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4 stars I will start off by saying that this is not a new full-length CD - though all of you probably know this because of how progarchives organizes albums into their proper categories - but instead a kind of 'Best of' album and an extra disc that contains mostly demos of songs already available on other studio releases, with the exception of an unreleased track on the first CD and original cuts from the Vemod album.

As a ' best of ' album I have to say that the selections here are pretty representative of each album. 3 of the 4 tracks that are provided by this website are included on disc one and I remember it was those tracks that made me an instant Anekdoten fan. The first disc may seem a bit biased since 8 of the 11 songs come from the last 2 full studio albums: Gravity and A Time of Day. Despite this with the two discs combined feature every Anekdoten album.

---------------- Disc 1: ----------------

1: Ricochet - This is an unbelievably positive song from a normally melancholic Anekdoten; this is a cut from the 'Gravity' album, an album that has many Anekdoten fans divided. Personally it is one of my favorite songs in Anekdoten's repertoire and off of the album. Anna Sofi exchanges the cello for a farfisa organ, but just as always she is at the fore and uses it to the utmost. It is recommended that everyone interested in Anekdoten hear this song since it shows a different side of Anekdoten.

2: The Great Unknown - Another great selection. This is the track that makes you proud to own Anekdoten's latest album: Great intro guitar riff, organ, mellotron, flutes and atmosphere abound. The juxtaposition of this track and the previous track 'Ricochet' reveal the many facets of Anekdoten.

3: From Within - This track features vocals from guitarist Nicklas Barker and from the same guy, some of Anekdoten's most obscure riffing. Anyone who likes a creeping mellotron will instantly like this track. And again, great selection considering the first two tracks.

4. In For A Ride - An interesting selection for a record like this one. Like Ricochet, this song stands out quite a bit from Anekdoten's normal song structure: it is the fastest Anekdoten song that I know of, and contains one of the most upbeat riffs and drumming. This is not a negative thing, but helps you to understand their early psychedelic influences (Syd Barrett Pink Floyd, Amon Düül) and perhaps, even slightly, some of their more straight ahead rock and metal influences such as Motörhead. With this in mind though, Anekdoten also twist and turn this one even including a section that I could only best describe as being in a submarine near the abyssal plains at the bottom of the ocean.

5. The War Is Over - The band had shot a video of this song in the Swedish archipelago and for good reasons. It is a song that features the acoustic guitar as the rhythm and lead and with that, the versatility of the guitarist Nicklas. Again, the more psychedelic influences show up in this track.

6. Monolith - The track title says it all.

7. A Sky About To Rain - Absolutely beautiful mellotron, perhaps some of the most emotive (what about this instrument cannot be emotive?). Great clean guitar intro, but contains one of the heaviest riffs Nicklas has written and an interesting solo by Anna Sofi. Also a quirky lyrical passage "Then you asked me how this came to be A quite selective memory In what dirty river did you find the water that would make you lose your reflection?"

Not necessarily the words themselves, but rather the inflection used on the word 'reflection' and the fact that the rhyming verses crumble with that one lyric.

8. Every Step I Take - Beautiful keys and the closest thing Anekdoten have ever come to post-rock (think Explosions In The Sky); the only thing more that needs to be said about this track is that like on the CD "A Time of Day" this track immediately follows the last track, 'A Sky About To Rain'. The tracks combine without you noticing.

9. Groundbound - An extremely Fripp-ish discordant and frightening track. Mellotron does it again, but also spooky Rickenbacker bass from Jan Erik.

10. Gravity - title track with incredible lyrics. The voice is what really gets me about this track, trembling and melancholic. It's another rocker too.

11. When I Turn - An unreleased track. Anekdoten is notorious for using keys, but never the grand piano. Well this track features it (more of it on the second disc played by Per Wiberg of Opeth on their first album). Anna Sofi's wonderful talent is fully expressed here as the grand piano, organ and mellotron crescendo into something heavenly, kind of reminiscent of the experimental works from Ulver.

-------------------- Disc Two: --------------------

1. Sad Rain - The first Anekdoten composition every written and probably one of their best. This song is only included on the Japanese release of their first studio album, Vemod.

2. Wheel - Wow this track is different. The most avant-garde track off of the dreadful, the beautiful, Vemod. To my knowledge it is the only Anekdoten track that actually features a horn solo (trumpet I think and 2 of them at that); and with an 'evil' Rickenbacker bass backing. Vocals from Anna Sofi as well, eerie.

3. The Old Man And The Sea - King Crimson 'Red' era with a touch of Larks' Tongues In Aspic, but also distinctly Anekdoten. Beautiful cello, and maybe the first time you here cello on this compilation, also Per Wiberg on the grand piano.

4. Nucleus (demo) - An incredibly stripped down version of this unbelievably adept and intelligent song. The original is still on of my favorite Anekdoten tracks and a favorite for introducing people to 'strange music'. I like this version alright, though it pales in comparison to the original. Still a great look into the primordial mold of this song.

