FERVENT MIND – Tranquilize
The quintet named Fervent Mind from the thriving progressive music scene in Oslo is a most interesting acquaintance. Words such as atmosphere and depth instantly come to mind upon listening to the opening track entitled "A Series of Fragments" and it is damn-near impossible to describe or summarize what we are dealing with here. If Massive Attack teamed up with Portishead and then decided to call up Porcupine Tree and some of their progressive buddies for a jam, then perhaps we are getting somewhat closer to the mark.
Layers of vibrating sounds that range from surreal to sharp and screeching are woven together with delicate guitars and serene vocals only to burst into something that can only be described as bombastic rock with a dark edge to it. Everything from jazz and pop to progressive metal and further on to alternative rock and drum ‘n’ bass are thrown into the mix and the result is definitely a satisfying one. The most accomplished and captivating pieces are the introspective ones such as "Sleeping Strange" and "Tongues" whereas the heavier ones such as "Runaway Bride" and "All Sounds Muted" provide a good contrast to the former ones. The 70s-inspired and rather prog-like "Disappearing Into the Masses Part 2" is also a delight and I dig the strange and claustrophobic vibe of the aforementioned "A Series of Fragments". A few tracks fail to spark interest or capture the imagination, but in general the song material keeps the listener engaged and focused, which is obviously a good thing.
The musicianship is pretty much flawless and the sound of the record is slightly warmer than what one perhaps usually associates with electronica and alternative rock and so on and so forth. Live Sollid’s vocals are quite chilling and haunting at times, but they do not always hit the mark to such an extent that they truly enhance the effect of the words or their impact on yours truly all that much. However, this is a minor issue. "Tranquilize" is a challenging record that bridges the gap between various different genres in a most interesting and creative way, and these guys deserve praise and respect for coming up with a musically bold album such as this one.