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Landberk - Lonely Land CD (album) cover

LONELY LAND

Landberk

 

Heavy Prog

3.58 | 90 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
3 stars 3.5 stars really!!!

Well I'm not sure how Laser's edge managed to convince Landberk to re-record and rearrange their debut album to suit their passage to the English language, but it sure was a coup that Ken Golden can be proud of. Indeed, at the very start of the Swedish prog boom, Lonely Land provided enough international spotlights on what was happening around the artic circle to aggregate plenty of isolated progheads around the planet and gradually build up today's solid underground prog foundations. So, if Landberk might be the forgotten third of the famous Swedish trilogy, Lonely Land is a founding stone of the edifice, more or less built loosely upon their Riktigt Akta debut album, recorded late 91 and mixed early 92. The quintet is the same, but keyboardist adds some accordion, not present before. The D&D-type of artwork may appeal to some, but I don't find it an improvement over the orange original clumsy drawing.

Well a good deal f the tracks are fairly similar to their original Swedish versions, but personally I find that the melancholy is less present on the present, and that Hedje's English vocals are not always perfect, but it's not a major hindrance to the album's enjoyment. The album has a generally tougher and more aggressive sound in the guitar dept (most likely a Golden production effect), but to be honest the accordion parts in The Tree and the sitar solo in the closing 10-mins+ title track are rather ill-advised additions. You'll still find Dimle's sizzling bass and Fiske's unique guitar tone and style that made the Landberk trademark. Among the other highlights, you'll find the catchy upbeat Pray For Me Now with its hummable chorus, but it contrast heavily with the overly quiet Kallsedet tune that follows it. The major Golden bonus and genius is the cover of the generally then-forgotten T2 guitar-led trio of the early 70's and their excellent No More White Horses, which is Lonely Land's main highlight, with its slow raw guitar ostinato slowly leading the group in a hypnotizing crescendo, where Fiske rips open the guts of the white beast with his sizzling guitar solo, before cooling things off with Nordberg's piano, then mellotrons and Helje's finally good vocals. Stunning.

The closing title track might have been another highlight, if it wasn't for the afore-mentioned sitar, which sticks out even worse than the accordion elsewhere on the album and a rather slow middle section, but outside these flaws, it does have quite a bit of charm, with its trons of mello. Well, yours truly definitely prefers the original Swedish version of the album, despite the T2 cover, but many will find sufficient reasons to own both. All the more power to them and to the daring Laser's Edge label.

Sean Trane | 3/5 |

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