"So, how far do you think we can push this complex proggy music thing then?" So must have started a conversation in the build up to the writing of this album. I can imagine them all sat around with furrowed brows trying to come up with the most intricate musical arrangements to try to outdo each other.
'Prominence and Demise' is not an easy listen, this worked against it at first as it seemed just too complicated to get into. It doesn't have obvious hooks and the song structures are so complicated that there's no way you can follow them if you listen in your car for example, if you tried you'd just run off the road as so much of your concentration would be focused on the album. However if you get your headphones on and shut out the outside world you'll be rewarded with a complex tapestry of sound that will transport you off to another world where all those seemingly random riffs and timing changed start to make sense.
This is music for musicians make no mistake on that point. You'll need to put some effort in just to reap any kind of reward, if you like your metal progressive and don't mind music that is so far up its own arse that it can see the back of its teeth then you'll be able to decipher this Gordian knot of an album and hear things that lesser mortals cannot. In short that makes it perfect for students that want something cool no one else 'gets'
The musicianship here is of a seriously high calibre, the band is made up of members of various Norwegian bands and the Oslo Philharmonic orchestra. On top of this there is a whole gaggle of guest musicians. No wonder it took three years to record, musicians take ages to organise.
So do I recommend it? Yes and no, if you have the patience and the inclination to lie on the floor with your headphones on, eyes closed and a serious look on your face as you swim through the twists and turns of this musical maelstrom then yes I'd say you'll find this album genius. If however you want some metal to put on while you do something else or just listen to in a none involving kind of way then no, avoid this like the plague, it will just wash over you, you won't get it, it will sound like musical complexity for the sake of it and you really, really will not be able to engage with it, you have been warned. I liked it which makes me a music geek.