Author: Jan Jakobsen
Band: Tusmørke & Spectral Haze
Album: Tusmørke Vs Spectral Haze – Elektriske Skrekkøgler og Forhistoriske Fremtidsfabler
Label: Duplicate Records
With an album titled as weird as Elektriske Skrekkøgler og Forhistoriske Fremtidsfabler, roughly translated to “Electric Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Future Fables”, you know you are in for a treat. This split consists of two of Norway’s best progressive and spacey rock outfits of the 2010’s. Tusmørke is 70’s progressive rock made in 2015 in every sense; they got the Jethro Tull flutes, the Yes esque-vocals and the general weirdness of King Crimson. They have already released two critically acclaimed full-lengths and their live shows are notoriously experimental, performing mainly unreleased material. The other half of this split is space rockers Spectral Haze. Their music is a cosmic journey through space and time, heavy Sleep influence mixed in with a drugged out atmosphere. Relax, eat some mushrooms and travel throughout outer space together with Spectral Haze.
Now, as usual on a split, each band gets a LP side to themselves. Tusmørke got three tracks, split into 24 minutes while Spectral Haze on the other hand has one track, Skallen, ticking in at a little bit over 17 minutes. As previously mentioned, Tusmørke has a distinct 70’s sound. There is an authenticity in their sound though, which makes it sound real, and not just some cheap rip-off. On their previous releases, their lyrical themes have mostly been about dragons, knights, and whatnot, but on Demonologi the theme and the general vibe of the songs is a lot more occult. The music itself is pretty much what you’d expect based on my description of the band. A chilled out flute sets the mood early and the proto-metal guitars set in at the two-minute mark. At four minutes, the band goes full out Jethro Tull and the outro is a lot more high energy than the rest of the track. Empathy for the Evil is actually one of the shortest tracks Tusmørke has ever done, ticking in at almost six minutes. It falls short to the rest of the album I’m afraid, just lacking in direction as compared to their two other attempts. Reptilhjernen Vet though is one of the strongest tracks Tusmørke has ever done. There’s a distinct The Doors influence on this track in particular that makes for a refreshing sound. The highlight of the track is the final three minutes though. An incredibly well composed outro that I kind of wanted to drag out even further.
“Reason recedes as primal cunning slithers behind the eyesockets. The riff is taking over your body, taking over your soul. Twitch lacertilian in time with the repetitious reptilian rhythm of antediluvian rituals. Humanity is skin deep. Scratch a man and find a snake, as cold as the sperm of Satan. It is no coincidence that witches turn people into toads, adders and newts; this has been perverted into a curse by Christian dogma, but is in reality a metaphor for the prerequisites for travelling on the road to ancient wisdom. After all, the discoverer of Heaviness himself was a known occultist and went by the name of Newton.”
On to Spectral Haze’s contribution to this project. Skallen is a 17-minute long epic. The first six minutes starts rather slow, but when they finally find their stride, the song is slowly evolving into something special.
At parts it sounds like you’ve stumbled upon a jam session, but the music is still coherent and well put together. You sort of get lost within the music at times, just floating together with the groovy bass and suddenly the music stops and you realize that just listened to a 17 minute long track without even knowing it. If anything, it reminds of Darkspace, only without the black metal.
“The ultimate wisdom will for ever be sealed behind endless symbolism and metaphors. Acquiring the keys to unlock these sealed gates lies within yourself. Ascend through cosmic beat of Spectral vessel. Lost in trance-state of perpetual motion. Simplicity of note-on-note, absorption in sonic space-time. Reveal to us the truth, now! Within your skull which is as vast as the heavens. Riff on sonic alchemic table, delivered from the Higher Haze, sacred Spectral vessel penetrate the darkness of ignorance, layer upon layer, cosmic nod, past wolfskin, past serpentskin, revealing the ultimate light of emptiness!”
This split is some of the most unique music I’ve heard in 2015, and definitely the most unique music I’ve heard from Norwegian bands in a long time. If you’re a progressive rock fan, or just a fan of weird music in general, then this split is a must listen. I can almost guarantee you it’ll sound like nothing you’ve ever heard before.
- Jan Jakobsen
Check out the release on Bandcamp: https://duplicaterecords.bandcamp.com/album/elektriske-skrekk-gler-og-forhistoriske-framtidsfabler and don’t forget to check out Tusmørke on Soundcloud https://soundcloud.com/tusm-rke and Spectral Haze on Bandcamp https://spectralhaze.bandcamp.com/