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Gungfly - Lamentations CD (album) cover

LAMENTATIONS

Gungfly

Crossover Prog


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5 stars "Lamentations" completely and immediately has touched me musically. It is definitely one of my "desert island" cd's.

Rikard Sjoblum, is a wonderfully talented artist, with the rare ability to make his voice/singing style an instrument in the music. The music displays what can only be the artists vast appreciation of musical styles; there are odes to jazz, pop, disco, classical, rock, heavy metal, and even tango - which I didn't even know I could like until I heard it woven into his music. Lest I forget blues, oh, blues, "Peace at Mind" is so rich with blues and Rikard sings that style so well, it actually makes my soul ache. "Bringing Down the Walls" showcases one thing that Rikard does so well, and that is to paint a picture of a moment, a feeling, a state of mind and pull you in with him emotionally. The whole cd does this to one degree or another, without ever feeling heavy and weighty.

A treasure for sure.

Report this review (#471123)
Posted Monday, June 27, 2011 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars 'Lamentations' - Gungfly (7/10)

With an album from his flagship project coming out earlier in the year, Rikard Sjöblom has been a busy man lately. Beardfish's 'Mammoth' however, only managed to moderately impress me, with most of my potential appreciation being lost on what I perceived to be the fairly recycled musical direction and lack of emotion. Gungfly is Sjöblom's solo project, and while similar to the music that Beardfish makes, this appears to be where he directs his more personal material. Although not ultimately different from the music that Beardfish makes, Gungfly's 'Lamentations' is a more moving observation from Sjöblom, and demonstrates his well-roundedness as a prog musician.

It would be safe to say that Gungfly and 'Lamentations' takes a more singer-songwriter approach to music than did Beardfish, albeit only slightly. Sjöblom does all of the instruments here, but there is the feeling that it is a full band playing; there are only a few moments where it is just taken to the man's voice and his guitar. However, Rikard Sjöblom's voice is the main attraction here, and he takes measures to ensure the listener that they are listening to a solo project rather than a lost Beardfish record. All the same, the sound and style here is not unexpected. There is a decent variety of sounds here, mostly rooted in the 70's sound of rock music, but constantly branching out with new angles. The instrumentation never falls into a solo artist's rut; all instruments played here are done quite well, and the guitars have some solos that are quite amazing.

The best thing here however is Rikard's voice itself, which passes me here as being similar to that of Mikael Akerfeldt's (of Opeth), but with a smoother quality to it, The biggest change I noticed from Beardfish to Gungfly are actually in the lyrics themselves; here, Rikard takes a much more personal approach to the music, drawing directly upon his life, rather than drawing out the kind of metaphors that some prog becomes infamous for. Take for instance the first track here, 'Bringing Down The Walls', a groovy number that revolves around the degradation of his family life when he was a kid, and even how it has shaped who he has grown into. Musically, this is not anything different from what I would expect on any Beardfish record, but the lyrics give it an extra push; it becomes much easier to relate to an artist's music when they are opening up their hearts, rather than solely their intellects.

Sjöblom's Gungfly is a solid outing from the Beardfish frontman, although it will still likely always be known as a side project, rather than something all its own. Despite the diversity in sound and style, this is nothing that Sjöblom is not already very used to, but his music here is driven by an added personal touch that I didn't always hear when listening to Beardfish.

Report this review (#534269)
Posted Monday, September 26, 2011 | Review Permalink
Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Eclectic Prog Team
3 stars The most impressive aspect of Gungfly's second album is without a doubt the electric guitar work. Many of the songs are agreeable; other's aren't. Gritty fried rock is the string that holds this sequence of jewels and rhinestones together. It is recommended to fans of Peter Frampton and The Dear Hunter.

"Bringing Down the Walls" A loose rocker blends elements of modern Peter Frampton and Echolyn together for a strong start. Off-kilter guitar lines are juxtaposed with more conventional rock and roll. The second half is more intense, with abrasive screams and crunchy guitar.

"White Light" A fast rock song with an Ozzy Osbourne tinge and peppered with some blistering guitar riffs, this tune includes an acoustic interlude. While some parts are catchy, the piece as a whole remains disorderly and tricky to follow.

"Lamentations" The fanciful melodies here bridge quirky Gentle Giant nods with Jethro Tull's bluesy folk music, making this a fun adventure of a song.

"Peace at Mind" Keeping pace with the blues, the fourth track's main riff has a slight "falling down the stairs" quality to it before rocking out in the refrain. Again, the modern-day Peter Frampton sound is very much there, only with traces of Alice in Chains from time to time and a touch of Mellotron.

"The Game" Gritty guitar and Spanish horn offer a fusion of indie, surf, and Latin rock. The vocals have a dull inflection and an aged tone.

"Sleight of Hand" Edging back into hard rock, this song suddenly changes shape altogether, becoming a laidback R&B number. Regardless of these stylistic changes, the composition remains shaky throughout, lacking the integrity of solid transitions or memorable melodies.

"In This House" The most forgettable song on the album is a nondescript rocker with boisterous vocals. While I can see how this tune might appeal to others, for me it fails to move or impress me the way some of the other tracks do.

"And She Drives Me..." In stark contrast to the previous song (and the album as a whole), this song offers an easygoing piano with a very nice chord progression and light, pleasant singing.

"We Will Never Leave" The longest track mixes moody Mellotron lines with progressive metal leanings and cantankerous lyrics. Offering variety and a morose transition, the wailing of a synthesizer lead escorts the listener into an atmospheric middle passage of dim thunder and gloomy piano. It quite expectedly returns to the hard rock of before. While the vocal melody is enjoyable, the lyrics tend toward 1980s power metal cheese at best or adolescent poetry at worst. Overall, I think this is a respectable composition, even if it is not the best the album has to offer.

"Shape of Days to Come" A moderate rocker with pensive and hopeful lyrics that contrast with the somewhat pessimistic music, the final song puts drearily good melodies next to a bit of unexpected jazz country at the end.

Report this review (#635595)
Posted Saturday, February 18, 2012 | Review Permalink

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