Norwegian Psych rockers Spirits Of The Dead have adopted a different take on their sound for this their second album. The folksy edge is still there but it has been blended with jazz to take it into territory inhabited by Santana, Frank Zappa, Allan Holdsworth and King Crimson.
This mini album opens with the dream like Mighty Mountain, all chiming guitars and breathy vocals before morphing into a 60's inspired prog beast. The wonderful Leaves Of Last Year's Fall inevitably draws comparison with Dave Brubeck's classic Take Five as it uses the same 5/4 time signature. This is a fantastic jazz psych crossover with a great guitar sound from Ole Ostedal and the manic drumming of Geir Thorstensen.
Pure As The Lotus, as strange as it may sound, reminds me of Ronnie James Dio era Black Sabbath where the band experimented with synths and softened their metal sound with folk influences brought to the band by Dio. The records title track is a magical and ethereal piece of folk with front man Ragnar Vikse's breathy vocals cutting through the harmonies and is the stand out on an album that delivers throughout. Casting The Runes organ driven intro is powered along with bassist Deadly Nightshade plucking like a man possessed and giving a backbone to this instrumental noise fest. The record closes with the epic Goldberry. At nearly 8 minutes long, the band work it from gentle folk to fully grown rock anthem that carries the listener along, setting the pulse racing faster in the process.
Spirit Of The Dead are a band that really belong in a different decade but I for one am thankful that they make the music they do. In a world of Coldplay, Kings Of Leon and Snowpatrol who deliver us overproduced commercial pop masquerading as indie cool, Spirits Of The Dead are a breath of fresh air.