In the late nineties guitarist-singer Rolf Edvardsen and bassist Truls 'Biff' Eriksen, found themselves at a dead end. The two Norwegian friends were looking for a new musical approach, something different from the metal and pop style of their previous bands. Quite ironically they shifted their attention to something very old: the glorious technicolor explosion, that is, psychedelic progressive music. Influenced by King Crimson, 13th Floor Elevators and Pink Floyd and more recent astral travellers like The Soundtrack Of Our Lives and Supergrass, they soon got their creative juices flowing by composing exiting new songs and sounds. The two brothers Thomas Grønner (drums, organ) and Øyvind Grønner (guitar) completed the line-up and they called the band Brimstone.
Soon they were much sought after as a live act, touring all over Norway and the other Scandinavian countries. Through the underground psych and prog network, they also travelled to Great Britain, Spain, France and Germany playing their own special brand of prog-a-delic space rock. In 2002 Brimstone recorded the EP Going Out which contained the radio hit The Magic Dragon. This led to very favourable reviews just as their subsequent albums The Brimstone Solar Radiation Band (2004), the country-tinged Solstice (2005) and the multi-instrumental extravaganza of Smorgasbord (2009).
The music on the new album Mannsverk returns to Brimstone's musical roots containing strong prog vibes of the late sixties and early seventies throughout. The influences of the above-mentioned bands are obvious, but the end result is unmistakably Brimstone. The album was recorded in their own studio enabling the band to extend the compositions. Three out of the eight songs last longer than six minutes, one almost ten minutes and another one more than twelve minutes. I played Mannsverk several times but nevertheless I remained slightly disappointed. The songs don't impress that much and as a result they don't endure either. The songs are neither good nor bad; they just go on and on. I heard it all before but much better.
Rolf Edvardsen's voice sounds like Tom Petty who has the flue and he produces a sort of unintelligible English. I really don't have a clue what he's singing about. However, for fans of the early Pink Floyd, Camel and Genesis who have some money to spend, this album could be a welcome addition to their collection. However, personally I prefer to wait for an instrumental release by Brimstone in the near future.
** Gert Bruins (edited by Peter Willemsen)
Where to buy?