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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Gazpacho

Missa Atropos

Review by Larry Toering

This is a band that’s hard to categorize, which shoots it far into prog territory for my ears. Gazpacho, is from Norway and have a very conceptual approach. It’s dark, moody, haunting and hypnotic. The vocals complement the mellow but intense structure of the songs they so easily deliver with a great deal of passion on  Missa Tropos. With a three-part title concept that is perfectly placed throughout the track list, it includes genuine coded messages sent during the cold war. This album features violin and piano, along with mostly quiet but very brooding vocals.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Mass For Atropos 1

A piano plinks away as some of the dark story to come in three-parts gets underway. The piano continues a bit and things leave the listener very curious as to where it’s all going. That is left to be answered in parts two and three.

Defense Mechanism
This is a very dreary track with moody vocals and great percussive factors. Lots of crashing cymbals are used for a great effect. “Taste the madness…”
I Was Never Here
There is that lovely piano again, and more great cymbal work to go with it. The vocals continue to entice as they spread their wings a bit and deliver a nice melody. Once again this is a very dark and moody number. One gets the feeling that they were definitely ‘never there’ in this touching track.
Snail
There is a bit of a pick up here, and the guitar starts to make an appearance. Things are building as it goes along through this excellent piece of music. It’s beautiful!
River
More of that wonderful piano opens this with a steel drum effect. It’s really a fine combination between the keys and percussion. This is another excellent track with both subtle and heavy crashing cymbals, accompanied by watery effects to lend to its meaning. The vocals are featured on this number are the best so far.
Mass For Atropos 2 (you’re going to die up here)
More darkness is brought upon things as part two of the title track continues to intrigue with some code revealing lyrical input. Then things blend into what is one of the finest pieces of music on the disc.
She’s Awake
Another piano sets up what is a very hypnotic vibe with atmospheric tones to keep it all the more interesting. This is another of the best tracks.
Vera
This is a fantastic tune with yet more great percussion and piano, particularly the sticks doing a lot of rim tapping. There is some great vocal work as well on this one. It is a very convincing arrangement for the recording’s overall concept.
Will To Live
Put together with the previous track they enter the epic zone here. A chilling vocal combusts and things are over, making one really long to hit “repeat” on this great track.
Mass For Atropos 3
There is more atmosphere with some spooky chanting, and the third part is over very quickly. It’s a musical message that uniquely holds the concept.
Splendid Isolation
This is a very gothic number, which reminds the listener they’ve been under such a spell by now. Excellent vocals bring it along nicely with gripping lyrics. This is another fine tune with orchestration to spice it up as the disc closes in on the final track. This has a very enjoyable vibe.
An Audience
This is a great way to close things, with an organic approach that rounds the entire disc out very well.
 
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