Written by: Kev Rowland
This 2016 album was the fourth studio release from the Swedish band, who are based around multi-instrumentalist and singer Per Malmberg. It had taken five years since their previous release, and is actually the first time I have come across them even though they released their debut back in 2004. I have seen some reviews where they complain about the vocal style, but I found it quite refreshing and different to the normal gentle style beloved by many. Musically this is all over the place, from the bombastic and over the top prog metal to folk and everything in between. It doesn’t sound as if it is a recent album, but is far more reminiscent of the vibrant neo prog scene from the Nineties. They have used IQ as a reference point as much as they have Yes, particularly in the keyboard runs, and I soon found that I was smiling while listening to it.
Any band that starts with a fifteen minute long song is always going to get my attention, especially if it takes a long time for the vocals to start, and I thoroughly enjoyed the melting pot of styles that is going on here. It really is all over the place, yet it somehow it always makes sense. For example, the dual picked acoustic guitars combined with over the top staccato keyboard chords make total sense in the title song, as it does when it segues from that straight into a more reflective and gentle section. The flute is a wonderfully delicate touch, and I admire the restraint in some of these songs as there is the distinct threat of them turning it up and blasting through, yet they are always in control and when they do strike the riffs it is always in the perfect place. Stefan Gavik is a fine guitarist, and to hear him let rip over the top of delicate piano is quite something. I can see I’m going to have to seek out more of their material.
Sigh of Boreas // Elite // Gone II // Wings // Queuetopia // Closed Casket