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Arabs in Aspic

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Arabs in Aspic Pictures In A Dream album cover
4.04 | 71 ratings | 5 reviews | 29% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 2013

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Rejected Wasteland / Pictures in a Dream (6:06)
2. Let U.S Pray (5:19)
3. You Are Blind (5:41)
4. Felix (3:04)
5. Hard to Find (3:02)
6. Difference in Time (2:47)
7. Lifeguard@Sharkbay (5:11)
8. Ta et steg til siden (2:53)
9. Vi møtes sikkert igjen (6:49)
10. Prevail to Fail (3:23)
Bonus track on CD:
11. Pictures in a Dream (Acoustic Version) (3:24)

Total Time: 47:39


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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Jostein Smeby / guitars, vocals
- Stig Arve Kvam Jørgensen / Hammond, piano, synth, vocals
- Erik Paulsen / bass, fretless bass, vocals
- Eskil Nyhus / drums, percussion

- Rune Sundby (Ruphus) / vocals

Releases information

CD Black Widow Records BWRCD 152-2 (2013 Italy)
LP Black Widow Records BWR 152 (2013 Italy)

Thanks to psarros for the addition
and to The Bearded Bard for the last updates
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Buy ARABS IN ASPIC Pictures In A Dream Music

Pictures in a DreamPictures in a Dream
Imports 2013
Audio CD$32.50
$21.99 (used)

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ARABS IN ASPIC Pictures In A Dream ratings distribution

(71 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(29%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(44%)
Good, but non-essential (20%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

ARABS IN ASPIC Pictures In A Dream reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Jazz-Rock/Fusion/Canterbury Team
4 stars This is an album which overtly fits into the realm of stoner rock/psychedelia. What has really impressed me with this album is the production--the sound quality and layers of subtleties woven into the fabric of each song. I compare this music to that of HYPNOS69, QUANTUM FANTAY, and SAMSARA BLUES EXPERIMENT, among other, but find the music to be much more thoughtfully constructed and more creatively engineered.

1. a) "Rejected Wasteland" b) "Pictures in A Dream" (6:05) opens the album with some awesome sound combinations, evolving into a kind of HYPNOS 69 sound, but then showing their multi-dimensionality and song-writing maturity with some awesome codas, bridges and cadenzas. The song's "b)" section starts out as a kind of blues-rock jam before taking on a GRAND FUNK/NEKTAR-like shift progression. Love the vocals! Outstanding! (9/10)

2. "Let U.S. Pray" (5:18) though this politically-oriented song starts out like a BLACK SABBATH/LED ZEPPELIN song, at 1:20 it devolves into an interesting, creative and original song with great team vocal work--almost KHAN-like. At 3:12 an awesome scream-vocal introduces an awesome instrumental section. Again I can't help but compare this song to the work of KHAN on my favorite Canterbury album--their only album--Space Shanty. (10/10)

3. "You Are Blind" (5:41) begins loudly before settling back into an acoustic guitar based standard blues rock song. By 1:50 it has turned into a full-blown LED ZEPPELIN song, though more with the vocal harmonies of early BLUE OYSTER CULT, CREAM. At 3:40 the new section even directly references "Stairway to Heaven" and some other ZEP, HEMDRIX, and BEATLES songs. Well done tribute! (8/10)

4. "Felix" (3:04) streams in on the psychedelic synth from the previous song as a simple blues rock chord progression is established with "House of the Rising Sun'-like guitar arpeggios. The Clapton-imitating lead guitar is understated until he starts to soar at the 1:40 mark. Clever and catchy lead melody hooks. (9/10)

5. "Hard to Find" (3:01) travels into early Metal territory, the Farfisa-like organ giving it a MOODY BLUES/BLACK SABBATH quality and sound. Great RAY MANZEREK keyboards at the beginning of the instrumental section at 1:44. Great chunk of nostalgia. (9/10)

6. "Difference in Time" (2:46) again reminds me of a cross between early BLUE OYSTER CULT and LED ZEPELLIN--with a little ROBERT WYATT thrown in there. Good CREAM/ARGENT-like blues rock with a tinge of Canterbury. (8/10)

7. "Lifeguard at Sharkbay" (5:09) is an interesting song with a split personality. The instrumental second section is set up to showcase the Clapton-esque guitar skills. Section three speeds things up like a great URIAH HEEP song. Section four brings it into arena- anthem territory. It all adds up to a kind of a CORUS STONE jam setup song. (8/10)

8. "Ta et steg til siden" (2:53) starts right off into blues rock territory like a classic CREAM or BLUE OYSTER CULT song--and stays there. Solid but . . . proggy? (7/10)

At this point the album is starting to wear on me as being more imitative of classic 1970 blues rock and less of what proggers got hooked onto.

