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Änglagård - Viljans Öga CD (album) cover

VILJANS ÖGA

Änglagård

 

Symphonic Prog

4.25 | 954 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Neo-Romantic
5 stars I've wanted to review this album for a while, but honestly didn't know where to begin. This is one of the most interesting albums I own. It doesn't sound like anything else in my catalog for many reasons. It's also one that I felt would end up falling by the wayside, as on the 2nd and 3rd listens, I felt like I just wasn't getting into it. But something kept me coming back...

If I know an album won't work for me, I usually have a definitive reason why. This was not the case with Viljans Oga. All I knew was that it contained four highly dense compositions with highly contrasting moods, ideas, and textures, along with much more that only the most discerning minds can perceive with few listens. Not knowing why I didn't understand this album kept me coming back, even when it felt laborious and tedious. But then one day, something changed for me. I don't know what, but now I see the picture more clearly.

Here's what changed: I stopped thinking about this as just a rock album. This is also a classical album.

My reasoning behind saying this is that I listen to this album as I would a symphony. We as prog fans listen to our rock albums with a much greater attention to detail than someone not invested in the listening experience who puts the hits radio station on as background noise. But the classical listening experience is different still. It's not something that can easily be defined, but the listening experience changes between these two mediums, despite the fact that prog utilizes many classical traits by its very nature. I'm not trying to say the difference is ineffable as a cop-out. But compare and contrast how you would listen to In the Court of the Crimson King and Mahler's Ninth Symphony. Now replace Mahler's symphony with Viljans Oga. There's the difference.

This album has successfully confounded me, challenged how I listen to music, forced me to change my perception and values of what matters the most in prog, and ultimately helped me grow as a listener and musician. The album has inspired me to approach my own classical writing with a more energetic mentality. Through hearing this, I began utilizing modern instruments in my compositions in a way I never would have thought to do before. This album bridged the gap between classical and commercial music for me. It is a trail-blazer and an indispensable milestone for prog, as it definitively rewrites the rule book on what progressive music is, what it can become, how it can be appreciated, how we assess its value as listeners, and with what mentality we approach such music in order to enjoy it to its fullest capacity.

And to top it off, the compositions are truly wonderful. They display tremendous artistic depth, wonderful contrast, dazzling technical displays, variety and surprises that will keep you guessing, and truly emotionally invigorating melodic and harmonic ideas of tremendous depth. If you don't like it at first, I won't be surprised. This is a real grower, one of the hardest to get into in my entire collection. But once you start getting it and it grows on you, your appreciation will only go higher and higher. It holds a place apart from a conventional top 10 for me. It inhabits its own space and its value is assessed with a unique set of standards. But trust me, it more than just exceeds those standards. It throws out the play book and hits you hard with some trult amazing music. 5 stars is the only appropriate rating for this monolithic achievement.

Neo-Romantic | 5/5 |

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