In 2011, Oslo acid folk rockers Spirits of the Dead marked their arrival with the release of their sophomore outing, The Great God Pan. The follow-up to a 2010 full-length, The Great God Pan (review here) was striking in aesthetic as much in performance, the four-piece showcasing a rare ability throughout to blend classic ideology and modern sonics to both the benefit of the material and any and all ears who might hear it and be tired of the retro cultism and post-Coven candlelit Satanic silliness that so often accompanies.
Happy to say, the forthcoming third release from Spirits of the Dead, Rumours of a Presence follows suit and sees the returning lineup of frontman Ragnar Vikse, guitarist Ole Øvstedal, bassist Kristian Hultgren and drummer Geir Thorstensen keeping to a sense of warm tonality without losing sight of either clarity of sound or purpose. In anything, Rumours of a Presence is even more rock-based than was The Great God Pan. Some of the pagan mentality remains — see the “Dance of the Dead” interlude or the earlier “Golden Sun” — but Spirits of the Dead part ways with some of their folkish roots in favor of classic rock swagger and thematic linearity, the album dealing with mortality and the sea lyrically while tracks like “Wheels of the World” nod at Rush and “Song of Many Reefs” mounts an 8-track ready psychedelic apex.
It’s the latter song that I have the pleasure to premiere today from Rumours of a Presence, which is out June 25 on The End Records in North America. “Song of Many Reefs” offers not only one of Spirits of the Dead‘s most memorable grooves, but also an excellent example of their crisp modern approach, which when combined with Øvstedal‘s classic lead work and the stomp of Hultgren and Thorstensen makes for a potent brew not to be taken lightly.
You can check out the track on the player below, followed by some words from Ragnar Vikse about the song’s origins:
Ragnar Vikse on “Song of Many Reefs”
Norway, Oslo, Rumours of a Presence, Spirits of the Dead, Spirits of the Dead Rumours of a Presence, The End Records
“Song of Many Reefs” is one of our favorite tracks on the album. We had a clear vision about the first part of the song before we went into the studio, while we left the rest more open and loose to unfold as we were there. Lyrics were also made while we were in the studio. It is a song open for interpretation for everyone, but I would say it’s more or less about a traveler with a highly “driven” desire to travel.