Bjarte K. Helland – Maniae EP
Release Date: 18/06/2021
Running Time: 22:51
Review by Simon Black
It takes all sorts to make a genre and body of music that is the Church of All Things Rock And Metal. That means that for those of us who plough through a couple of hundreds records a year in order to encourage you to support the artists (whether we like them or not), it means you have to be prepared to be taken out of your comfort zone and occasionally be pleasantly surprised. This short, but fascinating EP is a solo project of Quadrasonic, FastLoaders and Pitch Black Mentality drummer Bjarte K. Helland. It’s also an entirely instrumental piece, focussing on a complex hybrid of Progressive Rock/Metal and Jazz Fusion. However, you would expect him as a drummer to dominate the sound and the mix, but he doesn’t (although the footwork is phenomenal). If anything, the strings are front and foremost in the mix, particularly Jarle H. Olsen’s rather fantastic and effortlessly fluid guitar work.
This is obviously intended to be a studio project, but despite the choice of style it’s remarkably easy to listen to and although the openers ‘Lyssa’ and ‘Light of Erebus’ are pure Jazz Fusion, the more straight ahead Rock beat of ‘Monolith’ illustrates that there’s plenty in there for the more heavily inclined without losing that subtlety and complexity. Jazz Fusion is often in danger of alienating its listeners by going down an overtly showy road, but because this piece focuses on melody and catchiness first and foremost – rather than appealing only to those who know or care about the difference between a secondary dominant and a tritone substitution, diminished or otherwise. Bottom line is for those with a Prog bent, then this is going to tick a few boxes with its technically dazzling but fundamentally listenable approach to a style of music that isn’t for all but which works like a dream here.
‘Light Of Erebus’ (Official Visualizer)
02. Light Of Erebus
Jarle H. Olsen – Guitars
Ric Fierabracci – Bass
Bjarte K. Helland – Drums
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