Morild - 'Time To Rest'

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Morild - 'Time To Rest'

A remarkable and stunning album.

Norwegian melodic progressive rock band Morild has joined a burgeoning number of ambitious bands that have released a double CD set (and in their case with nearly 100 minutes of music) as their debut offering! Formed in Trondheim as a quartet in 2007, Morild comprises Odd-Roar Bakken (guitars and keys), John Anders Troset (vocals), Nils Larsen (bass) and Alexander Rodriguez Salgado (drums), but have been joined on this recording by Mari Haug Lund (flute and backing vocals) and Hans Kristoffersen (electric guitar). Their music gives a modern twist to traditional prog rock of the quintessentially English variety that has its roots in the early 1970s.

Opening track on the first CD, and also the first of five (11 minute plus) epics 'All I Wanted (The Whale Song)' is a true story about a whale that was stranded along the River Thames, but here seen from the perspective of the whale! It really sets the mood for all that follows and is a truly superb amalgam of Hammond organ, synths, piano (indeed, the various keyboards predominate the sound throughout the album) with sympathetic underpinnings from the rhythm section plus some fine acoustic guitar and flute playing. Lengthy instrumental passages are a feature here, as indeed they are throughout the album, the variety of textures, beautiful melodies and soundscapes – including ones from the occasional electric guitar interventions from Hans Kristoffersen (on 'When The Night Turns To Morning', 'Circus' and 'Two Glasses') - making for a very warm and satisfying listen. 'When The Night…' turns out to be a rather melancholic song, and technically but also imperceptibly weaves through a number of different instrumental phases between the two parts of the story. The album's title track is instrumental and again the progressive structure of the work with its superbly-crafted arrangements is very much in evidence; it's another triumph, and shows that the band doesn't have to produce an epic-length number to make a definitive musical statement. 'Blackbird's Lullaby' does what it says on the tin and features simply wonderful acoustic guitar. The harmony male and female vocals work exceptionally well here too. The first disc is closed out by two more of the extended numbers: 'Circus' and 'Early This Morning (Christmas Song)' and I must resist the temptation to flood this page with gushing praise! Suffice to say that the former has a harder-edged countenance (uplifted by HK's lead guitar work) but both demonstrate the quality of the writing partnership of Larsen and Bakken: the latter being especially poignant.

The instrumental 'Apus Apus' opens the second disc with especially deft organ and synth passages and then we are back into epic territory with 'Two Glasses' – an extremely elaborate number that reminded me of the best of what Gentle Giant had to offer. Finally there comes the three part tour-de-force 'The Slave Ship' and this simply stellar opus will have the prog aficionado totally engrossed for nearly half an hour!

There's absolutely no filler on 'Time To Rest'. It is an auspicious album and bearing in mind the band is seeking a label deal, I am sure that a savvy prog rock label boss will snap up Morild before too long! If I have a criticism (and it's only a small one) then it relates to vocalist John Anders Troset. His articulation is occasionally awry and occasionally his delivery sounds a little flat. But the overall perception of this album is of it being one of the great Progressive Rock debuts. A remarkable and stunning album!

Paul Jerome Smith

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