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Sean Trane
Prog Folk
4 stars Norway's prime 70's band (much better than Titanic or Aunt Mary at least on their fist two albums) along with Junipher Greene in the prog dept. Ruphus 's debut album is a real masterstroke as they manged to have one of those exhilarating sound of those fantastic 70's british band somewhere between MkII Purple and Genesis (if you can imagine that!?!? or Heep and Yes. Wooooow , I'd better calm down on my description here but there is a little of that and some of that everything that made me love this first album a lot when I discovered it in the early 90's. Although , they are strong in every instruments , the musicianship is not excellent but much better than some of the newer bands doing prog but the thing that strikes me the most is the enthousiasm of the players especially the singer.
Report this review (#32764)
Posted Monday, September 6, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars There was only a handful norwegian progressive rock bands in the early 70's, and if you are going to start somewhere I think "New Born Day" would be a good starting point. Ruphus sounds clearly influenced by names like Yes, Camel and Gentle Giant in this period. This is one of the forgotten records that would almost be essential in any prog collection, but unfortunately I have to remove one star because of the lack of originality.
Report this review (#102253)
Posted Saturday, December 9, 2006 | Review Permalink
Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars The opening track on Ruphus’ debut album is a bit misleading with its seventies hard-rock driving guitar riffs, fairly simple organ bleats and dueling vocalists Gudny Aspaas and Rune Sundby. The song sounds closer to something Babe Ruth would have put out than most of what follows. Props to Ms. Aspaas for her excellent metal-like shrieking vocals here though.

The band slows things down considerably on “Scientific Ways” and introduces more variety on both keyboards and guitar than the power-dirge opener has. There’s a hint of Yes-like keyboard progression, and once again Aspaas provides stellar vocals with very good range. Sundby offers lead vocals as well as saxophone on the heavier “Still Alive” and again the keyboards are ranging against an unrelenting bass line. This is a band that undoubtedly put on an energetic live show.

“The Man who Started it All” is a typical seventies heavy rock number in the vein of bands like Uriah Heep, BTO and the like, while on “Trapped in a Game” Aspaas and guitarist Kjell Larsen come off like the Wilson sisters of Heart in their late seventies incarnation. This would probably be considered an AOR number if it weren’t for the brooding organ tracks.

The title track and “Day After Tomorrow” are rather lackluster in my opinion with nothing musically or lyrically to distinguish them from dozens of other bands doing the same thing around the same time. Unfortunately these two tracks make up nearly a third of the album and except for an extended keyboard foray around the middle of the second song are rather forgettable.

“Flying Dutchman Fantasy” has a creative, choppy guitar riff that gives it some character amid the overly-wordy harmonizing vocals of the band’s two singers, while the closing and confusingly titled “Opening Theme” picks up where the actual opening track left off with a driving guitar/bass base, but the keyboards in this case come off as almost playful in what seems to be an adaptation of a classical music riff of some sort. Kind of a Norwegian version of Ekseption but with more guitars.

Not a bad album, but not a classic either. Ruphus managed to release an impressive volume of work with seven studio albums in the mid- to late seventies before petering out amid internal squabbles and the changing times. This was the first but probably not the best, and the band reportedly moved to a more symphonic progressive sound ala Yes with their next couple of releases. This one is a three star affair, and is recommended mostly for fans of the heavier rock sounds of the mid-seventies. It does not age particularly well though and won’t likely appeal much to younger and newer fans.


Report this review (#169679)
Posted Saturday, May 3, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Ruphus' first album is defintively a prog classic! The sound is outstandingly vintage and 70's in its best sense (wonderful mix, hot sound). The music is mainly cpomplex heavy prog with Yes influences. The Vocal parts are incredible and really poetic : male and female voices are melt into powerfull norvegian incantations. Their melodies are instantaneously catchy and can't be forgotten (which is rarely the case). The technical skill of the musicians are really high level! Moreover, the use of mellotron brings magic to this incredible musical travel! I consider this album to be a classic of the first hal of the seventies. One of the best bands you'll never hear!
Report this review (#182771)
Posted Thursday, September 18, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Lost Norwegian classic that time forgot from '73. Solid debut from a band that never really became known outside their native land although they did perform in Germany & Switzerland, this album in particular has over the years been unfairly compared to the likes of Uriah Heep and Yes but it really stands by itself. Harder rocking than the afore mentioned with powerful male/female vocal pairing and thoughtful lyrics despite the overall heaviness set them apart from UK contemporaries and if any comparisons could be drawn then the German band Octopus, who were yet to arrive on the scene would come the closest. Every track has it's own catchy groove here with vocal harmonies, keyboard orchestrations, guitar freakouts and some really heavy dominant Hammond organ.The sheer energy and dynamics of New Born Day cannot be over-stated with it's fluctuating arrangements which also have classical suggestions and jazz aspirations which would come into prominence as the band's career progressed. Not lacking prowess, the music veers into so many directions with more melodic sections featuring acoustic guitars, saxophone and flute which are particularily effective on tracks such as the prophetic Scientific Ways and up-tempo Still Alive giving the compositions even more colour. Other devices such as vocal incantations and emotive screams from vocalist Gudny Aspaas also come into play making this a total early seventies art/rock package which would give any contemporary band a run for their money. Although not a concept album per say all the tracks are loosely connected by cold war themes which are evident on tracks like Scientific Ways, The Man Who Started It All and Day After Tomorrow.

Anyone into everything from early Deep Purple to Yes ought to check out this precious blast from the past to see what was really happening musically in Scandinavia during the early seventies besides ABBA. While it may sound a bit dated, without question it personifies the true spirit of what was progrock back in it's glory era.

Report this review (#188014)
Posted Wednesday, November 5, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars I'd like to repair an injustice I committed in my previous review of Ruphus "Inner voice", as I mentioned and gave a low rate to "new born day" when in fact its hard-prog is worth ****.

Thanks to my old prog devoted and guitar maker friend who lent me his CD, after reading the mentioned review, I could reevaluate "New Born Day". The last time I listened it was more than 10 years ago as I traded the vinyl, so I should not have pronounced about it without a new listen. As I wrote adding and correcting now:

RUPHUS is a chameleon band, I know 3 their studio records that are radically different in style one from the other, still what is preserved is the high music quality:

"New Born Day" (1973, ****) style : Hardprog . Comes to mind the English band FLASH meeting the German early 70's hard-prog school ala TWENTY SIXTY SIX & THEN with hints of fantastic ala URIAH HEEP vocals;

"Ranshart" (****, 1974) style : symphonic prog. YES meets the German keyboards-symphonic style, (later they were signed by the German Brain label) ala OCTOPUS "Boat of thoughts". This is a classic lyrical wonderful entirely prog album;

My favorite "Inner Voice" (****1/2, 1977), the style here is prog-jazz-rock with some swing beat (few disco beat) and soul vocals. The swing rhythm and breaks could remind Gentle Giant sometimes. Fresher and uplifting stuff.

I'm very glad to see that RUPHUS is such a prolific and incredible band. Unfortunately underrated. The diversity of vocalists who perform in each album are a highlight point, as all of them are expressive and great!! Specially Sylvi in "Inner Voice"(please see the review).

From the album "Let your light shine" (1975) I only know 1 live version of "Second corner" track available in the live BRAIN FESTIVAL -ESSEN double vinyl album, and it's an incredible cut. I must discover the entire album! Otherwise if it was not reissued so far as "Inner Voice" was not, we must just lament: "oh, no MURPHY LAW attacks us" ( the law of teaser contradictor events ;-).

Report this review (#207653)
Posted Wednesday, March 18, 2009 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars "New Born Day" is without a doubt one of the best albums to come out of seventies Norway. We get male and female vocals and this is one of those rare times where it doesn't matter to me who is singing because they both are great. Lots of vocal melodies too.The bass is prominant and Squire-like while the drumming is outstanding throughout. We also get some excellent guitar, flute and sax added in the mix in this fairly hard rocking album.

"Coloured Dreams" has this excellent guitar intro then it turns fuller quickly. Dual vocals on this one. Nice guitar solo 2 minutes in as well.The organ is prominant late. "Scientific Ways" opens with strummed guitar as reserved male vocals join in.They do become more passionate. Female vocals before 1 1/2 minutes and she sings with passion after 3 minutes. Flute after 4 1/2 minutes to the end. "Still Alive" has a good heavy sound with the bass digging deep.Vocal melodies follow then the male vocals lead as it stays heavy.The organ sounds good too. Sax after 3 minutes then the themes are repeated. Great tune.

