Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Hidden Lands - Lycksalighetens ÷ CD (album) cover

LYCKSALIGHETENS Í

Hidden Lands

Neo-Prog


From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Bookmark and Share
Second Life Syndrome
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars I had really high hopes for this sophomore album from Sweden's Hidden Lands. I became an immense fan of their debut album "In Our Nature" with its playful, quirky melodies, vast variety of rhythms, and incredible synth solos (some of the best I've ever heard). Even the unconventional voice of Bruno Edling became a favorite of mine, as it fit perfectly with the organic, acoustic nature of the album.

Well, Hidden Lands has released their latest, "Lycksalighetens ÷", which translates to something like "The Blissful Island". I believe it is lyrically based on a story of the same name by Per Daniel Amadeus Atterbom about a king that leaves his country and discovers a beautiful island. After leaving because of a guilty conscience, he finds the world not as he had hoped. It's an interesting story, and the cover art is rather conducive to it.

Yet, I don't find myself sinking my teeth as deeply into this new album. Hidden Lands has kept the same formula, adding only some guitar here and there. Each musician performs wonderfully: Bruno Edling excels on vocals again, Hannes Ljunghall on keyboards and guitars provides most of the music, Phillip Bastin on bass is excellent, and Gustav Nyberg on drums is brilliant as usual. There is, however, something missing. The music is played well, has a great foundation and theme, but the composition just isn't there. Nothing draws me in or makes me want to sing. In fact, I feel that Bruno is criminally underutilized on this album, as seemingly pointless stretches of keyboard rabbit trails take his place.

The best tracks here are "Corsican Daydream" and "Dakkar", the first two on the album. They are riveting and very lush in sound with some great choruses and especially brilliant keys. But I feel the album goes downhill from there. The songs begin to blur together. In fact, I still am not sure where some start and others end. Everything sounds very much the same when the primary driving force of the music is a single synth tone. After awhile, your brain has had enough. Sadly, the track named after the band, "Hidden Lands", is the worst track they've ever made, as its twenty minute length is way too long and features seemingly endless synth meandering.

Don't get me wrong. This is an enjoyable album, and the first half is beautiful. However, the composition simply comes apart at the seams in the second half. I wish they had stuck to the shorter song styles of the first album, as it made for bouncy, filler-free songs that were fun and full of ideas. This new album, however, seems like an attempt to be "proggier" somehow, and it has destroyed their sound. I can only hope for a return to the inspired, real sound of the first album soon.

Report this review (#1298734)
Posted Wednesday, October 29, 2014 | Review Permalink
3 stars Hidden Lands is a Swedish symphonic rock band which is called Neo-prog here and that is certainly a good description. It is a two year old band which released their debut album 2012 "In our nature" which was a decent but harmless record. I think "Lycksalighetens ÷" is a little progression. It's a new record which unlike the last one's cover, has a lot of nice colours. "Lycksalighetens ÷" is a lovely and very romantic title and it's a big shame that the whole album isn't in Swedish. Then it could have been much more interesting. The line up is Bruno Edling who sings, Hannes Ljunghall who plays keyboards and guitars, Phillip Bastin who plays bass and the drummer Gustav Nyberg.

This record is a progression according to me and the biggest explanation is the song lengths. Long and epic sweaping songs could easier pass over the fealings the band want to share with us. The last track called "Hidden Lands", just like the band is the album's longest and best track(7/10). it features well played keyboards and original melodies and is nice to hear. I also hear that the band, and especially Ljunghall has potentials and could approach more perfection in the future. Still this feels incoherent and a bit lame from time to time. "Corsican Daydream" is another long and fine track(7/10) and the third longest "Dakkar" is also very pleasant(7/10). I also like and would recommend the more popular sounding "In the wind"(6/10).

Hidden Lands has big pretentions and that is awesome, and they should be honoured for that. I will give the record three prog stars and look forward to hear more from this band in the future. This album reveals a lot of happiness and I think that will reach the lsiteners too.

Report this review (#1302497)
Posted Monday, November 10, 2014 | Review Permalink
progpositivity
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Followers of Swedish prog band A Violent Silence are to be excused if they are at least a little confused. Didn't drummer Johan Hedman just release a new Violent Silence album last year named A Broken Truce featuring Martin Ahlquist on vocals as well as Hannes Ljunghall and Bj÷rn WestÚn on Keyboards? How in the world did Martin, Hannes and Bj÷rn manage to find the time and energy to comprise the core of an entirely different prog band named Hidden Lands also releasing a new album titled Lycksalighetens? Is one of these groups a side project or perhaps a studio-only 'band'?

Well, it turns out that composer/keyboardist Hannes Ljunghall took some time away to spend with family and hasn't been actively working with A Violent Silence for over half a decade now. (His continued presence lingers with that band via the modern wonders of Cubase software.) For different reasons, over the course of time other members dropped out of VS here and there as prog musicians tend to do from time to time and then gradually coalesced back together to try their collective hands at yet another new musical adventure.

Meanwhile, Hedman faithfully soldiered on in pursuit of his uniquely percussive and occasionally obliquely metallic vision of guitar-less prog. If you've never heard VS, I recommend you check it out. Hedman is certainly to be commended as one who gives credit where credit is due. Hence the source of my confusion. Let's just say that despite having assembled new band members for A Violent Silence, as long as Hedman gains inspiration from or otherwise uses snippets of old bandmates' performances, we may continue seeing Ljunghall and Wesen listed as contributors on future Violent Silence albums. Fair enough.

Now on to Hidden Lands, our new place to discover the most recent compositions and performances from Hannes and Bjorn featuring vocals by Bruno Edling. It's a real joy to hear what these guys have been up to lately. On one hand, the output of this 'new' band full of familiar names and faces naturally bears more than a few similarities to that of their previous incarnation. But it is the ways in which their music is branching out that I find most interesting. A few tastefully performed six-string solos expand the sonic palette, while also serving to free them from their 'no guitars' novelty. This album will live or die on the songs and performances alone.

With that out of the way, Lycksalighetens is, of course, still a very keyboard-centric affair. The band is fully capable of picking up the tempo to rock a bit here and there, but Hidden Lands' greatest moments happen when bass guitar and keyboard lines playfully yet subtly interact with one another even as catchy vocal lines and competent drumming bind everything together into a cohesive whole.

Some moments of this album call to my mind the 1980's fusion pop band Level 42. That is a very imprecise point of reference, however. Hidden Lands' music is much more varied and complex than Level 42.

During calm stretches, many bands seek to approximate the sense of pastoral bliss through providing extended, droning, uneventful soundscapes. Hidden Lands knows better. Softer passages need harmonic points of interest every bit as much as, perhaps even more than, the uptempo driving sequences. And they deliver the goods! This is true synergy and a wonderful treat to anyone who appreciates classic fusiony symphonic prog with a bright shimmery, yet also mellow and relaxed hue. This is content, happy music that doesn't require you to unplug your mind.. Perhaps more of us should take a few years off to be with family! It sure seems to have worked out well for Hannes Ljunghall

Highly recommended!

Report this review (#1320497)
Posted Friday, December 5, 2014 | Review Permalink

HIDDEN LANDS Lycksalighetens ÷ ratings only


chronological order | showing rating only

Post a review of HIDDEN LANDS Lycksalighetens ÷


You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: JazzMusicArchives.com — jazz music reviews and archives | MetalMusicArchives.com — metal music reviews and archives