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Mandala: Midnight Twilight

Rhys Marsh has been another recent discovery for me. The multi-instrumentalist/singer/songwriter is based out of Trondheim, Norway. Besides Mandala he is also a member of Kaukasus and The Autumn Ghost, with both putting out some tasty material recently.

Mandala formed in the mid '90s and wrote a bunch of songs that never saw the light of day. It was hard to keep it together so the band broke up only to reform in 2005. Again, nothing got released but in 2012 they decided to give it another go and the end result is Midnight Twilight, an album with roots dating back to 1997.

The threesome consists of the aforementioned Marsh (voice, guitar, Mellotron, sitar, Fender Rhodes, rebab, pedal steel), Francis Booth (bass guitar) and Will Spurling (drums, percussion, tabla). Guests include Anna Giddey (violin), Natalie Rozario (cello) and Peter Keserue (harmonium).

Mandala's music is firmly entrenched in '70s psychedelic rock with forays into more modern art rock and pop. On the album opening "There's A Wind That Blows", fuzzy guitar riffs give way to heavier acid rock stylings before lighter soundscapes briefly appear where the playing is more gentle and refined. "The Dark Waltz" is more in the art pop vein with dramatic string crescendos and bursts of intense guitar chords. The drum and bass groove and crisp guitar solo in "Into The Night" is another highlight. The moody title track features a Middle Eastern theme as does "Sun" where sitar and keyboards create a moody atmosphere before the riffs get more frenetic and heavy. This one reminded me of the great Canadian band The Tea Party. The gentle "Dreaming" is all pretty acoustic guitar and strings while "Ghizou" is quite trippy and dark with an ominous vibe.

Fans of mood laden progressive rock and pop should be thankful Mandala never gave up on Midnight Twilight as it is an excellent album. Hopefully this will not be the last we hear from these talented Norwegians.

Track Listing:
1. There's A Wind That Blows (6:44)
2. The Dark Waltz (4:59)
3. Into The Night (3:02)
4. Midnight Twilight (2:26)
5. Sun (4:44)
6. I Have Fallen (4:08)
7. Dreaming (6:55)
8. Ghizou (7:01)
9. Within (4:41)
10. Fire Is Mine (5:52)

Added: September 17th 2015
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Artist's Official Site
Hits: 1384
Language: english

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