Ring Van Möbius – The 3rd Majesty

On the Internet I read that after drinking tons of alcohol with a friend, and playing songs from Led Zeppelin and Jethro Tull on acoustic guitar and flute, Norwegian musician Thor Erik Helgesen decided to broaden his musical horizon. Then he turned from a guitarist in black metal bands into a vintage keyboard player in a prog rock trio, named Ring Van Möbius. On their well received first album Past The Evening Sun (from 2018) the trio invited a guest saxophone player. But on the new album The 3rd Majesty (from 2020, on CD and vinyl) Ring Van Möbius is back as a trio featuring Thor Erik Helgesen (Hammond L100, Fender Rhodes, Clavinet D6, Moog Satellite, tubular bells and Theremin),  Håvard Rasmussen (bass and effects) and Dag Olav Husås (drums, timpani, percussion and effects).

1. The Seven Movements of the Third Majesty (22:06) From the very first moment on this album the Hammond rules, especially in this long and dynamic epic: from a soaring churchy sound to sumptuous eruptions, in the best tradition of Keith Emerson. But also the Moog Satellite (an obvious variation  on the ARP Pro Solist by Bob Moog) is omnipesent, with fat and flasy flights, very distinctive, contributing to a very ELP-ish sound. The vocals parts are theatrical at some moments, to me not the strongest part of the band, but decent, not really disturbing, also because most of the music is instrumental. The keyboards are fuelled by an outstanding rhythm-section, and the final part delivers swirling Hammond organ, a strong start by Ring Van Mobius, it sounds like a “wet dream for vintage keyboard aficionados!”.

2. Illuminati (5:33) This short but alternating track reminds me of The Nice, with powerful vocals and cascades of Hammond (evoking Rick Van Der Linden from Trace). But the keyboard colouring is more varied, from Fender electric piano to Moog and Hohner D6 clavinet. Again a bombastic final part with a majestic Hammond and Moog sound.

3. Distant Sphere (11:11) This is the most varied and adventurous piece from the band. It starts with a classical sound, then dreamy vocals and melancholical violin play, followed by soft bass runs and jazzy paino. Halfway a swirling Hammond joins, then lots of experimental ideas, embellished with Fender electric piano. But in the end the band turns back to symphonic rock with a splendid grand finale.

4. The Möbius Ring (9:01) In the first part a powerful distorted bass and propulsive drums, blended with soaring Hammond. Then the music changes from a mid-tempo with Hammond to mellow with Moog and dreamy vocals. The final part delivers fat Moog flights in a slow rhythm with a strong build-up to a bombastic 24-carat symphonic rock climax, the rhythm-section shines and the Hammond sounds glorious, wow, the band in its full splendor!

If you love keyboard driven prog (band likes Triumvirat, Trace, Ars Nova, Gerard and Social Tension come to my mind) this is a very pleasant album to discover.

© 2020 Erik Neuteboom