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Änglagård - Hybris CD (album) cover

HYBRIS

Änglagård

 

Symphonic Prog

4.38 | 1614 ratings

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VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Review Nº 217

"Hybris" is the debut studio album of the Swedish symphonic progressive rock band Anglagard and was released in 1992. It became as one of the most influential progressive rock albums in the 90's, when many new bands, some of them Scandinavian bands especially Swedish, began to revive the style of progressive rock called the third prog wave.

Anglagard got itself noticed in the small international community of prog fans due to the quality, originality and complexity of their music. Both of their two studio albums which were released in the 90's, this one and "Epilog" released two years latter in 1994, were voted albums of the year on the internet progressive newsgroups, and that put Anglagard as a cult band. This is one of those rare cases of obscurity combined with reverence. Many like to compare Anglagard with the American progressive rock band of Detroit, Discipline. Both are two bands that become legendary.

Anglagard's music is quite similar to the sound of the progressive rock bands from the 70's, because their music was strongly influenced by bands like Genesis, Yes, King Crimson, Gentle Giant and Van Der Graaf Generator. However, Anglagard's music is much more than that. Their music is also deeply influenced by the Swedish folklore music. The final result was the creation of a style with a well defined personality, within the recognizable Scandinavian melancholy.

The line up of the album is Tord Lindman (vocals, Gibson 335, nylon and steel acoustic guitars), Jonas Engdegard (Stratocaster, Gibson 335, nylon and steel acoustic guitars), Thomas Johnson (mellotron, Hannond organ B-3 & L- 100, solina, clavinet, pianet, Korg mono/poly, piano & church organ on electronic version), Anna Holmgren (flute), Johan Hogberg (Rickenbacker bass, bass pedals and mellotron effects) and Mattias Olsson (Sonor drumset, concert bass drum, Zildjian Cymbals, tambourines, vibraslap, po-chung, gong, castanets, line bells, cow bell, wood block, tubular bells, glockenspiel, bongos, bells, ice-bell, finger cymbals, waterfall, A-gogo bells, cabasa, claves, French cowbell, African drum and Effect-flute).

"Hybris" has four tracks. All music was written and arranged by Anglagard and all lyrics were written by Tord Lindman. The first track "Jordrok (Earth Smoke)" is a dark and melancholic instrumental song that reminds me the long and cold winter season in Sweden. It's a very complex and a totally progressive track with constant musical changes and where all the musical instruments have its function and where no one dominates. This is an incredible track to open this fantastic and unique album from a very special and unique band. The second track "Vadringar I Vilsenhet (Wonderings In Confusion)" is another extremely complex progressive track with great rhythm changes. It's the first track with lyrics in Swedish. However, unfortunately, it's impossible to me to understand what is said on the track. Tord Lindman's voice is nice and delicate and, for me, it improves the song. There are on this song some amazing individual performances by all band's members. This is another brilliant track. The third track "Ifran Klarhet Till Klarhet (From Clarity To Clarity)" has a surrealist begin with a kind of a carnival circus music sound. The music on this track sounds relatively complex, combining the great versatility of Anna Holmgren on flute, good guitar work, great mellotron sound, nice bass line and powerful drumming. This is another excellent catchy track. The fourth track "Kung Bore (King Winter)" is the highest musical moment on the album and is, in my opinion, one of the best songs composed by them, and it's also, probably, my favourite Anglagard's track. It's also a very complex song very nostalgic, with great vocals, some classical parts, good keyboards and an interesting rhythm section. This is a perfect way to close this very special and unique album.

My remastered CD version has a fifth bonus track, "Ganglat Fran Knapptibble (Marching Tune From Knapptibble)", which was recorded in 1993 for the English magazine Ptolemaic Terrascope who wanted to release a single to come with the magazine. This track features some music parts which also appear on "Epilog". As usual, I don't review bonus tracks. But, I must confess this is also a great song that doesn't compromise the high quality level of the entire album.

Conclusion: In my humble opinion, "Hybris" is one of the most innovative, surprising and original progressive rock albums ever made. Its music is completely progressive with a lengthy format, very complex and creative, and with abrupt passages and constant change of rhythms. However, it's at the same time very melodic. All of this makes of it a perfectly unforgettable work. As I said before, on "Hybris" we can discover so many varied and diversified influences on its music. They pass by influences from several progressive rock bands from the 70's such as Genesis, Yes, King Crimson, Gentle Giant and Van Der Graaf Generator, for instance. However, in my humble opinion, the main musical influences are clearly Genesis and King Crimson. Those influences are perfectly married with the influences of the Swedish folklore and the traditional Scandinavian melancholy. That makes of it a unique, original and surprising album.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 5/5 |

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