Arabs in Aspic - Syndenes Magi - 2017



“... an authentic sound that is rooted in the seventies ...”


Arabs in Aspic is a progressive rock band from Norway. “Syndegenes Magi” is their sixth studio album after “Progeria” (2003), “Out in Aradabia” (2004), “Strange Frame Of Mind” (2010), “Pictures In A Dream” (2013) and “Victim Of Your Father's Agony” (2015). The new studio album will be released end of September by the Norwegian label Apollon Records. Except for their debut album the previous albums which sometimes had a musical reference to the dark side of Rock bands like Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and Uriah Heep were released on the Italian Black Widow label. The word Aspic in their band name is of course a King Crimson reference. Musically speaking you can find this connection in the heavy use of organ and the Mellotron. A surprising detail is that the band made the wise decision to sing in their native language. Because of this the band has an unique and authentic sound that is rooted in the seventies. Personally I think that the band has developed a more progressive sound over the years and so the band deserves to be on progVisions.


Jostein Smeby - guitars, vocals; Eskil Nyhus - drums, percussion; Stig Kvam-Jorgensen - keys, vocals; Erik Paulsen - bass, vocals

Guest Musicians:
Alessandro Elide - percussion; Halvor Viking Holand - violin


On “Syndenes Magi” you can find three long compositions. The album opens with the title track ”Syndenes Magi” (12:21). The slow opening with the Mellotron and the following heavy guitar part reminds of King Crimson. But the first vocals are more in a style which brings the name of Uriah Heep in your mind. There are also some Floyd references. But together with the Norwegian vocals the band brews a delicious and unique sounding melting pot of progressive rock with a sound of the seventies. The latter is also accomplished by the use of analog keyboards or samples.

After this nice opener the band comes with two “Mørket” tracks. First you will hear the shorter track that is simply called “Mørket 2” (9:34) which is followed by the longer track, with the duration of an epic, “Mørket 3” (20:20). In the slow “Mørket 2” you can find some nice melodic vocal parts and the combination of the Mellotron strings and the real violin of guest player Halvor Viking Holand is special. Towards the end the tension of the music is building up towards a climax with some freaky synth parts. “Mørket 3” is opening with delicate guitar and Mellotron strings. The Mellotron flutes and strings in Arabs in Aspic’s music are always reminding me of those early King Crimson albums. The vocal melodies in this epic are wonderful. Some vocal parts are generating a kind of of early Pink Floyd atmosphere. Halfway the track the music becomes more uptempo with heavy and dark guitars and freaky organ parts. The organ gives the piece a seventies Rock feeling. Towards the end the music becomes more psychedelic. For me “Mørket 3” is absolutely the highlight of this wonderful album.


The music that Arabs in Aspic is making on this album is a mixture of the dark Rock of the seventies and the psychedelic and progressive rock of early Pink Floyd and King Crimson. Adding Norwegian vocals (with their Folklore elements) to this melting pot, distinguish the band with a unique sound and own style. If you like the Rock of the Seventies and the early psychedelic and progressive music of the above mentioned bands this album is for you.

author - date - rating - label

Douwe Fledderus - September 2017 -   - Apollon Records