Norwegian prog duo Ossicles will be releasing their new album Music For Wastelands in October, however in just over a week they will be reissuing their debut 2012 album Mantelpiece so we decided to take a closer look at it.
The first thing you need to know about Mantelpiece is that it’s not one of those albums that immediately grabs you from the first note; it is definitely more of a slow burner as it gets off to a fairly lacklustre start, however it is definitely one of those releases you need to stick with because it is a truly delicious slice of prog that you seriously won’t want to miss.
Instrumental opener Dewers Hollow feels long and drawn-out, featuring the same few ideas on a loop, and it doesn’t feel like the strongest introduction to an album. Following track Luna’s Light is similarly uninspiring but following track 1400 is where things get a little more interesting. The way the track opens is particularly striking; all the instruments move as one together and it really leaves an impression on you before progressing into the main body of the track. The vocals sound so smooth atop of the energetic instrumentation and the sparing use of keys adds a lot to the song whilst not being overpowering. Another nice touch is the way the track comes full circle as it comes to a close, featuring the same in-sync instrumental line as the one at the start of the song.
Another stunning track is slower number Barren Earth, which is a quietly moving piece with fairly simplistic and stripped-back instrumentation with gentle vocals for the first two-thirds of the track before the track verges slightly into sludgey/doomy territory with fuzzy guitars and thudding drums before Ossicles wind things up with a piano section. There’s a lot going on in this track genre-wise, and it all works perfectly together.
As mentioned earlier, this album is definitely a grower so keep with it – and if Mantelpiece is anything to go by, the new album will be an absolute treat to listen to.