5. Book Of Hours (demo) - A track that seems heavily influenced by early Pink Floyd (after Syd Barrett but before Dark Side Of the Moon). I do not know how different this one is from the original, from what I hear it is pretty similar.

6. This Far From The Sky (demo) - More of that wonderful King Crimson influence. Absolutely scathing.

7. 30 Pieces (demo) - Pretty true to the original recording off of their latest ' A Time Of Day '. I would suggest hearing the album version as this one does not yet include the flute solo from Gunnar Bergsten - an absolute must. Some of my favorite drumming from Peter Nordin, but again more developed on the actual album.

8. Prince Of The Ocean (demo) - Brooding; in a good way of course!

This review is an Anekdoten fan's review, but I will own up to it. I would recommend this as a great introductory album for someone who wants to hear the best of what Anekdoten has to offer. The re-mastered version of Nucleus contains the better portions of the songs on disc two; the same can be said for the other two songs from ' A Time Of Day ' off of disc two. Overall, I recommend this album with 4 stars, a rating that I would give all of the Anekdoten studio albums.

Report this review (#223194)
Posted Friday, June 26, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Being the kind of person who usually enjoys listening to songs on albums in the order they were intended there is normally little incentive for me to buy compilations. Now and again though one will come along that is a must because of rarities and unreleased tracks etc. Such an album is Chapters from Swedish proggers Anekdoten. Beautifully packaged in a double digipak format it's a 2 cd set that spans their entire career.

Anekdoten started life in the early nineties playing King Crimson covers and their own material was highly influenced by Crimson, at least to begin with. The powerful and dynamic rhythm section of Peter Nordins (drums) and Jan Erik Liljeström (bass) are complimented by the haunting keyboard sounds (the wonderful mellotron more often than not) of Anna Sofi Dahlberg as well as her occasional use of cello and guitarist Nicklas Barker (formerly Berg) with a style ranging from powerful riffs to subtle, delicate picking. Melancholic vocals are handled by Barker and Liljeström with occasional help from Dahlberg.

Musically Anekdoten range from the incredibly heavy to quiet sublime moments often in the same song giving them an extremely dynamic sound. As already mentioned, Crimson were a big early influence though they always stamped their own identity on their music and after the first couple of albums their music displayed these influences less and less over each subsequent release.

Of the previously released songs, any compilation is bound to bring up arguments about whether this or that track should have been included but the band have done a good job in selecting a broad section of material. I would have included the hypnotic Hole but it's of little matter as I already own all the studio albums. All albums are covered though strangely nothing appears from Nucleus except in demo form. Most of the previously released material appears on the first disc covering their last 3 studio albums which it would appear are the bands favourites. 2 tracks from Vemod appear on disc 2.

Of most interest to fans who own their 5 studio albums already is the wealth of unreleased material. Closing disc 1 is When I Turn, an old song which the band never felt they could do justice to due to problems playing the piano part. Finally it has been completed with help from Per Wilberg of Opeth fame. It finds the band in restrained ballad mode, keyboards and vocals only and is a lovely piece.

Disc 2 opens with Sad Rain, a song that was only previously available on the Japanese version of their debut album Vemod. It's an alternative mix that appears here and well worth having. Less bombastic than much of their early material, it treads the same ground as In The Court Of The Crimson King and is a beautifully melancholic song drenched in mellotron.

3 songs appear in demo form from Nucleus; the title track, Book Of Hours and This Far From The Sky. Not surprisingly, none of them are an improvement on the album versions but offer an interesting alternative. Likewise with the 2 demo tracks that appeared on A Time Of Day, 30 Pieces and Prince Of The Ocean.

Chapters makes an excellent introduction to Anekdoten for the uninitiated but equally worth getting hold of by existing fans for the unreleased demos and rarities. They're onto a winner with this one.

Report this review (#228772)
Posted Tuesday, July 28, 2009 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars I'd like to think i'm the biggest ANEKDOTEN fan on this site, there are few bands who move me like these Swede's have over the years. And I think they've been very consistant with their five studio albums, there's not a lot to choose between them. In the press release for this retrospective double album the bands says it has been 18 years since the four of them got together in a small house in the village of Djuras to rehearse for the first time.There are some great pictures in the liner notes, and the packaging is all very well done.

The first disc features the favourite songs from the band members from their last three studio albums. There is also a previously unreleased track called "When I Turn" which was to be on the "From Within" album but they were never happy with the piano on it. So they got Per Wiberg from OPETH to play it the way they wanted it here.This is a song that has really grown on me. I didn't think much of it at first but this is a gorgeous track with Per, Nicklaus and Peter only on it. The vocals just melt me along with the piano. Every song on this first disc is so special to me. I'm so glad that "Ricochet" and "The War Is Over" are on here. Perhaps the two most moving songs for me from this great band. "A Sky About To Rain" from "A Time Of Day" just keeps getting better everytime I hear it. No sense in me reviewing every song on disc one since i've done many of these tracks not only from the studio albums but the live ones too.The four tunes I mentioned plus "The Great Unknown" are my favs from disc one.

