar taciturn, draped in a blanket of sweeping choir mellotron strings, with distant bells peeling unceremoniously. Brrrr! "Expectations" has a gorgeous guitar line that is straight out of folk, with a relentless Jew's harp pounding away in the background. Plus the contrast coming from the tectonic mellotron and the piercing Solheim vocals. The oppressive effects-laden instrumental "In the Woods" serves as a perfect comprehensive intro for the epic "Elegy", a histrionic 9 minute lament that spares little sympathy and weaves a tortuous melancholia. All good tracks.

Middle-Eastern sounding insanity is found on the decidedly garrulous "Forcing", a harsh and somber sonic expanse that suggests relentless pressure and undeniable agony. While we are at it, "Frozen" could easily have been the title track for this album, in view of the grey sub-zero cover art as a backdrop. Both are refrigerated icicles of snowy doom and gloom. Very, very good tracks indeed.

But the absolute winners are the marvelous "The Tide" with its chaotic yet admirable lilt. Simple mellotron- drenched ecstasy, with grating guitar and some monster lead torrents, as an unassuming bass motif recons ahead, scouring a path for the mighty 'tron. Dispassionate and unendurable. Right behind we have the incredible 8 minutes and 31 seconds of "Make Me Believe", a blistering sonic whiteout of polar proportions and the reason why I purchased this unknown and undervalued gem. A pulsating bass motors along a slick orchestral surge, an unholy alliance of electric guitar and that mellotron monster, with Solheim exhorting passionately 'the pain of beauty' , the synthetic choir does this hopping thing, a truly brilliant move that proves that a real talented mind is at work here. The loud guitar has that metallic Gibson sheen used so well by the young Jeff Lynne on early ELO albums. A ghostly prog classic, I promise you, a perfect song in an otherwise imperfect though very cool (pun) album.

Sadly, a one shot-wonder. 4 sunrise vapors on the fjord

Report this review (#1293824)
Posted Saturday, October 18, 2014 | Review Permalink
Prog-Folk Team
4 stars One could argue without ultimate resolution on the best settings for the esteemed mellotron, the single instrument most intertwined with progressive rock since the late 1960s. And by mellotron I guess I mean mellotron strings, since the technically temperamental was capable of simulating a variety of instruments, if well nourished and in ebullient spirits. Such spirits are confined to the mellotron on NORDAGUST's sole album to date, a dour affair as only the Nordic peoples can embody, but suffice to say that "In the Mist of Morning" should be sampled in the next 30 second commercial spot touting the mellotron as a cure to all ills, followed by a list of all its potentially deleterious side effects in the audio fine print. Because, played properly as it is here, it should be undergoing a clinical trial and certainly not be offered to adolescents.

While not sounding especially similar to OPETH's "Damnation", it tends to materialize in the same thought bubble because of the dominance of the mellotron and the uniformly profound sadness. Yet while the OPETH album portrays resignation, NORDAGUST's stage of grief is more in the angst that precedes capitulation, down to the touch of stridency in the tortured vocals. It's altogether more emotive, with a more dynamic range of energy output all approximating the moth circling the flame rather than the scorched and near lifeless shell that got too close once too often. More concretely, in addition to breathtakingly melodic passages we are treated to some of the most succinct rhythm guitar phrasings north of the circle, sometimes at the same time, as in "Expectations" and "The Tide", my two favorites.

A couple of instrumentals vary the experience without breaking the spell: "In the Woods" is based on harpsichord like motifs with waves of tron, natural sound effects like running water, and the mournful yet warbling call of an animal I can't quite place, either avian or mammalian, perhaps of a Scandinavian species unbeknownst to me. It enjoys this album too because it resurfaces on several tracks and is never unwelcome. This connection to nature is hard won and innate like hockey skates on a crib-bound Canadian prairie child. "Forcing" has our mellotron donning the frock of a whirling dervish, albeit one in a morose frame of mind.

The best of the longer tracks is the magnificent "Make me Believe" which ups the ante with choral touches and even more tortured vocals. I haven't mentioned the occasional lead guitars but they are splendid, sometimes just in a 2 second fill, sometimes in a tasteful solo, rarely overplaying their hand. A few tracks seem to break focus a bit, notably "Mysterious Ways","Elegy", and "Frozen", the latter being the only weak song here. NORDAGUST are occasionally guilty of prolonging the intensity of buildups. A listener should be thankful for a break when it does arrive, rather than begging for it beforehand.

MIsery so genuinely expressed truly possesses the power to heal, and lift the mists of depression not only for the artist but the invested listener. All that from a keyboard.

Report this review (#1313949)
Posted Saturday, November 22, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars This Norwegian formation was founded in the mid-Nineties as a trio, but gradually it turned into a six-piece band. From 1994 to 1998 Ketil played together with Daniel, Knud and two other guys, in a symphonic prog-act named Ocean. They made one album: Newborn Ground in 1997, and released it on our own label and were also represented on two compilations named Revenge Of The Orange (1996) and The Good, The Bad, And The Orange (1997). Both released on Briskeby records. This was two compilations (out of four) with Scandinavian progressive rock ? that is quite hard to find for sale these days. They were all printed in a very low number of copies. Then Musea wanted us to sign a contract with them, but we never got that far. The members of Ocean were searching in different musical directions, and therefore we disbanded ? and formed Nordagust. After recording the first demo (1999), Nordagust recorded another two (2001 and 2003). Then the band did some rewriting and rearranging, and then recorded new versions of all the songs. These recordings now made the album In The Mist Of Morning. Then Nordagust just put it aside and started composing and recording new material. After a while they had recorded enough songs for another album, entitled Naudr. At this moment some accidents occurred, and all of their recordings seemed lost because of broken hard disc's and so forth. Fortunately the recordings were saved. A while after this Nordagust made demo-versions of both albums, and sent them to a couple of magazines. One of the magazines published an article on Nordagust, and a short while after this, Karisma contacted Nordagust. Then the band did a remix of the album in Karisma's studio and finally released In The Mist Of Morning in 2010.

The ten Mellotron drenched compositions on In The Mist Of Morning reminds me of the debut albums by fellow Skandinavian bands Anglagard, Landberk, Anekdoten and Sinkadus. But way more simply structured, with the focus on emotion. The climates alternate between dreamy, compelling and sumptuous featuring breathtaking interplay between the omnipresent Mellotron, intense guitar work and a propulsive rhythm-section. An extra dimension is the vocal contribution (in English), pretty expressive/theatrical (I notice elements of the late Marc Bolan): the one moment fragile or melancholic, the other moment powerful with a desperate or wailing undertone. This is a special flavour, but you have to be up to the dramatic vocals, and the frequent dark atmosphere.

I am very positive about Nordagust their first official CD release, to me it sounds as Nineties Skandinavian prog, topped with very emotional vocals (like in blues, flamenco and fado). This is perfect music for dark and lonely late sessions, "Music is your only friend, until the end" as Jim Morrison once wrote. And for the Tron-maniacs, wow, lots of mindblowing moments with flute, violin and choir sections! Unfortunately it has turned out that Nordagust was a promising one-shot-band ...

Report this review (#1871862)
Posted Sunday, February 4, 2018 | Review Permalink

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