[Review] Arabs In Aspic – Madness and magic

Arabas In Aspic was formed in Norway in 1997, proposing a solid Heavy Prog with personal characters that combines the various visions of the genre from the band members. They have released 6 studio albums, the latest of which “Madness and magic” due out on June 12, 2020 for the Karisma Records label and containing 6 tracks. With a massive use of keyboards their sound alternates more symphonic moments with more powerful openings in Heavy Prog style strongly influenced by the masters of the ’70s. The opener “I vow to thee my screan” begins with a guitar arpeggio on a carpet of keyboards and percussions very evocative of the music of the past, the deep bass and the drum do the rest. The vocal also follows the style of the 70s singers with precision and expressiveness, an initial song that leaves no doubt about the sound signature of the entire album catapulting us into the Prog paths with references both in the Heavy and in the symphonic. In the second part, a long instrumental with keyboards starring on dreamy melodies. Connecting to the previous one begins “Lullaby for modern kids part 1” with a calm beginning with effect keyboards that turns into a singing on a percussive basis. Therefore, a deep turn of bass enters and then all the instruments enter with energy and power creating an intricate and very elaborate theme between always precise and engaging time changes. The intensity increases with the passage of the song as well as the elaboration of the theme in pure Progressive style, an excellent test. The continuation of the previous “Lullaby for modern kids part 2” always begins with calm and dark tones between guitar and percussion keyboards and a warm and expressive vocal. Shorter than the previous one, the piece develops more melodic and quiet between voice melodies and more dreamy percussions. “Hi tech parent” is a more rhythmic song with voices and controversial and excellent layers of keyboards, in the second part the intensity increases with a weave between organ and electric guitar really worthy of note. Quality and technique come out at a high level. The track that gives the title to the album “Madness and magic” begins with a sweet arpeggio of guitar and atmospheric noises in the background, the melancholic melodies accompanied by a carpet of keyboards permeate the first part. The vocal enters and a song with more positive melodies comes to life with the keyboards to guide the sound and the voices that interchange. In the second part, excellent layers of keyboards and a slight increase in intensity accompany us on closing. The last track on the album is a suite of more than 16 minutes from the title “Heaven in your eye” which begins with positive and dreamy melodies on calmer and symphonic tones. Accelerated rapids with power and guitar increases and keyboards that stand out on a rhythmic session at times elaborated with percussion and full of tempo changes. Rhythmic moments alternate with symphonic openings and Heavy outbursts to demonstrate that the band has quality ideas and puts them into play in a song where the long duration is used from start to finish in an octinal way. The second part starts with an Arabic theme and electric discharges with large keyboards and then returns to a calmer but more elaborate Middle Eastern theme. The song ends with excellent keyboard interventions and in crescendo. Those who know this band know what to expect and the Arabs In Aspic do not disappoint the listener by offering a qualitatively and high leveled album. Everything is in its place and their sound is once again influenced by the past but projected into the future of the genre, between melodic openings and forays into the Heavy Prog with a solid rhythmic session embellished by percussion and a warm and expressive vocal. An album to listen and listen to, full of positive ideas, another excellent chapter in the group’s important discography, a confirmation that will surely be appreciated by all lovers of Progressive sounds.


1. I Vow to Thee, My Screen
2. Lullaby for Modern Kids, Part 1
3. Lullaby for Modern Kids, Part 2
4. High-Tech Parent
5. Madness and Magic
6. Heaven in Your Eye


Jostein Smeby / Guitars, Vocals
Stig Jørgensen / Organs, Vocals
Erik Paulsen / Bass, Vocals
Eskil Nyhus / Drums, Cymbals
Alessandro G. Elide / Percussion, Gongs

Arabs In Aspic |Official Website|Bandcamp|Facebook Page|Twitter|Instagram|Soundcloud|Spotify|YouTube Channel|

Karisma Records |Official Website|Bandcamp|Facebook Page|Twitter|Soundcloud|YouTube Channel|

Author: Jacopo Vigezzi

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