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Ossicles: Mantelpiece

Ossicles is a Norwegian jazz/progressive rock duo founded in 2011 by cousins Sondre Veland & Bastian Veland. Mantelpiece was their debut album, released in late 2012, which barely registered a blip on the radar of most prog rock fans, so here we are in 2015, and with a new album set for release later this year, their new label Karisma Records are reissuing this very fine debut for the masses to hear. There's a reason that Steven Wilson raved about this debut back in 2013, and even Mike Portnoy saw the potential in the band, inviting them to play the Progressive Nation at Sea cruise in 2014. This is wonderful, melodic prog rock with bits of jazz, avant-garde, metal, folk, ambient, electronica, and pop, all the music recorded by the cousins (Sondre - Drums, percussion, vocals, keyboards/Bastian - Guitars, vocals, bass, upright bass, keyboards) with a few guests, but the plans are for them to put together a full band for live appearances.

Opening track "Dewer's Hollow" sets the stage, a lovely, haunting keyboard instrumental that brings to mind the intro to the Genesis classic "Watchers of the Skies". From there, you can hear the bands Porcupine Tree/Steven Wilson influences, especially on cuts such as the dramatic, metallic "Moral Grey" or the more pop laden "1400", the latter complete with quirky vocal arrangements and spacey, often times jazzy instrumental bits. "Watersoul II" delivers vintage prog styled keyboards along with groove laden, jazz-fusion rhythms, while the pastoral "Barren Earth" features lush vocal melodies over gentle guitar arpeggios and sumptuous keys. "Slur" also ventures into folky, though at times dark prog territory, while ominous Mellotron and alluring vocals permeate the Porcupine Tree meets Genesis pop/prog that is "Torn Pages". It seems almost cliche these days to save your mega 'epic' song for last, but that is indeed what Ossicles did here with the 28-minute "Silky Elm", a Middle Eastern tinged behemoth of prog, jazz, folk, blues, and metal flavors. Despite some wonderful sections (the metallic riffing about 60% in is very well done, and the haunting Mellotron prior to that is quite eerie), this one meanders a bit and could have used some trimming.

Chances are a good many of you missed out on this little gem when it was originally released back in 2012, so now's your chance to get caught up before their brand new album hits later this year. ​

Track Listing
1. Dewer's Hollow
2. Luna's Light
3. 1400
4. Moral Grey
5. Watersoul II
6. Barren Earth
7. Slur
8. Torn Pages
9. Silky Elm

Added: June 18th 2015
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 2231
Language: english

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