St. Helena - Hello Friend 2 x CDs

This includes the original 1974 material as originally released on vinyl and also the same material remixed in 2012.

"The Norwegian prog scene generally gets associated with the comeback prog that started with the 90s as the nation has been quite prolific with both prog and extreme metal ever since however the 70s prog scene of this nation seems to get ignored. Despite its neighbors producing the lion’s share of progressive music during this time, the nation did generate a few well known artists such as Junipher Greene, Høst, Aunt Mary and Ruphus just to name a few but it also produced its share of totally obscure artists who did not succeed in even releasing a single album during the day.
ST HELENA was one such band that formed in 1971 all the way up in the northern city of Hammerfest which is situated in the Finnmark region and almost as far north as you can go in Norway. This quintet consisted of Fezza Ellingsen (guitar, flute, piccolo and would later play in Akasha and Høst), Rolf Andersen (vocals, acoustic guitar), Kjell Are Playm (keyboards, vocals), Ray Briseid (bass) and Willy Bendiksen (drums). The band recorded a few tracks in 1974 but never found a way to release them during that era. These four tracks finally found a proper release on this 1991 archival release on the Colours label titled HELLO FRIEND.
Not much is known about this band so many of the details seem to have been lost but perhaps some liner notes exist on this release that has so far only found a release as a vinyl LP. The music of ST HELENA is quite complex as it creates a very bizarre tension where the instruments are all playing slightly off from each other with a very bizarre slightly ahead of the beat sort of sound with very strange labyrinthine compositions and even weirder melodies that have just enough hook to sink your teeth in but are very angular in how they take adventurous leaps into unexpected hairpin turns.
This is a rather short album’s worth with four tracks only clocking in at 20 1/2 minutes but the musicianship is outstanding in how this band crafts a sound that doesn’t really sound like anyone else i’ve heard despite the comparisons to bands like Gracious, Aunt Mary, Junipher Greene and even early Genesis and Jethro Tull. The music is primarily composed of a jittery percussive drive with the guitar, flute, piano and bass forming a rather oblique procession that gives the impression that the entire thing can collapse at any given time. This is very effective in keeping the music in the extreme prog zone but yet the music has a ridiculously seductive charm that i can’t put my fingers on.
The vocal style of Rolf Anderson is rather laid back considering the guitar, bass and drums are thunderously stampeding all around his delicate lyrical deliveries as if they are in a competition to generate the next procession of notes. The flute and piccolo sounds give this a very light and airy feel while the contrasting bombast of the guitar, bass and drums deliver a sense of impeding doom. This is a very well played balance of these calming and alarming elements. If you ask me the musical complexities are in the league of other frenetically charged bands like Mirthrandir and Pentwater as these bands have a very keen sense of progressive rock composition yet have a very angsty energetic delivery that makes everything seem slightly off-kilter. This is some of my favorite type of wickedly complex prog yumminess! Highly recommended for those who love extra doses of complexity to their prog.”-rym
  • LabelNorske Album Klassikere
  • UPC7059135211808
Your Price $15.00

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