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Wobbler - Afterglow CD (album) cover

AFTERGLOW

Wobbler

 

Symphonic Prog

3.83 | 194 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

CCVP
Prog Reviewer
5 stars When less is equal to more

I know this fantastic band from Norway, called Wobbler, for some time now. A year or two ago I was able to put my hands in their acclaimed debut album and, despite enjoying quite a bit the amazing voyage through the Hinterland, that album didn't seem quite right. I mean, the music was all very good and had THAT vintage sound that we all love, but somehow it didn't do the trick because, in the middle of those amazing epics, the band apparently lost their focus, due to the big amount of ideas bursting out of nowhere, and that made two things happen: 1 - sometimes they just played things that were completely out of place / that had nothing to do with the music's direction at that point ; and 2 - the songs did not ended well / the endings were not good (being the prime example of that the ending of the song Hinterland).

Four years after the release of their debut, the band presents us an album that is roughly the size of Hinterland (the song, I mean), if you put the minor acts (the introduction, the intermezzo and the conclusion) aside and it sounds much better than their bloated debut. Why? Because it has the focus the debut lacked. Despite that, many people (prog reviewers and collabs included) were unhappy about the length of the album to the point that some even call it an EP. I'm not even going to speak about how illogical it is to judge the quality of music by saying how much of it there is, since some people actually prefer quantity over quality, but this I will say: is it just a coincidence that a considerable part of the prog classics clock under 40 minutes? I think not. Hell, PFM's Storia di Minuto and Per un Amico and Le Orme's Collage, Uomo de Pezza and Felona e Sorona are even shorter albums than this one and yet NOBODY seems to care about that. I really expected more from those people than to use such an unjustified argument.

Musically this album is not very different from Hinterland: strong and confident retro sound with huge Gentle Giant, Genesis, Yes and ─nglagard influences, being mostly an instrumental album (the vocals, also like in Hinterland, only appear occasionally) with preeminent keyboards/organs/mellotron. Afterglow, however, seems to be even more influenced by Gentle Giant than its predecessor, mostly because of the medieval-like music themes and the whole chamber music feeling of it all. Also, as I said before, the band is much more focused in this album, making the music sound more cohere, what definitely is something positive.

Grade and Final Thoughts

Afterglow is one album that don't suffer from the infamous second album crisis. Here, Wobbler was able to repeat the formula they have done before and improve it, without sounding bad nor being short of new ideas. In Afterglow they were able to say everything they wanted to say, but with fewer words, what made possible for them to stay on topic. Let's just hope they keep this focus from now on.

CCVP | 5/5 |

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