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Gazpacho: Missa Atropos

Fifteen years after its formation, Norway's Gazpacho has finally emerged as a major player in progressive-rock circles, becoming one of the distinguished artists on Kscope Music's limited roster with the release of Missa Atropos. Actually, "post" might be a better term than "prog" to describe Gazpacho's moody, atmospheric sound, which bridges Porcupine Tree and Marillion. In fact, vocalist Jan-Henrik Ohme often sounds like Steve Hogarth, especially on the dreamy "I Was Never Here" and the untamed "River," and Gazpacho got its start on Marillion's own Racket Records.

Previously available only in Germany, Missa Atropos is a haunting, hypnotic concept album dealing with themes of fear, loneliness and death. The hour-long disc opens with a brief instrumental opener that sets the scene for "Defense Mechanism," a dramatic wall-of-sound piece that establishes Missa Atropos as a darker successor to 2009's Tick Tock. Violin and orchestral overtones enhance the mood, as do real samples of coded information sent via shortwave radio during the Cold War.

Three instrumental interludes evoke radically different emotions among listeners, with "Mass for Atropos 1" an atmospheric piano piece, "Mass for Atropos 2" a creepy sound experiment and "Mass for Atropos 3" an ambient prayer. And while "Vera" is one of the rare upbeat songs on Missa Atropos, its lyrics tell the tale of a twisted, troubled romance. Also noteworthy are the performances by keyboard player Thomas Andersen, who adjusts his style on practically every song, making pianos cry and moving musical mountains.

This is classy, subdued music best experienced in a dimly lit room, and it marks a turning point for Gazpacho.

Track Listing:
1) Mass for Atropos 1
2) Defense Mechanism
3) I Was Never Here
4) Snail
5) River
6) Mass for Atropos 2
7) Missa Atropos
8) She's Awake
9) Vera
10) Will to Live
11) Mass for Atropos 3
12) Splendid Isolation
13) An Audience

Added: August 18th 2011
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Related Link: Official Gazpacho Website
Hits: 2255
Language: english

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