Of the 8 songs on Disc two 5 are demos. "Sad Rain" is an alternate mix from the bonus track we hear on "Vemod". "Wheel" and "The Old Man & The Sea" are from "Vemod" and include OPETH's Per Wiberg on piano. The next three tracks are demos from the "Nucleus" sessions. The band says "The creative atmosphere that surrounded these recordings made them far too good to lie collecting dust in the archives". And I must say you wouldn't know they were demos. The final two songs are demos from "A Time Of Day" that were re-worked from these versions.The band notes that the versions that went on the album aren't necessarily better than these demos.

For me an easy 4 stars, too much valuable information, pictures and songs. A must for fans.

Report this review (#234932)
Posted Monday, August 24, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
4 stars I'd like to nominate myself as the second-biggest Anekdoten fan on the archives. I tried hard to get to the top but have to admit Sinkadotentree is miles out of reach!

At least I'm fan enough to find the whole idea of an Anekdoten compilation rather puzzling. After all, what you need is all their albums, not just a selection. But as compilations come, this Chapters is one that honours the band in a well judged and respectful manner. The focus is on the last few studio albums which is fine as those represented a more mature and personal style. But the Anekdoten heyday is represented as well, with remixes from Wheel and The Old Man.

The gem to get is Sad Rain, a beautiful King Crimson homage (almost a Starless cover) that was included on certain issues of the debut album. Another rare track is When I Turn, which pays tribute to another Anekdoten hero, namely Peter Hammill. The opening line is almost a quote from A Louse is Not a Home from the Silent Corner album: "Sometimes it's very scary here".

The second CD contains a number of alternate studio outtakes, making this compilation not only suited as an introduction to the band, but also a treat for fans. Let the demo tag not scare you, these versions sound every bit as good as the originals, they aren't that different from the studio versions but have the focussed energy of a good live performance. Especially 30 Pieces gains power from the rough edges.

I'll join the crowd with another 4 star recommendation. As compilations come this is a very professional and respectful one.

Report this review (#263275)
Posted Friday, January 29, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars An excellent CD for Newbie

I have got this double CDs for moths already and I have always thought that I have put some words about this compilation CD in this site. But in fact, I haven't. That's why I am trying to write it down here. As you might have noticed, I have written reviews about this band with their previous albums. Most of the reviews I always acknowledge how great the Anekdoten music is. Even though sometimes I got confused with another band called Anglagard but the two bands have differences despite commonality in the vein of music they play. It's not really because ANglagard music is harder to digest compared to Anekdoten

First off, this CD summarizes the band's 18 years journey of their musical career starting with a music heavily influenced by King Crimson and then they seek for thair own style and sound even though there seem still there even until the latest album. I think with such relatively long history they deserve to issue a boxed set like this one as well.

Second, this compilation serves excellently as an 'inception' CD for those who have never heard Anekdoten. For those of you who miss the mellotron sound of 70's, this might be the answer! I don't think there is something special or complex, chord-wise as well as overall composition of the album. The critical point is the ability of the band to create musical nuances throughout all tracks in the album by exploring mellotron sound, bass guitar, cello, drums and wurlitzer brilliantly! Top notch music!

According the band's site, this album comprises songs of their favorite. Unfortunately, my favorite track "Hole" from "From Within" album is not incorporated here with this CD. I am a bit disappointed, actually. "Hole" really killed me the first time I listened to it. What a nice yet simple music they provide for the hungry listener of this sort of music! IMHO, this track itself is enough to justify that this album should be in your collection. Especially the hard core fan of early KC, it's a satisfaction guaranteed deal!! Opened with a dazzling simple chord of mellotron (swear! The intro of this track is early Crimson stuff!!) plus other instruments as background, followed by an immediate silent as to open the gate for vocals part to start. Observe how the voice starts beautifully with Hammil's kind of heavy voice "I wonder why I let time slip by unconcerned .." oh my GOD! This is very nice! The whole track is well written. Keep on proggin' ...!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Report this review (#286171)
Posted Saturday, June 12, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Best album for new fans, not the best one for freaks

I am a deep ANEKDOTEN fan, and I have all albums of them, except this best album. Well, if you have all the albums, you do not need to buy best album, naturally, but I have a reason. That is because this best album is missing some of their important songs like Karelia, Kiss Of Life, Hole, etc. But Disc 1 covers most of their best songs, and I am listening to this album in my car which I downloaded from i-Tunes.

ANEKDOTEN is all about Mellotron, but this has eternal freshness, and this is one of the Must prog albums if you are exploring this prog world as Prog rock is all about Mellotron in a sense.

Report this review (#300622)
Posted Sunday, September 26, 2010 | Review Permalink

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