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Arabs In Aspic biography
Formed in Trondheim, Norway in 1997

ARABS IN ASPIC II emerged in 1997 from Norway led by guitarist and vocalist Jostein SMEBY and rythm guitarist & Theremin player, Tommy INGEBRIGSTEN. Since they met through their common love for 1970s heavy rock music, they've been playing together with different personnel, each playing different kinds of heavy music until ARABS IN ASPIC surged.

They said goodbye to playing covers and the band was ready with Hammond organ player "Mysterious" MAGNAR, drummer Eskil NYHUS and his brother, bass player Terje NYHUS. They later re-named themselves ARABS IN ASPIC II due to the replacement of Terje.

Their wide range of influences make a very rewarding listen, including stoner-rock music, 60s psychedelic rock, and the 70s heavy weights, with prime influences being BLACK SABBATH and Wetton-era KING CRIMSON(hence their name). Fans of any of those bands won't regret listening to these guys.

- The Quiet One (Pablo) -

In 2009, the band released "Strange Frame of Mind" and received good reviews. In 2011, They return to their original band name ARABS IN ASPIC and signed with Black Widows Records. In 2013, "Pictures in a Dream" is released with vocalist Rune SUNDBY (RUPHUS)on two songs.

Updated by rdtprog

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Syndenes MagiSyndenes Magi
Apollon Records 2017
$15.39 (used)
Live At AvantgardenLive At Avantgarden
Apollon Records 2018
$3.36 (used)
Victim of Father's AgonyVictim of Father's Agony
Black Widow 2015
$37.13 (used)
Progeria / Far Out In AradabiaProgeria / Far Out In Aradabia
De Dodes Tjern / Step Into the FireDe Dodes Tjern / Step Into the Fire
Gmrmus 2018
$12.45 (used)

More places to buy ARABS IN ASPIC music online Buy ARABS IN ASPIC & Prog Rock Digital Music online:

ARABS IN ASPIC discography

Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help to complete the discography and add albums

ARABS IN ASPIC top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.84 | 45 ratings
Far Out In Aradabia
3.67 | 83 ratings
Strange Frame Of Mind
3.94 | 119 ratings
Pictures In A Dream
3.80 | 82 ratings
Victim Of Your Father's Agony
3.91 | 128 ratings
Syndenes Magi

ARABS IN ASPIC Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.13 | 7 ratings
Live at Avantgarden

ARABS IN ASPIC Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

ARABS IN ASPIC Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.41 | 17 ratings
Progeria / Far Out In Aradabia

ARABS IN ASPIC Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.37 | 19 ratings
5.00 | 1 ratings
De D°des Tjern / Step Into The Fire


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Live at Avantgarden by ARABS IN ASPIC album cover Live, 2018
4.13 | 7 ratings

Live at Avantgarden
Arabs In Aspic Heavy Prog

Review by TenYearsAfter


'The Hammond organ rules!'

This Norwegian formation has already released 5 studio-albums, a compilation and now this live album, Live At Avantgarden, my first musical encounter with Arabs In Aspic. During my first lsitening session I got excited about the Hammond drenched sound, and I wondered why I have waited so long to listen to Arabs In Aspic? The li ve CD contains 8, often extended, mid-long compositions: very melodic and harmonic, and simply structured, with obvious hints from legendary prog bands, and loaded with Hammond and wah-wah guitar. But I don't consider it as too derivative, because these guys have managed to blend the sound of their heroes with an own, very tasteful and exciting touch, also due to the native vocals in some tracks, along English vocals in others. My highlights.

Syndenes Magi (11:07) : An intro with soaring Mellotron violins evoking ITCOTCK and Red King Crimson era, then a slow and hypnotizing rhythm (early Anekdoten atmosphere), a heavy and raw guitar joins, with King Crimson assorted percussion and short vocals contributions. The music turns into a more lush and bombastic sound, with mellow Hammond and fiery electric guitar runs. The Norwegian vocals sound inspired and delicate in a mellow climate with dreamy Hammond organ, joined by powerful and moving bluesy guitar work. In the final part the music culminates into bombastic featuring exciting Hammond and biting wah-wah guitar, what a captivating sound!

