Fireworks

Aunt Mary - 'New Dawn' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/52/7d/cf/aunt-mary-new-dawn-28-1520886244.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     March 12, 2018    
 
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An unexpected surprise.

If there's a hint of recognition about the name, then technically this is Aunt Mary, the Norwegian Prog Rock band who released their first record in 1970, followed by two more in 1972 and 1973 before splitting. They then had a reunion in 1992 before the classic line-up of the band played their last show in 2010.

This, however, is a new AM. Devoted fan Ronni Le Tekro (TNT) was hoping to produce the classic line-up for one more album, only for bass player Svein Gundersen to leave. Vocalist Jan Groth then had to leave, due to being diagnosed with cancer; he would sadly pass away in 2014, the same year drummer Ketil Stensvik was diagnosed with the same illness – he too would pass away in 2015. Sole original guitarist Bjørn Kristiansen now leads this revamped version, featuring Bernt Bodel (bass), Ole Tom Torjussen (drums), Ola Aanje (keyboards) and Norwegian Idol winner Glenn Lyse on vocals. While old-school fans may lament this isn't "the" Aunt Mary, I've not encountered their previous work before so I'm viewing this with an unbiased opinion and my first impressions are all good.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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Opener 'Slave Parade' is a crunchy growler with distortion liberally applied to both guitars and vocal, whereas the cleaner 'Unconditional Love' has a more cheerful feel. The vocal work of Lyse is particularly strong and distinctive and the song has a great hook in the chorus. The groove of 'Hopelessly Lost' is compelling, 'Happily Ever After' is a Bluesy workout and the band also revisit their past with a new version of their old track 'G Flat Road'. 'I Was Born To Ride On The Wrong Side' is a heads down, Rock-out affair, one which is completely at odds with the spacey 'Open Your Eyes'. It's not all top drawer though, the long spoken word sample infused in 'Happily Ever After' is a bit tedious, and 'Soldedera' is a bit too 'Kashmir' for my liking. However, the swampy 'Been There Done That' is a joy, and the Jazzy curveball of 'Don't Keep Me Waiting' is an off-the-wall inclusion, but ridiculously catchy.

The musicianship and songs are of a high standard, and the great voice of Lyse is the icing on the cake. Less Proggy than I expected, I came away from this album thinking it was like nothing else I'd heard, but the more I played it, the more it impressed me. An unexpected surprise.

James Gaden

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