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coverpic flag Norway - Full Moon 100 - 11/26/04

Various Artists
From The Spheres Of Gog Magog
Major Minor Records and Handmade Records

From my about only and recent Biblical studies, in connection with this album, I found that Gog is none other than Antichrist or Satan him-/her-/itself, and Magog is his/her/its kingdom. If you search the Net for Gog or Magog, the Gog Magog Golf Club in the hills of the same name, near Cambridge, UK, might be the first you bump into. In these hills Syd Barrett of the early Pink Floyd made his first(?) trip on magic mushrooms around 1965, documented on VHS and DVD, that eventually lead to his fall from pop stardom only a couple of years later. A real bad trip it must've been, in surroundings of such a name. I remember from my youth in the 70s, both Genesis and their buddy Peter Hammill of Van der Graaf Generator sang about Gog (Hammill) and Magog (both) in the Biblical sense.

Which lead us on to today and this vinyl compilation from the Norwegian underground, mostly. The title indicate a hell of an album, young aspiring bands on a satanic quest. Well, not exactly. Though the opening track, Epikurs Euphorie's "Lavaggio", isn't that far away. Distorted and shrieking vocals, guitars and bass. It's tough, apocalyptic and ominous, like lava. Lavaggio, though, means wash in Italian. I cannot find the connection, but quite entertaining it is and better than most of the tracks of their new mini album.

The rest of the album is somewhat lighter, all in all not that close to the spheres of Gog, nor Magog, and includes "slight musical schizophrenia" as the publishers state in the accompanying information sheet. Side Gog of the album is the noisy one of the lighter and popier kind, apart from Epikurs Euphorie. Fuzz all right, but less distorted. Yonakit's "Slow Sequenced Damage" is a winner, melancholic fuzz-pop with the vocals recorded under a blanket, it seems, that's a new one! Des Monstres and their "Take It All" is merrier, also with female and male vocals, but less dynamic than Yonakit, with a stain of Sonic Youth guitars. Nice! "Tigerbomb" by X.lover is funky and funny, though the attempt to sound sexy sounds less convincing. Next Life signals more experimental leanings; "Without A Head" is probably the most skilful track of the compilation and the only instrumental. It starts and ends with guitar madness, some jazzy keyboards and dynamic rhythms in between.

Side Magog starts more in the pop vein. Mindy Misty with "Leave It Like It Is" is a bit R.E.M.'ish and nicely produced. "Man vs. Light" by Lukestar is my immediate favourite of the lot. Confident calm pop in the verses with as steady drums, bass and guitars as can be, and sparkling fuzz-pop choruses. Pan Am's "Do the Walk" is the last straight song. Three parts rock'n'roll, a tiny part boogie and a little old fashioned punk energy thrown in for good measure. Star Bug with "kol.n5" leads into more experimental terrain. Even more boogie with several twists and slanting guitars in the last half of the song. More strange sounds to come with MotorKross PowerDuo's "Narcoleptic Alert Dog". It starts with relatively straight rock; and do I hear recorders (those wooden flutes)? Then into freer jazz and more cacophony with a saxophone. No chance to fall asleep! Trumans Water is the only foreigners aboard and the most famous - and productive, by far - of them all. Their contribution "Bingo Youth", though, doesn't range among their best efforts. Only sounds like a choked voice over distorted guitar ramblings to me.

From The Spheres Of Gog Magog didn't quite live up to my expectations judged from the title. Maybe the title indicate there's quite a lot going on in the local underground beside satanic metal, the main musical export from Norway of late? Anyways, the compilation includes a bit of rubble. At closer inspection you will find some rough gems as well. And three cheers to Major Minor and Handmade to be bold enough to release an LP like this in the 21st century!

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