ProgAtom: Sagittarius A

Lofty, high-concept stuff. How’s your Norwegian?

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Fans of concept albums will love the background to this 17-track opus by Norway’s ProgAtom.

Sagittarius A takes its name from the largest known black hole in the Milky Way, and revolves around a theme that ‘deals with life from the smallest atom to the largest things in the universe’. It’s lofty stuff, but given that the album’s entirely in their native tongue, those of us who don’t speak Norwegian will struggle to grasp the lyrical nuances. Even so, on a musical level alone there’s much to enjoy here. Both mundane and esoteric influences abound – the sound veers from Porcupine Tree-style metallic riffs through to Wakeman-esque keyboard flourishes, and even passages reminiscent of 70s German outfit Kraan. And yet everything’s underpinned by a sense of melody, however, and even the instrumentals are leavened by stirring, hook-laden guitar lines. The six-minute Velkommen possesses the sort of soaring chorus which could grace a high-quality Eurovision entry (in a good way) – albeit finishing with a huge guitar solo straight from the Brian May songbook. Not a perfect album, but there’s plenty here to keep you coming back for more, Norwegian dictionary to hand…