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Wobbler - Hinterland CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.81 | 317 ratings

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4 stars This album may have been released in 2005, but the sheer range of vintage keyboards at the disposal of main man Lars Fredrik Froislie give it an unabashedly 70s sound. Thankfully, Wobbler isn't just about the sounds, because the songwriting also works to great effect. While Froislie was last heard as the keyboardist on White Willow's album Storm Season (2004), Wobbler is more of a direct descendant of Scandinavian neighbours Anglagard, and at some points in this excellent release actually surpass even that fine "retro-prog" group.

Essentially this album is three tracks long ... if you ignore the pointless 40 second intro, which again is reminiscent of a trick Anglagard used on their Epilog album. As such the 27 minute title track is absolutely crucial, and it has everything! Emerson style organ to kick it off, delicate flute passages that come in around 5 minute mark, melltron washes that accompany the vocal segment at around 7 minutes, superb guitar work from guest Baroque guitar player Ulrik Gaston Larsen that reminds me of Steve Howe, a nice classical guitar/flute interlude at the 12:40 point, a dark riff at 14:30, topped off by some striking synth work. By the 17 minute mark, early King Crimson is the reference pointm while on 22 minutes, a spacey mood threatens to take over, before a return to classical guitar concludes the fun.

Rubato Industry is another sweeping work, full of rich textures, with an infectious melody and music that will call to mind both Gentle Giant and Camel (in the synth leads). The 15 minute largely instrumental (save for the Gothic vocals) Clair Obscur starts off the most pastoral of the three, but develops in a more violent direction after some time, too. If there's a complaint it's that the pieces struggle to establish their individual identity! Also, the lead Vocals of Tony Johannessen are not technically pleasing, but fortunately the melodies are great, and occasionally there are additional choral vocals that lend the album a Gothic air.

Now anyone who's familiar with Anglagard will notice four or five similarities between the bands in my descriptions of this album, but it wouldn't be totally fair to dismiss Wobbler as a knock-off. While I agree that the band needs a little more time to truly establish its identity, I have no hesitation in declaring Hinterland to be the finest progressive rock record of 2005. ... 78% on the MPV scale

Trotsky | 4/5 |


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