Seven Impale – Beginning / Relieve

Seven Impale

I’ve said it many times before: Scandinavia is one of the best places for progressive rock in the world. For whatever reason, the pastoral, dreamy and proficient sounds of the classic prog legends have found a home in Northern Europe, and bands like Anglagard, Wobbler and Tusmørke have been keeping the flame of vintage progressive music alive. Add to that list the Norwegian rockers Seven Impale. Only recently coming to my attention through this first EP, this proficient collective of musicians are fit to scratch the musical itch of anyone looking for the familiar fusion of the old and new. “Beginning / Relieve” may not add anything particularly fresh to this tried-and-true formula, but excellent musicianship and production values have me thinking we’ll be hearing some great things from these guys in the future.

At just under half an hour in length, “Beginning / Relieve” is not quite enough to get a full idea of the band’s potential, but their musical objective is clear from the start. Seven Impale introduce themselves through the squealing of saxophones, playing atop a metal riff that could be likened to a more restrained Meshuggah. Although it sounds like a strange or uncomfortable combination, Seven Impale’s eclectic mix of sounds never feels overtly contrived. Compromises are made when necessary; the band’s occasional ‘metal’ elements are never allowed to overpower the lighter parts, and the jazzy elements are maintained as mere accompaniment to their rock foundation. As seems to be the trend in progressive rock today, there’s also a psychedelic element, which manifests itself mostly through the sparse vocals, offered here by guitarist Stian Økland. Above all, Seven Impale are reminiscent of some of the harder-rocking bands in the classic prog scene. Though not nearly as dissonant or oppressive as King Crimson, there is that sense of calculated aggression here that you do not often hear in some of Seven Impale’s lighter-hearted contemporaries.

Seven Impale succeed most notably in their musicianship. Particularly with regards to the fusion-infused drumming and saxophones, the band’s shared musical education is quite evident. Unfortunately, the band’s style doesn’t feel particularly fresh; although there are some ‘modern’ sounds present like metal, the majority of Seven Impale’s sound is derived from classic bands, namely King Crimson, Van der Graaf Generator and Jethro Tull. The apparent tribute could have worked wonders, but it does not feel like Seven Impale integrate the old and the new in such a way where the two schools begin to really compliment each other. Although their musicianship and high standard of production make for some pretty engaging moments, “Beginning / Relieve” ends on a note of feeling like the songwriting process was slightly undercooked. Although there’s the impression that the entire album is meant to be heard as a single piece of music, the flow of musical ideas is inconsistent. Everything from violin-laden tenderness to hard rocking psychedelia are handled with impressive skill, but Seven Impale haven’t quite found the adhesive necessary to make their ambitious collection of styles work.

I’m not entirely convinced with Seven Impale’s first effort, but it’s clear to me that this band have a ton of potential. I would not be surprised within a few years to be hearing this band mentioned with the same sort of regard and admiration as Wobbler, Anglagard, or any other one of Scandinavia’s greatest progressive icons. I shall be keeping an eye on this band with anticipation.


1. Mind Riot
2. Blind to All
3. Beginning/Relieve
4. Measure 15
5. What am I Sane For?


* Fredrik Mekki Widerøe – drums
* Erlend Vottvik Olsen – guitar
* Stian Økland – vocals & guitar
* Tormod Fosso – bass
* Benjamin Mekki Widerøe – saxophone
* Håkon Vinje – organ, Rhodes & synthesizer


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