Norway has a proud tradition in producing deep and thoughtful prog and Tainted fits perfectly into this category. Inspired by the classic tale of Faust, this is the second album from When Mary, whose debut album in 2013 was 7summers7winters.
The story behind this album centres on a man who drives himself to damnation in his search for true enlightenment. As this theme would suggest, the music is dark, deep and brooding and follows the structure of a German song cycle.
Bells ring to introduce the brief opener Prelude in which the haunting voice of Trude Eidtang (White Willow) comes to the fore in an almost hymn-like setting.
Soothing Stitches features heavy guitar courtesy of Christian Paulsen and Vidar Ulthaug provides a strong electronica vibe through his keyboards.
There's a church-like organ sound on Interlude which develops into electronica and a glockenspiel gives it extra texture. Wings Of Wax mixes it up even more through a strong rhythm over which Eidtang's voice soars.
Echoey drums and strong electro patterns shape the sounds on Out Of Spaces in stark contrast to Eternity's gentle, sweet, tilting melody.
The palpable tempo changes in Wonderful Warning take it from a slow start to a powerful, punchy section and back to a stately pace. A pulsating electro beat drives Frequency and finally, Postlude features a quiet, throbbing keyboard, the voices becoming more operatic in their delivery. The bells chime to bring an end to this absorbing album, which is well worth investigation.
*** Alison Reijman
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