Exposé Online banner

Ars Nova — Seventh Hell
(Musea FGBG4831AR, 2009, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2010-07-01

Seventh Hell Cover art

The opener “Seventh Hell” presents twelve minutes of intensely convoluted frantic bombast, busy and chaotic at every melodic intersection, though sensibly arranged; in short – exactly what one might expect from Ars Nova, very much in the vein of Italian horror movie soundtrack masters Goblin, though ratcheted up in complexity and presented with a more current sound. For those who haven’t kept up with Ars Nova over their last few releases, they are a quartet now, the band’s keyboard-and-drums heavy approach rounded out with bass and lead guitar, as well as several guests who join in on additional guitars, bass, and vocals on a few cuts. Still in command is keyboardist and chief composer Keiko Kumagai, the remainder of the band being all new faces since I last saw them in Baja around six years ago. Those vocals make their first appearance on the second track “La Venus Endormie,” which also introduces some Spanish folk flavor into the mix. Make no mistake, though, Ars Nova is still primarily an instrumental outfit, although the presence of multiple guitarists has taken some of the focus off the keyboards, and the sound is much more varied and interesting as a result. Also of note is the sidelong closing track, again mixing in some vocals, European folk styles, and tasty classical motifs, lifting the sound out that strictly Goblinesque groove. All taken this is among the best releases in Ars Nova’s oeuvre.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 38, 2009 releases

Related artist(s): Ars Nova

Latest news

2017-11-16
Celebrate 10 Years of Fruits de Mer – As a special celebration for a decade of cool vinyl releases, our friends at Fruits de Mer records have prepared a limited edition reissue of an album by the first band ever to appear on the label: Schizo Fun Addict. The band is known for unusual release strag » Read more

2017-11-02
Mega Dodo Presents New Charity Album – Our friends at Mega Dodo have put together a lovely compilation of their artists performing new arrangements of nursery rhymes, and all the profits from sales of the album will benefit Save the Children. It features a number of artists we've covered. » Read more

2017-10-18
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more

2017-10-13
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more

2017-09-26
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

King Crimson - The Power to Believe – The majority of King Crimson tunes since Vrooom consist of the following sections: interlocking guitar parts reminiscent of the Discipline era, done in varying speeds; chunky, stuttery chords...  (2004) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues