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Änglagård - Epilog CD (album) cover

EPILOG

Änglagård

 

Symphonic Prog

4.06 | 489 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Wicket
Prog Reviewer
5 stars It's a shame I never got around to listen to Anglagard's repertoire recently. I've had their first two albums laying around forever. And yet it's the latter of the two I pick up and play first.

Interestingly, this second album is instrumental, unlike the first. Then again, instrumental jams are my favorite, and the three megaliths on this record are no exception. "Hostsejd" really introduces you to the flavor of the whole disc, with a collage of organ licks, stringy guitar plucks, and a bit of a circusy atmosphere. The key work is phenomenal, layering haunting lick after haunting lick. The syncopation and the pace is unbelievable, it's nigh impossible to keep up with the changing pace half the time. This is progressive rock at its core. The meat of the track (the middle) is constantly changing and fluctuating in terms of pace, rhythm and keys. The song even ends in a circus-like waltz filled with spontaneous cymbal crashes, plinks and plunks on wood blocks, tin cans, and probably other assorted percussion instruments. It's quite unique, but not a very accessible track to the introductory prog fan.

"Skrogsranden" is a bit more definable. It keeps the pace of Hostsejd" in spectacular fashion, but there are more melodies to grab on to. The softer, slower organ/key sections are much more enjoyable because they add to the dark, dreary atmosphere that the entire album creates. It's a continuing theme that's peppered with what I call "shots in the dark", like certain scenes in movies where one big beam of light shoots through a sea of dark clouds like a ray of hope. This "beam of light" reference can be related to the soft subtle strings and flute that slide of the piano harmony about seven minutes in, and then roughly a minute and a half later it's gone again, replaced by more somber organ notes and gloomy choral pitches. Then without warning, the organ scythes through with an onslaught of harsh chromatic tones when the ensemble gets back together, like someone took out an entire three-story building to land right on your head. And of course the end concludes in similar hectic fashion.

"Sista Somrar" also begins with this very ominous piano/organ laced melody, soon to be replaced by strings and flute. Once the ensemble joins in roughly four minutes later, the hectic chromaticsim returns and the drums once again become the main focal point. Then, unusually, the band cuts out to a hint of medieval-style folk music, with the drummer laying out a waltz type beat for the flute to solo over, something I wouldn't have expected (and haven't seen) throughout the entire record. Still, it remains a high energy piece with a few "beams of light" and happy melodies scattered throughout., until it all drowns out and the acoustic guitar takes center stage with strings and flute.

VERDICT: After listening through "Hybris", I found much to be very similar with "Epilog" except two key things. 1) no vocals (which is a good thing; constantly moving lines and changing key signatures is NOT a kind of song you want to sing over) and 2) a much darker, gloomier atmosphere. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it's one that sticks out like a giant zit on a supermodel. Then again, I'm biased to instrumental jams, catchy and unconventional. Again, like most albums, the ultimate decision comes down to the listener, but to me, the musicianship displayed here is unlike any I've ever heard. This is truly a unique, one of a kind record that all prog fans should at least consider.

Which makes me all the happier realizing they came back for another album last year.

Wicket | 5/5 |

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