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Änglagård - Prog På Svenska - Live In Japan CD (album) cover

PROG PÅ SVENSKA - LIVE IN JAPAN

Änglagård

 

Symphonic Prog

4.69 | 100 ratings

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VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Review Nº 435

Anglagard was born in 1991 out of the Swedish Progressive Rock movement. They released their first album, "Hybris". They disbanded in 1994, the year of their second album "Epilog", after the final performance at Progfest in Los Angeles. The recordings of that live concert were released as a live album named "Buried Alive" that was launched only in 1996.

In 2009, Anglagard, after a long hiatus of time, reformed and returned to action working on some new compositions, and after a long period of rehearsals and recordings, in 2012, they were able to released their third studio album "Viljans Oga", surprisingly maintaining the high quality level obtained in the two previous studio albums. In March of 2013, Anglagard played in a series of three concerts at Club Citta, Tokyo in Japan to promote "Viljans Oga". At the time Anglagard was sharing the bill with The Crimson ProjeKCt. They performed with a varied track list and a revised line up.

So, the line up on "Prog Pa Svenska - Live In Japan" is Anna Holmgren (flute, saxophone, Mellotron and recorder), Tord Lindman (guitar, vocals, gong and atmospheric sound), Linus Kase (vocals, Hammond organ, Mellotron, Fender Rhodes piano, Moog Voyager, piano and soprano saxophone, Johan Brand (bass, Taurus bass pedals and atmospheric sound) and Erik Hammarstrom (drums, cymbals, vibraphone, glockenspiel, tubular bells, cran casa and gong).

"Prog Pa Svenska - Live In Japan" contains songs from all three studio albums of Anglagard. In addition to the older pieces, you also can get one brand new piece that was previously unreleased. This new piece shows that the band can still write fantastic prog rock songs. About the all old pieces, "familiar" is probably the right word to describe them, even if they have demonstrated some growth since the last time we heard them. On all pieces, the band have altered the tempos and added some new sounds. Saxophone parts and synthesizer sounds were added on some of those pieces.

Since "Prog Pa Svenska - Live In Japan" is pre-eminently a live act you won't hear the same versions that can be enjoyed on the ordinary studio albums. However, the renditions here rarely diverge from the originals. But, in some places, guitar replaces keyboards or sax replaces guitar. However, one of the things that makes or breaks a live album, for me, is the arrangements. With Anglagard, the arrangements are constantly in flux and that makes these tracks worth hearing in different versions and the album worth buying. Personally, I feel a bit ripped off when a band plays the same arrangements time and time again, but Anglagard constantly challenge themselves and their listeners. So, despite the pieces aren't properly as different as the originals, to have something different is what I always liked in all live albums.

"Prog Pa Svenska - Live In Japan" has seven tracks. "Introvertus Fugu (Den Asociala Blasfisken) Part 1" is the new piece. It's an impressive atmospheric intro. It's the shortest piece here and probably is the biggest draw for Anglagard's fans. Beginning with some spacey piano chords and a disjointed arrangement, the piece gradually rises from freeform chaos to dynamic Anglagard form to its conclusion. "Jordrok" and "Kung Bore" are from "Hybris". "Jordrok" is a dark and melancholic instrumental. It's complex with constant changes and where all members have its function and no one dominates. "Kung Bore" is a complex song, very nostalgic, with great vocals, some classical parts, good keyboards and a good rhythm section. "Hostsejd" and "Sista Somrar" are from "Epilog". "Hostsejd" has moments of pure energy, is mellow with abrupt transition passages between calm and mellow parts and loud and wild parts. "Sista Somrar" starts calm and soft until changes with a strong and aggressive passage. It will continue throughout the entire theme. Here, we can see the perfection and harmony between the classical and rock. "Langtans Klocka" and "Sorgmantel" are from "Viljans Oga". "Langtans Klocka" brings an autumnal tone with an elegant and almost classical style. It has great guitar riffs, supported on the back by keyboards, twined by beautiful bass lines and great drumming performance. The track's rhythm, stop and start, so common on Anglagard. "Sorgmantel" is a melodic number. The music flows smoothly and continuously with often tempo changes. The striking contrast between Mellotron and distorted guitar is excellent.

Conclusion: Finally, we have here an excellent live album of Anglagard, the album the band always wanted to release. Who are used to Anglagard knows they were disappointed and frustrated with their performance on "Buried Alive". On this album, Anglagard proves to be faithful to the icons of the 70's and keep the true spirit of prog. With a huge maturity and own style, a great treatment with an instrumental sound of high level and an excellent production, Anglagard shows their whole personality, quality of execution and sound, knowing to join their personal brand with the mysticism and charm so characteristic of the Scandinavian musical expression. They proved the great music doesn't have time. In my opinion, not one single second on this great double live album is boring. It's just a fine addition to my already large collection of live albums. Of course, the complex music on this album isn't everybody's cup of tea. But, give it a try.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 5/5 |

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