Infringement is from the Oslo region in Norway and was formed in 2015 by guitarist Stig André Clason. Some people might remember Clason from his guitar playing in The Windmill. A band which enjoyed so much during their performance at Night Of The Prog festival in 2019. It is Clason who has such a unique sound that I immediately thought “I know that sound from some other band”. The rest of the line-up consists of Hans Andreas Brandal (vocals), Kristoffer Utby (drums), Bĺrd Thorstensen (keys) and Espen Larsen (bass).
In 2017 Infringement released their debut album Transition. In some reviews they stated that the band sounds like IQ and Arena. I can admit that these statements are correct. The debut album was a steady progressive rock album with heavy guitar elements and exceptional good vocals. Rhythmically the album has tracks with great tension. So the IQ reference I can get. Two years later Infringement released their second album, Alienism. It's an album that's in line with his predecessor. There where The Windmill comes with a more a more quiet symphonic approach, Infringement takes a road which brings them more or less to the neo prog genre.
The album, which is a concept album, has a total run time of 40 minutes and it contains four songs. You don't have to be a student professor to draw the conclusion that the tracks are rather long.
The album tells us the story of four patients which are held in a mental health instate for criminally insane. The institute is called Gentmire and is led by the Commissioner. The four patients have all different kind of mental diseases. At first I didn't like the theme at all. Psychiatry is a very delicate subject to write about. Especially when there are crimes involved. Although I know the story is complete fiction, I didn't feel quite comfortable with it.
The album opens with the track Disorder. An acoustic guitar and some kind of musical box create an immense ominous atmosphere. So from the start an arc of tension is present. After a short while Mellotron choirs participate and the song then really takes off with a very melodic guitar solo part. These kind of parts, with tight breaks, give me shivers. This is really the kind of progressive rock I like. The song lingers on in mid-tempo. The composition of the song reminds me of Egdon Heath a little. Especially in their In The City up to The Killing Silence period. The vocals of Hans Andreas Brandal are rather unique. There isn't a vocalist which I can compare him directly to. The only thing that comes to me is that the vocals are very clear. The production of the albums is also clear. It is pleasant to listen to.
The second track Triad is also a mid-tempo track with heave guitar bridges. In my opinion Stig André Clason doesn't use the regular guitar scales in these parts. These bridges sound beside rather heavy also disordered. This fits perfectly in the song. The song contains also a nice harmonic vocal part. The whole structure of the song and the specific elements as harmonic vocals reminds me of Haken.
And of course this track has also a part with spoken words. The lyrics take you deep into the journey of the patient. So far this is the track with the most alternating parts. It's really a mosaic of different soundscapes and atmospheres. It is a great song.
Therapy with 4 minutes is the shortest track on the album. The song starts with a penetrating guitar riff. It also contains an atmosphere of darkness. The vocal parts are going against the direction of the instruments. This gives the track some extra tension.
And from the shortest track we travel to Delirium, with 16 minutes the longest track. The song opens with dark keyboard strings and modest vocals. After a while all the instruments are going mid-tempo and once more a dark atmosphere is created. The track has several bridges that break the atmosphere of the song. Every time I hear these parts I get the IQ feeling. IQ are masters in creating songs with several atmospheres, songs that never bore you and songs that are adventures. The track ends with a cinematic part which could be used in films easily.
Alienism is also an adventure. It's a discovery travel through different musical landscapes. I never get bored when I listen to this band. Technically this band is phenomenal. Each members plays his instrument top class. The craftsmanship of this band is clear from the beginning to the end of this album. Infringement is one the bands which are ranked high on my list “to see playing live”.
Infringement has succeeded to maintain the high standard. For me personally this is one of the most interesting bands I know. I really like their overall style, the vocals, the compositions, the variety in the songs, etc. etc. I am lyrical about this incredible great band. For me this is the kind of progressive rock that I like the most. I hope that this band will defy the storms of time. I am sure that Infringement hasn't reach the top yet. This is potentially a band which can grow to a higher platform. That said I only can give this album 5 out of 5 points. Highly recommended album.
***** Aad Bannink (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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