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Seven Impale

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Seven Impale Contrapasso album cover
3.89 | 117 ratings | 5 reviews | 26% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2016

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Lemma (8:59)
2. Heresy (7:16)
3. Inertia (9:09)
4. Langour (7:39)
5. Ascension (1:37)
6. Convulsion (5:06)
7. Helix (9:16)
8. Serpentstone (7:20)
9. Phoenix (11:14)

Total Time 67:36

Line-up / Musicians

- Stian Økland / vocals, lead guitar
- Erlend Vottvik Olsen / guitar, vocals
- Håkon Vinje / keyboards, vocals
- Benjamin Mekki Widerøe / tenor saxophone, flute, vocals
- Tormod Fosso / bass, cello
- Fredrik Mekki Widerøe / drums & percussion, banjo, vocals

Releases information

Artwork: Costin Chioreanu

LP Karisma Records ‎- Kar117LP 2016 (2016, Norway)

CD Karisma Records ‎- KAR117CD (2016, Norway)

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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SEVEN IMPALE Contrapasso ratings distribution

(117 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(26%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(30%)
Good, but non-essential (29%)
Collectors/fans only (12%)
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)

SEVEN IMPALE Contrapasso reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by rdtprog
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Heavy / RPI / Symphonic Prog Team
4 stars

After a great first album, the band is back with this new album. Could they match up the first one? After playing together for 2 years, the band is much tighter and it really shows in this new work. From the opener "Lemma", we are in space territory with a big voice from the deep and the sax of Benjamin Widero who will be a highlight throughout this album. There is a break with a funny atmosphere, but the song switch to more dark melodies. "Heresey" brings a female voice, a Frank Zappa like part and some strange time signatures and strange keyboards passages remind me of VDGG. "Inertia" brings the first psychedelic guitar solo between some furious sax passages. "Langour" is where the album is starting to pick up with some brilliant music! The band is switching from the intensity of the heavy guitars to the calm piano and bass lines. There's another type of vocal harmonies here, some Jazzy parts and weird synths. The sax plays in a different mode. "Convulsion" has some brilliant bursts of energy and breaks with vocals and music that remind me of Killing Joke. We are again in some dark territory where the melody is built slowly in the fusion of the vocals and the instrumentation. "Helix" has some cool synths effects, dark atmosphere, and various piano/keys tones. The band is playing with many tempo changes.In "Serpenstone", the vocals are quite unique and the melody is again building his momentum slowly with some beautiful keyboards in the Beardfish style, an influence that is spread out all over this album with many others of course. The last song starts with samples of conversations with some strange atmosphere, spacey keyboards, ambient passages and a special guitar break.The song was meant to slow things down after all the previous intensity. If this long song is not the most impressive track , it end up very well the album. If you enjoy adventurous music and are not afraid of dissonant music, oppressive atmosphere covering different styles, this is an album to look for.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The future of progressive rock music is in excellent hands if it stays in the hands of young rockers like Norway's Seven Impale. 2014's City of the Sun was undeniably one of that year's best albums, but this one is better! Far more adventurous, experimental, confident (if that's possible), and bold. The band's infatuation with computer, electronic and radio-like sounds (sometimes in a way quite similar to the work of Holger CZUKAY in the 80s) is one area in which they have really branched out. The other would be in the variety of styles, sounds, and effects used for Stian Økland's vocals. Both of these changes are, to my ears and mind, very positive and only help prove the growth and adventurous nature that the band is going through. Growth--and change--is GOOD!

1. "Lemma" (8:59) has a very pretentious feel of melodrama not unlike that of DISCIPLINE or BLACK SABBATH--only here, with Seven Impale, I take it all tongue in cheek--all for fun; for the band's amusement as well as ours. Musically, the song is a perfect vehicle for the melodrama taking place but then, out of the blue, there is a wonderful shift at the 6:15 mark which feels like it is a saving grace for all of the bombast that has come before. Awesome stuff! I love it! Great song! (10/10)

