Live at Avantgarden

Anmeldt av Jens Nepper
(Apollon Records Prog, 2018)

Karakter: 5/6

Aspic album cover.jpgOne of my favorite Norwegian prog bands, the wonderfully unpredictable ensemble that is Arabs in Aspic, will soon unleash this spirited live album of theirs, which is brilliant news in and of itself. Although one could be forgiven for thinking that a live release might not add a whole lot to the Arabs in Aspic canon, the fact of the matter is that “Live at Avantgarden” (which was recorded in Trondheim earlier on this year) is the perfect way to experience the band's heartfelt music. Ever since I had the pleasure of watching them perform at Bergen's glorious Close to the Rain festival this year, I have been of the opinion that regardless of how marvelous their studio outputs are, the band are at the height of their powers when performing live in front of an appreciate audience.

 “Live at Avantgarden” contains eight long and sprawling tracks that are as organic and fluid as they are absorbing and moving. The musicianship is excellent and the vibe of the entire thing is pure proggy bliss. The light and shade of the compositions really come to the fore here and certain sections and passages are downright mesmerizing to listen to. Standout cuts include the catchy “Mørket 2”, the electrifying “Victim of Your Father's Agony”, and the fantastic “Pictures in a Dream”, but there are no weak tracks on display here, so have no worries. The melancholy of Arabs in Aspic's studio material is underlined and emphasized in this live setting due to the passionate vocals, and the superb interplay between the guitars and organs truly highlight all the cool nuances that are present in the band's rather captivating musical sphere.

 “Live at Avantgarden” is mandatory listen for any fan of (Norwegian) prog rock and showcases a stellar group of musicians who know damn well how to write timeless tunes with plenty of depth and substance to them. This live document is the coolest way to experience Arabs in Aspic if you ask me.

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