Brimstone are a Norwegian psychedelic prog quartet who sing in English. Formerly known as The Brimstone Solar Radiation Band, "Mannsverk" is their fourth release and sees the band going back to their late 60's and early 70's roots delivering their most progressive album to date.
Recorded in their own studio, the band uses many vintage instruments such as mellotron and Hammond organ to give it a strong retro vibe. On the bands previous album "Smorgasbord" they had several guests playing everything from accordions, saxophones, flutes and violins.
"Mannsverk" finds them back as a 4-piece line up consisting of Rolf Edvardsen on guitar and vocals, Oyvind Grønner on keyboards and vocals, Thomas Grønner on drums and Truls "Biff" Eriksen on bass.
Within the first 10 seconds of hearing the first track "A Norwegian Requiem", which features lyrics written by Irish poet William Butler Yeats, you will be taken on a journey of psychedelic progressive rock in the original and truly proper formation. There is nothing Neo about this band, they draw you in with their vintage sounds. It makes you long for the 70s prog that we once knew and loved and keep your ears at attention the whole time.
The second track "Rubberlegged Man" has a King Crimson vibe to it with it's Wetton-like distorted bass sounds.
Many of the songs have an early Pink Floyd feel to them such as the tracks "Voodoo" and "Sjø & Land"
"The Giant Fire" is a lovely acoustic track that features some beautiful guitar and organ.
Rolf Edvardsen's voice is very reminiscent of Tom Petty on several tracks, whether or not that is intentional I am not sure.
"This is the Universe" closes the album and is loaded with vintage keys and thundering bass bringing to mind other retro bands such as fellow Scandinavians Anekdoten and the American band Astra.
Clocking in at just under 55 minutes "Mannsverk" is available on CD as well as a 2LP vinyl edition.
"Mannsverk" comes highly recommended to those who appreciate the grooves of Pink Floyd, the artistry of early psych/prog bands and the creativity of modern retro acts who crave the sounds of the golden age of prog.
Reviewed by John Longo on October 15th, 2014