2. "Heresy" (7:16) opens feeling familiar in sound to City of the Sun though the melodic movement is more jazzy. When the vocals enter the 'old' Seven Impale is cast aside and we are brought into a world that is more farcical, more Tim Burtonesque. The song quickly develops into a storytelling vehicle in the same vein as MOTORPSYCHO's The Death Defying Unicorn, only compacted into a single, seven minute song. At the three minute mark there is the "Doldrums/Flotsam/Sculls in Limbo"-like interlude, followed by a spirited return to full dynamic force a minute later. If I hadn't heard TDDU I might give a little more credit to Seven Impale here--though their intent may just have been to show the world that an entire 80-minute rock opera could be adequately fit into a seven minute song. (8/10) 3. "Inertia" (9:09) opens with some eerie piano, bass, guitar noises, with drums before sax shows up to throw everybody in line with a nice staccato rhythm progressing over a cycle of several key changes. The vocals on Contrapasso, overall, are quite different than their debut--quite a bit more diverse and using quite a variety of effects--which I like. The band's growth, adventurousness and confidence must be very high. A very nice elongated REINE FISKE-like guitar solo in the third and fourth provides a buffer between the first and second vocal verses. The next instrumental interlude is awesome. In some ways similar to both "God Left Us for a Black-Dressed Woman" and, again, MOTORPSYCHO's The Death-Defying Unicorn, and yet completely its own. Here is where I notice that this album includes a much greater presence and use of spacey keyboards, effected instrumental notes (from piano, percussives, synths or guitars Excellent song. A top three and probably my favorite full-length song on the album. (10/10)

4. "Langour" (7:39) opens like a djenty song from LEPROUS or even MOTORSPYCHO--even when the organ, saxes, synths and vocalized melody join in. At 1:45 things quiet down into an ominously spacious, pregnantly potentialized jazz song. Stian Økland's familiar voice enters fifteen seconds later with the force and presence of JIM MORRISON. At the three minute mark the music stops and we are left with only an irritating high pitched squeal and some wobbly guitar notes picked individually and intermittently. The vocal finish sounds almost like church choir-like--and then, to top it off, a church organ and tubular bells-like keyboard enter to finish the song! Theatric and wonderful! (9/10)

5. "Ascension" (1:37) uses a guitar (and, later, harmonizing piano) to spaciously recreate the arpeggio that formed the main melody for the instrumental exit jam from their last album's epic masterpiece, "God Left Us for a Black- Dressed Woman." Perfect title! Awesome idea! (10/10)

6. "Convulsion" (5:05) is, as the song's title indicates, a vehicle for the conveyance of some heavy stoner rock sonic convulsions. The echoed and delayed multiple-voice vocal delivery and shifts in song direction and style every minute or so also plays into the health-threatening feel of this music. The fourth major shift, into a kind of TOBY DRIVER postlude of psychedelia is odd and unexpected but effective when paired with the phrenetic predecessor and the typical end of peace and calm that follows a convulsive attack. I really like the tight, compressed feel of the first two thirds of this song. (9/10) 7. "Helix" (9:16) opens with synth bass and drum time kept on a hi-hat. The group vocal that joins in creates another KAYO DOT-like sonic environment. While not as starkly earth-shaking as the typical Toby Driver delivery, there is an effective mood conveyed here--one that feels as if it is slowly building in potential energy ready to be released in some kinetic explosion. Then, at the four minute mark, things quiet down (the calm before the storm?) for about a minute before, yes, the caldera blows. Hoarse, screaming vocals add the icing to the cake, until, just as suddenly, at the six minute mark everything settle back into a quiet, resting mode--though the melodies and chords interjected by the bass, keys, and saxes are quite ominous--quite filled with warning of more doom impending. Even the piano interlude in the eighth minute holds so much warning. Again, it's like the calm before the storm. But then, oddly, the music switches to solo treated organ and the crescendo never recurs. Until the opening of the next song... Not a bad song, it just feels unresolved and incomplete. (8/10)

8. "Serpentstone" (7:20) opens quite heavily and then downshifts into a really nice, full-band ominous groove. This groove turns into a nice multi-layered instrumental section in which synths, saxes, and guitars are weaving within a deep, dark subterranean tapestry. A great vocal takes over. Again I must reiterate how remarkable it is that the effects and stylings of Stian's voice are so different from City of the Sun. Cool song! One that I know will continue to grow on me with repeated listens. (9/10)

