Ritual - Think Like a Mountain - 2003
New work from this swedish band, integrated by Johan Nordgren (drums and percussion), Patrik Lindstrom (vocals and guitars), Fredrik Lindqvist (bass and flutes) and Jon Gamble (keyboards), that performs a curious mix of styles where pop, progressive rock, folk and ethnical elements are combined with admirable naturalness.
The result, in the case of “Think Like A Mountain” is fairly peculiar. This CD includes twelve short compositions, with a reasonably wide range of sounds and styles. "What Are You Waiting For" opens this work with ethnical sounds, following in a pop fashion, adulterated by a folkloric instrumentation. Here, Patrik Lundström's voice reminds me Daniel Gildenlöw from Pain Of Salvation. This manner goes on with "Humble Decision", but with a softer tempo. Then comes "Explosive Paste", in a different key, very Spock's Beard to my ears, basically the short songs that..Nick D'Virgilio's band use to play.
The mentioned folklorism comes to the surface with "Once the Tree would Bloom", a good track with pastoral aesthetics that precedes the longest (as it is its title) piece of the record, "Mother You've Been Gone for much Too Long", with a peculiar sound full of effects and filtered voices, a bit repetitive but with an interesting instrumental middle section which reminds me of the Flower Kings, Roine Stolt's (with whom Patrik Lundström worked on Kaipa's latest work, the disappointing “Notes From the Past”) band. Next comes the title track, "Think Like A Mountain", another original track that starts sounding like Genesis, evolving to a polyrhythmic piece, close to Rush or Dream Theater.
The two next songs, "Moomin Took My Head" and "Infinite Justice", are quite unsubstantial, proposing the most eminent pop contents on the CD, in an inoffensive and vacillating mid-tempo format. Interest, or at least curiosity, is back with "On", a short and simple (thanks) instrumental piece with arabesque sound.
"Shamanarama" faces the last third of this work again in a pop fashion, with brilliant sound but without symptoms of creativity. At this point of the record I don't think I've heard Jon Gamble, who, according to the booklet, plays piano, organ, synthesizers and mellotron; maybe he's too low on the mix, or his performance here is really reduced to occasional moments, like the mellotron introduction on "Breathing", the inevitable ballad, pleasant but forgettable.
"Off" is the eloquently titled last track, an ethereal instrumental that closes this “Think Like A Mountain”, a curious but not specially brilliant work, with some interesting points, but not memorable.