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Anekdoten - Nucleus CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

3.99 | 365 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars The Swedish quartet of Anekdoten is the perfect candidate for that otherwise arbitrary category here called Heavy Prog. And the band's second studio album, more than any other I've heard from them so far, is a particularly fearsome beast: brooding and aggressive from beginning to end (that's meant as a compliment, by the way).

The title track launches the album like a knife to the jugular, propelled by the meatiest bass guitar grunge since the mid-'70s prime of John Wetton. The similarity in style to "Starless"-era KING CRIMSON is hardly a coincidence, and the rest of the album adheres to the same malevolent formula, from the barely one-minute, formless improvisation of "Raft" to the ten- minute, two-part "Book of Hours".

The addition of a guest violinist alongside the melancholy cello of Anna Sofia Dahlberg does nothing to soften the mood. But as potent as it is, the music is also more than a little cold and clinical. This is a band with chops to spare, but (at least in this effort) lacking the heart to create an emotionally involving experience. The album works instead like an audio snapshot of northern Scandinavia in darkest midwinter, and the chill is almost too numbing at times.

Only twice does the onslaught relent: in the moody, moribund "Here", and in the unexpectedly wistful "In Freedom", closing the album in welcome contrast to the uncaged opening track. It's arguably the only genuine song on the entire album, and also the one number during which the insecure vocals of Jan Erik Liljeström (a much more assertive bass player) are matched to the yearning romanticism of a real melody. Elsewhere his amateur crooning doesn't fit the raw exposition of the music, and the English lyrics lack any local Scandinavian flavor, to say the least.

Still, any band taking its cues from the Crimson King gets my recommendation. But Anekdoten could, and in later albums would, do better.

Neu!mann | 3/5 |


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