SPIRITS OF THE DEAD are a four-piece Rock band from the west coast of Norway. Formed in 2007, they have built a considerable following in their home and neighbouring countries, having gigged throughout Scandinavia and mainland Europe. This eponymous album is their UK debut, and I think you could safely predict that should the journey across the North Sea, they will be welcomed with open arms.
The seven tracks (thirty-seven minutes) blend some heavy, present-day psychedelia with elements of both Classic and Prog Rock from the Seventies. It’s quite a heady mix!
The song titles are most definitely a pointer as to what you may expect upon listening to this album – they are just SO Seventies! For instance, opener ‘White Lady / Black Rave,’ is eight minutes of mainly chugging, driving guitar, with added keys and a stomping beat. However, it moves through a couple of ‘phases’ where the pace drops right down, before the prerequisite guitar solo kicks in over the top of the keyboards and we come the full circle to that driving rhythm once again.
‘The Waves Of Our Ocean’ actually sounds pretty current (for anyone interested, the riffs here sound a little like LA band ‘Your Enemies Friends’ though that probably won’t mean much to many!) with the vocals perhaps evoking memories of classic rock bands from yesteryear.
The mood changes down a little for the more laid back and short ‘My Wild Dream,’ although it builds in intensity as it moves through its three-minute duration. ‘Red,’ has the distinct feel of Led Zeppelin to it. The vocals swing from the joyous and high pitched ….. to the deep and growled, as the song contrast light and dark in the best fashion of a Seventies ‘epic.’
From its title alone, ‘T.I.T. (Traveller In Time)’ just has to have its inspirational roots dug deep in the days of Classic Rock. It’s a heavy, slothful track with some great, distorted guitar riffs alternating with gentle, moody chords and more melancholy vocals. ‘Fields Of Gold’ is more current again in its delivery, but again with some excellent, hooky guitar lines.
And then we have the closer – the epic ‘Spirits Of The Dead.’ Black Sabbath – need I say more? With its pounding, doom-laden riffs contrasting Ragnar Vikse’s lighter vocals, it certainly shows what this band is capable of.
What I like about SPIRITS OF THE DEAD is that unlike many other bands, they don’t seem to want to disguise their influences. They know what they like; they know what they’re good at and they don’t stray too much from that.
And in doing so, they have created an album that sounds authentically ‘old,’ but also genuinely ‘fresh,’ at the same time!
(Released through Big Dipper Records on 11th October 2010)