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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Gosta Berlings Saga

Tid Ar Ljud

Review by Gary Hill

This disc should please fans of old school instrumental prog, but it also has definite RIO leanings. You might hear Yes or Genesis in the mix of one track, but then catch an echo of Pink Floyd or King Crimson on another. It’s all combined into an original mix that’s entertaining and powerful. For more information or to order the disc stop by Record Heaven’s website. You can also go the band’s site, but heed this warning. It’s not my place to review websites, but I really hate their site. It’s not that it doesn’t look nice – it does – and it probably has a lot of valuable stuff there. It just chokes my browser really badly – and I tried two different browsers.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2006 Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Helgamarktz
This one rises slowly with ambient textures. As guitar joins this feels just a bit like Pink Floyd. At about a minute and a half in a bouncy rhythm segment takes it, moving it off into a new direction. This calls to mind Genesis – the Trick of the Tail era somewhat, but they still bring their own sound to the table as well. This turns a little crunchy for a short time, but then works out into more space rock meets straight prog directions. Still the harder edged segment returns later. This instrumental is fun and makes for a great introductory piece.
Syrenernas Sang
Retro sounding keys lead this one off. The cut evolves gradually on this for a time before shifting gears to a more bouncing guitar oriented movement. They even wander into what almost feels like a prog rock tango at one point. Some very tasty guitar soloing ensues later. A faster paced jam takes it from there, but then the cut drops to weirdness. A shifting, shuffling segment is overlaid with backwards and forwards spoken voices and some fusion guitar work. : Later a short burst gives way to another prog journey. Then the song seems that it might wander into King Crimson like weirdness, but instead moves back to the more triumphant progressive rock landscape of bands like Yes and Genesis.
Aniarasviten
A noisy burst of sound starts this off, but then silence takes its place for a time. Eventually drums rise up to herald the new progressive rock journey that feels a bit like Flash and Yes. They work through some variations on the theme before dropping back to a sedate jazz-like movement to carry it forward. They create some very pretty audible imagery on this number. After a time it wanders out to spacey weirdness at just over ambient levels. I hear some parallels to Hawkwind on this segment. It moves out from there into a new segment that feels once more a bit like Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here era. Then they move it out into a rather funky progression that feels rather like vintage Nektar. Eventually a neo-classical mode takes it to its conclusion – with sedate sounds leading to the actual space rock outro.
Ljud Fran Stan
Here they jump into an energetic prog rock excursion. This one again feels a bit like classic Genesis. As they make a few changes, you might think you hear Emerson Lake and Palmer, too, though. This bursts out into a new incarnation that reminds me a bit of some of Frank Zappa’s work. This is one of the more dynamic cuts on show here, twisting around and reforming into new journeys seemingly around corner after corner. There is some great classic rock guitar solo during one segment. They drop it back during another to section that calls to mind Terrapin Station Grateful Dead a bit. This moves out into what that band would have called a “space jam.” I also hear some Hawkwind on this section. The frantic journey that makes up the closing moments is killer. 
Tog Du Med Dig Naturen?
Keys are the first thing heard on this track and make up the bulk of the first twenty seconds or so. Other instruments enter and play along with the theme in a bit of a World texture gone prog. Eventually they work this musical theme into a harder edged segment, then a quick Crimsonish progression sends us to a point of metallic crunch. This is just a quick accent, though and the group take it back to the previous segment. They move along like this for quite some time and at points this calls to mind both The Grateful Dead and Pink Floyd. Eventually the cut shifts out into more Genesis-like instrumental travel. Violin over the top is a nice touch. 
Knolsvanen
Once again, keys lead off. They turn into what almost feels like some kind of twisted lullaby for a time. Then they work their way into more sedate ballad type structures. It’s over a minute before the rest of the group join and they create another vaguely RIO like jam from this element. This is another exceptionally dynamic track moving between a number of varying themes and styles. There’s a killer hard-edged ELP like jam about half way through that I personally think is one of the best segments of the whole disc. Fortunately this segment stays around for quite some time and when the track shifts to a more guitar dominated groove it’s another potent passage. They rework this several times and eventually turn it out into a smoking fast musical exploration. I’d have to say that the entire second half of this track is among the best music of the whole album.
Svarta Hal Och Elljusspar
The disc’s closer starts with a King Crimson like progression. As the whole band enters Red era KC is probably the closest comparison. They move through a number of variants, but it’s not until about half way through that they move away from that motif. It is into a mellower, but still rather dark and dissonant somewhat classically tinged jam that’s another of the highlight segments of the disc. As the flute starts to weave lines over the top of this it’s purely brilliant. They power this whole approach out dramatically later, and this serves as a killer ending to a great instrumental prog album. 
 
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