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Arabs in Aspic - Strange Frame Of Mind CD (album) cover


Arabs in Aspic


Heavy Prog

3.66 | 76 ratings

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3 stars Arabs in Aspic II was an unknown band to me, but now I fortunately got their album from Black Widow Records, and can say that I have truly liked it. 'Strange Frame of Mind' is the name of this record released in 2010, in which this Norwegian band knows how to produce first- class heavy progressive rock, with obvious 70s hints, but with a fresh sound nonetheless. The album features eleven compositions that make a total time of 44 minutes.

It opens with 'Aspic Temple' which is only a one-minute introductory minute that leads to 'The Flying Norseman'. This track starts with drums for some ten seconds and later guitar, bass and keyboards join. The rhythm is fast and the music contains a nice mixture of symphonic with heavy prog, reminding me a bit of Wobbler or Hypnos 69. The vocals appear just before reaching the first minute, they sing in English, in spite of their nationality. The instrumental part that continues is pretty nice, catchy sometimes due to its fresh and happy mood; I like the percussion and keyboards a lot.

'Dive' is another one-minute instrumental track that works as the transition from one track to another, though the album as a whole perfectly flows. The next song is 'Into my Eye', whose sound is practically the same as the previous one, but here vocals enter and create a new structure. The organ as background is excellent, it creates very nice atmospheres and put the necessary nuances to the music's success. This song is more laid-back, but solid, though.

'Moerket' is the opposite, here we can appreciate to a heavy guitar since the first seconds, later keys, drums and bass enter and along with the voice complement the music, taking my mind back to the 70s with bands such as Uriah Heep, Eloy or even Black Sabbath. The second half of the song is more exciting, with some solos and an even heavier, intense and more powerful sound. This is a very good composition!

One out of two tracks that reach the seven minute mark comes next, its name is 'Fall til marken' and has that heavy prog sound previously described. Here I have to say that they now sing in their native language, which is always beautiful to my ears. The song flows and keeps an intense rhythm until the third minute, where it slows down a little bit for some seconds, but later it returns to its original form. With 'TV' the English language returns, and here a kind of humoristic mood can be appreciated, mostly in the chorus.

'Strange Frame of Mind' has vocals since the first second, and they are accompanied by a great mellotron background and soft guitar chords. The rhythm is calm, mid-tempo and open to new elements. After a minute and a half it changes, bringing a nervous and more intense sound for one minute until it slows down and returns to its first form. 'Have You Ever Seen The Rain, Pt. 2' is a shorter, but very rockish track good to shake the body and sing a little bit. Nice but not the best, without a doubt.

'Arabide' is the longest composition and the final track of the album. The song flows slowly, progressing while the seconds pass. Though it seems repetitive at first, you have to give it a chance and then you will realize new elements are being added, producing different nuances and textures. After that slow beginning the music becomes heavier, dynamic and more emotional. There is a wonderful instrumental passage that starts after four minutes, making new textures, colors and images that let our imagination fly. This may probably be my favorite track of the whole album.

Though I mentioned Arabide was the last song of the album, there is a bonus track, a nice cover of 'Hocus Pocus', that hymn Focus created several years ago. I liked this album by Arabs in Aspic, but I believe they can explode more their skills and give us an ever better production in the near future. My final grade would be 3.5 stars, almost 4.

Enjoy it!

memowakeman | 3/5 |


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