9. "Phoenix" (11:14) opens almost like a 1970s hip-hop rap with a bouncy melody line in the low end while chopped and echoed vocals from some British television comedy show (or shows) play along with. The vocal sample track comes to an end at the three minute mark as a female voice says, "This is just freaking me out," which is then immediately followed by a deep male voice laughing, "Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!" The odd carnival-ish hip hop synthetic rhythm continues while sax and other instruments join into the mix. It all seems so until 5:25 mark when heavy bass, guitar, and drum riffs enter and establish dominance. When synths join the song takes on a bit of a JAGA JAZZIST Starfire sound/feel to it. The final two minutes find the song meandering into the realm of space-radio wave soundscapes. Interesting. This one, I have to admit, does not please me. I feel as if the band has almost wasted some of my time--11:14 of it, to be precise. Too bad. (6/10)

My long-lasting question after listening to Contrapasso a couple of times is: Are the boys intentionally showing off their influences? And, if so, are they doing so out of respect or out of an attitude of "anything they can do we can do, too (. . . if not better)???

Not quite as consistently high as their debut album but I definitely like the fearless exploratory nature of the band's energy here--and I hope the mixed reviews are not enough to discourage the band from continuing to experiment, take risks and grow.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars 4.5 stars. SEVEN IMPALE are back! Yes this young Norwegian band created quite the buzz with their debut in 2014 finishing 3rd in the "Album of the Year" votes here. It was an album that almost perfected the marriage between Jazz and Rock. I liked it but wasn't as enamored as most were. It was actually the complaints about this new album that moved me to pick it up. Claims that they'd turned too experimental and that it was nothing like their debut moved me to check it out and I'm so glad I did. The vocals are more prominent and the horns continue to blast yet I like this better? Go figure.

"Lemma" is my favourite. I just can't get over how good the intro is, so powerful and heavy but it's the vocal expressions and vocals that kill here. The rhythm section drives hard and it's dark while the vocals are deep and theatrical. So good! Check out the dissonant horns when they arrive playing over top. Some organ runs too and then that rhythm stops after 3 12 minutes as powerful vocals take over in a dramatic soundscape. There's almost an IN THE WOODS... vibe here. Some mock laughter and words that make me laugh before 5 minutes then the music kicks back in with power. Another change after 6 minutes to a more Symphonic vibe with plenty of keys and drums to the end.

"Heresy" opens with drums and horns that beat and blast as expressive vocals join in. The vocals bring MOTORPSYCHO to mind, not just here either. We get a calm with bass and atmosphere before it re-builds as the organ joins in. It's full before 2 minutes then it calms down again before 3 minutes to an Electronic mode. Horns come in blasting at 4 minutes then vocals. An eerie calm after 6 minutes takes over and it's quite haunting to the end. "Inertia" opens with piano as a beat and atmosphere take over quickly then blasting horns and passionate vocals. It settles back some as the vocals and horns step aside but check out the drum work here along with the grinding guitar expressions. Nice. Horns and vocals are back after 3 1/2 minutes then the drums take over after 5 minutes but the organ is on boil here and soon the horns are coming and going, synths too. I love the sound they've created here. A change before 7 1/2 minutes as piano and atmosphere trade off with blasting horns until it's all atmosphere to the end.

"Langour" features drums galore to start, lots of beats and depth. It picks up speed and vocal melodies join in until we get a calm after 1 1/2 minutes. A beat and piano melodies are followed by horns and vocals. Another calm after 3 minutes as reserved vocals almost speaking arrive then horns and vibes as it builds. A fuller sound with synths and lots of depth follows then the vocals return. They stop as the horns return blasting away then they return before 6 1/2 minutes as the drums and horns dominate. "Ascension" is just over 1 1/2 minutes and it features lots of atmosphere, like we're out in space, some piano and bass too. "Convulsion" has outbursts of heaviness that will come and go, lots of horns. The vocalist pretty much shouts out the lyrics after a minute. Back to the all instrumental work and its bombastic. The vocals are back before 3 minutes then we get a change after 3 1/2 minutes as we get drums and bass standing out with some horns also crying out.

