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Änglagård - Viljans Öga CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.27 | 1024 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars When no-one suspected it anymore, news in '11 arrived that Anglagard was really finally working on their new album (we'd heard this ever since their short reformation of 03), no-one actually believed it, until their drummer Olssen actually posted some work-in-progress of the band's studio activities. Soooo, their Viljans Oga became the most-awaited album of the 12 year and it finally arrived just before their short tour starting with NearFest, though its distribution had been erratic for a long while. It was a risky bet from the band, to release a third album some 20 years after their debut, when almost a whole generation had passed by; the risk further that they could damage their near-flawless discography (well, the Buried Alive album was not to standard). Not to worry, though: the Swedes' latest offering is sonically very close to what their fans could've possibly hoped, even placing it sonically soùewhere between Hybris (only four lengthy tracks) and Epilog (all instrumentals, despite offering some inaudible lyrics/poetry). The icing on the cake being that the classic line-up is almost full, since only the bassist Johan Brand is a "newcomer". In terms of artwork, VO is very much in the bucolic and melancholic forest landscapes of their first two releases. So everything is set for a superb trip down the land of the Trons.

Right from the opening notes of the flute in Ur Vilande, you'll know that you'll be riding the usual Angla roller-coaster, from the melancholic passage to the head-twisting and mind-bending breakneck-speed passages. You'll even find some bass rumbles that could come from an (unannounced) didgeridoo, though it could death throes coming from some horn's tripes (there are low-register horn courtesy of guests Borgergad or Ackerstedt. The following Sorgmantel opens like a classical composition, but soon veers Yes-like with that typical Swedish-mustard flavour. The album-longest (16-mins+) Snardom is probably my fave on the album. Disappointment strikes with the closing Langtans Klocka that repeats endlessly a theme that seems lifted from McCartney's Michelle, to end up with a Klezmer version. Not exactly the way you'd expect an Anglagard album to finish, though.

Sooooo, yes, some 20 years after Hybris, the band is able to repeat their studio performance and manage to remain equal to theirselves. And if you expect another shot of Epibris or Hybilog, you'll get it no problems, but to be honest, I was expecting a bit "more" than just that. And in the light of that kind of expectations, Angla certainly didn't deliver? but did anybody else but moi expected that from them? (are you sure you're following me??)

Nota bene: The tour to promote this album presented a line-up that's almost totally different than the studio band, and from what I gather there will be two versions of the band? at the expense of the credibility of the Anglagard name.

Sean Trane | 4/5 |


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