9. "VI Motes Sikkert Ighen" (6:48) opens with some bombast quite reminiscent of classic BLACK SABBATH. Nice song structure, chord progressions, and development. The sparse beginning to the vocal section at 1:48 sets up a pretty classic, almost RPI, section. This one, for some reason, feels less imitative of elders and more original (despite the less-than- exciting drumming in the first four and a half minutes). Great NEKTAR-ish dream-freakout section beginning at the 4:45 mark. Too bad it ends?goes back to the kind of dragging, dramatic vocal section. Still, I like that for the first time the band is displaying something creative and original. (9/10)

10. "Prevail to Fail" (3:22) is an electrified acoustic guitar strummed song with some alternating vocalists kind of treading CHICAGO and STYX ground. I like this second vocalist! He sounds quite impassioned. The quirky synth soli and vocal harmonies make for a very pleasant, catchy, almost poppy tune. (10/10)

11. "Pictures in A Dream" (acoustic version) (3:23) the acoustic version here really brings out the LED ZEPPELIN, URIAH HEEP and even CROSBY, STILLS AND NASH influence on this band. (8/10)

A very enjoyable listen by a group of well-polished stoner-rock imitators, but it is in the band's more original stuff that I find myself drawn back for repeated listens.

Four stars.


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Review by kev rowland
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Now, it doesn't take much to get me confused, but at the moment I'm not actually sure what the name is of this band. According to their Facebook page they are Arabs in Aspic II, but according to the label they are Arabs in Aspic. The cover art doesn't show the band name, and I was sent this as a download so I don't have a physical copy to look at. I have no idea where the band name (whichever one it is) actually comes from, apart from thinking that it must have something to do with a certain King Crimson album, so maybe it's fortunate that the name is so unusual. Mind you, one has to wonder about the name altogether, is it likely to upset someone in the current climate? Maybe, but these Norwegians have been together for more than 15 years now and this is their fifth album so they're not exactly newcomers. But, this is the first album of theirs that I've come across which shows how easy it is to miss out on great bands, even with the internet.

They say that their main influences are Sabbath and Wetton-era King Crimson, but there is also the requirement to mention how important psychedelia and plenty of early prog bands are to these guys. This is chunky prog that definitely hearkens back to forty years ago, and makes no excuses for that whatsoever. It is controlled, with really heavy elements which threaten more than appear, with special guest singer Rune Sundby (from famous Norwegian 70's proggers Ruphus) doing a standout job. While the guitars are heavy, the drums are dramatic, and there are loads of mellotron and Hammon on this.

The result is something that those into heavier 'classic' prog that is very much geared towards the Seventies sound will enjoy a great deal. I did.


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Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars I was greatly looking forward to hearing the follow-up to Arabs In Aspic's `Strange Frame Of Mind', which was one of my absolute favourite albums of 2010, and if I recall one of the first albums I gave a five star review on the Prog Archives. I was wondering if they would continue in the more melodic direction of that album, or perhaps a return to the doomy stoner psych of their earlier works `Progeria' and `Far Out In Aradabia'. Instead, `Pictures In A Dream' sees the band further honing their songwriting craft, as well as taking on more complex vocal harmonies, weaving their psychedelic flavours through more concise arrangements, but still full of all their usual colour, quirky humour and heavy/retro vibes.

The dreamy two-part opening title track, a mix of 70's Floyd with it's mellow vocals and chiming guitars, wavering synths, and bristling Mellotron gets things off to a fine start. After an extended frantic instrumental passage in the middle, the track ends up resembling a soulful Rare Bird/`Beautiful Scarlet'-like vibe, with warm female chorus vocals, humming Hammond and strident drumming. Very positive and thoughtful sounds all around. `Let U.S Pray' bridges numerous styles, parts of the track are built around heavy brooding doomy Black Sabbath-like riffs, a mellow drifting psych atmosphere, female backing gospel harmonies and thick Hammond that will remind instantly of `Division Bell'-era Floyd. This is one of the best of the disc! The deeply psychedelic and unpredictable `You Are Blind' jumps back and forth between murky but darkly groovy hard riffs with joyful foot-tapping sprightly acoustic rock behind a catchy melody, with whirling Theremin drenching the entire piece. Reflective and somber instrumental `Felix' slows things down for a moment, all gloomy Mellotron and grand David Gilmour emotional guitar soloing. Quickie `Hard To Find' is all feral angry riffing, smashing drumming over maddening Hammond repetition and creeping electric piano dreaminess, it's a bit of shame about the abrupt ending that just kills the track dead when they could have jammed on!