M'rket 3 (11:43) : A dreamy intro featuring twanging guitar and soaring Mellotron flute, then melancholical vocals join, followed by a slow rhythm follows with an emotional vocal outburst. Gradually the music turns in a more lush sound with bombastic Hammond and wah-wah guitar, reminding me of Italian Heavy proggers Wicked Minds (also on the Black Widow label). The Hammond rules but the band surprises with some electric piano. Then an accelaration, heavy wah-wah guitar, swirling Hammond and a propulsive rhythm-section, close to a psychedelic climate with hints from early Pink Floyd. Next a catchy mid-tempo with swirling Hammond solo and finally a fiery electric guitar solo with swinging clavinet and lush Hammond, now Heavy Prog reigns.

Victim Of Your Father's Agony (11:13) : The Hammond and wah-wah guitar dominate, in a slow rhythm, joined by decent English vocals (with a slight accent) and vocal harmonies, Atomic Rooster come to my mind (organ and hevay guitar riffs). Halfway a dreamy part with vocal harmonies, tender guitar and piano, turning into more bombastic with powerful bluesy guitar and Mellotron violins, nice combination! Then an accelaration with Fripperian guitar and lots of vintage gear: Hammond, Mellotron, Moog synthesizer and Fender electric piano. Next the highlight in this long track, a long and strongly build-up guitar solo, from sensitive to psychedelic and finally biting with heavy wah-wah, accompanied by lush Hammond and propulsive beats, wow, what an exciting blend of psychedelia and Heavy Prog!

Silver Storm (9:22) : First the distinctive sound of the Leslie box tremolo with the Hammond organ, then a slow rhythm with English vocals and bluesy guitar. Gradually the music shifts to a psychedelic wah-wah solo with soaring Hammond, very compelling. Halfway a dreamy atmosphere, slow drum beats, mellow Hammond and hypnotizing guitar work. Then the spectacular use of the wah-wah pedal, blended with Mellotron violins, like 'early Pink Floyd psychedelia meets early King Crimson', very compelling, goose bumps! In the final part another sensational, very biting wah-wah guitar solo, I love it.

One (7:31) : This final track delivers a Deep Purple sound, in a slow rhythm, then moving guitar and soaring Mellotron violins, topped with dreamy English vocals, simply wonderful. Next an accellaration in a sumptuous atmosphere with fiery, wah wah drenched guitar and waves of the Hammond and Mellotron. Halfway Heavy Prog with swirling Hammond, along heavy guitar riffs, propulsive drum beats, and a bass solo with Mellotron sounds, how creative. Then lots of Hammond and heavy guitar, culminating into a bombastic final part featuring wah-wah guitar, lush Hammond and high pitched vocals, like David Byron, a strong goodbey, very much appreciated by the crowd!

Not to be missed by any serious Hammond aficionado who is into Heavy Prog!

This review was previously published in a slighty different version on the Dutch progrock website Background Magazine.

 Syndenes Magi by ARABS IN ASPIC album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.91 | 128 ratings

Syndenes Magi
Arabs In Aspic Heavy Prog

Review by proghaven

5 stars A 'hello-how-are-you' from Aradabia. Or, if you prefer, back to Aradabia. Aradabia rules OK! From Aradabia with love. After two song-oriented albums reminding Cressida's debut, the band returned to their early heavier sound more or less in the vein of Atomic Rooster. Some reviewers also compared early Arabs In Aspic to early King Crimson, Bodkin, Northwinds, Wicked Minds and even Black Sabbath. This all is more or less true. But most of all, the music of Arabs In Aspic reminds Arabs In Aspic. Surely their music has sources and predecessors, but first of all it's original and distinctive.

Their new one, Syndenes Magi, is even more 'aradabian' than Aradabia itself. While the band's second studio release included five songs and one suite, their fifth full-length album consists of three long and complex epic suites. Each of them is heavy enough to be compared to early Arabs and therefore (following the existing cliche) to Atomic Rooster, and - on the other hand - refined enough to be compared to no one else. This is nothing but Arabs In Aspic who found a new source for their inspiration and started to explore it. And the result is more than impressive. A month ago I would say that their best album IMHO is still Strange Frame Of Mind. Now I'm ready to modify my personal mind frame: Syndenes Magi is undoubtedly their best at the moment. And there's a great chance that their next will be even better.

Apart from the amazing music, a nota bene is that the album is their first ever sung in Norwegian. This is an important moment deserving a huge comment.

Since 1970s, many non-UK/US/Canadian/Australian prog bands sought to sing in English. Yes it allowed almost everyone around the Globe to understand what they sang about, but also led to confusions. Just remember the debut album from Novalis which had all chances to become a worldwide recognized masterpiece but was killed by English lyrics with grammatical errors. After that, Novalis started to sing in German, and we must thank them for that. Remember the only album from Tale Cue, Voices Beyond My Curtain, from 1991. Musically, it was one of the most important events of 1990s and will remain an incomparable chef d'euvre until music exists. But the erratic English lyrics irrevocably stripped the album of the status it musically deserves. Enfin, remember the splendid Italian 1990s keyboard-dominated prog metal band Presence with their absolutely stunning female vocalist... who sang in English with errors. That's the only reason why Presence will never be rated as high as (for example) Dream Theater in the coordinate system of prog metal.

No need to prove that the best way to write good lyrics is to write in your native language, even if you think that you speak English quite well. But it automatically reduces the number of listeners who would be able to understand and appreciate your lyrics. On the other hand, current online translators are enough to help you to understand what the lyrics are about. Of course an auto translation soft does not allow appreciating the lyrics as a work of poetry. But is this really necessary? Even a good lyricist/songwriter is not a guaranteed poet. At least I know just a few genuine poets among the rockers and progsters. Neil Peart, Ozzy Osbourne, Ian Gillan, Ian Anderson, Steven Wilson, Syd Barrett, Marc Bolan... who else? I am even not sure that Jon Anderson, Peter Sinfield, Peter Gabriel, Bob Dylan and Roger Waters are instant poets, perhaps they are rather excellent lyricists... By the way, I know at least two non-English speaking but English writing genuine poets in prog rock, Jerker Rellmark (Masque, Sweden) and Herbert von Ruppik (Rousseau, Germany).

But even this is not the main thing. I've no idea if the English lyrics from Arabs In Aspic (on their previous albums) are good or... hmmm... or very good. I don't know if they could be considered a poetry or not. On the other hand, I do know what the Norwegian lyrics from Arabs In Aspic (on their latest album) are about, I did read reviews. They sing about instability of our current world (right?). But anyway, should they sing in Norwegian or English, they are a purely Norwegian band. I mean the spirit of their music. Hope you all agree that in fact we deal not with abstract 'progressive rock in toto' but with national prog scenes/schools. Yes they form a whole, but each of them has strongly expressed features of a given national culture, though they are often difficult to verbalize and there may be no loan elements from the traditional music. I cannot say why Kalinov Most is a Russian band, their music is not similar to Russian folk songs - but it's very Russian nevertheless. I cannot say why Topos Uranos is a common example of Brazilian prog, I even vaguely imagine what Brazilian traditional music really is, but Topos Uranos is very Brazilian. I cannot say what exactly Norwegian may be found in the music of Arabs In Aspic, all the more that they are often compared to non- Norwegian Atomic Rooster, - but their music is distinctively Norwegian. Not in the same sense as (for example) Kerrs Pink or even Wobbler, but very Norwegian. (I am not sure that you all do understand me, but I'm 100% sure that Edvard Grieg or Rikard Nordraak would.)

And that's the main reason why a band who represents a national prog scene should better sing in their native language than in 'international' English. Strangely enough, none of us is surprised when we listen to an Argentinean, or Finnish, or Spanish, or Turkish... or Russian prog band diligently singing in English - while we wouldn't even believe our ears if we heard Maria Mordasova singing Russian chastushkas in (for example) French, it would seem an Alptraum. In other words, we used to link traditional music to the native language, but we still consider prog music 'international' or, if you like, 'supranational'. Meanwhile, just listen to the music and you'll hear that prog is first a part of national culture, and only secondly a part of global music market. And I think it's correct if a prog band proudly emphasizes what national culture they represent. Arabs In Aspic sang in English for fifteen years. Now they've switched to their native Norwegian. What to say? THEY ARE RIGHT.

 Victim Of Your Father's Agony by ARABS IN ASPIC album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.80 | 82 ratings

Victim Of Your Father's Agony
Arabs In Aspic Heavy Prog

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

4 stars - First review for this album -

The Norwegian heavy prog band ARABS IN ASPIC is one of the Scandinavian acts on the Italian Black Widow label. A new acquaintance to me, but in the light of reviews their style has stayed quite unchanged. It's very much oriented to the erly 70's classic heavy rock sound of URIAH HEEP, DEEP PURPLE etc. Lots of Hammond and meaty electric guitars!

The vocals are surprisingly pleasant, pretty free of the usual heavy clich's such as big vibrato or "high & loud" acrobatics, instead full of hree-part vocal harmonies. Yes, they are "heavier" than Crosby, Stills & Nash, but in a good, uplifting way that also non- heavy diggers such as me can easily appreciate. And the music is equally positive and good-spirited (without being lame at all), in all its power. Whereas a great deal of of heavy/metal rock makes me feel angry and frustrated, this quartet makes me feel good.

