We all know the story of how progressive rock crashed at the peak of its wave in the mid seventies when monstrosities such as Tales From Topographic Oceans confounded and annoyed rock critics. With the exception of Pink Floyd, the "big six" either ventured into more commercial realms or drifted into obscurity, and most of the lesser bands did both. The neo-prog revival was seen by many as a pale ghost, led by bands who mistook stringing three five-minute songs together for structural complexity. That is why Änglagård's debut created such a stir. This is an album that genuinely takes off where Close to the Edge leaves off.
Änglagård manage to walk that fine line in drawing inspiration from the seventies without ever being derivative. There are definitely passages reminiscent of early Genesis or King Crimson, but these are superficial, and for the most part Änglagård pursue their own formula. The sound is brooding, with dissonance being a regular feature. The music still manages to captivate the listener, and some sections are nothing short of magnificent.
Having praised this album to the heavens thus far, it is now beholden to me to explain why I would not rate this album in my own personal top twenty. This is a little tricky to do, as there's not that much wrong with this album. It certainly grabs my attention, but it has trouble holding it. Each song is probably several minutes too long, and the song structure isn't as effective as it might be in working its way to a climax.
Personal taste aside, this album has a vast amount to recommend it. Each listening provides deeper appreciation and the rewards are worthwhile. It should probably be played loud to fully appreciate its dynamic range, not to mention its power. An essential album? Definitely, even if it doesn't end up being your favourite either.
(C) Ground And Sky
1. Jordrök (11:10)
2. Vandringar i Vilsenhet (11:53)
3. Ifrån Klarhet Till Klarhet (8:04)
4. Kung Bore (12:57)
5. Gånglåt från Knapptibble (Bonus Track Remastered CD) (7:19)
Jordrök (unreleased) (96 kbps) (Link found at their official site)
Info at official group site: http://www.anglagard.net/hybris.htm
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