Leon : Around October last year I received a CD from the band Arabs in Aspic, a Norwegian group that has a love for seventies psychedelic and progressive rock. 'Syndenes Magi' was the name of this album, not a bad record but one that was not strong enough across the board to remain interesting all throughout. Something I felt that there was too much experimentation which didn’t really resonate with me. Anyway, earlier this year the band performed in Trondheim, which was recorded for a live release that will soon be available under the name 'Live At Avantgarden'.
The album starts with an integral play through of the bands' most recent album 'Syndenes Magi'. I immediately notice that the sound is pretty good and stays true to the vibe of the band. Furthermore, it sounds almost exactly the same as the studio album, only the background vocals on 'Mørket 3' are more out of tune. So what I wrote during the review for that album also applies to this album. I didn’t know the rest of the songs on the album yet but, after listening to it, they are very much in line with the aforementioned album. The compositions are long and are recognizable by the Hammond organs and raw guitar parts. There are even some songs on the album with English vocals! 'Victim Of Your Father's Agony', 'Pictures In A Dream', 'Silver Storm', and 'One' are sung in English, and makes it clear to me why the band switched to Norwegian lyrics. Singer Jostein Smeby has a strong accent and is difficult to understand, so English lyrics don’t make much sense then. The album ends with the latter song, where the beginning of the song reminds me a bit of Deep Purple. Until they start singing anyway.
Fans of Arabs in Aspic will undoubtedly be delighted with 'Live At Avantgarden', the sound is good and the songs are played quite well. Occasionally the vocals aren’t spot on but I suspect that the fans especially find the instrumental side of the music the most interesting and can ignore these flaws. Although I was not super excited about 'Syndenes Magi', I have to admit that this live CD is a bit better. Perhaps Arabs In Aspic is a band that is a bit better live than on a studio album, or maybe it is the development of my own taste, but I enjoyed listening to the album. A must for those who love psychedelic and progressive rock from the seventies.