"The Man Who Started It All" opens with piano as flute joins in then it picks up before a minute.Vocal melodies then male vocals come in. Great sound. Female vocals come in too then piano only ends it. "Trapped In A Game" opens with drums then it kicks in. It settles back quickly with female vocals.The focus here is on her singing. Organ only 2 1/2 minutes in then church organ takes over in a powerful way.The vocals are the focus again 4 1/2 minutes in while guitar takes the lead a minute later. "New Born Day" opens with organ as the bass then drums join in. It's building. Squire-like bass here.Vocals 1 1/2 minutes in. I really like the drumming but the bass is stealing the show here. Nice guitar after 3 minutes that goes on and on.Vocals are back. Amazing tune ! "Day After Tomorrow" inspired the movie. Okay not really but this is the epic track at almost 9 minutes in length. Drums and organ lead the way early and the guitar comes in before a minute making some noise. A calm follows as male reserved vocals come in. Female vocal melodies too.Intricate sounds before 4 minutes after the vocals stop. It settles with female vocals after 6 1/2 minutes then kicks back in. An intense finale.

I wasn't expecting this to be that good but it fits my tastes really well. I'm impressed.

Report this review (#436142)
Posted Wednesday, April 20, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars Ruphus burst onto the scene with New Born Day, which presents a sound which much of the time resembles a heavier version of Yes, with the influence of pre-Larks' Tongues King Crimson and a bit of Van der Graaf Generator craziness mixed in and a vocalist - the mighty- lunged Gudny Aspaas - who can rock out with the Robert Plants or Roger Daltreys of this world with ease. The group wear their influences on their sleeves and whilst the album isn't an essential classic by any means, it's still a very credible homage to the early prog greats that's worth a listen for anyone curious about the early roots of the Scandanavian prog scene (which, arguably, would overtake the UK scene by the 1990s).
Report this review (#509814)
Posted Friday, August 26, 2011 | Review Permalink
Prog Sothoth
Prog Metal Team
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.

Report this review (#933949)
Posted Friday, March 22, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars The prolific Norwegian label Karisma Records (situated in the wonderful city Bergen) hosts of a lot of known native prog bands, from Airbag, Virus and Magic Pie to Nordagust, Bj'rn Riis (Airbag) and Wobbler. One of Karisma its latest releases is the reissue of the highly acclaimed debut album from Norwegian formation Ruphus.

Ruphus was founded early 1970, the band signed with famous record label Polydor in 1973 and released six studio albums and one compilation between 1973 and 1979. During the years their sound gradually turned from harder-edged prog to more jazzrock oriented. Ruphus had good album sales after their breakthrough album Let Your Light Shine (1976), then got some airplay and toured successfully in Germany. Due to multiple line-up changes the band dissolved eventually in the early Eighties, but in the 2000s Ruphus did a number of reunion concerts.

An important part of their sound on this debut album is the interplay between the Hammond organ and the harder-edged guitar, reminding me of the Early British Progressive Rock Movement (somewhere between Atomic Rooster and Fruupp). Most songs contain catchy beats and sumptuous eruptions, blended with male vocals (with a strong accent) and female vocals, her raw, powerful and emotional sound evokes to me female singer Inga Rumpf (from contemporary German band Frumpy). The strong element in Ruphus its music is delivering variety in atmospheres and instruments, topped with a passionate approach.

A fiery electric guitar solo and a swirling Hammond solo, blended with duo vocals, in the opener Coloured Dreams.

First acoustic rhythm guitar and synthesizer flights, and then a swinging mid-tempo with powerful drums and a flute solo in Scientific Ways.

Bombastic Hammond, fiery wah-wah guitar and a powerful saxophone solo in Still Alive.

First a dreamy atmosphere with flute and piano and then a swinging rhythm with wah-wah guitar and in the end subtle piano in The Man Who Started It All.

From bombastic with Hammond and raw but very passionate female vocals (evoking Inga Rumpf from Frumpy) or a churchy organ sound, to dreamy with mellow organ and a catchy beat with rock guitar, and in the end subtle acoustic guitar in the compelling Trapped In A Game.

Powerful Hammond and wah-wah guitar in the titletrack.

The highlight and most varied composition is the epic final song Day After Tomorrow. It starts with swinging Hammond, a Yes- like bass sound and vocal harmonies (evoking The Byrds), then dreamy with a churchy organ sound, gradually turning into a bombastic final part featuring intense vocals, strong drums, delicate piano work and in the end topped with inspired duo vocals, very compelling and a splendid conclusion of this album!

I am very pleased with the way Ruphus has captured that unique early Seventies prog spirit (passion, skills and adventure), a true gem in the Norwegian prog history!

This review was recently published in a slightly different version on Dutch prog website Background Magazine.

Report this review (#2171232)
Posted Friday, April 5, 2019 | Review Permalink

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