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Caligonaut - Magnified as Giants CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

4.18 | 213 ratings

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5 stars Caligonaut is a Norwegian prog project by solo artist Ole Michael Bjørndal (OAK, Bjørn Riis, etc) and this is the debut album. Before listening to this album I honestly didn't know anything about Mr. Bjørndal, so I found the novelty (figure and music) highly impressive, and there's the cast of invited characters that collaborate in the making of Magnified as Giants that its also quite interesting. The album opens up with The Emperor, and its love at first sight. Guitars and vocals (both lead and backing, the latter performed by Wobbler's own Andreas Prestmo) are outstanding, Fossum's drumming powerful and on point, bass lines heavy and symphonically rythmic and the synth layers provided by Frøislie (Wobbler, Turmøske, White Willow) are outwardly. But the main character are the guitars, enchanting! The band (project) is described/listed as pertaining to the Crossover Prog sub genre, but I find it much more on the symphonic side than the pop side, in fact I find it almost as symphonic as Wobbler, just more modern-inspired. Almost 15 minutes of this superb opener. Hushed follows with a more acoustic and folky thematic?but the bass?OMG, that bass? the stones vocals (well, it just feels like that in all vocalists of Norweian origin, they all have that same precious atonality to their melodies), cello is a highlight here, delicately accompanying the vocals before the Latimer-like guitar licks thankfully invade the terrain to conquer. I find myself immersed in Scandinavian forests throughout the song, I haven't been there, not even close, but I'm sure they feel like these melodies, you kinda feel Hushed! After I end listening to this album for the 6th time today (5:30pm as I write this lines) I'll do some research in Nordic bed-time lullabies to try to understand why these Norwegians musicians have so many memorable and unique melodies in their minds, it's overwhelming. Magnified as Giants isn't the expected title track epic, instead of that its smartly placed halfway into the trip for brain and ears refreshing. Beautiful, folky and somehow kind of medieval sounding, vocal melodies are very 70s inspired and sound very celestial, like delivering a message from above, with precise and magical instrumentation. This is one of those mellow acoustic tracks that can be unintentionally underestimated by the listener product of the music that precedes and follows, but also the one that you fall in love with more and more after every listen. Marvelous. Lighter than Air, the longest epic of the album and chosen to close the magnificent debut. Laidback and with that same "Us and Them" psychedelic rock feel that is blues based but spacey at the same time. Actually, the bluesy guitars here are astonishing. The dark creepy synths lead way to the heavy prog discharge that will occupy the next 6-8 minutes navigating various moods with some anger included, never abandoning beauty. Powerful rhythmic section, loud and heavy guitars and synths, the heaviest and upper tempo part of the whole album, before returning to the melodic progression of elf-like, enchanting, dark and gorgeous melodic display. Lighter than ir, I love you all! I want to say that I still have to listen and digest more music from 2021, but I bet that Magnified as Giants will still be remembered and played 50 years from now and, at least to my ears, the prog album of the year. Immense high quality debut. The END.
ElChanclas | 5/5 |


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