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Anekdoten - Vemod CD (album) cover

VEMOD

Anekdoten

 

Heavy Prog

4.00 | 268 ratings

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russellk
Prog Reviewer
4 stars 1993 was the year prog rock clawed its way out of its grave and set about haunting old proggers, largely thanks to Scandinavia, with ANEKDOTEN's debut 'Vemod' one of the vanguards of the new/old sound. The fact that this effort, and that of ANGLAGARD and a few others, was able eventually to revive an entire genre, ought to tell you enough about the quality of the music to encourage you to give it a listen.

The debate around exactly how much this band resembles KING CRIMSON is irrelevant. (I actually think there's plenty of YES in there myself, but so what?) The primary piece of information you need to know is that this band is bass-driven. That means it's brimming with wonderful rhythms.

Now there are plenty of reviewers out there ready to give ANEKDOTEN a good spanking for sounding derivative. To them Progressive Rock either died in the late 1970s or is still alive, but quite different to what we enjoyed in the so-called 'golden age'. I don't buy it, myself. What other category would you place this music in? And why does it matter who it sounds like? Who says 'I'm not using this photocopier because it works just like a Xerox?' To my mind there ought to be NO points for originality in the world. All the points should be awarded for excellence. Consider this on its merits.

And there are plenty of merits. JAN LILJESTROM's bass is spectacular, capturing the CHRIS SQUIRE sound almost perfectly. Less jazzy, but it still sounds like he pinched SQUIRE's old Rickenbacker and gives it a good thrashing. Allied with the FRIPP-like guitar and enormous lashings of mellotron, the band surely evokes the 1970s. None of which would be relevant if their material was sub-par. Happily, it isn't. They write very good material indeed. The addition of the cello does add a unique dimension to their sound - and, luckily, they know not to overuse it.

'Vemod' is ANEKDOTEN's first album and it shows, but it's still a great debut. The greatest hindrance here is the vocals, a little fragile and over-precise for such muscular music. The mix has been carefully engineered so LILJESTROM's voice isn't lost entirely. It would have helped if he'd been given some memorable melodies, but the rest of the band stole those. Added to this are the cliched lyrics, which spoil the dark mood generated by the music. He'll get better on subsequent releases.

ANEKDOTEN are a band all proggers ought to check out. While not their best, this is an excellent place to start. Laden with dark atmospherics, strong melodies, wonderful mellotron climaxes and emotional reveries, 'Vemod' is an excellent album.

russellk | 4/5 |

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