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Hidden Lands


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4 stars A new band Hidden Lands coming from the ashes of one of Sweden best kept secrets Vilonet Silence disbanded around 2006 manage to capture my attention big time in last month or so. With 4 out of 5 members coming from Violent Silence minus the drumer who is a new name, the rest are like they were on Kinetic from 2005. Even the sound is quite silmilat witht that album and musicianship aswell is top notch. Hidden Lands is a great new comer who manage to release their first album in novemeber 2012 named In our nature. This type o f prog rock is always a pleasure to listen, very demanding and the ideas are more then great. Only 6 pieces, but long eneough to show big potential in today prog field with original arrangements and excellent playing. This album sounds like a continuation of Kinetic in many parts, but maybe is little more melodic and busy in musical ideas. In My Nature, L'ancien Régime wiht a UK touch (danger money era) with that typical Eddie Jobson atmophere on keyboards, very solid track and the instrumental one Stiletto Runner is adefinetly a winner like the rest. So, to me definetly one of the best albums of 2012, maybe in top 3 for last year. Very strong inventive and goes recommended sor sure, very nice cover art.
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Posted Tuesday, January 22, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars Hidden Lands stand out on the pack on this debut album thanks to keyboardists Björn Westén and Hannes Ljunghall (who in addition to keyboard duties shifts over to guitar as well). From the start of opening number and not-quite-title track In My Nature, it's clear that Westén and Ljunghall are greatly inspired by the space-electronic stylings of the likes of Tangerine Dream, and this style adds an unusual and welcomely original spin to the neo-prog proceedings here.

Intriguingly, aside from drummer Gustav Nyber this album is essentially a reunion of the old Violent Silence lineup. Violent Silence themselves are, in fact, still a going concern - they've just unveiled the cover art for their new album on Facebook - although only Westén and Ljunghall are still in the lineup. The question of which is the original band and which is the side project is a puzzling one, but shouldn't distract you from the quality of music offered up here.

Report this review (#949648)
Posted Friday, April 26, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars Oh a modern symphonic progressive rock group from my own country has released their debut album last year. How interesting I thought; I must listen immediately. I did and here's my opinion. This was a nice listening over all. I was pleased, but not amazed. This is a five man group featuring Hannes Ljunghall, Björn Westén, Bruno Edling, Phillip Bastin and Gustav Nyber. The record has a cover with a nature theme in black and white. I was expecting exciting music with many referencies and maybe a hidden musically gem.

In out nature contains seven tracks and the total play time is enough to make a perfect prog record, not too little and not too much. The first piece "In my nature" begins with very modern sounds. You can almost hear a xylophone (or something similar). It develops when the keyboard gets higher. Already from the first track I had problem with the vocals, I don't think they are very good. This problem continues on the whole record. Perhaps it's too quiet or just not as special as I would covet. "L'Ancien Régime" is the records best track. The singing in the beginning is carefull and quits fast leading into a journey of nice keyboard work. This track is really symphonic. "The road to Hylach" contains good instrumental parts, a special drumming and almost a little Mike Oldfield feeling. But the vocals destroys the rest. "Incurable" begins interesting and I am still pleased to listen to it. "Stiletto runner" is the second best track with a very different rhytm, almost a pop feeling and symphonic ideas. The last track "The night garden" also contains interesting themes and nice listen material.

I will give this record a weak three star rating. It is nice to listen to, but the vocals are rather bad and this music don't really invite us to musical journeys of progressive soundscapes. This gave me fourty five minutes of music. Thank you very much, but It's enough. I don't think I will listen to Hiddens lands again ? sorry!

Report this review (#958529)
Posted Sunday, May 12, 2013 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Swedish band from Uppsala, no wonder, because Hidden Lands are an offshoot project of Violent Silence, keyboardist/guitarist Hannes Ljunghall, keyboardist Bjorn Westen, singer Bruno Edling and bassist Phillip Bastin are all members of Violent Silence and the only change comes behind the drum kit, where Gustav Nyber is responsible for the drumming.The band announced its formation in 2012 and later in the year they released their debut ''In our nature'', distributed via Progress Records.

As with VIOLENT SILENCE, the music of Hidden Lands is fairly keyboard-dominated, but this time the approach is a bit more melodic, atmospheric and symphonic with stronger links to the 70's and yet another impressive palette of different keyboard colors.Same thing with the main band of the involved members, the music appears to be an original and melodic Symphonic Rock with occasional jazzy and electronic injections, but the result is pretty genuine and nothing like you have heard before.Actually the only comparison could be British veterans CITIZEN CAIN, the material has evident ties with Classic Prog, but there are more than enough twists and turns both in the arrangements and styles to easily classify the band.Six long tracks with some GENESIS influences in a more Symphonic/Fusion enviroment, retaining the smooth and romantic atmosphere of the legends, but also breaking into more emphatic territories with great vocals and complex keyboard instrumentals, characterized by the powerful bass lines and the lovely switches on analog and modern keyboards.They kind of remind me also of NATHAN MAHL and HOLDING PATTERN at times, good display of Classical interludes, laid-back symphonic soundscapes but also trickier keyboard leads, moreover when they come in double doses.In certain moments they sink also in a world of more experimental offerings with the loops and vibraphone coming in the forefront, but the dominant principles come definitely from the Classic Prog school and the mood for elaborate and lush keyboard-centered orchestrations.

Good debut by one of the most personal-sounding bands of the recent Prog era.Balanced Neo/Symphonic Prog with keyboards in evidence and spices from Electronic Music and Jazz Fusion.Warmly recommended.

Report this review (#1309460)
Posted Sunday, November 16, 2014 | Review Permalink

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