CD REVIEW Teodor Tuff

Band : Teodor Tuff
Album title : Soliloquy
Label : Fireball Records
Distributor : / - Gordeon Music Promotion & Management
Release date : 13/01/2012 (Norway = 04/11/2011)
Release : CD

Apparently this North Norway based quintet (they're from a region just North of Trondheim) has a history which goes back quite some time, but no details can be found to what happened before they returned from their hiatus in 2009 to release their self-titled debut album. With material having clear references to the '70s both musically and lyrically, the album did well in Norwegian charts, and allowed the band to play support shows for such genre classic bands as Whitesnake and Deep Purple.

However, in 2010 the departure of 3 members would bring big changes stylistically. It would seem that remaining members Knut Lysklaett (guitar) and Knut Hellem (drums) felt well about a more contemporary sound, as they chose for brothers Christer (lead guitar) and Rayner Haröy (bass) to replace the departed musicians. As new singer, the brother's nephew Terje Haröy was recruited into the band. Now, as it so happens that the brothers also play in Divine Multitude, one should not be too surprised to find Teodor Tuff's sound having geared towards Metal...still with that Progressive touch, of course! However, the new sound doés have a twist, as Lysklaett also incorporates his influences from Classical music, Rock Opera, musicals, and even Middle East folk songs into the hybrid.

Soliloquy, it would seem, is a concept album, partly relating to the Jewish Kingdom, and even Christ...but I am still at a loss as to how to interpret all the songs. The album opens with true Rock Opera track “Godagar”, which stands out thanks to the use of a 5-piece female choir! Classical influences creep into sóme of the other songs, but rather by those typical runs on the lead guitar than otherwize. Still, here and there you'll still find the addition of female backing vocals (roles set aside for Ida Haukland and Tonje Haröy - oh my, a true family affair this album has become). Amazing also, is the fact that on only 3 tracks will you nót find added keyboards (roles laid aside for Eskild Klöften (of Divine Multitude) and Helge Flatgärd, with a preference for the latter). And apparently the band found none less than Martin Buus (of Mercenary), Jeff Waters (Annihilator) and Mattias IA Eklund (Freak Kitchen) available to play a solo each on the song “Heavenly Manna”.

For the recordings of the album, the band chose for 3 different studios, the bass and rums being recorded at Skansen Lydstudio, the vocals at Nidaros Studios, and Christer himself recording the guitars at @ Home Studios (I very much suspect that the band's own). All data was then transferred to Hansen Studios, where renowned producer Jacob Hansen mixed and mastered the while thing. Evidently, that means a truly great sound, crystal sharp yet heavy as a rock! Although the style is now Metal, the band is not afraid to take back on that a bit, throwing in the semi-acoustic “Hymn (For An Embattled Mind)” and “Lullaby” (of course both songs get a heavier finish). Also, the multiple harmonic vocal backings (on top of the crystal-clear mid-high pitched lead vocals) help a lot in increasing the singalong factor of the songs. You can listen to 1-minute samples of all 11 songs on the album on the opening page of the band's own site (www.) teodortuff.no (is the same as (www.) teodortuff.com), where a video for album track “Tower Of Power” is also available. There's also a full-length version of the song “Addiction” at (www.) myspace.com/teodortuff (alongside a teaser for the album).

Well, true lovers of Prog Metal have probably already surfed away from this page to check on the band's music, and so right they are. In fact, if indeed yoù kept on reading thus far, to follow those people's choice is my best advice to you now!

90/100

Tony.