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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Magnolia

Falska Vägar

Review by Gary Hill

Magnolia’s debut was far easier to categorize. They showcased their love for the hard-edged bluesy rock of groups like Cream and Blue Cheer on that set. This one, though, I nearly put into the progressive rock category. Sure, we still hear plenty of nods to the bands that seemed so important to their sound last time around. Two more things that haven’t changed are the fact that all the lyrics are in Swedish and the convincing retro sound. What has changed, though, is that healthy doses of real progressive rock show up on this. Now you might hear King Crimson and Gentle Giant stacked alongside Cream and Black Sabbath. It’s a great sound and this is an excellent disc that shows a killer outfit growing and revising their sound.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2009  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
I-land Blues
Sound effects lead this off and then they fire out into a killer riff. This is like a more proggy Cream. We get some segments on this that feel a bit like Black Sabbath, too.
Drom Dig Ivag
While the previous number might have been a bit more pure hard rock or metal, the opening jam on this, very King Crimson-like (throw in some Gentle Giant and Frank Zappa) should remove doubt about where this should go. There’s a spacey sort of section here, but they keep returning out to the fast paced, rocking riff. There’s a killer fast paced jam (listen to the bass dance around) that is quite solidly in the Cream modes – it’s got some killer guitar work that calls to mind Robin Trower, though. This is an awesome piece of music. 
Tag Dig Sjalv I Kragen
Here’s a more pure hard rock groove. This is a smoking jam that feels like it could have come from Cream or even early Black Sabbath. There’s also a hint of ZZ Top at points, though and we get a great retro keyboard solo. 
Mammons Vagar
Swirling and fast paced, this is like combining a psychedelic sort of prog rock with some Sabbath-esque metal. It’s got a great retro sound is another killer piece on a disc that has no weak material. There’s a definite bluesy texture to this, too. 
Kung Bore (Besegrad)
Take ZZ Top’s “Tush” and give it a retro psychedelia meets prog rock reworking and you’ll be sitting pretty close to this. 
Vagskal
We get a fast paced, hard edged grind here. This is another smoking slab of retro rock sounds. 
Dar Hemma
This also starts off fast, but on acoustic instrumentation. It drops down to a mellow motif and grows up in a more pure progressive rock way. Picture some of the mellow music of early Black Sabbath. Now add King Crimson sounds from the first couple albums and you’ll have a good idea of what this is all about. They work this through a number of variants and alterations and this instrumental is one of the most purely progressive rock oriented songs on the CD.
Sag Mig Hur
They bring us back into the hard rocking, bluesy jams with retro textures here. This is another hard edged number that’s quite tasty. 
Den Tiden Ar Forbi
Somehow I can hear Gentle Giant on this. It’s certainly more along the lines of 1970’s hard rocking music that’s not prog, but still I can hear the progressive rock leanings on this. There is some killer guitar work later on along this journey. 
Forbannad Igen
This is thunderous and noisy. It’s also a very prog rock oriented jam. There’s plenty Cream in this mix, along with the Allman Brothers, but it’s also got healthy dosages of King Crimson.
 
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