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Arabs In Aspic

Heavy Prog

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Arabs In Aspic Madness and Magic album cover
3.89 | 73 ratings | 3 reviews | 17% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2020

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. I Vow to Thee, My Screen (8:22)
2. Lullaby for Modern Kids, Part 1 (8:19)
3. Lullaby for Modern Kids, Part 2 (2:06)
4. High-Tech Parent (4:34)
5. Madness and Magic (6:47)
6. Heaven in Your Eye (16:45)

Total Time 46:53

Line-up / Musicians

- Jostein Smeby / guitars, vocals
- Stig Jørgensen / organs, vocals
- Erik Paulsen / bass, vocals
- Eskil Nyhus / drums, cymbals
- Alessandro G. Elide / percussion, gongs

Releases information

Artwork: Julia Proszowska Lund
Label: Karisma Records
Format: Vinyl, CD, Digital
June 12, 2020

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
and to rivertree for the last updates
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ARABS IN ASPIC Madness and Magic ratings distribution

(73 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(17%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(54%)
Good, but non-essential (24%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

ARABS IN ASPIC Madness and Magic reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team
4 stars This is Arabs in Aspic's 6th full length album. "Madness and Magic" is really the perfect name for this album as, when I listen to it, it sounds like an excellent progressive sound (which is the Magic), yet it also sounds almost like it is going to fall apart at any time (the Madness). This combination makes for an intriguing listen, not only on the first listen, but also on subsequent listens. I recognize that saying something sounds like "it is going to fall apart at any time" might seem negative, but in this sense, it gives the music a feeling of unpredictability, which to me, is a great thing. But, along with this, the Magic side of the album is that it sounds authentically progressive, borrowing sounds and shades of classic progressive bands while still sound quite relevant and fresh. It is this mix that keeps me coming back to this excellent and well-constructed album.

But, unfortunately, there are some issues here, which, from reading the previous reviewer's comments, is an issue that the band has had in the past. This problem stems with the odd lyrics that are sometimes embarrassingly bad. For those listeners that don't put a lot of weight on the lyrics, this might slip by unnoticed, but since lyrics and vocals are quite an important part of the band's music here, it is hard to imagine that the listener would just not notice that. Looking at past ratings for the band's previous albums, each one of them has managed to average at 4 stars. Honestly, this is the first time I have heard this band, though I have heard of them before. The fact that they haven't raised or lowered that score among fellow Archive raters, does concern me a bit, but listening to this album does make me want to explore deeper into their music.

The 6 songs on this album are all "fused" together, each one flowing into the next, almost making this entire endeavor sound like a suite. However, it's obviously not that as each song (except for the two part "Lullaby for Modern Kids") is it's own entity. But through these songs, one things remains constant, excellent composition and well-constructed progressive music, which flows along quite smoothly from drifting, psychedelic passages to melodic sections to heavy and solid riffs. The album definitely has something for everyone, but also seems focused to deliver high-quality music. But it is the instrumental portions of the album that are the best and that stand out the most in the first several listens, and the vocal complexities soon become a more appreciated part of the music as both your ear and mind adjust to the style.

This is an album that will impress most progressive listeners right at the outset. Of course the track that will garner the most interest from the progressive crowd will be the 16+ minute "Heaven in Your Eye", which again is almost perfect, but seems to end a bit lackluster and abruptly, like the song is ready to move on to another section, but instead just quickly fades out. There are a few minor issues like that that seem to keep this album from reaching a 5 star status, but hopefully that doesn't keep anyone from at least giving this album a try. It's not a masterpiece, but it is still quite enjoyable and worthy of 4 stars.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Since "Picture in a dream", Arabs In Aspic is one of my favorite band. I look forward to their new releases. It's not that their music is original, no. It comes to us straight from the 70s. I follow this band for a whole different reason: it always surprised me! Arabs In Aspic is known for the ... (read more)

Report this review (#2439142) | Posted by Muskrat | Tuesday, August 18, 2020 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Arabs in Aspic is a Norwegian symphonic prog rock band. I've known about them for quite a while and I've heard a few songs here and there but this is the first album I've listened to front to back. The music here is seriously fantastic, it sounds great, its epic, extremely layered and detailed. ... (read more)

Report this review (#2413441) | Posted by dougmcauliffe | Tuesday, June 16, 2020 | Review Permanlink

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