Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
The Nice - Ars Longa Vita Brevis CD (album) cover


The Nice


Symphonic Prog

3.28 | 114 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Ars Longa Vita Brevis" is the 2nd full-length studio album by UK psychadelic/progressive rock act The Nice. The album was released through Immediate records in November 1968. The Nice is often considered as one of the most important proto-prog acts of the 60s because of how they mixed psychadelic rock with classical influenced piano, organ, and harpsichord playing (courtesy of Keith Emerson who would later become a member of prolific progressive rock act Emerson, Lake and Palmer). While the debut album by The Nice titled "The Thoughts of Emerlist Davjack (1967)" is truly a groundbreaking album, the classical influences are much more pronounced on "Ars Longa Vita Brevis" and fans of Emerson, Lake and Palmer are adviced to take a listen to this album. There´s been a lineup change since the debut album as guitarist David O'List left the band during the recording sessions leaving The Nice as a three-piece without a guitarist. Guest guitarist Malcolm Langstaff do play some parts on the album though.

The opening three track on the album are in a psychadelic rock style (with vocals) and they remind me a bit of the sound Pink Floyd had on their debut album "The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn (1967)". They are all decent tracks but seldom reach excellence. The last half of the album is much more classically influenced (with full orchestra parts) and progressive, and as a result also quite a bit more interesting. "Intermezzo from the Karelia" Suite is an 8:57 minutes long interpretation of a part of the "Karelia Suite" by Finnish classical composer Sibelius. The closing title track on the album is an 18:20 minutes long classically influenced and mostly instrumental (although it does feature some vocals) piece of music and should be considered the centerpiece of the album. Keith Emerson shows the full arsenal on this one. It´s pretty impressive for the time.

"Ars Longa Vita Brevis" features a well sounding production, which suits the music perfectly. The production is of a much better quality than the case is on the rather weak produced debut. The musicianship on all posts is on a high level. While Keith Emerson clearly outshines both drummer Brian Davidson and bassist/vocalist Lee Jackson the latter two´s performances are very good too. So overall "Ars Longa Vita Brevis" is another pretty groundbreaking album by The Nice. Sometimes the compositions tend to be more interesting than they are actually great, but a 3.5 star (70%) rating isn´t all wrong.

UMUR | 3/5 |


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this THE NICE review

Social review comments () BETA

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives