Ring Van Möbius return to deliver their second album, The 3rd Majesty. This Norwegian band have a great love of the analogue sounds and instruments of the ’60s and ’70s, along with the particular recording methods of the time. Now this, to some, maybe appear very backward sounding, but no, they have taken this ethos and added a modern feel in the shape of their musical creative madness – or genius. The sound is mostly Hammond driven, for me reminiscent of Atomic Rooster at times, but there are many other influences here also; touches of ELP, King Crimson and Van der Graaf Generator, to name but a few, are woven into the Ring Van Möbius experience, but never taking over what has become their signature sound.
For the sound purists, the album was recorded onto 16 tracks of magnetic tape at the band’s Spectral Tape Studio, mixed using fully analogue equipment and “ancient techniques”, with mastering by Morten Lund at Lunds Lyd by Morten Lund. Engineering, mixing and production were handled by the band themselves. The album is a very satisfying forty-seven minute length across four tracks, the first consisting of seven pieces over its twenty-two minutes running time. The sound quality is very good, with space and room for all the instruments to be heard.
As previously mentioned, things get off to a great start with The Seven Movements of the Third Majesty, the longest track. The opening few minutes have an ELP feel, reminiscent of the Tarkus era, the vocals having a Peter Hammill style of delivery. At around eight minutes there is a brief Discipline (US band) edge and overall the whole track has a Van der Graaf Generator type of structuring, but delivered in tis band’s own inimitable style. That said, there is no direct copying here, just influences shining through. You, the listener, may hear those influence or not, or hear your own, and this is one of the main points of the enjoyment of this band. The track has a good ebb and flow, holding the interest throughout, and although it is mostly keyboard-led, the support from the bass and drums is excellent and totally essential to the sound. They form a solid bedrock with drive and purpose, allowing room for the keyboards to shine.
The sound is expanded to great effect on Distant Sphere with the use of a string quartet, a lovely, almost delicate opening accompanied by Thor Erik Helgesen’s vocals, the subtle change coming with the strings fading and a prominent bass with keyboard touches taking over before the drums join in. The tempo gradually increases before an almost discordant interlude takes the song off into another direction as things reset and propel forward. Well paced, with a high interest level, twisting and turning to hold the attention throughout.
The music on this album is dynamic with exciting soundscapes, although keyboard-led this is still a band effort, each member contributing to the whole in a tight and exciting way. If you love your music with touches of a retro feel, this is for you. If not, give it a listen anyway, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
01. The Seven Movements of the Third Majesty (22:06)
– Strife of the Icons
– Altitude Over Azimuth
02. Illuminati (5:33)
03. Distant Sphere (11:11)
04. The Möbius Ring (9:01)
Total Time – 47:51
Thor Erik Helgesen – Vocals, Hammond L100, Spectral Modular Synthesis System, Fender Rhodes, Clavinet D6, Piano
Håvard Rasmussen – Fender Bass VI, Moog Theremin, Ring Modulator, Space Echo Effects
Dag Olav Husås – Glockenspiel, Chimes, Timpani, Gong, Tubular Bells, Cymbals, Drums, Backing Vocals
Naho Nayuki – First Violin
Nora Myrset Asheim – Second Violin
Darya Govorum – Viola
Petro Sokach – Cello
Record Label: Apollon Records
Country of Origin: Norway
Date of Release: 30th October 2020