THULE – Liquid (Rock and Roll Dream)

THULE - Liquid (Rock and Roll Dream)


Thule Records
Release date: March 30, 2005

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Almost secretly released in March last year, Liquid is Norwegian band Thule’s fifth effort since their 1987 debut, Ultima Thule, and their first since 1997’s Graks. With the latter they made their first ever appearance on CD, as well as first ever nationwide appearance on stage via a tour of Norway. With Liquid they take yet another step: going from lyrics in their native Norwegian dialect to lyrics in English.

The Music

The music is unmistakably Thule. Their sound is, for lack of a better word, unique. Although clearly inspired by Progressive Rock, Hard Rock, and to some extent, Metal and Punk, Thule has developed their own expression, thriving on the immense dynamic between the midsummer’s never setting sun and midwinter’s darkness in their region.

Their region is by the North Cape, the very northern end of Europe and Norway, described by ancient Greek geographers as Ultima Thule, a place beyond the borders of the known world. Anyone who has ever visited the area will understand the inspiration behind Thule’s work, which is the raw nature, the wild ocean, the biting cold, the decreasing population, the lack of jobs, the rare kindness of the people, and the return of the midnight sun in summer.

Liquid follows the same inspirational path as its predecessors, albeit with a few elements more of international character. “USAama,” for instance, is a fist in the face to the infamous war on terrorism. The majority of the songs, however, are in shady colors of black, grey, and blue, depicting feelings of loneliness, remorse, and frustration, but there are also pictures of hope and dreams, such as in the brilliant “Aurora B.”

“This liquid light is like a promise of one day
When we shall walk under the sun
Live in the golden light that melts my frozen soul
And brings back joy to young and old”

Finally, songs are mostly linked to one another and this adds to a conceptual feeling for the entire album, which is another Thule trademark.

The Band

Peer-Einar Pedersen is the band’s bass player and singer, and also a key element in their songwriting and production. His bass playing is almost violent, as he spanks out the founding lines of most songs. He can also play, however, with more sensitive fingers, such as when handling the fretless bass. The same dynamic is found in his voice, which is theatrical and impossible to ignore, in a mostly low register and nearly Goth style.

Further, Steve Riise Jensen (guitars) is credited for the recording and mixing along with Pedersen, but his guitar work is the most apparent and simply outstanding. He fills the gap between Pedersen’s bass and Pål Valle’s expressive keyboards. The latter also makes a considerable contribution to the Arctic sound of the band. He makes the Hammond organ into a wind machine and his strings sound is the audible equivalent of the mesmerizing Aurora Borealis (a.k.a. the Northern Light).

Completing the line-up is Hugo Barbala (drums). He masters all from the heaviest to the dreamiest moments and uses his instrument to move the music in and out of focus, so to speak. Along with Pedersen, he forms the rock of the band and along with them all he makes the collective effort resulting in Thule’s rare identity.

The Verdict

Thule has been sadly neglected internationally, although devoted fans are found throughout Europe. A reason for this might be the language, but with Liquid they make themselves more available, without compromising their unique expression of Arctic Progressive Rock. Apart from the Progressive audience, Liquid is deeply recommended for lovers of all darker facets of Rock and Metal.

The Facts

Liquid was made between 1999 and 2003. According to the band, they are already busy with new material.

Except for Natt and Frostbrent (released on vinyl on now defunct label Colours in 1990 and 1993 respectively), Thule’s efforts have all been self-funded and -supported. Thus, Liquid (and their previous albums) is only available through their own label Web site.


  • Frode Leirvik

    Frode was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio, based out of Norway. His headbanging experience started when his brother-in-law gave him Deep Purple’s Fireball at the age of ten. Since then, he has also been a fan of and active in several other musical genres, resulting in a deep and profound interest in music. Some of his favorites, among all of those who have somehow managed to tap into the universal force of Progressive Music are (in no particular order): Thule, Dream Theater, King Crimson,Pink Floyd, Rush, Spock’s Beard, Jan Hammer and Jerry Goodman, Ekseption, Focus, The Beatles, Deep Purple and Frank Zappa.

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