D'accorD — Helike
(Karisma KAR063, 2011, CD)
by Paul Hightower, Published 2013-04-01Hot on the heels of their acclaimed 2009 debut, this album finds Norwegian outfit D'AccorD taking their retro-prog formula one step further. How better to prove that you've spent hours listening to albums by bands like Jethro Tull and Focus than to make one with your own 20+ minute long epic on it. The good news is that this is a worthy effort I can easily recommend, especially to those who have an itch for the style of prog frequently heard circa 1971–1973. What makes it all work isn't a reliance on Mellotrons or vocals-through-Leslie cabinets, though vintage instruments do appear here. What these guys – and an increasing number of others interested in capturing this era – have learned is that the essence (or to borrow a phrase from winemaking, the terroir) of those old albums had more to do with elements like jazzy drumming, funky grooves and musicians whose record collections included as much Cream and John Coltrane as Genesis and King Crimson. This explains how the two suites can navigate their many twists and turns while still hanging together through riff-heavy passages, distortion-laden guitar solos, pastoral flute and piano interludes and bombastic, rock operatics. Front man Daniel Maage chews sonic scenery throughout, reminding me of both Daniel Gildenlöw and Arthur Brown. He's ably supported by a band that includes dual keyboards to ensure that the epics have muscle and orchestral textures to spare. Keep D'AccorD on your "watch closely" list, and catch them live if you can.
Related artist(s): D'accorD
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