Exposé Online banner

The Third and the Mortal — Nightswan
(VOW 047, 1995, CD)

The Third and the Mortal — Painting on Glass
(VOW 051, 1996/2010, CD)

by Mike Ohman, 1996-08-01:

Nightswan Cover artPainting on Glass Cover art

Not long ago, you may recall, this Norwegian band gave us their debut releases: the mini-CD Sorrow and its full-length companion Tears Laid In Earth. These were promising but unexceptional. Not so their latest brace of CDs, which are breathtaking to say the least. Original singer Kari Rueslatten left the band. Her replacement is the equally talented but very different vocalist/keyboardist Ann-Mari Edvardsen. While Rueslatten was an excellent singer, her persistently pretty voice sometimes worked against the very dark tone in which the band was (and still is) operating. Edvardsen on the other hand is more of a vocal chameleon, her voice changes to suit the needs of a certain piece, be it Nico-esque chanting (ah, but if only Nico could sing like this!) or Marilyn Horne operatic drama. On Painting on Glass, the band show immense growth since Tears Laid in Earth. The three guitar attack, once a mere gimmick, here becomes a powerful musical force. The blasts of the triple guitar attack on the appropriately titled "Magma" wash over you like powerful waves like the best King Crimson. But thanks to the fact there are multiple guitarists, no Frippertronics or fancy studio tricks are needed to arrive at this miraculous sound. The band have also moved beyond the stark sonic monochrome of "Tears" to glorious living color. Part of the reason for that is the increased role for keyboards – three band members (especially Edvardsen) play digital synths and piano, while three guest players add Mellotron, ARP and pipe organ. Other guests add trombone, didjeridu, and percussion, adding a wealth of texture only hinted at on earlier efforts. Crimson fans will have no problem relating to their first taste of this album, especially as it opens with the intense "Magma" and the equally seething "Commemoration." The rest of the album is more atmospheric, only pulling out the big guns for the sake of drama, and even taking a "world music"-like turn on "Eat the Distance." Some slower sections tend to drag, and it occasionally seems a bit padded (it's a very long album), but there are enough strong passages on Painting on Glass to make it worthwhile.

Nightswan is another mini-CD which predates Painting on Glass. It's really just a teaser for the full-length CD, but since there are no overlapping tracks, there are some must-haves here. The powerhouse ten-minute "Neurosis" is especially noteworthy, and the brief fanfare of "Vavonia - Part 1" is bound to leave you hanging by a thread waiting for Part 2 (which is on Painting on Glass). If you enjoy Painting on Glass the answer is simple, you have to have Nightswan as well.


by Mike Grimes, 1996-08-01:

Somewhere between Hawkwind at half speed and Ozric Tentacles at quarter impulse lies The 3rd and ghe Mortal – floating out into space at a pace that'll make you swear you're moving in slow motion. In several spots, Painting on Glass sounds like it could even be one of Fripp's Soundscape releases with the airy, operatic female vocals of Ann-Mari Edvardsen on top. This is mood music at its best. The slow tempo of the tracks and the subdued volume give the tracks an interesting energy. It's strange that music that's slow and soft for the most part can have so much intensity. Compared to last year's release, Nightswan, this album sounds more improvised and has a more relaxed, lighter sound. Nightswan sounds more King Crimson influenced and the vocals are much less gothic and angelic sounding than anything on Painting on Glass. This would be perfect music for the soundtrack of some Discovery Channel documentary about floating through space. If you want to get high on music alone, this is the ticket.


by Mike McLatchey, 1996-08-01:

Scandinavian symphonic rock groups are discernibly gaining their own sound now. Following in the footsteps of groups like Anekdoten, Landberk, and especially White Willow (who could be their Siamese twin), Third & The Mortal are the most gothic in this style and possibly the most original. These are their second EP and album, and are a furthering of their sound – a combination of folky female vocals, walls of guitar effects and a new synthesis of symphonic rock, 4AD styles and ambience. Very much like This Mortal Coil meets Anekdoten in a way, although very drugged. Often the music is practically inaudible, surprising you when guitars come flanging out of the speakers. These two titles are perhaps more mature than their predecessors, and although there’s been a change in the vocals, the results are much the same. I find that the "gothic" atmosphere tends to be a bit overbearing throughout the length of both CDs yet they're diverse within their vision. The titles like "Crystal Orchids" or "Aurora Australis" add a nice tone to the overall feel. Third & The Mortal, due to the popularity of Scandinavian symphonic rock of late, should do well with fans. These are two warm and colorful CDs.


Filed under: New releases , Issue 10 , 1995 releases, 2010 releases, 1996 releases

Related artist(s): The Third and the Mortal

More info

Latest news

2017-05-19
First ProgStock Festival Set for October – October 2017 will see the inaugural edition of a festival called ProgStock in Rahway, New Jersey at the Union County Performing Arts Center. With a definite slant towards neo-progressive music, the event is sure to please many fans with the inclusion of such artists as Echolyn, Glass Hammer, and Aisles. The festival will take place October 13-15. » Read more

2017-05-05
Clive Brooks RIP – Word reaches us today of another sad passing in the music world. Drummer Clive Brooks, best known as a member of such Canterbury bands as Egg, Uriel / Arzachel, and Groundhogs, has died at the age of 67. Details are sketchy at this point. The news was reported on Nick Mason's Facebook page — Brooks was Mason's drum tech. » Read more

2017-05-02
Col. Bruce Hampton RIP – The phrase "He died doing what he loved" is almost a cliche, but in the case of Col. Bruce Hampton, it couldn't be more true. Hampton, who was born Gustav Berglund III, collapsed on stage at his own 70th birthday celebration and later passed away. The event took place at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. » Read more

2017-04-16
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more

2017-04-16
Allan Holdsworth RIP – Surely in the list of artists who have contributed to the sound of modern music, there is a special spot for guitarist Allan Holdsworth. His name is known to virtually every student of the instrument in jazz and rock, and his style has been so widely emulated that it's hardly worth mentioning anymore — we can just assume that every guitarist has Holdsworth as an influence. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Kaipa - Angling Feelings – What is Roine Stolt doing? First he leaves The Tangent and now he's flown the coop from Kaipa, a band he helped form in 1975. I can only guess he's focusing his efforts on getting Flower Kings...  (2008) » Read more

Peter Hammill - The Peel Sessions – At last the quintessential cult artist has received the cherished BBC Peel sessions treatment! Peter Hammill' 25th official release (excluding recent compilations and bootlegs of note) encompasses...  (1996) » Read more

The Foundation - Departure – Tepid 80s symphonic rock certainly doesn’t do a lot of head turning in the pages of Exposé, and Swiss group The Foundation may not do anything to change one’s mind. The keys are...  (2000) » Read more

Various Artists - Dark Noel – Christmas is my least favorite holiday of the entire year, a month-long season of unbridled commercialism and indulgent spending, nearly completely stripped of its original meaning as the birthday of...  (2008) » Read more

The Gak Omek - Nonrenormalizability – The Gak Omek is the project of one Robert Burger, and this is album number three. Mostly we hear guitars, guitar synths, synth-drums, keyboards, clarinet, some wild electronic sounds, and lots of...  (2011) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues