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WALRUS

Psychedelic/Space Rock • Norway


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Walrus biography
A Norwegian combo WALRUS were founded in September 2010 as an experimental / psychedelic / Krautrock quintet by Matti BYE (piano, organ, mellotron, keyboards), Leo SVENSSON (cello, minimoog), Kristian HOLMGREN (bass), and twin drummers Henrik OLSSON and Mattias OLSSON (ex-Änglagård) "in a dark bar at the End of the World, on the shores of the Polar Sea, in the Far North of Norway" according to what they say. They recorded the debut eponymous creation soon after their foundation and released in early 2013 via Electricity Recording.

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WalrusWalrus
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Esoteric 2008
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WALRUS discography


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3.73 | 8 ratings
Walrus
2013

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WALRUS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Walrus by WALRUS album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.73 | 8 ratings

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Walrus
Walrus Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars These guys who are all Swedes apparently met in a bar in the far north of Norway in 2010 and decided to make an album together. They call their music "Polar Kraut" since this bar was on the Polar Sea and yes the style of music they play brings Krautrock to mind for sure. Leo Svensson who plays cello and mini-moog played with Mattias Olsson(ANGLAGARD) as guests on GOSTA BERLINGS SAGA's most recent album called "Glue Works" and those two along with the bassist here Kristian Holmgren played on the 2014 release by NECROMONKEY. Matti Bye a key part of this band plays mellotron and a variety of keyboards and he's released sountracks for movies over the years and he certainly leaves his mark on this recording.

So we get four tracks clocking in at a total of 33 1/2 minutes, just right. Up first is "Tromso III" which has this urgent sounding groove that is fairly intense. It does settle briefly before 5 minutes but then kicks in even harder after that. A catchy track overall. "Signals" is slow paced with atmosphere and it's quite dark as sounds come and go. Haunting female vocal melodies come in after 2 minutes and I love when the organ arrives after 3 1/2 minutes. Such a great sound right here. It does settle back but then we get some intensity 7 minutes in before it fades back and trips along.

"Spitsbergen" is the longest track at over 14 minutes. It's slow moving and minimalistic with those haunting female vocal melodies returning to this album once again. The song kicks in around 4 minutes as we get some nasty fuzzed out bass. The mellotron is gorgeous around 12 minutes in and I like the way themes are repeated on this tune. Such a trippy ride. "Static" opens with...well static. Liquid sounding keys, drums then cello join in on this 3 minute closer.

A solid 4 stars and a project that I hope continues in the future. This is dark, experimental and trippy, my kind of music.

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 Walrus by WALRUS album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.73 | 8 ratings

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Walrus
Walrus Psychedelic/Space Rock

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

4 stars Comprised of members of Anglagard and Gosta Berlings Saga, the impressive little debut album from Norway's `Walrus' is so far relatively flying under the radar from what I can tell. Let's try and change that! What inititally comes across as quite repetitive, monotonous and underwhelming soon proves to be a slowly brooding, hypnotic mix of Krautrock, spacerock, electronic atmospheres, heavier moments and uneasy ambience. Slab-like bass, wispy veils of Mellotron, Mini-moog and Hammond, cello and two different drummers create an intoxicating mood, and while occasionally the band does get stuck in the same pattern for what seems like minutes on end, this all works toward a very hallucinatory and disorientating effect on the listener, slowly wearing you down and dragging you into the mud.

Opener `Tromso' is a frantic hypnotic run, quickly reminding of the repetitive dirty grooves of Neu, Can and even Steven Wilson's Incredible Expanding Mindf*ck project. Starting with strangled cello and distorted, harsh metallic obtrusive random noise percussion, leaping thick bass punches down on the listener like a mallet to the head. Some swirling spacey swoops join in as the rhythm grows in intensity, the tempo picking up and kicking into overdrive behind some of the most scratchy serrated Hammond this side of Elephant9 before collapsing in on itself in the dying final seconds.

`Signals' has a creeping approaching bass line, stalking it's way through the filthiest of swamps to get to you, taking on the same eerie and unpleasant soundtrack vibe of Goblin and Morte Macabre. Droning ambient electronic pulses and haunting Hammond touch on early Porcupine Tree, even Wilson's Bass Communion project. We move through disorientating, hallucinatory psychedelia behind a machine-like hum before the piece explodes out of nowhere at the five minute mark and tears off into deep dark space! The bass gallops along to catch up, the drums turn manic and the keyboards glisten before the final minute disappears into a shimmering reprise of the stalking opening.

