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All Traps On Earth - A Drop Of Light CD (album) cover

A DROP OF LIGHT

All Traps On Earth

 

Symphonic Prog

4.46 | 326 ratings

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ProgSerge
5 stars Prog lovers, let's unite to thank Sweden! Indeed, we owe a debt of gratitude to the musicians of this country. The northernity of a population of only ten million people generously fuelled the gradual renewal of the 1990s and continues to this day. Examples include LANDBERK, GALLEON, ANEKDOTEN, THE FLOWER KINGS, OPETH and, of course, ANGLAGARD. Although not very prolific, this last group has deeply marked the second half of fifty years of prog. In November 2012, the band's current bassist and multi-instrumentalist, JOHAN BRAND, saw the light of inspiration for the project that will be discussed in this column. It was a simple bass note written on a Fender Rhodes piano that was the trigger. This melodic line haunted him over and over again and germinated the piece that gave its name to this new group, ALL TRAPS ON EARTH. From the beginning, it was clear to him that this music would not present any compromise. In 2016, he was joined by ANGLAGARD's first keyboard player, THOMAS JOHNSON, who has since worked on the three most recent THIEVE'S KITCHEN albums. He has become an essential part of the group, whether in terms of composition, record production or keyboard skills. His contribution is also praised by JOHAN BRAND in the album's booklet. Subsequently, ERIC HAMMARSTRÍM proved to be a logical choice for drums and percussion. Not only is he the current drummer of ANGLAGARD but he has also worked for THE FLOWER KINGS and BRIGHTEYE BRISON, quite a good track record, thank you. And JOHAN is very proud of the contribution of his daughter, MIRANDA BRAND, to the vocals. Rightly so, not only because the young lady's talent is obvious but also because the use of her voice contributes greatly to the atmosphere and beauty of the album "A drop of light". Even though these four musicians master a wide range of instruments, they have received the help of five guest musicians including PHIL MERCY, the guitarist of THIEVE'S KITCHEN. The other four use their breath to play flutes, saxophones, trumpet and Co. "A drop of light" represents five years of patient and hard work and it shows. Believe me, these efforts and all this talent make what passes between our ears deeply pleasurable, nothing less.

ALL TRAPS ON EARTH is the art of music and not the art of compromise. We first discover this when we see that the sixty- three minutes of music are shared between only five pieces, four of which are more than thirteen minutes long. We also hear it because on this record, the word progressive takes on its full meaning. Except for the very beautiful and short "First Step", played on the piano and mellotron, it is impossible to describe the pieces individually as they are in flux and changing. Throughout the album, you will not find long solos featuring one instrument over another. Nevertheless, the musicians interventions can be noticed, learned guitar, varied and powerful drumming, roaring and expressive bass, brass instruments that follow or mark the rhythm or played in short solos judiciously seasoned, and so on. It goes without saying that the influence of ANGLAGARD is very present. But it is the family spirit that we notice rather than musical cloning. Indeed, the voice, the brass and some percussions, among others, give the album its own personality. However, one obvious common point is the massive use of the mellotron. Each listening brings the daily recommended dose for any prog lover! You will also find some KING CRIMSON in the sound, whether it is from the "Red" era or from "Islands" or "Lizard". The music can also be a little disturbing like a GOBLIN or a ANIMA MORTE, also from Sweden for the latter. Occasionally, I felt a little Canterburian shiver. MIRANDA BRAND's magnificent voice can remind us of ENIO MORRICONE's cinematographic universe and add, here and there, a touch of opera. The vocal mastery she shows for her young age is remarkable. The contribution of wind instruments, among others, also gives jazzy accents at times. Don't worry, the sum of all these influences is perfectly controlled and often rather subtle. The music on offer, although diverse and intense, is in no way chaotic. On the contrary, we feel a complete mastery and all the work behind these compositions.

Certainly, "A drop of light" is a satisfying listening experience, but to appreciate it for its true value, you will have to devote time and attention to it. Trying to make it a simple tapestry or background music will not bring the same satisfaction. The frequent changes in rhythms and atmospheres, the moments of sweetness and calm, the various uses of the many instruments require, or even command, active listening for a greater pleasure and understanding. This music and the enchantment it can provide works much better this way. Even the song sang in Swedish that ends the album works well. Inspired by improvisations on a Chamberlin electronic harpsichord, "Bortgl'mda G'rdar" was the second piece composed by JOHAN. It tells the story of beautiful old country houses and the families who supported them. In particular, we find the most rocking moments of the album, beautiful lines sung in unison by the father and his daughter, a profusion of instruments and a gentle, even poetic conclusion to this exciting, demanding but rewarding album that exceeds the listener's expectations. It goes without saying that ANGLAGARD lovers will find their happiness with the musical proposals of Mr. BRAND and his acolytes. After all, it's been six years since the band's last studio album was released. And it was only the third album in the studio. However, progressive music lovers who want to get off the beaten track or who are keen on enriching discoveries could find their best musical moments of 2018 with "A drop of light". Unless there is a big surprise by the end of the year, that is exactly what happened to me. MIRANDA, JOHAN, THOMAS, ERIC and Co., I sincerely thank you for offering us your light.

ProgSerge | 5/5 |

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