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Gösta Berlings Saga - Glue Works CD (album) cover


Gösta Berlings Saga


Eclectic Prog

3.81 | 141 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars

Who is Gösta Berling and why did he name his band after the Canadian synthrockers?

I jest of course. There is no Gösta Berling unless you count the defrocked minister from the Lagerlöf novel and Jethro Tull-like namesake of the group, and frankly if you really want the straight poop on this disc; the scuttlebutt, the word, skinny, dish, and hearsay, I'd suggest reading Starless' excellent write-up. My main parting with his fine assessment is that I do find Glue Works focuses strongly on building layered themes upon simple structures rather than material that is change-oriented. Kinda sounds like what you'd get if you threw half the Ozrics and half of Anglagard in a room together for a day or two. And then there's that Hansson&Karlsson influence. It's a strange mix but that's okay, it works, and it sounds like the kind of thing you'd regret tossing five or ten years from now. Sadly it's not an approach that does a whole lot for this writer. The project functions on paper, but somehow the music doesn't stick and seems to evaporate as it plays leaving little residual flavor. I do wish this were not the case for the 46 minute Cuneiform release, but you call 'em like you see 'em.

There is some very good stuff here, however, and I'd be remiss if I didn't point it out. '354' promises with an intriguing vamp of thin, tingly lines from Einar Baldursson's guitar & Dave Lundberg's electric piano splayed over the tribal drumming of Alex Skepp. A good start. Atonal 'Icosahedron' clearly reflects the Hansson/Karlsson impact while painfully long 'Island' at over twelve minutes creaks along to the beautifully recorded cellos of Cecilia Linne, wayward sounds of an aetherphone, and develops into a very cool jam that, if tailored, could've been a highlight. But the piece is dragged-out to it's breaking point and doesn't really capitalize on this outfit's potential brilliance. A welcome change of pace for 'Waves' reminding vaguely of early Peter Gabriel, and 13-minute monster 'Sorterargatan 1' is quite good, the foursome finally bringing it with multiple changes of theme, direction, pace and instrumentation.

This is a good record. Very good. And I know I must be missing something. I wanted more, I wanted less, I don't know what I wanted, and it isn't really the band's fault that I'm such a nitpicking assh*le. This is an album that can only be judged by the listener while he is listening, not defined by an outside impression. And so dear reader, with gaping ear and hungry spirit, you should decide for yourself if GBS fits your bill. I only know it didn't quite fit mine.

Atavachron | 3/5 |


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