The fun `Difference In Time' is a terrific up-tempo poppy distraction, mixing muscular groovy rock by way of fuzzy Canterbury organ that's sure to get your girl headed to the dancefloor! I love the flirty vocal and romantic lyrics, and I know I wouldn't mind finding a girl that `tastes like honey and fine wine, that lights the gloom in my darkest nights'! It's followed by the album's epic `Lifeguard At Sharkbay' (yes really!), the comical lyrics at the start seeming totally out of place with the rest of this intense improvisation! Strap in for floating Mellotron mystery, overwhelming repetitive drumming and bluesy guitar jamming, a slow-burning brood, before up-tempo sprightly Hammond kicks in and the band really take off! The pace keeps up for the sleazy strut of `Ta Et Steg Til Sedan', with the Norwegian band singing in their native tongue, but if you don't understand the words just chill out to the bluesy Nektar-like swagger, while `Vi Motes Sikkert Igjen' again sees the band in Uriah Heap/Atomic Rooster heaviness, but contrasted with a striking and lovely thoughtful melody through dramatic group harmony vocals that recall the warmth of Rare Bird. `Prevail To Fail' is back to dreamy acoustic strumming, washing Mellotron and twisty Moog soloing similar to Yes. The vocals here range from sublime to a little messy, almost getting away from the band in a few spots. The album ends on an acoustic reprise of the title track, and although I'm not sure if it's meant merely as a bonus track, by closing on a return to the opening piece, it gives the album a complete, more rounded feel. Vinyl junkies beware, however, as these two tracks seem to be absent from the LP edition.

Initially a bit of a disappointment (I'd honestly just set such a high standard in my mind of their previous album!), `Pictures In A Dream' quickly reveals it's immense charms, as well as just how much effort has gone into finding a successful balance between catchy songcraft, psychedelic colours and heavy grooves. Housed in mind-bending psychedelic artwork by Julia Proszowska Lund to truly become lost in, this album shows the band playing perfectly to their strength with a winning mix of accessible vocal melodies and dynamic psychedelic rock instrumentation.

Four stars, and another highly recommend release by this wonderful band!


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Review by ProgShine
COLLABORATOR Errors & Omissions Team
5 stars Now, it's not every day that you come across a release like Arabs In Aspic's Pictures In A Dream (2013)! I confess that I haven't really paid attention to this Norwegian band till now, but as they say, better late than never!

Released by the Italian label (and Progshine's partner Black Widow) Records last year Pictures In A Dream (2013) is the fourth album of the band and a treaty of unexpected things. Arabs In Aspic is a band that could very well released this album in 1971 and it would perfectly fit into the musical context of that period.

Pictures In A Dream (2013) manages to achieve a mix of different influences like Black Sabbath and Jethro Tull in the same track and makes it work! Perfect examples of what I mentioned are 'Let Us Pray' with its Jethro Tull intro and the splendid 'You Are Blind' (with its bits of Led Zeppelin).

After an instrumental atmospheric track ('Felix') Heavy Psych fill the speakers with 'Hard To Find' and with the schizophrenic 'Difference In Time'. Meanwhile in 'Lifeguard@Sharkbay' we have bizarre lyrics with a psychedelic musical background. Maybe the fact that the band comes from Norway and not from acountry that produces high quantity of Prog bands is what gives Arabs In Aspic its unique magic, far away from the fashion going on in the modern Prog Rock.

The next two tracks from Pictures In A Dream (2013) form the Norwegian bit of the album. 'Ta Et Steg Til Siden' and 'Vi Møtes Sikkert Igjen' are at the same time something weird and a pleasure for the ears. It's a bit different for me to listen to the Norwegian language with a Hard Blues Rock (on 'Ta Et Steg Til Siden') musical background. 'Vi Møtes Sikkert Igjen' is a robust Prog that was born with a classic feeling. The final sequence is acoustic 'Prevail To Fail' with its synthesizers 'grooming' the song and then a pretty acoustic version of 'Pictures In A Dream'.

Pictures In A Dream (2013) is not just a blow of fresh air in the last years releases in the Prog world, (even if it's full of 70's sounds), but it's also a modern classic full of great melodic hooks.

4.5 stars. This is definitely a must have!

(Originally posted on


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Latest members reviews

3 stars I got a whim to write a review of this album: "Pictures in a dream" by the Norwegian heavy prog band "Arabs in Aspic 2" from this year 2013. Immediately I got the feeling that this is a strong and talanted band which makes a kind of retrospective progressive hard rock. The thoughts of for exam ... (read more)

Report this review (#981097) | Posted by DrömmarenAdrian | Tuesday, June 18, 2013 | Review Permanlink

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