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Nordagust - In The Mist Of Morning CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.61 | 59 ratings

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4 stars Hahahahahahahaha! Mellotron heaven, is there anything really that can top that feeling? Nah! Something about that metallic phantom sound that just gets me every single time. Nordagust comes from Norway, an iconic land that has understood the intricacies of glacial sound that the fearsome mellotron can provide, an irascible instrument that has been historically difficult to master, like a shrewish and seductive woman who refuses to be dominated by anyone and who in fact loves to return the favor and shove her own set of rules down anyone's throat. Swedes Anekdoten, Sinkadus, Landberk and Anglagard as well as fellow Norsemen White Willow have all colluded to create this famous Nordic sound, all ice and fire. We can add Nordagust to the mix, without too much hesitation. Unfortunately, according to their website, the group stopped its activity by 2012, after this debut album had made no inroads or impact whatsoever. Pity! So when I read some reviews and then checked out the sample of "Make Me Believe", I was gobsmacked once again as I have been countless times before in my 45 year love affair with prog. I ordered this sucker 'subito presto' (aka Fast!) and I am glad to include in my collection, just in time for the onset of the glacial Canadian winter, as if I needed a soundtrack to freeze! Truth is the entire disc is one hell of an arctic blizzard, from the grey frostiness of the cover artwork to the sweeping and chilly mellotron howls, these Norse gents have only the shrill voice of singer Daniel Solheim (which will be an acquired taste for many) but his insane intonations only make the music seem more admirable and original. Some have labelled this as a tad too dark and samey, which is perhaps what the endless winter seems to convey at times. If you want salsa, this is definitely the wrong place!

There are tracks that really stand-out, like the opener and title track "in the Mist of the Morning" which is eerily ethereal, hint of drakkars rowing gently in the arctic fog. The Hoggarth-like rant is plaintive and the guitar taciturn, draped in a blanket of sweeping choir mellotron strings, with distant bells peeling unceremoniously. Brrrr! "Expectations" has a gorgeous guitar line that is straight out of folk, with a relentless Jew's harp pounding away in the background. Plus the contrast coming from the tectonic mellotron and the piercing Solheim vocals. The oppressive effects-laden instrumental "In the Woods" serves as a perfect comprehensive intro for the epic "Elegy", a histrionic 9 minute lament that spares little sympathy and weaves a tortuous melancholia. All good tracks.

Middle-Eastern sounding insanity is found on the decidedly garrulous "Forcing", a harsh and somber sonic expanse that suggests relentless pressure and undeniable agony. While we are at it, "Frozen" could easily have been the title track for this album, in view of the grey sub-zero cover art as a backdrop. Both are refrigerated icicles of snowy doom and gloom. Very, very good tracks indeed.

But the absolute winners are the marvelous "The Tide" with its chaotic yet admirable lilt. Simple mellotron- drenched ecstasy, with grating guitar and some monster lead torrents, as an unassuming bass motif recons ahead, scouring a path for the mighty 'tron. Dispassionate and unendurable. Right behind we have the incredible 8 minutes and 31 seconds of "Make Me Believe", a blistering sonic whiteout of polar proportions and the reason why I purchased this unknown and undervalued gem. A pulsating bass motors along a slick orchestral surge, an unholy alliance of electric guitar and that mellotron monster, with Solheim exhorting passionately 'the pain of beauty' , the synthetic choir does this hopping thing, a truly brilliant move that proves that a real talented mind is at work here. The loud guitar has that metallic Gibson sheen used so well by the young Jeff Lynne on early ELO albums. A ghostly prog classic, I promise you, a perfect song in an otherwise imperfect though very cool (pun) album.

Sadly, a one shot-wonder. 4 sunrise vapors on the fjord

tszirmay | 4/5 |


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