Spirits of the Dead

The Great God Pan

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Attack all ye elves! The psychedelic rock of Spirits of the Dead is a call to arms for fans of 1960s and 1970s progressive folk-rock. Ragnar Vikse might as well be brandishing a shield and holding of an orc as he sings the title words "Mighty Mountain" over and over on the opening track as Ole Øvstedal's early Pink Floyd guitar squalls squelch and prod. From there the group explores jazz fusion on "Leaves of Last Year's Fall" and somber shuffling balladry on the title track, and casts the runes -- as it were -- with stormy feedback on "Casting the Runes" before getting back to the Dark Side of the Moon-like "Goldberry." Vikse does have a tendency to whine and there's a moment or two of unintentional Spinal Tappery, but this is an album that resoundingly nails its progressive intentions. From wailing guitar solos to distant falsetto wailing, this is music that would have fit perfectly at Woodstock. Cleanly produced and finely played, The Great God Pan is a solid throwback to a druggy era that genre fans will certainly appreciate.

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