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Landberk - Indian Summer CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

3.63 | 109 ratings

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4 stars Landberk was one of the trio of prog wunderkinds from Sweden that was at the forefront of the fabled prog Renaissance in the early 90s, together with the spectacular (and still active) Anekdoten and the legendary but troubled Anglagard. All three where purveyors of dark, brooding and mystical Norse tendencies , adding colossal doses of dense mellotron, a brutal rhythm section with up front bass and bashingly titanic drums. Sadly, Landberk would dissolve into the fjord mists, unleashing this final "Indian Summer" masterpiece, as well as the intense Morte Macabre cooperative effort with the Anekdoten boys.

This album is a prime example of misunderstood genius, not particularly liked by the fans because of its rather radical low-key atmosphere, quite distant from the previous "Heavy Prog" formula. In fact, it's so moody it can verge on soporific, like a soundtrack for an opium den. But these guys are full of surprises and they succeed in paving the road for future prog acts such as PTree, NoSound, White Willow, Paatos and the brilliant Sunscape by deliberately expanding on the veil on the sonics, less rock and more roll if you will. Landberk is unquestionably led by the scintillating guitar work of Reine Fiske, a unique somber style that winks reverently at a reserved Fripp or U2's The Edge on quaaludes combined with an abundant use of fluffy mellotron carpets at the hands of producer Simon Nordberg. Both bassist Stefan Dimle and drummer Jonas Lindholm excel at setting a mood and keeping it firmly anchored, just plain solid.

There are some insanity inducing tracks here that would make Syd blush with respectful envy. "Humanize" is a deep felt excursion into inner pain, a wallowing waft of melodic despair, as close to sonic depression as possible. Cavernous melancholia draped with stalactites of distant memories, the whispery vocals from Patrick Helje are stunningly a propos. "All Around Me" is the 9 minute epic that defines the recording, echoing voice effects within a metronome yet organic beat, eerily close to Steve Wilson's early material , the jangling guitar slashing the butterfly clouds with soaring ferocity. Even on the more raucous "1st of May" and later on the robust "Dustgod" whether the pace quickens, the intensity remains, verging near a proggier Joy Division or perhaps Radiohead. The music remains focused, edgy and impalpably disturbing . Quite pleasant really! Hahahaha! I mean you need to be respectful of this record as it will not fit easily into a playlist; it's an experience on its own. Yes, candles and very dim lights are an option when listening to this stuff. "I Wished I had a Boat" is another platonic annoyance of doomed gloom, a palette of pastelled dejection, Helje's gorgeous voice passionate and yet repentant, a complete prog gem of the highest order. "Dustgod" has a more immediate presence, with a huge vocal melody still mired deeply in atmospherics The brilliantly vaporous "Why Do I Still Sleep" is a true classic, the perfect definition of a prog dirge with Viking overtones. One can imagine a burning funeral "drakkar", blazing arrows of fire arching towards the aquatic tomb, a heady mixture of pain, regret, respect and sorrow. The repeated Sara Isaksson wailing is hypnotic and tortuous. The title track closes out this peculiar disc, a "not a prog for all seasons" testament to fabulous prog giant that left us way early, for whatever frail human reason. If you want to hunt down one bizarre disc that many will puzzle over, get this stunner.

4.5 downy blurs

tszirmay | 4/5 |


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