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(47:41, Musea Records)
Prolusion. The Norwegian band ANTIDEPRESSIVE DELIVERY (hereinafter ADD) was formed in 2002. They secured a record contract with the US label Laser's Edge in 2004, and their debut album was issued by them in September of the same year. 2006 saw the band leaving the label and subsequently splitting up, but soon they reformed and started recording new compositions. In the beginning of 2008 the band signed to France’s Musea Records, and their sophomore album “Chain of Foods” was released shortly after.
TRACK LIST: 1. Starchaser 6:23 2. Desert Machine 4:02 3. Accordion Woman 5:26 4. Terminal 3:57 5. Blood Is Blood 7:17 6. We Will Crimson You 2:31 7. U 4:58 8. Undead 5:55 9. Nothing New 7:08 LINEUP: Pete Beck – bass; vocals Christian Broholt – guitars Haakon Pettersen – keyboards Terje Krabol – drums
Analysis. I was lucky enough to hear most of Musea’s releases. To cut a long story short, this disc sounds as if it came from the precincts of Record Heaven – the Swedish recording company whose main specialization is exactly the style that ADD plays. Sometimes I even experience a sort of deja vu while listening to it, and potentially I could copy a solid part of probably any of my recent label-related reviews (this one, for instance) and paste it here to give you at least a general idea of the hero of this occasion. Naturally, “Chain of Foods” is a vintage symphonic hard rock album with some ‘classically’ progressive tendencies, such as massive arrangements, differently vectored solos and intricate tempo changes. None of the nine tracks here are weak, at least within their genre category, but from a progressive standpoint the recording’s development bears in many ways a sinusoidal character. Three of the first four songs, Starchaser, Desert Machine and Terminal, remind me of a crossover between classic, early ‘70s, Uriah Heep and Deep Purple – except for the vocals which, although not arousing any direct associations, are in delivery much closer to those in the former ensemble. No, ADD doesn’t sound like imitators of any of the bands used as reference points here, but anyhow all the said songs should easily appeal to fans of both of those, and by the way this remark remains by and large relevant to all the yet to be named ones also. While, as hinted above, the album reaches its progressive climax in its core, I think I’d better describe its standout compositions after touching on what happens as its curtain falls. The last two tracks, Undead and Nothing New, are tasty, truly sympho-prog ballads, both being constructed in a fairly complicated way, particularly the latter. Besides the sonic landscapes that either latently or directly evoke Uriah Heep (and which turn out to be the most widespread on this recording in the end), these two also have moments that bring to mind some art-rock creations. Undead has an acoustic guitar-laden interlude which is slightly reminiscent of Entangled from Genesis’s “A Trick of the Tail”, while Nothing New one time echoes Life is Like Oxygen from Sweet’s (purely symphonic and at the same time most progressive recording) “Level Headed”, and another time the title track of King Crimson’s “Discipline”. The specific guitar technique pioneered by Robert Fripp when creating his milestone solo effort “Exposure”, and which has been the trademark of his main band since its third incarnation in 1981, can also be detected on the sole instrumental here, the seemingly aptly-titled We Will Crimson You, though as a matter of fact it’s just a brief digression from the piece’s primary style, which is progressive, at times positively eclectic, Doom Metal influenced by Black Sabbath. U follows the instrumental and – except for the vocals – is much the same story overall. However, the best compositions on the CD would be Accordion Woman and Blood Is Blood, each combining progressive hard rock with sympho-prog and jazz-fusion arrangements in the style of ELP and National Health, respectively. Haakon Pettersen appears to be a highly versatile organ and electric piano player on these two, and I regret he wasn’t allowed to improvise on all the other tracks also.
Conclusion. ADD is not the only modern-day band that can play symphonic Hard Rock in a typically vintage manner, but their performance mastery as well as ability to overstep the limits of the idiom raises them quite much above most of their contemporary brothers in style. “Chain of Foods” is a mature effort, and it was gratifying to listen to it.
VM: October 25, 2008