The Windmill - Tribus

(CD 2018, 52.46, Apollon Records ARTPCD0000002)

The tracks:
  1- The Tree(23:54)
  2- Storm(10:05)
  3- Dendrophenia(4:34)
  4- Make Me Feel(9:39)
  5- Play with Fire(4:34)

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Website info; “Norwegian band The Windmill was formed in the fall of 2001, in 2005 they started the recording sessions for their first album. But due to a lot of personal changes it lasted until the end of 2009 when the recording sessions for the album was finalized, and mixing began, and in May 2010 To Be Continued... (see review) was released, the result of 5 years of hard work. In 2013 followed their second effort entitled The Continuation (see review). During the years The Windmill played gigs and joined festivals. The recording of Tribus began in the fall of 2016. The album consists of songs that have been on the live repertoire for a while, as well as brand new songs that have not been played live before. The album is mixed and mastered by Karl Groom (Threshold, Shadowland, Strangers On A Train) at Thin Ice Studios in England. In the spring of 2018 the band got the sad message that drummer Sammi Nøland had got cancer. He managed to finish the recording of the drums on the entire album in April, but in August, the message came that the disease was greatly exacerbated, and unfortunately there was no hope of recovery. The night of September 5, Sammi died, and left a big gap in the band that has not yet been covered. R.I.P. Sammi! A wonderful human and glittering drummer has left us. Tribus was officially released on November 15, 2018 in connection with the release gig at Belleville in Oslo, Norway.”

I am not familiar with The Windmill or its albums, this is my first musical encounter. The epic opener is in the tradition of the band to compose at least one long composition on every album.

The Tree (23:54) : The first part is the realm of early Genesis with twanging acoustic guitars and flute, the interplay between flute and sensitive electric guitar is wonderful. Then guitar flageolets and flute, culminating in a bombastic atmosphere with moving guitar, lush Mellotron violins, a pumping bass and slow synthesizer flights follow, now IQ strongly comes to my mind, a very captivating and compelling atmosphere, goose bumps! Gradually the music turns into a catchy beat with a nice colouring by the flute, keyboards and guitar. Suddenly a mellow atmosphere with tender piano and dreamy vocals, so from a compelling blend of early Genesis and Eighties IQ to an AOR ballad, what a surprise. Then a saxophone solo in a slow rhythm. Now another musical twist, a swinging piano interlude and a powerful bass, followed by more saxophone, with jazzy undertones. And yet another turn, acapella singing and then dreamy with piano and flute, Camel comes to my mind. This is followed acceleration with guitar, flute and synths leads to a wah wah guitar solo, then Spanish sounding rock guitar, tin-whistle, how varied! And now from rock to dreamy with mellow organ and guitar, piano and warm vocals, culminating in a finale with a slow rhythm and a beautiful, very moving electric guitar solo (reminding me of Andy Latimer), simply beautiful!

2. Storm (10:05) : This composition delivers flowing shifting moods. First a slow rhythm with soaring keyboards and wonderful flute and acoustic - and electric guitar, halfway bombastic with howling electric guitar and intense piano. Then again dreamy with piano and mellow saxophone, followed by a bombastic part with moving electric guitar and sparkling piano and in the end churchy organ, what a majestic sound.

3. Dendrophenia (4:34) : Here The Windmills rocks with catchy and propulsive guitar riffs, then a tight rhythm with vocals and mellow Hammond organ, a blend of AOR and harder-edged melodic rock.

4. Make Me Feel (9:39) : First a slow rhythm with flute, lush Hammond and dreamy with flute, piano and warm vocals. In between some more bombastic eruptions and vocal harmonies. Then harpsichord and flute and propulsive guitar riffs, with howling electric guitar. Finally, an up-tempo with fiery rocky electric guitar and dynamic rhythm-section and some flute. It sounds pleasant and dynamic.

5. Play with Fire (4:34) : The final track contains a dreamy atmosphere with acoustic rhythm guitar and flute. Then a slow rhythm with flute, Hammond and pleasant vocals (male and female) and flute traverse, slow synthesizer flights. Gradually this short song turns into a catchy beat, like 'folk rock meets melodic rock', with hints from Camel and Jethro Tull, but more song oriented.

This music is not always my cup of tea, but I am impressed by the compositional skills and very pleasant van varied sound, it will please a wide range of progheads who are into more accessible prog.

***+ Erik Neuteboom (edited by Dave Smith)

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