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The Worm Ouroboros: Of Things That Never Were

Having recently been whisked to the foreign climes of Belarus through the wonderful music of Five Storey Ensemble, a quick return visit presents itself through the decidedly more English sounds of The Worm Ouroboros, who take their name from a 1922 Erik Rucker Edison novel. When I say English, think early Genesis (or their many offshoots), King Crimson or Jethro Tull. However what TWO do with that basis is then to weave their own little idiosyncrasies into these tried and trusted foundations, resulting in a fresh, yet vintage sound.

Each song on Of Things That Never Were comes with its own booklet quote borrowed from the likes of Einstein, Shaw, Lovecraft or Le Guin, adding another element to not only the beautiful book, but also to tracks which for long sections are instrumental. "L'Impasse Sainte Beregonne" begins the journey, discordant guitars, guttural wind instruments and manic flute making for an unsettling beginning. It is an interesting statement of intent, but oddly not really a true indication of what follows, with "Shelieth" reining in the excess and latent aggression for a simply joyous, restrained eight and a half minutes of singing guitars, chiming bass and seductive keyboards; the short flute and acoustic guitar diversion of "Ladybird On A Moebius Strip" relaxes things further.

The first vocal on the album arrives for the less smooth "The Pear-Shaped Man" eliciting whispers, cries, squeals and some excellent straight singing from Sergey Gvozdyukevich, who also plays keys, acoustic guitar, bass and flute across the album. Think Barrett era Floyd, with a little less self conscious introspection and you'll be close to nailing the sound here. The voyage continues, "Dawn Angel", "The Magi" and "Hope" short instrumental bursts of acoustic guitar and flute, "Return To The Cold Sea Of Nothing", "The Curfew" and "Soleil Noir" longer sprawls of vintage sounding keyboards bursting through occasional vocals, poised guitars and less obvious wind instrument observations. Delivering Traditional Prog of a very high standard as they do so.

Production wise Gvozdyukevich and his guitar mate Vladimir Sobolevsky do a sterling job of making these unashamedly retro ideas into worthy, sharp bursts of sound, while the bass work of Alexy Zapolsky and drumming of Eugene Zarkhin underpin the whole performance with a striking mix of flash and restraint. However special mention need also go to Vitaly Appow who is credited with "reeds", his efforts allowing songs which could become retread of other band's past glories to be more individual and ear catching.

For a first effort Of Things That Never Were is an impressive and enjoyable outing from a band who show the talent and skill to suggest this is just the beginning of a long and rewarding journey. It is one any follower of Prog's more celebrated sons will thoroughly enjoy.


Track Listing
1. L'impasse Sainte Bérégonne
2. Shelieth
3. Ladybird on a Moebius Strip
4. The Pear-Shaped Man
5. Dawn Angel
6. Pirates in Pingaree
7. The Magi
8. Soleil Noir
9. The Curfew
10. Return to the Cold Sea of Nothing
11. Hope

Added: December 16th 2013
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Score:
Related Link: AltRock Records
Hits: 1929
Language: english

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