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The Windmill - Tribus CD (album) cover


The Windmill

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4 stars The Windmill from Norway is one of my fav progressive rock bands in last decade. I have a soft spot for their music since they released their first album in 2010 named To be continued.... Formed in 2001 but only in 2010 they come with thir first opus who become quikly a respected album in this genre, the second album was issued in 2013 and now in 2018 they released third album named Tribus. I love this album and everything thei offer from the music to the excellent art work made by the wife Kirsten K. Viita of the vocalist/keybordist , really excelletnt work that goes hand in hand with the music. Now, the music is more then great, with lots of intresting arrangements, with each musician shining on their instruments. Opening with the longest piece of the album The tree, what a great opener for sure, keyboards and guitar built together in a perfect unit in 23 minute i was in another world. Great changes in tempo and top notch musicianship strong are the flute moments who gives a certain vintage atmophere overall. Follow Storm - an instrumental piece with nice melodic passages and all the ingredients to be a fairly solid tune, I like a lot the guitar parts, Stig Andr' Clason ( I guess the son of Morten Clason responsable for flute and sax here) done a marvelous job, really fantastic guitar lines . Dendrophenia is a short pieces clocking around 5 min, remind me of Uriah Heep in parts, a nice one again. Make Me Feel is another top tune, balanced arrangements, nice vocals, all is here. The ending Play with Fire, ends a the album in a beautiful elegant manner, very nice vocal parts and flute. So , all in all Tribus is well balanced going from mid tempo passages to more up tempo in nice skilfull manner, from melodic lines to more heavy prog , passages thet flows very well and with substance. All pieces are excellent, not a weak or boring moments here. Tribus is to me one of the better examples how must sound a good solid prog rock album these days. Love it from the first spin. Recommended for sure, The Windmill is one of the best exponets in prog rock relam in last decade. 4 stars without hesitation. I love this band and all 3 albums are recommended, plus the art work and booklet is brilliand again.

R.I.P. - Sam Arne Nøland - the drumer of The Windmill, who sadly passed away during the recordings of Tribus, in september, never been able to see the final result. he done a solid job on all 3 albums.

Report this review (#2081104)
Posted Tuesday, December 4, 2018 | Review Permalink
5 stars 'Tribus' is my third encounter with Norwegian band THE WINDMILL that does live up to expectations. Once again, the keyboard player Jean Robert Viita and his crew (respectively, Erik Borgen ? lead singing & guitars; Morten Loken Clason - flutes, sax, b/v; Sam-Arne Nøland - drums; Stig André Clason - guitars, Arnfinn Isakson - bass) have proven their talent and masterity. There's so much going on the new issue to provide a substantial added value. As starting point, I have to say that 'Tibus' comprises five tracks to extend almost 53 minutes, where each sonic excursion is perfectly done, leaving the listener enough of time to explore the musical approach.. Now for a look at the songs individually. The album comes off with a multifaced epic 'The Tree', builded around improvisational prowess. The pastoral introduction brings a recognisable Genesis hallmark which gradually flows towards to the pulsating template of IQ. What emerges after a while is a gentle piano accompaniment, leading up to the emotive voice of lead singer and lovely harmonies, whilst the stylish guitar excursion and rhythmic background are succeeding to pose the tight display of ensemble musicianship. In terms of execution, this part is reminiscent of the Dutch neo-prog scene. The continuation reveals a bizarre collage featuring sax and flute, jazzy tones and folky themes changed by latino colors and sudden acapella performance, the exciting instrumental propulsions alongside movie soundtrack feel. The later segment harks back to a mellow pattern, standing pretty close to Silhouette. Using a fadeaway formula, the whole thing ends with a graceful melodic signature comparable with classic Pendragon. Sure, that was a tremendous start for the journey. Then 4 more chapters to go. A sensitive instrumental piece titled 'Storm' has the main focus on exploring moods and atmospheres, complete with sound waves and deep space in the production department. The core influences here are ranging from the orchestration type of Alan Parsons Project to the 70's Genesis paradigm in an intriguing manner. By the token, Camel and Fish On Friday also come to my mind. To surprise, the distinctive guitar passages may be associated with such masters as Vinnie Moore and Joe Satriani. The next track 'Dendrophenia' switches to realm of hard- rock, most closely reminding about Deep Purple - just think of their 'Come Taste The Band' album and you will not go far wrong. The follow-up, melodically crafted 'Make Me Feel' sounds like a nod to Arena. The influence is apparent, albeit the embodiment is a bit different. Rounding out this disc, a peppy cut 'Play With Fire' wraps things up in a Jethro Tull styling. As final point, I would say that the cover art (by Kirsten Knoph Viita) is well suited to the repertoire and overall it's a beautiful package. The lyrics and drawn images complement the quality of music contained within. All in all, The Windmill have done a great job. So folks, make no doubt and reserve a spot for "Tribus" on your CD shelf. RECOMMENDED!
Report this review (#2086631)
Posted Friday, December 14, 2018 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Norwegian band THE WINDMILL have been around in one form or another since 2001, and when they released their debut album back in 2010 they were a band that had developed into a tight and compelling unit that knew perfectly well what they wanted to achieve and how to go about it. Hence they hit the ground running, and have kept up ever since. "Tribus" is their third studio album, and was released through Norwegian label Apollon Records in the late fall of 2018.

