Norwegian prog rock pioneers Aunt Mary recently announced the band’s return with a new line-up and a new album titled “New Dawn.” Aunt Mary shared the progressive scene in the early 1970s with bands like Deep Purple and King Crimson before officially breaking up in 1973. “New Dawn” is a solid album with a guitar heavy classic 1970s’ vibe.
The line-up features Bjorn Kristiansen on guitar, Bernt Bodal on bass, Ole Tom Torjussen on drums and lead vocalist Glenn Lyse. Lyse was the 2007 Norwegian Idol winner and has taken over for the late Jan Groth who died in 2014. It also must be noted that Ketil Stensvik plays drums on this album. Stensvik passed away after “New Dawn” was recorded. This album is dedicated in memory of Groth and Stensvik and it serves as a worthy tribute.
The opening song “Slave Parade” sets the predominantly mid-tempo beat of this album, but its swing style sets it apart from the funky beat of Unconditional Love.” Lyse maintains a strong vocal presence throughout the album and frequently harmonizes with Kristiansen’s guitar. The drums get the spotlight on “G Flat Road” with some techno sampling thrown in for good measure and the guitar solo in “I Was Born To Ride On The Wrong Side” should not be missed. “Soldadera” features smoldering vocals from Lyse and incredible harmonies with an unnamed female singer. The closing track “Don’t Keep Me Waiting” comes full circle with a bit of a big band swing groove, but it’s the heavy guitar riffs from the first song on this album to last that brings all of these beats together and puts Aunt Mary’s signature on “New Dawn.”