NORD: Beyond Gravity (2020)
Updated: Nov 23, 2020
“We never are Beyond Gravity here, because Nord hammers good E-Rock with wild riffs, drums and sequenced Berlin School style”
1 Beyond Gravity I (Part. 1, 2 & 3) 12:39
2 Beyond Gravity II 11:17
3 Beyond Gravity III 15:43
4 Beyond Gravity IV 11:17
5 Beyond Gravity V 9:14
(DDL 60:10) (V.F.)
(Prog Rock EM, Berlin School)
This new Nord venture begins with a title that changes skin 3 times. Beginning with a cosmic opening, Beyond Gravity I (Part. 1, 2 & 3) surrounds itself with massive synth layers which tie up its chimerical space shuttle drifting in the Cosmos. The sky is dark and cracked with scarlet streaks. The sonic arcs of these streaks and the rumbling of giant gongs invite a first line of sequences to deploy a series of keys which advance in a circular movement. This continual back and forth solidifies a base ready to welcome this influx of cinematic layers in an apocalyptic setting that respects the different stages of Vangelis' soundtracks that he made from L'Apocalypse Des Animaux to Blade Runner. Titanic explosions, arcade game effects and more that make you think of an alien dialogue, add tonal colors to this drifting rhythm which is jostled for layers of wooshh and waashh. Little by little, the heavy ambiences are fading into a roar that release a horde of sound effects. Alone to beat, the sequencer runs out of steam under the pressure of a big layer of old organ which guides us towards a second phase where the drums hammer a rhythm which clings to a good and big organic bass line before Beyond Gravity I (Part. 1, 2 & 3) does not die in a more cosmic 3rd phase with all these lunar effects. If, like me, you have devoured the electronic progressive hard rock anthems of Linking the Stars, BEYOND GRAVITY will captivate those neurons that make our ears enjoy. First of all, you have to listen to the music in the context offered. Here, this is big progressive hard rock mixed with atmospheric phases and good Berlin School! So, the volume at full blast, otherwise we miss out on a good album that plays on the different eras of EM. Beyond Gravity II makes us forget the uncertainties of the first title with a particularly good movement of the sequencer which boasts splendid synth solos which like to travel from its low to high tones without paying attention to our ears. A bass line extends its core of passive resonances around the second minute. The movement becomes mirage with all these synth solos. A synth which also makes fascinating cooings up until the sequencer turns its rhythm balls in solos, indicating a possible explosion in the short term. It happens 15 seconds later! Beyond Gravity II abandons its passive envelope by becoming as heavy as intense with a good cinematographic vision built around a nice melodious theme hidden in the mesh of this galloping ride. Sztakics István Attila moistens the ambiences of his fabulous solos, some of which are very sharp, in a very solid electronic rock à la Deep Purple for the next 3 minutes. And at the gates of 10 minutes, this great track slows down its ardor in a finale where the scintillating opalescent arpeggios rock the solos that Nord keeps producing while fixing a smile in our ears.
A piercing, quavering breath which seems to be dying, announces Beyond Gravity III. Arpeggios sparkle and bubbles of bass-pulsations are extending tonal rays to doubtful vapors. There are screeching like jerky effects in this psychedelic bubble of Pink Floyd-like effects. A pulse brews the hut from the second minute passed. Sharp, it hops on the spot and fits into this bubble which little by little becomes an electronic landscape with good synth solos. Lines of rhythms squabble in the background while Tangerine Dream-like chords fall, as do their solos always very stuck to melodious visions. Follows a line of melody played on a keyboard as dreamy as Nord is. Always beating with a single pulse, the rhythm welcomes fleeting mists and solos that have become angrier, like the keyboard! We come to a point where another pulse is inserted, increasing the rhythm which turns faster under synth solos with the scents of the Dream's Jive years. The 10 minutes gate brings drum rolls, announcing a rhythm as lively as the synth solos which paint the sky in orange colors. The drums carry Beyond Gravity III in a cosmic rock, riding interstellar plains with ever so smoldering solos. After more than 3 minutes of atmospheres, Beyond Gravity IV offers us an ambient Berlin School on a static moving sequencer. Nord injects contemporary tones into this rhythmic backbone which needs percussion, although the piano does quite a work as harmonic as rhythmic, so that Beyond Gravity IV passes into its phase of lively electronic rock evolving in a setting adorned with effects of moderate psybient. Beyond Gravity V is a little apart with big hard rock mixed with ambient phases in a shorter context than in the opening title. Big guitar riffs, virtuoso solos on synth and guitar, played by Makkai Kálmán, without forgetting the sequencer and the drums, here we have an explosive duo that will fill our ears!
BEYOND GRAVITY is an album that can be listened to quite well with its strong influences ranging from old Pink Floyd to Tangerine Dream, not to mention the great Vangelis. An album well done, considering that Nord regularly travels between rock, ambient and Berlin School in his virtual studio. In short, some good Nord!
Sylvain Lupari (November 23rd, 2020) ***½**
Available at Nord Bandcamp