`Spitsbergen' is the crowning achievement of the LP, full of scuzzy tension and hard-edged distorted outbursts, book-ended with some deeply sinister and ghostly choral Mellotron and a `Careful With That Axe...'-style lurking bass line. The piece kicks back from the dead with some snarling electric guitar heavy riffs, Hammond full of mystery, and a weeping 'Tron finale worthy of Anekdoten. Much of this track places the percussion/drumming centre stage, so confident and filled with purpose. I don't think the track really needed the almost metal riff moments, as it's plenty heavy as it already is, but it's another piece that fans of Morte Macabre will really appreciate. The cold yet beautifully fragile closer `Static' ends the album in a darkly jazzy manner, with skittering drum-work and staccato deep bass notes over the loneliest of crying cello.

Walrus don't incorporate different sounds and genres so much as blur those lines instead, and the results, while no classic and often clearly showing it's influences, makes for a very promising and occasionally excellent dark instrumental debut. I have no doubt a follow-up will be even stronger as there's so much potential here, and I can't wait to see where the band goes to next. Fans who like the idea of a looser instrumental version of gloomy downbeat prog like Anekdoten, Morte Macabre and the darker corners of Kraut and space rock and will find much of interest here.

Three and a half stars.

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 Walrus by WALRUS album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.73 | 8 ratings

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Walrus
Walrus Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Second Life Syndrome
Collaborator Post/Math Rock Team

3 stars With a name like Walrus, you've got to be good. This instrumental band is indeed talented. However, I'm not sure about the inventive or originality parts. They play their instruments with ease and precision, but I've heard this all before somehow.

This music is labelled as psychedelic/space rock, but there is more heavy prog here, methinks. They almost get a djenty sound at times, and there is a ton of bass. Yet, they lack personality. If a band decides to be instrumental only, I feel they need to be able to express themselves eccentrically. There are such bands, such as Joseph Magazine or Hostsonaten, that can do this with ease. Walrus, on the other hand, sounds very cold and disconnected. So, this is a good album, but I feel they need to work on their collective personality in music. Sometimes, a little charm, such as in Colin Masson's instrumental work, can go a long way.

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 Walrus by WALRUS album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.73 | 8 ratings

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Walrus
Walrus Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by BrufordFreak

4 stars "Polar Kraut" Rock! Awesome new instrumental project from an ad hoc Swedish band that includes accomplished Swedish film music composer Matti Bye on the organ, two of his long-time associates in the world of soundtrack, cellist Leo Svensson and bassist Kristian Holmgren, and two drummers simultaneously playing the same drum kit (from opposite sides), Mattias Olsson (Anglagard, White Willow) and Henrik Olsson (Mattias' 17-year old son?).

Krautrock is alive and flourishing! Walrus gives us another wonderful testament to the revitalization of the Krautrock sub-genre of progressive rock, though this 33 1/2 minute offering is hardly an LP's worth of tunes. Bass, organ, synths, cello and two drummers are typical contributors to the music here.

1. 'Tromso' (7:14) is constructed very much in the vein of CAN with a steady, hypnotic bass and guitar beat, playful drumming and lots of incidentals'samples (radio & computer/electronic noises), percussives, cello, voices, Farfisa organ'and a humorous Monty Python-esque ending. (8/10)

2. 'Signals' (8:58) begins very slowly, heavily. The slow pattern of bass, background organ (and hiss) and seemingly random viola notes make for a very mysterious, ominous feel. The drums enter in the third minute and soon after a synthesizer, which turns into an organ, to 'liven' things up a bit for a minute or so. A bare bones section ensues for about a minute until everything hypes up into a fast pace (delightful!) while keyboards beep and swirl around in the mix for a while. At 6:50 the cymbol and bass play speed up but then move to a lower volume while things get stripped down to return to the slow-down, though more jazzy feel of the opening pace. A good song, with interesting experimentation in meter and sound level. (8/10)

3. 'Spitsbergen' (14:09) is the album's longest song. It starts with a very spacey synth and echo-plexed bass with creative percussion play for the first two minutes. At 3:37 the song shifts gears with a big chunky bass and full drum support kicking into a driving pace. They are joined by a modulated synth and arpeggiating organ and treated electrified cello. The constant building, climbing of scales and then dropping back to start over are highly engaging and always hopeful (for the listener seeking resolution). In the ninth minute things get stripped down to simplified levels'lots of staccato notes and spaciousness'with the occasional jarring interjection of a sustained low bass chord. At the 10:58 mark things pick back up again into the swirling, throbbing world from the earlier B Part. Almost ANEKDOTEN-like! (Especially with the presence of a mellotron.) The song winds down with the final 75 seconds being very slow and airy. (8/10)

4. 'Static' (3:06) is an austere bass and drum song peppered with synthesized and percussive sounds while an oriental-sounding echoed cello arpeggiates some odd oriental- sounding chords or scales. Kind of cool! (8/10)

Overall an engaging if brief journey into some quite cinematic songspaces.

4 Stars

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