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Anekdoten - Vemod CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

4.06 | 478 ratings

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3 stars King Crimson comparisons abound for Anekdoten's debut album Vemod and rather than presenting a dissenting view, I will just join the choir on this one.

Just about everything familiar, alien, loved or loathed from (primarily) ca.-Red era King Crimson can be found on Vemod: keen dynamic awareness and exploitation of the massive power in jumping from the calm to the chaotic in wild abandon, throwing out more minimal atmospheric focus for powerful, musically busy aggression by the flick of a switch along the way. The similarities do of course not end there, but continue all the way down to the sound of the instruments. Along the way you will recognize the unstable, neurotic melodies and slight atonality and chromaticism of Fripp (coupled with the equally familiar angular, uncompromising riffs), the muscular, distorted and dominant bass lines, soaring Mellotron and a mix of forceful and dexterous drumming. Even the moods come across as rehashed: twitchy, neurotic melancholy, sad reflectiveness, a ray of wondrous light in the midst of aching sorrow. Plain old fun if you're into the brooding or dark side of stuff! Take any of those feelings, transport it by a dense, ominous buildup of slightly malevolent sounds and let it explode in a cathartic eruption of frustrated, crashing instrumental thunder.

But it isn't identical. Out goes the violin, in comes the cello. Not the most dramatic of changes, but it definitely brings more fullness to the soundscape. However, the major differences, as I see them, are two. Or possibly three. Because when peaking in intensity, there's a streak of more hard-hitting aggression and speed to the music, making it feel more contemporary metal or heavy rock. It's just a stronger crossover into that world than King Crimson ever tried to accomplish; more riff-driven and direct, rawer and more "honestly" energetic, if that makes sense to you. Some of the grittier parts are sometimes spectacularly heavy, but also rather fast and rhythmically bouncy. Funnily enough, the other main difference I would identify is found in the very opposite end of the music. When in mellower territories, there's a streak of vulnerability and sensitivity to both the clean, precise vocal lines (sometimes even lacking in power) and melodies I don't really associate with King Crimson, something that could be described (perhaps wrongly) as a touch of a more ethereal, introverted indie/alternative-influence. The addition of piano fleshes out these bits and serves as an excellent indicator of the third difference: a will to enrich the arrangements, a search for more melodious fullness ( even mildness) and a decidedly more organic and agile approach to the compositions than the mid-70s-King Crimson, who despite even improvisation can come across as a bit formal and disciplined (perhaps even academical) to this reviewer.

I thoroughly enjoy Vemod, but think the band paid just a bit to much tribute to their apparent heroes here. There is individuality to be sure, but it's a bit underdeveloped and raw at this point, and the band would go on to make more interesting albums later. And sadly, things tend to stay a bit same-old-same-old as well, with songs morphing into each other at a bit too high a rate. This is made even more obvious due to the similarity of mood throughout the album, causing just a bit of listening-fatigue.

A nice addition, a good debut, but far from essential.

3 stars.


LinusW | 3/5 |


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