I must confess that Gazpacho was not on my radar until recently. My first listen of this Norwegian band (to be precise the albums Bravo, When Earth Let Go,Firebird, the very good Night, and the far out Missa Atropos) made me think of Sigur Ros mix with old Marillion. But they have definitely a style of their own. Their latest CD March of the Ghosts is exquisite and beautiful. But a price must be paid for this beauty; great sadness! So, it is the kind of music which is best appreciated in small doses and at times when you are in positive mental dispositions. Depressed people must stay away (but the sadness is possibly in the ears of the beholder as is beauty)... Anyway, the lyrics blend well with the music, and the gloomy and creepy ambiance is a great success. Listening to their music, we could picture well the eerie march of the ghosts. This is a true concept album in which the parts made reference to each other. The songs are all of medium length.
"Monument" is very Sigur Ros like to ear and sounded mostly like a requiem, that's surely a gloomy beginning, if there was one. But still, it is beautiful and subtle. I don't know why, but it has a Nordic quality to my ear. The next title renders well this idea since it is named "Hell Freezes Over Part I", the composition is wonderful and the lyrics reinforce the melancholia. So does the violin. "Hell Freezes Over part II" is by far my favorite track on this album. To my ears the solo is fantastic. I like very much the folk sounding part mixed with the synths."Black Lily" is with its strings arrangements a superbly nostalgic composition, even though it is more pop sounding in a way. "Gold Star" begins in the realm of folksy music to veer on a more rocky footing, to return to it. "Hell Freezes over III" is like a slow march which pursue on the road of no return, it has a symphonic dimension which expands the message. "Mary Celeste" made me think of a ship's name, a vessel navigating on an ocean of gloom, but a celestial ocean. As usual with this band, the music is beautifully woven, alternating between traditional music and rock; the voice of the violin, in particular, adds a «je-ne-sais-quoi» which is convincing."What Did I Do?" is the musical expression of regrets..."Golem" the famed creature from Jewish tradition was supposed to protect, but did he succeed? The music is more forceful here and it is for me another excellent piece of this album. "The Dumb" returns us to the requiem like atmosphere, and seems a reprise of prior parts of the album. When "Hell Freezes Over IV" does it creates a different Hell? This is perhaps the most proggy piece of the album and the more metal oriented, a coherent evolution from the prior Hell's. Thus we have come full circle.
If you love slowly evolving music, delicate compositions, subtleness in opposition to bombastic rendering, and atmospheric prog, this CD is a must. Gazpacho is a very original band that I will continue to follow closely in the future. If you don't know them yet, try this album, it merits a good listening or two.