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Wobbler - Afterglow CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.81 | 267 ratings

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4 stars This is a band. A real one. A group of guys so good, who play together so well, they just don't care anymore. It's better to just relax and let them do what they do - e.g. laying down the primaries together in the same room with very few takes or overdubs - than to attempt to perceive them in the normal way one does five musicians & friends. The material was conceived and written in '99 which means by the time these trollkarlars started recording, the pieces had been well-gestated, were more than ready for birth and have an immediacy rarely heard in modern prog albums. Late is almost always better than premature anyway.

When one considers Wobbler's debut was in 2005, the cuts here could be seen as supplemental to, or even predating, the work on Hinterland. If that's the case, it makes Afterglow that much more interesting (and explains the title). A preamble Elizabethan is quickly discarded for the robust and ever-changing 'The Haywain' and though the past is always present in Wobbler's music, they are unique in their brutal authenticity; an animal of uncompromising natures and ancient, earthly powers. These men of the mountains have secrets and they're not going to share them anytime soon. You have to listen and figure it out yourself. At fifteen minutes, 'The Haywain' is simply a joy of compositional alchemy and is as good as anything on their first.

'Interlude', an engaging conversation between Hultgren's basses and Eng's cello, opens 'In Taberna', bookending the album with its second epic full of tight playing, solid charting, and brief peeks of ELP circa 1971, things ending with pseudo-Baroque 'Armoury' and a nod to maestro Wakeman.

I understand why the consensus deems this one the poorest of the three releases so far, and that is probably an accurate judgment. The thing is, with a band this special, it doesn't matter. It's a winner no matter how you slice it.

Atavachron | 4/5 |


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