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3 stars This album by Lugnoro falls into a category that I've heard quite a bit from recently, that of blues-based progressive rock with a very vintage vibe. Much of this album is dominated by guitar riffs and classic-rock organ, and it can get a bit repetitive. A few standout tracks really stick out, but unfortunately the rest of the album simply doesn't measure up.

"Människan" begins with some synths and guitar that for some reason remind me of sections from Mike Oldfield's Amarok. This feeling is quickly dispelled, however, as vocals enter and the guitars get a little heavier. The song makes use of strong guitar work, especially taking the form of some great riffs, and the vocals, while not incredibly technically impressive, fit the music very well and help to enhance the classic or "vintage" feel of the music. At about 6 minutes in the motif changes, adding some background vocals before dropping into a more atmospheric, less riffy section, though this foray is brief. The instantly identifiable classic-rock organ that seems to be showing up on all the albums I've been listening to recently is a big player throughout the song as well. Overall, "Människan" is a good song and a pleasant listen, but given the fact that most of the song makes use of the same verse-chorus structure it feels a bit long if you aren't just passively listening.

"Lugn & ro" begins with some energetic music that's a bit reminiscent of Beardfish's more bluesy moments. The guitar is really the star player here, filling the space between vocals with great, emotive soloing. Even the riffs are high-energy and grooving. My one complaint would be that the way the vocals are set up (there seems to be a sort of layering effect on them) I feel takes a bit away from the power of their delivery. The instrumental sections of the song are excellent, though, with solos aplenty and interesting playing throughout.

"Till mitt sista andetag" begins with some minimal percussion before a relaxed, bluesy guitar line enters, and it sounds great. I think the vocals work very well here as well, with a cleaner sound and some great backing vocals that really help set up the mood of the track. This song is one of my favorites on the album, with a totally unique sound and a more stripped down instrumentation that really lets the melodies speak for themselves. There's also an awesome short section at the end of the track that switches up the motif entirely, upping the tempo and bringing in a harmonica for an awesome blues/folk hybrid sound. It feels a bit tacked on, but it's so much fun that I'm willing to overlook the slightly lacking cohesion.

"Familjen" returns to the rock riffing of the first two tracks for another uptempo number. The organ again takes up a prominent role and the vocals are among the best on the album, with emotional delivery and a raw, powerful tone. One of the things I really enjoy about the blues/prog combination that tends to pop up is that the riffs are far more interesting than your typical riffs and that's certainly the case here. The high standards of musicianship of the band are increasingly apparent on this track, and along with its predecessor I think the songwriting is at a high point here, managing to avoid the slightly repetitive sound of the opener.

"Oro," by far the shortest track on the album, is essentially just a brief instrumental blues number. The musicianship is top-notch, of course, but the track is really too short to feel like anything more than an interlude, and not a terribly interesting one at that. Not that a song needs to be long to be interesting, but there's really just not much here. On an album where all the other songs are over five minutes and two are over ten, "Oro" just feels really underdeveloped.

"Öga för öga" begins with (surprise, surprise) a heavily blues-rock influenced guitar part and follows much the same track as most of the other songs behind it. Don't get me wrong, it's not a bad song, it just suffers from having a lot of similar sounding songs preceding it, and even great solos begin to get repetitive after a while when they all fall basically within the same sound. That's merely my opinion of course; I'm not huge on this retro-blues-rock style of music to begin with and so for me "Öga för öga" is where the album begins to wear a bit thin.

"Jorden" fortunately takes things in a new direction, beginning with a spacey introduction that sounds a whole lot like Pink Floyd's "Shine On You Crazy Diamond." So much, in fact, that there are sections that sound to me like straight quotes. I'm not sure if this was intentional or not, but the instrumentation and melodies are just so similar that I wouldn't be surprised to learn that this was meant to be an homage. The similarity fades a bit when the vocals enter, but there's still a strong Pink Floyd vibe until about 5 minutes in when some heavier guitars begin to take a more prominent role, and when the organ makes a reappearance the song begins to sound less like Pink Floyd and more like the rest of the album. It's a bit more atmospheric than the rest of the album, however, and it's a better song for it, as it's able to build a mood a lot more effectively than I think many of the other tracks were able to. I also hear more sonic variety on "Jorden" than on many of the other tracks. It's perhaps a bit overlong, but it's perfectly listenable and never outright boring, and the final instrumental section is admittedly pretty awesome.

So overall, "Tellus" has some good songs, but I can see just by my play-counts that this is an album I've often started and rarely finished. "Jorden" and "Till mitt sista andetag" are great tracks, but nothing from the rest of the album really grabs me that much, and after doing several complete listens for this review I honestly don't see myself listening to the entire album again anytime in the near future. Some good tracks for sure, but not a fantastic album in my book.


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Posted Friday, January 20, 2012 | Review Permalink

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  • 4 stars tupan (Bruno Rios Evangelista)

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