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(101:31 2CD, MALS Records)
Prolusion. "Time to Rest" is the debut effort by MORILD, from Norway, although all four of the band members are mature musicians, who have been playing in various ensembles since the ‘80s, most recently in Adventure. Odd-Roar Bakken, who was the mastermind behind that group, appears to be the main songwriter here too, as a performer handling not only keyboards, but also electric and acoustic guitars.
CD 1 (55:18)
TRACK LIST: 1. All I Wanted 12:52 2. When the Night Turns to Morning 6:30 3. Time to Rest 5:53 4. Blackbird’s Lullaby 3:21 5. Circus 15:39 6. Early This Morning 11:03 LINEUP: Odd-Roar Bakken – keyboards; el. & ac. guitars John Anders Troset – vocals Alexander Saldago – drums Nils Larsen – bass
Analysis. The album arrived without any supporting material, but I was told its makers list a whole host of bands and artists as their teachers in absentia on their website – both vintage and more modern ones, hailing from a variety of countries. Although it’s beyond me whom exactly they cite, I confirm that their music bears traces of the influences of several performers (which is quite a positive factor to my mind), namely Camel, Rick Wakeman, Eloy, ELP, Uriah Heep and Sweet – needless to say that the latter two groups both have some brilliant art-rock creations to their credit, too. I could also list a series of contemporary groups, whose music has certain similarities with Morild’s, but I don’t find any necessity to do so, as all of those are creatively rooted in the seventies too. The first item of this double CD outing contains six tracks, almost all of which evoke no other progressive genres but vintage-style Symphonic Progressive (which also includes symphonic Space Rock), but then the band is really on a good footing with that, especially as regards the first, adjective, part of the idiom. When the Night Turns to Morning, Time to Rest and Blackbird’s Lullaby (tracks 2 to 4, together covering less than one fifth of the album’s space) come across as sophisticated art-rock ballads rather than classic sympho-prog creations, but then they’re full of a symphonic mellowness, all sounding different, having nothing in common between themselves even in terms of arrangements, let alone composition. For instance, the latter song deploys an acoustic guitar as the main soloing instrument – throughout. Nonetheless, it would’ve been better if these, basically slow-paced, pieces had been intermixed with the others, at least because they strictly follow each other. The other compositions, All I Wanted, Circus and Early This Morning, which range from 11 to 15+ minutes in length, all offer loads of musical ideas and demonstrate some major arranging achievements, especially in the prolific keyboard work, which, along with the electric and acoustic guitar, and also vocals (to a lesser degree: read ample space is given to instrumental music), is crucial to the sound on each of these, though there are also some effective flute leads to be found in places. The rhythm section provides a solid, at times somewhat eclectic, foundation for the main soloing instruments. While paying a lot of homage to vintage progressive rock music (mainly via classic analog keyboards, which, I believe, include Hammond, Roland and Mini-Moog), the band’s sound is still fairly fresh and compelling. Okay, some of Bakken’s synthesizer leads instantly bring to mind those by Rick Wakeman, but it’s also clear that most of the time, he, along with the other players, is working in original territory. As for the tracks’ peculiarities, All I Wanted has two orchestral interludes, and also a couple of moves which only feature vocals and either acoustic guitar or piano. A few of the sections that form Early This Morning lie completely within a symphonic space rock domain, plus there are additional – female – vocals, which, in conjunction with the lead ones, often form such impressive three-part harmonies that I forget their accented English. Circus begins very much like Eloy’s “Silent Cries and Mighty Echoes” does, whereas otherwise this epic might stylistically come across as a departure point. While still lushly symphonic, the music is at the same time rather heavy and quirky, evoking to some degree The Magician’s Birthday from Uriah Heep’s eponymous album.
CD 2 (46:13)
Bearing in mind that the Morild musicians most of the time assimilate their influences into their own musical world instead of openly wearing them, I think their first release should be rated higher than a merely good output. In fact, this is in many ways a remarkable effort, without making any allowances for its debut status. I doubt you will find anyone with a bad word about it, at least within the art-rock circus.
Conclusion. Bearing in mind that the Morild musicians most of the time assimilate their influences into their own musical world instead of openly wearing them, I think their first release should be rated higher than a merely good output. In fact, this is in many ways a remarkable effort, without making any allowances for its debut status. I doubt you will find anyone with a bad word about it, at least within the art-rock circus.
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