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Bo Hansson - Lord Of The Rings CD (album) cover

LORD OF THE RINGS

Bo Hansson

 

Symphonic Prog

3.69 | 95 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

aapatsos
Special Collaborator
Prog Metal and Heavy Prog Teams
3 stars A psych approach to an epic

Everything that deals with J.R.R.Tolkien, call it a book, a film, a music album, a review, gets my attention. The world he created within his works has been hailed as a modern mythology; a real piece of art that involved the ''invention'' of two languages and a detailed narration of events, journeys, clans and civilisations. This is Bo Hansson's version of what Lord of the Rings could have sounded like if it was a musical piece - or the way he personally perceived the magic of the script...

In terms of structure, the album is based on separate compositional pieces that do not directly link with each other musically or thematically - not exactly what you would have expected from a concept album. According to the conceptual theme of each track, the music sometimes flows in a relaxed psychedelic atmosphere (i.e. Leaving Shire, The Grey Havens) or turns into adventurous, agonising passages (i.e. The Black Riders, The Horns of Rohan).

With a large dose of late 60's psychedelia, improvisation is the main source of inspiration for this album. The extensive use of organ and moog synthesizer give this album an unexpected touch that makes it very attractive, especially if one reads about the recording conditions under which it was created. It seems that vocals were not in Bo Hansson's mind while composing (or rather improvising...) thus the result is a 100% instrumental record. To my ears, guitars play a secondary role here, while the presence of drums and inspired tribal rhythms really add to the overall sound. To some listeners the sound of the percussion (often resembles to Santana) might seem dated, but I personally feel it gives a charming touch.

The production is not clear and polished (see description of recording equipment used in biography section) but this does not affect the intention of the band; on the contrary, it generates a nostalgic feeling that blends with the actual music.

What the album suffers from is the coherence that would constitute a concept musical piece and the repetitiveness that - while evident throughout the whole record - starts to appear more in the latter tracks. However, it is interesting to observe that the happy, dreamy moments in the story are represented by tracks with similar atmosphere in the record and the same happens with the darker, more anxious, agonising sections. The length of the album is short but this does not affect the quality. This does not entirely mean that Hansson's interpretation of the story is successful. No matter how subjective this is, I could not actually imagine Tolkien's world while listening to this version but I can't deny it is still an interesting one.

If I were to pick highlights, the more adventurous The Old Forest..., The Black Riders... and the dreamy Lothlorien caught my attention for sure. Friends of early Caravan and bands alike of the late 60's/early 70's might appreciate Hansson's efforts. A definitely interesting result despite its limitations...

aapatsos | 3/5 |

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