March of Ghosts is Norwegian progressive band Gazpacho‘s 7th studio album, and the second for the excellent Kscope (home of Anathema, no-man, Steven Wilson, Porcupine Tree & The Pineapple Thief) record label.
The album opens with the instrumental Monument, which seques into Hell Freezes Over I – with its naggingly addictive guitar line and jittery percussion intro setting the scene for the album.
March of Ghosts is a mixture of progressive elements with an over-riding pop sensibility. Whereas a lot of modern progressive music uses keyboards, particularly the mellotron, to decorate recordings, Gazpacho use violin and real strings which add a sense of warmth to their compositions.
Black Lily is one of the most immediate tracks, with a killer chorus, whilst still underpinned with the recurring guitar motif from earlier in the album.
Gold Star adds a celtic feel to the music, that continues through several songs, with some lovely percussive bells, and brass instruments (and possibly accordians somewhere in the mix), so it’s clear the band are keen to steer clear of obvious and cliched instrumentation.
Mary Celeste is one of my favourite tracks on the album, reminding me a little of Peter Gabriels OVO soundtrack at times.
“When they found us on the water
They didn’t see our faces
I hear the voices in the warmth
But we can’t get outside”
The inclusion of uilleann pipes works surprisingly well towards the end of Mary Celeste. After suffering uilleann pipes in THAT Celine Dion Titanic song, that’s a sentence I never thought I would write.
Listen to Gazpacho – March of Ghosts (Album Montage)
What Did I Do? is built around a simple, uncluttered arrangement, coated with rich warm vocal harmonies from Jan Henrik Ohme on the chorus. Oh dear, I’m starting to sound like I’m reviewing the other Gazpacho, the spanish soup!
The Dumb has a wonderful middle section, with dreamy descending piano over a gorgeous fretless bass-line.
“Stories left untold…”
The albums longest track closes the album, as Hell Freezes Over IV brings back the main guitar riff that under-pins the album, and March of Ghosts ends on it’s heaviest arrangement.
The bands Thomas Andersen describes the theme of the album – ‘The idea was to have the lead character spend a night where all these ghosts (dead and alive) would march past him to tell their stories.’
The lyrical themes are not too obvious, and leave plenty of room for personal interpretation, which is always a good sign for music that can be re-visited and re-discovered.
Watch the video for Black Lilly
Buy March of Ghosts from Amazon
Buy the previous Gazpacho album Missa Atropos from Amazon