Vitne – Aria (Own Label)

Vitne – Aria (Own Label)

Beautifully strange stuff from Norway...

Norwegian artist Vitne is a strange one. You’d think, by 2019, that there wouldn’t be a single corner of the hard rock globe visited by man, but here we find him, in a peculiar otherworld of his own making. There really isn’t anyone else out there at the moment doing what Vitne does.

In layman’s terms, Vitne produces a sort of semi-symphonic/power metal hybrid, yet there is far more to his art than that label might suggest. Despite the fact that tracks like Turn Back Time have a foreboding feel of icy chill to them, the most obvious link to the ‘real’ world for Vitne would appear to be Journey circa 1982, and their (for the time) futuristic Frontiers album. Recent single Aria could easily have been spawned by the minds of Neil Schon and Jonathan Cain; and if Vitne’s vocals never ever threaten Steve Perry in the hard rock God stakes the rest of the simile holds very true indeed. Similarly this track also heralds thoughts of pomp rockers Styx around the same time – Aria could also have found a place on that band’s Kilroy Was Here rock opera…

Vitne’s interest in computer game soundtracks fits this thirty-five-years-distant-yet-still-strangely-relevant-and-forward-looking air even further. As the rude mechanicals of his mind come out to play the human element found in so much hard/melodic rock is effectively erased by the air of the automaton that hangs heavy over much of the material here. Even the balladic Fever Dream sounds as if it is the result of union between things we don’t yet comprehend, despite it’s acoustic guitar base.

It’s a beguiling mix, to be sure, and certainly deserving of the repeated listening required to reveal all of the album’s secrets. At times you find yourself wishing he’d give himself over to one side of his dichotomy or the other definitively (as at the end of Fever Dream where he just goes for broke with some old fashioned shred), but for most part the slight feeling of dislocation caused by the constant clashing of styles seems to be , after a while, a perfectly natural place to be.

I know I’m going to be spending a fair while with this album over the next couple of months, and that though excites me. Please, I implore you – give it a spin too! I think you’re gonna love it…

Aria is out now.

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