Tempo ismostly on the middle ground. This is crucial, giving enough room to both PINK FLOYD -reminding atmosphere and Nursery Cryme -era GENESIS kind of instrumentality. Guitars are relatively nuanced and besides Hammond there's also good ol' Mellotron.

I only wish the album to be a bit longer than 37' minutes. With three out of nine tracks being instrumentals, the whole is very balanced. No, it doesn't rival classics such as Demons & Wizards (1972) in the songwriting, but right from the start I knew I like it and want to recommend it to all listeners of vintage old school Heavy Prog.

 Pictures In A Dream by ARABS IN ASPIC album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.94 | 119 ratings

Pictures In A Dream
Arabs In Aspic Heavy Prog

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 '[email protected]' 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 M°tes 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 M°tes 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

 Progeria by ARABS IN ASPIC album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2003
3.37 | 19 ratings

Arabs In Aspic Heavy Prog

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

3 stars The debut release from Arabs in Aspic is a fine mix of doomy heavy stoner psych that owes a great deal to Black Sabbath, the brimstone-fired Hammond drenched hard proto-prog/occult tinged danger of bands like Atomic Rooster, Bodkin and Bram Stoker, with some nice nods to Pink Floyd too. Full of plodding dirty grooves and sludgy riffs, it's a great start from this Norwegian band, even though they'd later head in a more vintage 70's psych/rock direction with greater focus of pleasing vocal melodies and more concise arrangements.

After a psychedelic and comical introduction, the eight minute `Silver Storm' kicks in, a slow-paced melancholic and spacey rocker. Opening with eerie faraway humming organ over gloomy rain ambience, it quickly moves through a sombre vocal, heavy snarling murky guitars with wild soloing, an intimidating and primal drum-build in the middle with a monstrous stoner rock finale over swirling effects. Rune Stavnesli's searing Hammond organ work dominates this piece, thoughtful and atmospheric one moment, then intense and brimming with hellfire the next.

`Shelob's Cave/Wizard in White' is a slow-burner, a lesson in wonderfully executed doomy tension. A killer rhythm section with plodding bass and perfectly-timed drumming, with shimmering serrated guitars and some very commanding Black Sabbath-styled vocals. This time the organ hums solemnly in the background under some mud-thick guitars with a siren-like urgency and a frantic heavy madness throughout the second half.

"Stranded in a desert of ice, pray for starlight from above" - The almost ten minute closer `Megalodon' is a dark fantasy rocker book-ended with mellow Pink Floyd-styled warm organ amongst the brooding heaviness. Strangely three minutes in, the track diverts into a heavy interpretation of the final section of Caravan's `Nine Feet Underground'! Not so much lazy as a cheeky and risky nod to the beloved Canterbury band that shows the sense of humour that's present in all the releases from the band, it's a nice respite before the piece turns to a ferocious monolithic slab of hard guitar noise and wailing soloing that pans left and right to disorientate the listener and some dirty stop/start grooves. Sadly, after a repeat of the chorus the track just stops, no big finale, which is something of a missed opportunity.

Running a brisk 27 minutes, `Progeria' is more of a glimpse of what the Arabs in Aspic band would eventually be able to deliver, their best work still ahead of them. Although melodically a far cry from their more recent albums such as `Strange Frame of Mind' and `Pictures In A Dream' (where they really nailed some catchy melodies and winning vocal harmonies), `Progeria' is a cool stormy rock album that fans of heavy organ-drenched rock and any of the above mentioned bands should enjoy. Who knows, some fans may prefer this version of the band to the more streamlined and approachable retro-rock direction they're currently in?

The best way to hear the album now is on the lavish double LP set from 2011 with the proper full-length follow-up `Far Out in Aradabia'. Housed in a gorgeous psychedelic erotic blowout cover, there's more incentive than ever to get it, so why not give this great band a go?

Three stars.

 Pictures In A Dream by ARABS IN ASPIC album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.94 | 119 ratings

Pictures In A Dream
Arabs In Aspic Heavy Prog

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!

 Pictures In A Dream by ARABS IN ASPIC album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.94 | 119 ratings

Pictures In A Dream
Arabs In Aspic Heavy Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

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.

 Pictures In A Dream by ARABS IN ASPIC album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.94 | 119 ratings

Pictures In A Dream
Arabs In Aspic Heavy Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

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.

