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Wobbler - Hinterland CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.81 | 315 ratings

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Machiels Luc
5 stars Let there be no doubt, there's an undeniable influence of Gentle Giant and even some other old prog greats may be a reference. However, it's almost impossible to make new prog music with no influences, it would be no prog anymore. Wobbler already has a lot of fans all over the world. Therefore they have used the internet to reach 'die hards' who are on a never ending search for new bands.

A few years ago, they had put two free downloadable strong (long) numbers on their website and this was the way a lot of fans discovered this band. Together with some noteworthy events (Freakshow Artrock Festival Würzburg 2004, Oslo Prog.fest 2004, NEARfest 2005) and their presence at the Progday support sampler, they became more known. All this made them well known, even without any releases. In the spring of 1999, most of the band members, not even 20 years old, formed the band in the idyllic Norwegian countryside (Hinterland?). The goal area: early seventies music and analogue instruments of that time. Lars a fanatically driven mellotron addict together with his companions now reached this goal. This first release is already a very mature piece of music, long pieces with rather complicated structures.

Once more "The Laser's Edge" had managed to sign a young skilful band. Lars who also plays keyboards with White Willow already proved to be a great keyboard player on their latest album "Storm season" with his composition "Insomnia".

The album opens with a very short (41 sec) mellotron (1652) driven track "Serenade for 1652", which reminds me of the early King Crimson.

The titeltrack "Hinterland" (27 min 47 sec) is in spite of the length a very coherent musical epos, with some beautiful multi-layered vocals. This strong composition is mostly softly wobbling, with some dark vintage keyboard driven parts. Mellotron and Minimoog are playing a leading role in different parts. More in the end there are some delicate flute parts and Lars is also at his best. Martin (Ludwig drums) and Kristian (who uses the two best bass guitars ever; Rickenbacker and Fender jazz) are responsible for the strong rhythm base. They prove to be some of the best students of the GG-school. The Third track "Rubato Industry" (12 min 44 sec) is the central piece of the album. This more complex composition, full of contrasts, with only vocals in the middle section, shows Lars Frøislie's affinity for keyboards, also Morten is at his best in this track. It provides a real colourful carpet of dark symphonic prog for fans of keyboard driven prog. The closing track "Clair Obscur" (15 min 37sec) has a magic breathtaking acoustic piano part in the intro, like a cross-mark for the rest of the track. The more lyric parts are relieved by more bombastic keyboard parts. At the end, the song is fading away and then there's silence, to make you realise that it's finished already.

The addition of acoustic guitar and flute parts (Ketil Einarsen) gives the listener a bit of time to catch his breath during the journey through Wobbler's Hinterland. The use of the guitar, although Morten is a very well gifted guitar player, is more centralised in the softer parts. Maybe the guitar and the drums have to be brought some more in front, however creating a sound is sometimes making compromises. I honestly hope that the great amount of keyboards and the (guest) flute parts will not be an obstacle on the live performances of the band. Most of the early seventies bands evolved from shorter to longer tracks (for instance Yes), maybe Wobbler is working the other way round?

"The Torch Has Been Passed" is not a hollow phrase, but surely a new generation of prog-musicians has been born. The future of prog seems to be guaranteed once more. What a great musicianship for such a youngsters.

Machiels Luc | 5/5 |


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