Over one year after the release of Demon, which might be easily considered one the best prog albums ever, Norwegian band Gazpacho are back with new album Molok, out October 23, 2015.
Those who were expecting a sequel or a copy of Demon should be warned as Molok gives much less on certain levels and much more on others. Whereas Demon represents the explosion of the band’s maturity, with its magniloquence administered through the use of overwhelming melodies and long trips, Molok might be seen as the turning point for Gazpacho to go from mature to refined.
While keeping their unmistakable trademark sounds, and with Jan Henrik’s sweet, nostalgic tenor marrying perfectly to the gloomy atmospheres that permeate the band’s sound, Molok is a different journey: Less orchestral and more tribal, less familiar and more ancestral. Great emphasis is given to percussions, drums, violins and keyboards and loads of unconventional instruments. Heavy guitars are almost non-existent, though on several occasions we are sweetly caressed by the familiarity of our beloved chorded instrument.
Like Demon and other previous works, it is an album that requires a full listening from head to toe, with no interruption as the story of the Master is told through the vibes of powerful instruments and subtle melodies that often find their beauty in hypnotic repetition.
‘In a mechanistic view of the universe all events in the universe are a consequence of a previous event. This means that with enough information you should be able to calculate the past and the future and this is what he does. He names the machine ‘Molok’ after the biblical demon into whose jaws children were sacrificed because his machine crunches numbers.
On solstice day he starts the machine and it quickly gains some form of intelligence as it races through history undergoing its own evolution’, the band explained.
Constant sadness and imminent danger as file rouge, all songs hint at the human race’s obsession with religion while invoking and evoking ancient tragedies that are stored in our DNA; yet the effect is disturbingly soothing, like in Algorithm, a 3-minute interlude opening with a mantra evolving through middle eastern world music arrangements to finally explode into liberating choirs celebrating a sort of ascension. Whereas Know Your Time is definitely the track that reminds most of the previous Gazpacho, with its grand structure and the perfect closing marked by violin; there’s also room for a more 70ies prog atmosphere with the choir and keyboards of Bela Kiss.
The closing track, Molok Rising is maybe the most representative song on the album, a dead march that announces the end (or the beginning?) of the world marked by the sound of church bells slowly transforming into looming ringing bells. Norwegian music archaeologist Gjermund Kolltveit appears on the song, playing his reconstruction of stone-age instruments making an educated guess at what the early songs of worship must have sounded like. This includes small stones, moose jaws and an assortment of flutes and stringed instruments. He also plays the Skåra stone, a singing stone which has a strong possibility of having been in use since the last ice age ended 10.000 years ago. Technically this means that the album uses the oldest original instrument ever recorded on an album. The band are also joined by world-renowned Norwegian accordion player Stian Carstensen who is a central member of Balkan-jazz orchestra Farmers market.
Gazpacho proved once again their ability to shape their mastery and curiosity into great music, created through the help of instruments that would otherwise probably be left in museums or studied at music academies. Like a phoenix that rises above the flat sea of dull music that has flooded the industry, Molok rises to awaken in the listener the pleasure of exploring sounds and melodies that our ancestors would have probably rejoiced to.
Another gift of great music by one of the greatest bands the scene of prog rock has ever seen.
Know Your Time: