Arabs in Aspic — Madness and Magic
(Karisma KAR190, 2020, CD / LP / DL)
by Henry Schneider, Published 2020-11-19
Norwegian rockers Arabs in Aspic have a new album out, Madness and Magic, and on a new label Karisma Records. The promo material says this is their seventh album, but Discogs shows Madness and Magic as their eighth. Be that as it may, you are in for a treat, especially for fans of heavy progressive rock drawing upon 70s bands such as King Crimson, Black Sabbath, Van der Graaf Generator, Uriah Heep, Pink Floyd, etc. The promo material recommends the opening track “I Vow to Thee, My Screen” and the title track, and I could not agree more. “I Vow to Thee, My Screen” touches on Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here. And “Madness and Magic” is a blend of 1970 and 2020 progressive psych music with eerie analog synths, guitars, and Mellotron. The production on the album is crystal clear, with an overall gothic vibe. "Lullaby for Modern Kids, Parts 1 and 2” is particularly disconcerting with lyrics like “I will shoot you dead, right through the head” and “I’d just love to see you dead, I get turned on by bloodshed.” Not songs that you would play for children at bedtime. And the closing track “Heaven in Your Eye,” nearly 17 minutes in length, takes you through many different moods, textures, and themes, ranging from Mellotron and acoustic guitar to gentle organ and guitar riffing to dark scary gothic rock to mid-Eastern themes to a heavy prog jam. Madness and Magic, despite some of the sinister lyrics, is a fun album. Check it out.
Related artist(s): Arabs in Aspic
Audion Is Back in Business – Our esteemed colleague Alan Freeman has restarted Audion Magazine after a seven year hiatus. The new incarnation is available online on their Bandcamp site. Audion's history goes back to 1984, and included 58 issues up to 2013. Issue #59 is available now, and #60 is in the works. » Read more
Romantic Warriors IV – Krautrock (Part 2) Is in the Works – Zeitgeist Media, the people who have brought us the great series of documentary films chronicling the history of progressive rock, are working on the second installment of their examination of German music. Krautrock 2 will focus on artists from Münich such as Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan, Kraan, Witthüser & Westrupp, and Popol Vuh. » Read more
Simeon Coxe RIP – Simeon Coxe, best known for his experimental electronics in the band Silver Apples, has died at the age of 82. The band's 1968 debut album set the stage for both German electronic music and experimental punk music a decade later. Coxe died on September 8 from pulmonary fibrosis. » Read more