"Helix" is dark with a beat and I really like the keyboards. Then almost mono-toned vocals join in. I love the mood here. It starts to get a repetitive beat then a powerful section kicks in before 5 minutes then some extreme vocals as the organ and a very powerful soundscape helps out. It turns spacey with a beat and more then a calm with piano takes over pretty much to the end. "Serpenstone" is bombastic to startout before vocals and a calm arrive before a minute. Drums, organ and more join in as it starts to build. Outbursts of sound kick in before 3 1/2 minutes followed by electric piano, sax and a beat with reserved vocals. "Phoenix" opens with atmosphere as pulsating sounds take over. Samples of various conversations start to come and go until they stop around 3 minutes in. The pulses and spacey sounds continue. It's windy followed by outbursts of guitar around 4 minutes. It turns heavy with horns but then settles again with beats and more. Its building until we get a change before 7 minutes as we get this beat with spacey sounds. Horns after 8 minutes and this is getting intense until a spacey calm arrives before 9 minutes with pulses.

This will be on my end of the year list. They've amped it up quite a bit plus they've come up with some really interesting ideas. This is a band to watch for because I have a feeling they get bored easily and there's too much talent here not for us to benefit from that.

Review by Tapfret
5 stars It's not often that I find myself doing such an about-face on an album. The amount of crow that was eaten during the second listen of Seven Impale's 2016 release, Contropasso, was staggering. I found myself fighting considerable bias toward the retro sound of their 2014 release, City of the Sun. I suppose as a self-proclaimed avid progressive rock listener, such bias should not be rote. The initial listen to the album found me considerably disappointed at the comparatively modern sound. But as further listening occurred, the textures and dynamic composition of the album shine through. So much so that it has become apparent that this is the album of the year for 2016, in this reviewer's humble opinion.

Vocalist / guitarist , Stian Økland has a voice that, while being very enjoyable and dynamic in City of the Sun, became quite a bit more eclectic in this release. The style could be best described on the previous LP as having an almost late era Jon Anderson quality to it. And while that sound was present at times in Contrapasso, it was also contrasted by periods of very goth, almost Peter Murphy style deep vampiric tones. Almost to the point where I thought a guest appearance was being made by fellow Norwegian Czral of Virus/Ved Buens Ende. Additional sections of soaring glam metal style vocals are also present. It is a very deeply rounded conglomeration of vocal styles that deeply textures this release. its a facet of progressive music that can often lead to the downfall of a great album. In this case augmenting it substantially.
Adding to the, dare I overuse the word, eclecticism, are the arrangements themselves. While the aforementioned overall feel is less retro than City of the Sun, the aspects of arrangement are still very classically Progressive. The instrumentations tend to be quite a bit heavier than the previous release, to the point that one could almost understand the occasional "metal" label that's put on the album by various music media outlets. But the amount of contrast in both volume dynamics and tempo are undeniably Prog. Even in the darkly oppressive Languor, and almost electronica sound of Phoenix. And then there's the saxophone, which was almost trademark to the sound of Seven Impale on City of the Sun. Here we find it not so much subdued, but blended and far more complimentary than in the previous release.

As time goes by I find myself becoming more and more of a Norweig-aphile. But even in a country that is standing out as a flagship of fresh Progressive rock in the 21st century, Seven Impale have shone through a rather thick field of creativity. Contrapasso is one of, if not the quality release of 2016 and is easily recommended for any Progressive rock library. 5 bright stars.

Review by Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Norwegian band SEVEN IMPALE was formed in 2010 and has in fairly quick succession released an initial EP, been signed to the Norwegian label Karisma Records and subsequently released two more full-length studio recordings, "Contrapasso" is the most recent of the latter, and appeared in the second half of 2016.

Norwegian band Seven Impale has continued on the journey they started with their debut album, and on this occasion they have decided to hone in on a darker variety of their brand of eclectic progressive rock. The music remains challenging, quirky and sophisticated, with firm nods in the direction of jazz-rock and a more indefinable variety of progressive rock, on this occasion adding psychedelic nuances and occasional cosmic touches to the palette, as well as the sections bordering on progressive metal in intensity, already a part of their sound. A bit more of an acquired taste in sum, but for those with a strong fascination for dark, bleak and oppressive progressive rock of the eclectic variety this album should be a winner.

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