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Wobbler - Hinterland CD (album) cover

HINTERLAND

Wobbler

 

Symphonic Prog

3.83 | 234 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
3 stars Never quite sure how to review newer generation prog groups without appearing negative about them if what they do is highly derivative. To call Wobbler (barbaric name) adventurous or groundbreaking would be granting the ProgArchives reader/users for idiots which is hardly the case. Wobbler has everything to please all progheads (except that really ugly artwork sleeve) if that very proghead is not caring about the originality, the inventivity and the personality of the music he listens to. This Norwegian Quintet might just be the fifth generation of descendants of the prog dinosaurs that once graced the blue planet some three millenniums (uuuuhhh!.. decades ;-) ago. The first ancestors being Genesis and King Crimson having given birth to Marillion and IQ (this generation had been almost stillborn) some twelve years later, than rising like a phoenix from the ashes through Anglagard and Anekdoten again a decade later, with the bastard sons of Sinkadus and Nebelnest coming later on, Wobbler is now at the forefront of this relatively easily accessible prog pastures, that is slowly drying up from over-grazing.

So as you might guess from the above paragraph, expecting this Norwegian quintet to renew anything is really not in the order of things (neither do they have the pretension to), but whatever they chose to do, they do it well! Extremely well!! If Anglagard had taken the different influences and mixed them up so well that it was almost new (especially given the relative failure of the previous generation of groups), Sinkadus, the PŰr Lindh Project (and to a lesser extent Nebelnest which was much more improvisational) did not manage to take over the banner as high (due to their inspiration. or lack of it), something that Wobbler might just be able to do, but it might just be a bit to soon that yell it out loud.

Just three tracks (not counting that useless intro) on this album, the longest being .. toooo long. The main problem I can see compared with the previous generation is that they are trying to go one step further (but obviously from what you can read in this review, they are not succeeding), and if the music stays dazzling, full of all the ingredients we all love, it (the music) seems to drag on a tad as if it was taking the long way home just to kill time as if nothing very exciting was awaiting it home. Yes that 27 min+ title track is impressive, intricate, multiple, enchanting, using and abusing the mellotron and the flute (two guest musicians) characteristic to be found in the following almost 13-min Rubato and on the closing Clair Obscur. All very impressive but unlike their predecessors, it is almost impossible to pick instantly on which track you are listening to when you start blindly throughout Wobbler's debut album.

If I spent hundreds of hours on end listening to the early Anglagard, Landberk and Anekdoten in the early to mid 90's (must've listened those some 200 to 300 times), I doubt I will do quite the same with this debut album. All I can see it doing is providing an acceptable alternative to those groups whenever I need a dose of Retro Prog. And this in itself is already not bad. But the complete lack of personality bothers me enough for them to lose 100 points on my weighing scale and one full star in the ProgArchives rating system.

Sean Trane | 3/5 |

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