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Wobbler - Hinterland CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.83 | 357 ratings

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Dark Nazgul
2 stars Museo Rosenbach "Zarathustra", Norwegian version?

First of all, a little digression: I do not think it's fair to review an album in a negative way, citing the fact that it is derivative. I mean, it's obvious that a lot of contemporary progressive music is inspired by the sounds of the classic bands of the '70s. I honestly do not see anything wrong with that. Although many bands of the 70s were in turn inspired by other bands of the 60s. Just think about the importance of the Beatles "Sgt. Pepper", Nice "Ars Longa Vita Brevis" and the early works by Procol Harum, for bands such as Genesis, King Crimson, ELP and many others. Provided that some albums are landmarks in the history of rock ("Sgt. Pepper" is definitely one of these, others may be "In The Court Of The Crimson King", "Are You Experience", "Ziggy Stardust" or "Tommy") the truth is that no one has truly invented nothing and all were inspired by others. Therefore, I believe that the only parameter for reviewing an album should be the quality of the music and certainly not the fact that it is derivative or not.

But...there is a limit to everyting!

Is certainly legitimate to be inspired by the sounds of other bands, not slavishly copy their style: and unfortunately, this is exactly what Wobbler does with this album.

For example, the long epic Hinterland seems a kind of homage to the Gods of 70s prog. The epic is the second track of the album, but it is the first truly significant: the first one, Serenade For 1652, is a mellotron brief composition that adds nothing to the album. The instrumental intro of Hinterland is clearly inspired by the first section of ELP "Tarkus" called "Eruption". Then, please notice the mellotron crescendo; the question arises: am I listening to King Crimson's "Epitaph"?. After about 8.30 minutes, Gentle Giant seems to be in action: what is this, "Octopus"? Then, there is a perfect reproduction of PFM style with the use of harpsichord and flute. In the middle of the long epic, the apotheosis! If you have read this far, I ask you to be patient and forgive me if I suggest a little game. This game is called: find the song below. It's not easy if you are unfamiliar with Italian language.

"Volto di luce, mi hanno parlato di te, la tua storia Ŕ nell'eco dei monti, troppo in alto per scendere in noi [...] Chiara essenza divina giÓ si nasconde in chi sta vivendo il gioco del tempo nell'attesa di un'alba diversa."

You are Italian? Then, maybe you got it! The answer is "Zarathustra", a long epic by Museo Rosenbach. This is the first section called "L'Ultimo Uomo". After 13 minutes from the start of Hinterland there is an amazing piece of music. First a beautiful guitar/flute/harpsichord part in PFM style, then the voice singing a gentle melody and finally an amazing mellotron crescendo. Nothing to say about the beauty of this part, but too bad is virtually identical to "L'Ultimo Uomo"!

The title-track epic continues in this way. While listening, classic songs of ELP and Crimson comes immediately to my mind (for example "The Gnome" or "Pictures Of A City"). Again and again. There is also space for something contemporary, with part that reminds the Anglagard style, and then, after 28 minutes, the end.

The third track is in my opinion much better. Rubato Industry is the most beautiful song of the album. The intro is a bit insipid, but the rest of the song is very powerful and there is an amazing mellotron part in the central section. Then, harder passages with a lot of rhythmic variations and a convincing great end.

Clair Obscure, the last instrumental song, is probably the worst song. It is clearly inspired by the sounds of Anglagard, especially the "Epilog" album, but not reach those standards. The first part is very calm, with mellotron and piano, guitar and flute. In my opinion, this intro is a little boring. The rest of the song is more aggressive, but it lacks the tension that characterizes the best things of Anglagard and there is too much confusion. However some moments are not bad, especially the part that goes from minute 6 to 8, and the final section (with an effective reprise of the introduction theme).

In conclusion? Musically, I think Hinterland is an album with many ups and downs. There are some great moments especially in Rubato Industry and in the title-track long epic, where unfortunately the references to other popular songs of progressive rock are too obvious. In addition, many instrumental sections appear too elaborate and complicated: the result is a very cold and distant approach to music, surely technical but with little heart, I think. The vocals are also extremely disappointing.

I can rate this album with two or three stars at best. Ultsimately I decide for 2 stars and a final rating of 4/10. Only for hardcore symphonic prog fans, who love complex instrumental music.

Best song: Rubato Industry

Dark Nazgul | 2/5 |


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