My love of Norway’s Progressive and Heavy Rock scene still keeps me going. With bands such as White Willow, Wobbler, Hedvig Mollestad Trio, Motorpsycho, Elephant9, Gazpacho, and Gentle Knife, they have always kept my ears going and seeing where I would call it the Yellow Brick Road takes them into. One of the bands that peaked my interest since 2012 when I was in College, was a group called Tusmorke. They have been around since their formation in 1997, and they are a very interesting band with essences of Prog, Occult Rock, and Acid Folk music.
Their third album released on the Svart Records label this year, Fort Bak Lyset which translates to Left Behind the Light is one of the most surreal and haunting albums I’ve listened to. When you put your headphones on, listening to Tusmorke’s new album, is like stories straight out of the Fairy Tales in Norway that have a cross between a darker version of J.R.R. Tolkien, HP Lovecraft, and Ray Bradbury.
With the essence of Psychedelic and Prog in their inspirations of the band’s music and sung in Norwegian, this will take a few listens and five centerpieces to delve in to enjoy. Mind you, you might want to get into the covers or not to delve into the haunting tales that they would give you.
Et Djevelsk Mareitt (A Fiendish Nightmare) give us a question. Is the mysterious reality of whether we are in Hell or is it a nightmare? It tells the story of humoristic demons various forms as the music is a cross between Baris Manco, Trees, Goblin, and Camel’s Mirage-era filled with synths, picked bass, and the pied piper taking us through to meet the creatures with it’s improvisation midsection.
The spiritual journey where the locations of the lighthouse is lit as its future lies within with a desolated scenario combined with a space rock adventure into the unknown of De Reiser Fra Oss (They Are Leaving Us) while the elements of Krieg’s Hall of the Mountain King motif gets us into the haunting side of the Oslo ghetto filled with horror. The song that opens the album, Ekebergkongen (The King of Oak Mountain) is like a story told through a campfire, but with a warning that the King is like the puppet master and they will pull the strings back very quickly for the evil spirits to know they are not fooling around.
Nordmarka (Nordmarka Forest) I can hear the essence of Italian Prog bands Banco and the Storia Di Un Minuto-era of Premiata Forneria Marconi followed by Purson. There is a 3/4 waltz section in the middle followed by the Mellotron with ascending melodies. And then the last minute and 48 seconds features an improvisation between the psych-fuzz groove of the Wah-Wah pedal of the Bass and Drums with a heavier groove.
Vinterblot (Winter Solstice Sacrifice) is a twist of Genesis meets The Moody Blues meets Gentle Giant meets Herbie Hancock. Imagine a soaring interesting adventure of the Space Rock voyage, but with a Canterbury Jazz combination. With wah-wah keyboards, and a mysterious section between the Flute, Bass, and Glockenspiel. I have to admit I was very impressed from the second to fourth time I’ve listened to Fort Bak Lyset.
It’s not a great album and while there are a few setbacks, it is a fine follow-up to 2014's Riset Bak Speilet. And I can’t wait to hear more of what will Tusmorke will do next. A haunting Progressive Acid-Folk-Psychedelic gothic rock adventure at it’s best. So be prepare to be told through the stories as I’ve mentioned earlier in my review, to be told through a campfire because it’s not for the faint of heart.