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Ruphus - New Born Day CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

3.90 | 81 ratings

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Prog Sothoth
5 stars "Trapped In A Game" is one of the coolest songs I've ever heard in my life.

Just figured I'd throw that out there before I give this album some general assessment. What we have here is the debut from one of the first prog bands from Norway, and man does this thing cook. The opening track sets the tone, essentially a hard rock tune with a generous amount of Hammond organ banging to compliment the heavy guitars and bass. A pretty sweet rockin' riff too, with only the slightly jazzy style of the drums keeping this song from full Deep Purple worship. But there is also the vocals...and that's what sets this band apart.

I don't tend to give such a high score to an album, even if I really dig it, unless it has something unique to offer or something I haven't heard before that endows the album a with specific individual vibe. In this case it's the dual male / female vocals sung with a wide-eyed enthusiastic passion. Gudny, without a doubt, is one talented and maybe more than a bit crazy vocalist who has no time for terms like subtlety or restraint. From her introduction on the first track, she's already reaching for ridiculous high notes in an almost unhinged fashion, but damnit she sounds great with a killer tone. Rune, for his part, does the male foil role more than adequately, dishing out strong vibratos and taking the lead in some of the tracks. The overall vocal dynamic is great and adds a lot of character to the album.

Talent-wise the band can certainly jam, but some little gaffs can be heard here and there, such as the bass player's occasional struggle with the difficult runs during the title track, but it's a small trifle. What's more important is that I can feel the wild enthusiastic aura permeating from each of these songs. This gang took inspiration from Purple to Yes to King Crimson to Uriah Heep and swirled them into their own blend, keeping tunes varied, unpredictable, and especially engaging. Seriously, some of these tracks are teeming with fantastic hooks and exceptional melodies flowing through them.

Again, though, "Trapped In A Game" is some next level thing. A sort of prog-torch song with a ton of soul and a bizarre organ mid-section that morphs into some drumming fury, it's one of those go-to songs when I'm in the mood for some serious female pipes soaring over rock music of any kind. A Gudny Aspaas showcase, she puts on a damn clinic straight from the heart, really reaching for those notes with powerhouse lungs. A spectacle in itself.

Other highlights include "Scientific ways", which reveals the more adventurous 'proggish' nature of the band after the more straightforward rockin' opener, the smooth saxophone soloing displayed in "Still Alive" (which also boasts a groovy bass-line and some oddball lyrics), and "Day After Tomorrow" ends things on a suitably bombastic note. If there's anything this album doesn't possess, it would be a dud. Every cut is essential. Granted, I will say that the vocals may not be for that I can imagine some folks would find them overbearing, but I love them. New Born Day is great stuff performed with sheer exuberance, and deserves a high recommendation for anyone interested in the roots of Scandinavian progressive rock.

Prog Sothoth | 5/5 |


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