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Wobbler - From Silence To Somewhere CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.40 | 614 ratings

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5 stars Opinions concerning Norwegian symphonic prog rock outfit Wobbler have been quite divided in the past. From the beginning Lars Fredrik Froislie and his bandmates were labeled an Anglagard cover band. Things didn't seem to change when Andreas Wettergreen Stromman Prestmo added his singular falsetto on 2011 release "Rites at Dawn", adding a lighter texture to the band's overall sound. Wobbler had now officially become a yes clone to many. The main complaint of critics is never aimed toward their technical capabilities concerning composition or instrumental virtuosity but simply lies in Wobbler not having an own individual voice, but only borrowing the latter of those before them. Yes indeed, Wobbler tap into some Yes, King Crimson or Gentle Giant repertoire from time to time, integrating the one or the other idea into their pieces. But this is symphonic progressive rock. Who doesn't?

Truth of the matter is: Wobbler's 2005 debut "Hinterland" introduced a very mature new voice to the prog world and the consecutive releases only demonstrated further growth and improvement on every front. Same goes for the object of this review, latest release "From Silence to Somewhere". While "Rites at Dawn" strongly diffused more positive vibes framed in shorter structures, the newest album continues where sophomore release Afterglow left off. 3 Epics (one clocking in at over 20 minutes) and a short intermezzo half way through form the outlines of the record.

The Album opens with the eponymous title- and longest track of the album, swallowing the listener straight from the start down a road of life, death and resurrection, bedded in organically dynamic layers of mellotron, Rhodes, vintage guitar, throbbing basslines and franticly stomping drum-work. Divided into 3 parts ? Part I: Humus, Part II: Corpus and an Epilogue, the themes presented here flow seamlessly into one another without leaving the listener overwhelmed. The material displayed is not to densely packed but takes it's time to develop and climax with highly dynamic buildups here and there. The first 6 minutes demonstrate these elements. A threatening organ grows more and more ominous until replaced by a galloping 6/8 with the main melody carried by the guitar. After a conversational jam between organ and guitar the floor quiets down and the synthesizer introduces the main theme, then taken over by Andreas' heavenly light voice. The exposition leads directly to the second theme of the song, which is of more folkloric and positive nature. The Flute adds to the folkloric feel and general celebratory mood. Apart from an instrumentally demanding middle section, calling to mind the 'Relayer' Yes phase, the rest of the track works through the material presented this far and intelligently arranges the motifs around different harmonious progressions. The Epilogue is lightly instrumented, mainly lead by quiet electric guitar chords split in arpeggios accompanying Andreas' longing wish for resurrection. The melancholic harmonic context fits its lyrical content wonderfully and leaves the listener baffled.

An Intermezzo, pensive and lead by a quietly haunting piano, serves as a bridge to 'Fermented Hours', which picks up the afore introduced menacing vibrations with organ arpeggios that grow louder with every beat until the main verse comes crashing in. Framed in this more aggressive theme, the middle section builds in calmer and more melodious motifs, lead by stand out bass work and, yet again, beautifully sung melodies. A 6/8, which could be interpreted as a danceable Waltz, due to the bass-emphasized 1 and 4, builds the dreamy center of this section and experiences further development after a short build up exercised by emotionally performed spoken word in Italian, to which the subject is the 'dolce vita' (the sweet life).

Don't be fooled by the talk about an epitaph in closer 'Foxlight', for this is only the beginning of things, a 'crossroads' where 'the journey still remains'. Opening with acoustic guitar strokes a fairy like atmosphere is established with the addition of several vocal layers. The buildup takes it's time and truly savors the mood diffused by Andreas' vocals. After 4 minutes change happens suddenly. Decisively hard blows by the harpsichord break the mood and drench the piece in darker waters, which remain mysterious and undefined throughout. Here, drummer Martin Nordrum shines, continuously layering and alternating between a multitude of rhythms over a long 6/8 section, creating a vicious circle with never ending cycles. After another short Harpsichord break 'Foxlight' finds it's piece and closes in a positive light, ornamented with folkloric chant.

With 'From Silence to Somewhere' Wobbler have once again improved and created an album that demonstrates great virtuosity, gripping songwriting and a gift for thoughtful and dynamic arranging. The Songs put truly unique and beautiful melodies on display, leaving no room for doubt, that this is a band with a very special and unequaled voice of its own.

Zappy | 5/5 |


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