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(50 min, Musea)
TRACK LIST: 1. Den Dagen Jeg Forsvant 9:21 2. Virveldans 4:27 3. Spaelernes Evige Baeven 3:36 4. Trollmann 6:10 5. Sultekunstneten 9:23 6. Den Giengrodde Sti 0:58 7. Englesangen 3:29 8. Famle Rundt 4:13 9. Krigsmann 7:56 All tracks: by Mikromidas. Produced by Mikromidas. LINRUP: Oysten Larsen - Hammond, mellotron, piano; vocals Stale-Roar Reitro - lead vocals; rhythm guitars Halvard Jakobsen - lead guitars Rune Forsch - drums, percussion Atle Bye - bass; vocals
Prolusion. Norway's MIKROMIDAS are contemporaries of their countrymen Kvazar, as both of the bands were formed in 1999, each having two albums to their credit at the moment.
Analysis. I decided to review the new albums of said groups one after another because each has many features that are typical for the other too, though above all, both represent bright examples of how to create a fresh sounding music on the basis of the classic symphonic Art-Rock traditions, particularly those of Scandinavian school of the genre. The 9-track "Faunus" has a pretty symmetrical construction, with the three longest tracks taking the first, the central and the last positions and, thus, being equidistant from each other. Besides, all the three turned out to be largely instrumental and, simultaneously, the best tracks, full of musical magic. Each is a cornucopia of wonderful vintage keyboards (Hammond organ, Rhodes piano and Mellotron) and is also notable for the active involvement of acoustic guitar in the arrangements. The opening song, Den Dagen Jeg Forsvant, is the most diverse, filled with ever-changing, mostly intense and bombastic, arrangements with nearly kaleidoscopic changes of theme and tempo and the continued use of intricate measures. Sultekunstneten is much in the same vein, though the band a bit more often falls into a Northern melancholy (with your permission), intensifying the feel of dramatics. The guitar riffs subtly accentuate most of the instrumental parts in both cases, imparting some heaviness to the sound, but these aren't features of Prog-Metal or Hard Rock either and don't affect the primary style at all. The third semi-epic, Krigsmann, begins and develops as something mysteriously atmospheric, but there is a fire somewhere in its depths. The volcano awakens slowly, but steadily, to finally burst out into a powerful eruption. Four out of the six tracks located between the epics: Virveldans, Spaelernes Evige Baeven, Englesangen and Famle Rundt have rather much in common with each other, the style being a blend of Art-Rock and Scandinavian folk music, with elements of Hard Rock. Although rather short, all four appear with enough intricate maneuvers to keep it all interesting and aren't particularly inferior to the previously described compositions. Some of them, particularly the latter, are characterized by a rather heavy sound. However, purists shouldn't be anxious about that, as the general trend of the music is kept there. The only instrumental on the album, Den Giengrodde Sti, is a tiny, yet, full-fledged classical-like piece, a sketch for piano and Mellotron. The remaining track, the 6-minute Trollmann, is a slightly complicated Art-Rock ballad, which would've been better had it been half as long as it is.
Conclusion. "Faunus" by Mikromidas is one of those 'universal' works that equally suit tastes of all kinds of Art-Rock lovers. Even considering some departures from a classic symphonic sound, this is an excellent album, overall, and is absolutely on par with its predecessor. Kvazar, however, took a major step forward with their sophomore release.
VM: Agst 8, 2005
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