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(51:40; Karsima Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. A Series of Fragments 1:55 2. Torrid 5:46 3. Fervent 6:11 4. Sleeping Strange 4:53 5. Crystal 2:39 6. Runaway Bride 4:50 7. All Sounds Muted 5:53 8. Disappearing Into the Masses part 1 4:07 9. Disappearing Into the Masses part 2 4:28 10. Tongues 4:50 11. Strain 6:08 LINEUP: Live Sollid Schulerud - vocals, effects, synthesizer Simen Skrebergene - guitars Audun Barsten Johnsen - keyboards, organ, Wurlitzer Martin Skrebergene - bass Henrik Haaland - drums with: Marin Stallemo Bakke - violin Selma French Bolstad - violin Nora Elida Svendsen Kvam - violin Joel Ring - cello
Prolusion. Norwegian band FERVENT MIND is a relatively recent addition to the music scene in Norway, formed in 2014 by composer and musician Live Sollid. "Tranquilize" is their debut album, and was released in the spring of 2019 through Norwegian label Karisma Records.
Analysis. This is a band that cites quite a few possible inspirations to their musical landscapes. Other than rock and metal, jazz, post-rock, dream pop and trip-hop are references as influential styles, and the band feel that they blend elements of all of these style orientations into their musical landscapes. In a progressive rock context, that should make them eligible to be described as alternative progressive rock I suspect. While descriptions can only reveal so much, the general impression I get as a listener also pretty much place this band inside an alternative context as far as progressive rock is concerned. We do have some classic progressive rock elements present, like arrangements developing in shape, form and intensity, we do get some multiple arrangements and some songs created with a higher level of nuance than a traditional verse and chorus structure and most of all we have a band that attempts to be both creative and expressive. But, although this may well be a case of splitting hairs, arguably executed with more of an experimental spirit and perhaps quite not as much progressive spirit. That some of the songs appears to be built around a core pop/rock music foundation is also be a part of that totality. Fervent Mind does go about their debut album in an innovative manner as well, exploring material that does cover a lot of different ground. From 'Torrid', which in my ears comes a cross as a meeting of minds between early 90's Munch and Madrugada with it's almost industrial bleak hypnotic bass-line and atmospheric laden guitar and electronics details, to the more elegant singer/songwriter oriented 'Disappearing into the Masses Part 1'. In between those we are treated to a band that does include the occasional nod towards jazz and post-rock, albeit in a minor manner, and otherwise explore progressive rock inside an alternative rock context as well as vice versa. Electronic effects and keyboards details are important, as are delicate guitar details and effects as well as occasional harder and tighter riffs, the style bordering metal in the most intense moments. And the shining star throughout is vocalist Sollid - those who treasure skilled female lead vocalists can make a note about her straight away. She has a fine, controlled voice, of the kind that I personally would describe as cold rather than warm, a vocalist for fine control rather than for the grandiose emotional ventures. While expressive and innovative, my impression is that Fervent Mind as of 2019 hasn't quite reached their potential as a studio venture however. I rather suspect that they will be more invigorating as a live band though. "Tranquilize" is a fine album, but in my view it does lack that little bit of something magical to lift it up from a niche release into something with a broader overall reach.
Conclusion. Fervent Mind is a good example of one of the newer bands venturing into the progressive rock universe with an alternative approach to what progressive rock should be. That is, if the band itself regards themselves in such a context at all, as my impression is that they regard themselves as alternative rather than progressive. That being said, those who do tend to find bands described as alternative progressive rock to be generally interesting may well want to explore what this band is all about.
Progmessor: July 7th 2019
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