The Windmill is a band that, if it isn't already present, should be added to the check list for just about anyone with an interest in early to mid 70's progressive rock. I find it rather charming that they choose to combine several aspects of vintage era progressive rock with a wee bit of vintage hard rock as well, which as I regard it makes the album experience one with at least a potentially broader reach. Be that as it may be, in their chosen field this is a solid band with a solid new album to their name.

Report this review (#2112281)
Posted Saturday, December 29, 2018 | Review Permalink
4 stars Review # 101. The Windmill is a Norwegian band that I discovered recently, and to be honest I was impressed. I had no idea about them until I saw some very good ratings and reviews about their latest album Tribus, and I decided to give it a try. Their music style can be characterized as Heavy Prog with a sound that reminds the bands of the '70s, but in a more modern way.

The album opens with the 24-minute-long The Tree, which left me speechless! If I would like to describe the feeling I had, I would say that it is as if you enter a train for a long journey, without knowing where it is going to lead you. So, you just sit back and enjoy the ride, with its infinite turns and changes of the landscape, and the peace you find yourself in. When the journey finally ends, you know that you only have to press "repeat" in order to feel it again. It is one of the album's "stronger" compositions, but that doesn't mean that the rest of the songs are just "fillers". Each of the 5 songs is wonderful in its own way, and creates different feelings for the listener. The Tree is followed by the 10-minute-long instrumental Storm. What I wrote about The Tree stands for Storm as well. The only difference is the length of the "journey". Another excellent track, including flute that permeates a vintage sound, if I can use that expression. Dendrophenia that comes next, is a lovely track that could easily fit in any of the old albums of Uriah Heep. A very nice and more "straight forward" track. Make Me Feel, the album's 4rth track, is another highlight! Again, a long ? 9.30-minute-long track, is one of the album's stronger compositions. I didn't pay much attention to it at first, because I kept listening to the first 2 songs repeatedly; but when I finally decided to continue with the rest of the album, this was the song that stuck with me again. Play with Fire is another wonderful tune that concludes the album in the best way possible. A more Folky and happier tune in comparison with the previous songs. Due to the sound of the flute and the singer's voice, it reminds me of Jethro Tull a little bit, but it cannot be characterized as a "copycat" in any way.

The things that I loved in Tribus are; firstly the very good and strong compositions, secondly, despite their sophistication, the songs don't tire you out. Although most of them include lots of changes, they come artlessly and effortlessly. These guys don't try to impress the listener with their technical skills, (which are very good), but with the quality of their music and their overall performance instead. This is a wonderful album that you listen from the first until the last minute, without having to skip not even one song. All the songs are wonderful and they have something to offer. Stronger tracks: The Tree, Storm, Make Me Feel. Weaker Tracks: None. It would be a mistake to ignore this album! Give it a try and you won't regret it. My Rating: 4.5 stars.

Report this review (#2119239)
Posted Friday, January 18, 2019 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
Honorary Reviewer
4 stars It is safe to say I had been eagerly awaiting this album, as I had awarded their 2013 release 'The Continuation' 10/10, and at long last the Norwegians are back with their third album. Any band who starts an album with a song well in excess of 20 minutes are always setting themselves up for critical backlash from anyone who doesn't really enjoy the genre, but for me I just sat back and let the music build and take me into their wonderful. Flute and acoustic guitar makes one immediately think of classic Camel, but then we move into Jadis crossed with Rick Wakeman and at six minutes one realises there still haven't been any vocals yet! There just isn't room for them as the music builds, then just thirty seconds later the music drops in tempo, the piano comes in and Erik Borgen finally makes his presence felt. By now we are in Flower Kings' territory, and it is time to stop playing "spot the influence" and instead bask in what is yet another quite wonderful album. Harmony vocals? Delicate emotional lead guitar? A keyboard player who moves between Mellotrons and piano? Woodwind? A bassist and drummer in perfect harmony who provide additional melody when it is required and pushes along when there is a requirement to give it an edge? Yes, all of that, and so very much more.

There is a refusal to sit too long in any one melody, or to feel they have to confirm to any rigid norms, while also creating progressive music which is very easy to listen to, full of hooks. It is an album to close the eyes to, and then get carried away on the sax line. Then compare opener "The Tree" to third track "Dendrophenia" which is far more rock based, with repeated riffs, showing they can get heavy when they want to. It feels that the band really can do no wrong, as this is the second album of theirs I have heard and it is yet another stunning piece of work. An album to just keep playing, time and again.

Report this review (#2168987)
Posted Wednesday, March 27, 2019 | Review Permalink
3 stars Heavy Prog? No, absolutely not! I am very much into Heavy Prog since the mid-Seventies, from Uriah Heep, Deep Purple and Vanilla Fudge to Atomic Rooster, Led Zeppelin, Ayreon and of course Rush, but I can hardly trace any Heavy Prog hints. I can imagine that The Windmill is not easy to pigeonhole because this Norwegian band (rooted in 2001 and produced only 3 albums until now) easily switches from early Seventies Genesis (twanging acoustic guitars and flute) to mid-Eighties IQ (hypnotizing with Mellotron violins and moving electric guitar). Or Camel inspired, from dreamy with flute to a slow rhythm with a moving electric guitar solo. And the music is loaded with twists and turns, musical ideas and a variety of instruments, from swinging jazzy piano to powerful saxophone and from Spanish rock guitar to a capella singing and a folky tin-whistle, it all happens in the strong epic opener The Tree (almost 24 minutes). So we can enjoy symphonic rock, Neo-Prog, Rock Andaluz, folk rock and jazz, but no Heavy Prog.

And how about the other 4 compositions?

Storm (10:05) : First a slow rhythm with soaring keyboards and wonderful flute and acoustic - and electric guitar, halfway bombastic with howling electric guitar and intense piano. Then dreamy with piano and mellow saxophone, followed by a bombastic part with moving electric guitar and sparkling piano, and in the end a churchy organ. It all sounds very flowing and compelling, wonderfully arranged.

Dendrophenia (4:34) : Catchy rock guitar riffs, then a tight rhythm with vocals and mellow Hammond, to me it sounds like AOR.

Make Me Feel (9:39) : A slow rhythm with flute and lush Hammond, then dreamy with flute and piano, along warm vocals. In between some more bombastic eruptions. Then harpsichord and flute and propulsive guitar riffs, with howling electric guitar. Finally up-tempo with fiery rocky electric guitar and dynamic rhythm-section and some flute.

Play with Fire (4:34) : Dreamy with acoustic rhythm guitar and flute, then a slow rhythm with flute, Hammond and pleasant vocals (male and female) and flute traverse and slow synthesizer flights, like "folk rock meets melodic rock", with hints from Camel, Solaris and Jethro Tull, but more song-oriented, very catchy and cheerful.

So hardly any Heavy Prog moments, apart fromMake Me Feel and Dendrophenia with rock guitar. The Windmill is a band that delivers a very melodic and harmonic eclectic sound, wonderfully coloured with a wide range of instruments, often between dreamy, slow rhythms and some bombastic or harder-edged moments. Although it's not really my music, I am impressed by their compositional skills and how they have found their way between symphonic rock, Neo-Prog, melodic rock, folk rock and AOR. I think it is most close to Neo-Prog, it's no coincidence that Karl Groom (Threshold, Shadowland and Strangers On A Train) did the mixing and mastering of this CD.

My rating: 3,5 star.

P.s.: Other new interesting bands that are not on PA: The Adekwaem (Neo-Prog), Laura Meade (from IZZ, eclectic), Encircled (Neo-Prog), Fizbers (Eclectic) and Dean Baker (from Galahad, excellent electronic).

Report this review (#2184589)
Posted Sunday, April 21, 2019 | Review Permalink
4 stars The recording sessions for Tribus, the third album by Norwegian prog maestros The Windmill, would be marred by the death of Sam Arne Nøland, the group's drummer. One can only hope that the group will find a way to balance respecting Sam's memory whilst keeping on going, because despite such difficult circumstances for all concerned the improvement over their previous album, The Continuation - which was no slouch itself - is notable.

Playing in a heavy style which at points puts me in mind of a "what-if" in which Jethro Tull merged with Uriah Heep (Jethro Heep? Uriah Tull?), the group also sneaks in gentler touches to their music reminiscent of, say, some of the more delicate moments of the neo-prog bands. This is served up in portion sizes to suit all appetites, from album- opening epic The Tree to the comparatively short and sweet closer Playing With Fire.

All great stuff, drawing on the instrumentation and attitude of 1970s prog without deliberately trying to replicate any particular approach to it in too slavish a manner. Truly, this is a Windmill of the participants' own specific musical vision; long may it keep turning.

Report this review (#2215995)
Posted Sunday, May 26, 2019 | Review Permalink

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