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Morild - 2013 - "Aves"

(75:18, ‘Morild’)


1.  The Patient Fisher 8:07
2.  Wildflower 21:08
3.  Time River 4:59
4.  Labour Day 13:25
5.  Frost Gloves 2:56
6.  Waiting for the Ferry 1 & 2 24:43


John Anders Troset – vocals; guitars; percussion
Odd-Roar Bakken – keyboards; guitars, ukulele
Alexander Holand Salgado – drums
Mari Haug Lund – flute; piano
Nils Larsen – bass 
Hans Kristoffersen – guitars 

Prolusion. The Norwegian band MORILD was formed by Nils Larsen, Odd-Roar Bakken and Alexander Holand Salgado back in 2004, and the current incarnation of the band came to be in 2008. They released debut album "Time to Rest" in 2011. Two years later Morild returns with "Aves", their second full length album, self released by the band.

Analysis. If you enjoy retro-oriented rock of the symphonic progressive variety and you're truly fond of the organ in such a context, then Morild is a band that should interest you. This is a band proudly exploring the vaults of yesteryear, creating and performing music with a firm and solid placement in the cited golden age of progressive rock. Some of their stated influences are Camel, Jethro Tull, Procol Harum and Mike Oldfield. As for what Morild brings to the table in more detail, the greater majority of it are compositions of epic length with multiple themes and fairly smooth alterations in pace and intensity, with a fair bit of stylistic variation thrown in for good measure. The organ is just about ever present, from stand alone church organ dramatic inserts to careful organ and flute Camel-style combinations, the latter also supplemented with piano and Mellotron on occasion. Keyboard and organ constellations with and without additional guitar support also have their place here, bringing associations ranging from the likes of Eloy and Kansas to Uriah Heep to the proceedings. Occasional folk-oriented inserts adds a touch of Jethro Tull to the name dropping department too, although not solely due to the flute details. On rare occasions there's also room for dark, massive guitar riffs of the kind that instinctively results in thoughts about Black Sabbath; there's also a nice and quirky guitar, organ and guitar solo construction that appears to be more closely inspired by classical symphonic music, and there's a nifty little instance of dark toned guitar riffs, organ and flute combined in a manner that makes me think about some of the gloomier Italian prog bands. This is a disc that comes with a feast full of possible associations, the greater majority of them residing in the heartland of 70's progressive rock and most of them in the symphonic parts of that landscape. While Morild isn't a band that showcases any flamboyant, virtuoso individual instrumental skills to flavor their compositions with tension inducing, unexpected details, instead seemingly focusing on mood and atmosphere more than anything else, they do leave room for details of a more careful nature. Gentle acoustic guitar passages and elegant piano interludes have their place, with and without vocals, the sounds of Mellotron are frequently employed to add that vintage sound and majestic feeling to the various sequences; there's even some harpsichord details here and there unless I'm much mistaken. And the manner in which the ukulele is used on Labour Day is nice and effective too, a clever touch I suspect many prog fans will be intrigued by. The downside for this album, besides being somewhat removed from the more innovative parts of the progressive rock universe, are the lead vocals. Vocals are a subjective experience, and I know many that will appreciate the emotional delivery of lead vocalist Troset. He's got a fine and strong voice, and those with an affection for the vocals of a band like Uriah Heep should feel right at home with this part of the proceedings. Personally I listen to vocals as an instrument in its own right, and on that level Troset comes a bit short. A fine voice, but uncontrolled is my impression. A quarter of an octave wrong here and there, occasional flaws in choice of tonal range, dramatic effects with subtle discord results. Nothing major, but somewhat detrimental to the total experience, at least for someone who listens to vocals in the manner that I do. First and foremost noticeable on the two short piano based ballads Time River and Frost Glows.

Conclusion. Strong, emotional lead vocals and epic length, multiple-themed compositions of the symphonic progressive rock variety with the organ as the key instrument are what Morild provides on their second album "Aves", with at least a foot and a half firmly placed in the 70's as far as style and expression is concerned. Those with a sensible set of ears for vocals might want to approach this one with a bit of caution, but otherwise this is a production that should be a nice fit for those who tend to enjoy music described as retro-oriented symphonic progressive rock, especially those amongst them who also enjoy bands like Uriah Heep from the same era.

OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: February 8, 2014
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