Review by Rick Ossian
As fellow WWRS contributor Suzi Horsley once so eloquently proclaimed, “the Sabbath fans are going to go absolutely mental over this one!” This is my third or fourth time through now listening to it and I believe I’ve been enjoying it more and more as I go along. Not only does the musicianship ring true for Sabbath fans – we also have a vocalist here (Olav Iverson) who can emulate Ozzy when he chooses! Olav, by the by, also plays guitar, as does his cohort Thomas Tofthagen. They are buoyed by an outstanding rhythm team as well, Tony Vetaas on bass and Thomas Lonnheim on drums. This is evidently their fourth release, and they are from Norway. What we are dealing with here is strictly old-school classic rock and progressive heavy metal, and not only are memories of Sabbath conjured up — there were times when I felt as if Pink Floyd and Black Sabbath were meeting in a back-alley knife fight!
Each track here as its own distinct delights, from the heavy chops and headlong rock of Firechild to the instrumental wizardry of Blizzardbone to the doomy, Sabbathy strains of Walls of Delusion. We are dealing with consummate artists here. The titles along are worthy of metal history, in particular Slip Off the Edge of the Universe and Sleeper’s Gate to the Galaxy. Both excellent tunes in their own right, the titles just push it over the edge! The aforementioned Slip features an intro that is part space-epic, part ambient noise, but this is very brief, and the next thing we know it’s riff city! There is an absolutely sublime dreamy section, but again it is very short. Iommi-style riffing seems to dominate this as well as the other tracks.
Firechild again conjured up visions of Sabbath’s and Soundgarden‘s past, and not for the last time, either. Lots of guitar and drum/bass thumping going on here as well. Ether is more killer riffing, and the vocals are almost ethereal at times. There is some phasing effect being used in the studio on this one, methinks. Again, it is reminiscent of both Floyd and Sabbath at times.
Then Wakens the Beast is classic riff central again, and the vocals are more Ozzy-style anguish. Half way in we find the drummer getting busy again, but we should be accustomed to this by now as he does it regularly. Odium Delerium is another breakneck metal instrumental, incorporating cool rhythm(s) and lots of groove. You have to wonder if they’re just showing off at this point, but I was enjoying myself immensely, and found the old bean bobbing up and down with the music!
The final track, Sleeper’s Gate, mentioned above, is, as the bio puts it, ‘an 11-minute sojourn’, not at all a boring , overly proggy epic. In fact, it is a rather complicated number. There are a couple of solo sections, but it also features a mellow opening with soft vocals and acoustic guitar work. As you may have guessed, the ‘mellow’-ness doesn’t last long. The choir vocals sound like they could be at the angel’s gate. They sound positively wonderful together when harmonizing. At about two-and-a-half minutes in, a decided Zeppelin-esque jam ensues ( it is somewhat reminiscent of Kashmir ), and it just stands out as a heads-above type of jam. Whether they are indeed having delusions of grandeur or not, there is no deluding yourself with this recording. It is spot on. Hope everyone else enjoys it as much as I did!