Kylver (pronounced Kil-ver) is a four piece progressive heavy rock/metal band from Newcastle upon Tyne, U.K. featuring James Bowmaker (bass), Barry Mitcheson (drums), Neil Elliott (Hammond organ and other keyboards) and Jonny Scott (guitar.) They’ve just released their first album, the concept album The Mountain Ghost and it really makes for a great trip. I’ll try to relate the story as specified by the band alongside each of the tracks. In true progressive style the album is comprised of just four tracks – all lengthy pieces with the shortest being just over six minutes; apt for the story the tracks have to relay.
The first track, The Mountain Has Ghosts tells of a mountain range dwelling spirit who during winter months terrorizes far away villagers. The track sets the tone for the story with creative use of keys, a menacing bass beat and a touch of disharmonious guitar. Into the seventh minute hypnotic ominous bass riffs and drums along with threatening guitar tones give powerful build up. The track abruptly changes to harmonious guitar and keys soon afterwards, followed by an excellent psychedelically infused guitar solo. The ending layers and riffs provide a place to lose yourself in. The second track is The Feast of the Mountain Ghost. Beginning with a steady determined pace it reflects the villagers planning to put an end to the Mountain Ghost under the guise of offering a peaceful feast. Along with the Hammond organ giving a hint of psychedelic decades gone by, a hypnotic beat and faster guitar half way through keeps up a building momentum. The definition in the structure of the tracks tells a tale in itself. This is apparent here with clear demarcation of changing tones and expression. The end of the track becomes heavier and slower and this coupled with the descriptive song title leaves me imagining a spaced out animation in my head.
The Dance of The Mountain Ghost kicks off with a heavy manic rhythm only for it to quickly become interspersed with a quieter pace. This encapsulates the ghost appearing at the villagers’ feast, his partaking of poisoned wine and the villagers’ anticipation of the drama to come. The menacing and strong layers of guitar, drums and base are key to its depiction. The Death Of The Mountain Ghost is the last track. It has an eerie start by some excellent use of effects and I swear I can hear an epic bagpipe sound lending itself perfectly to the Mountain Ghost mythology. Imaginatively pictorial in the death of the Mountain Ghost, the track illustrates the agonizing pace of the ghost’s demise. Its expressive use of effects, building riffs, heart pounding drums and atmospheric keys consolidate the whole concept of not only the last track, but the whole album.
Personally, I always fancy being launched into the stratosphere after a rhythmic instrumental build up and I enjoy things when they truly kick off. I very nearly get there with this album, but its building beat just stops short and I am left yearning for an arse kicking crescendo. This being said, Kylver has made no mean feat with this impressive album. Skilled musicianship and artistry are used to epic effect and do The Mountain Ghost himself justice. They surely hold appeal across most heavy and psychedelic genres. A superb first release.
You can check out a promo video below and also purchase/stream a copy of the The Mountain Ghost via the link after the video.
review by Amalia Grassi
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