 Pictures In A Dream by ARABS IN ASPIC album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.94 | 119 ratings

Pictures In A Dream
Arabs In Aspic Heavy Prog

Review by Dr÷mmarenAdrian

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 example Uriah Heep is hard to don't get. I am not a big fan of the heavy genre but like some Uriah and some Rush stuff. This is a modern band from my neighbour country in the west which mostly sings in English but two of the songs are sung in Norwegian. It features Jostein Smeby (guitar, vocals), Stig A, J÷rgensen (Hammond, piano, synth, vocals), Eskil Nyhus(drums, percussion)and Erik Paulsen (bass, fretless bass, vocals) and Rune Sundby participates as a guest singer. The cover is amazing like an expressionist painting with a big head from which other things happen to rise. Like on King Crimsons early efforts there seems not to be any text on the front page.

This is heavy but very melodical and sweet hard rock with high intentions. The groovy organs make this retro style which actually feels honest and original. The first song "Rejected Wasteland- Pictures in a dream" is very good. Most of the tracks are actually worth listen to where you can listen to the meanings of the guitars and in "You are blind" i hear something which perhaps is a theremin. "Lifeguard at Sharkbay" is one of the best tracks with a symphonic ending and a clear melody. I even like "Vi m÷tes sikkert igjen" where we can here how this music could could have been in Norwegian. I think it works out well.

Over all I must say the musicians are very good and the music has a great flow which is nice to fly in. But I don't like the vocals unfortunately. When they're not to screamy I just don't think they're good. I'm not either a fan of heavy prog in particular so this wasn't the best for me. The qualities of this music could has brought four stars, but I am a partial person so I give it three stars. Let me know your statements about this record!

 Strange Frame Of Mind by ARABS IN ASPIC album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.67 | 83 ratings

Strange Frame Of Mind
Arabs In Aspic Heavy Prog

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

5 stars I have a theory about this album that within 5-10 seconds of pressing play on the CD, or in my case putting the needle down on it, you'll be blown away and amazed with what you hear from `Strange Frame Of Mind'! From the very first second, the listener is blasted with a blissful wall of tasteful Mellotron, organ and trippy guitar, and that remains true for much of the rest of the album. Here we have a short but sweet album that is almost all killer, no filler, quite accessible Hammond driven vintage hard prog rock, with a whole lot of catchy and memorable vocal hooks and melodies. There's a great balance of up-tempo rockers and slower psychedelic pieces, all perfectly composed without being too complicated or busy.

The band's previous albums had more of a stoner/Black Sabbath space rock sound, but this album is more relatable to 70's bands like Atomic Rooster, `Remember The Future' era Nektar, heavy organ rockers Deep Purple/Uriah Heap and perhaps Pink Floyd. Anyone who enjoys albums by those artists would potentially find much to enjoy here.

One thing that occurs to you when listening to the album is that it actually sounds relaxed and FUN! The vocals are quite light-hearted without sounding comical or stupid, and there's a bunch of catchy choruses throughout the album. It's great to put on and chill out to. Despite the album being something of a retro 70's throwback, I believe the sense of humour and energy helps the band find their own identity.

I won't go into detail for each track, just mention a few highlights on an LP full of them. The greatest moment of the album is track 6, `Fal Til Marken', which has one of the most uplifting and grand Mellotron fuelled finales I've ever heard. It just keeps going and going, and you never want it to end. While most of `TV's beginning and end is a dirty Deep Purple inspired Hammond organ cruncher, the sedate middle section sounds like Floyd's `Welcome To The Machine', before it launches into space with a hugely uplifting and epic guitar solo. It's not quite long enough, but still beautifully played. The title track has gorgeous weeping Mellotron all throughout, and a very manic middle section! There's also an amusing cover of the Focus track `Hocus Pocus' to end the album, but it's really more of a bonus track.

The great production means all the instruments sound thick and upfront, especially the keyboards, but everything is perfectly balanced to provide a hugely atmospheric album. Most of the tracks are all joined together, so there's a great sense of flow to the LP, and it's all over in a brisk 44 minutes.

Special mention must also go to the striking erotic painting on the front cover. Certainly gets your attention right away, and looks even better on the gatefold vinyl version, so try to track down a copy of that one!

After taking into account everything I love about this album - the playing, the arrangements, the instruments, the production, even the front cover - and after listening to it for over a year now and still finding I love it even more with each additional listen, I feel I have to award it my first 5 star rating. `Strange Frame Of Mind' has been one of my favourite LP's of the last few years. Can't wait to see what the band comes up with next!

Thanks to atavachron for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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