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Hasse Fröberg & Musical Companion - HFMC CD (album) cover


Hasse Fröberg & Musical Companion

Crossover Prog

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4 stars Hasse Froberg & Musical Companion- HFMC

A review by Don Cassidy of Delicious Agony Progressive Rock Radio

The third release by a band has a historical musical precedent of being very important in a band's history. Often it takes a band a few albums to find themselves and the third release has been that place. This is evident in classic releases such as The Yes Album, Trilogy by Emerson, Lake, & Palmer, Machine Head by Deep Purple (Mark II), and Cream's Wheels Of Fire. On HFMC, Hasse Froberg & Musical Companion has taken their mix of progressive rock and hard/classic blues based rock to another level. In an interview with Delicious Agony Progressive Rock Radio, Hasse Froberg told us that the band, 'reached another level on this album.' When hearing the songs, the instrumentation, and production of HFMC, this reviewer agrees. In addition, it appears that the band has released an album that will be an early contender for album of the year and one of the best releases by any member of The Flower Kings.

Most progressive rock fans are familiar with Hasse Froberg as the dynamic singer/rhythm guitarist of The Flower Kings for close to 20 years. While band leader and progressive rock icon Roine Stolt represents the more classic side of progressive rock, Hasse represents that dynamic Bon Scott/Robert Plant element of the band, that is particularly evident in their live performances. When the band was on hiatus in 2010, Hasse Froberg & Musical Companion burst on the scene with their debut album, Future Past. This was followed by the excellent Powerplay in 2012, which was show cased by their appearance at the Rites Of Spring Festival in May of 2012. After a triumphant return to the prog scene, which included two acclaimed albums, The Flower Kings are again taking a break. This allows the individual band members to move forward with their music and projects outside of The Flower Kings. The time was right for a huge step forward by Hasse Froberg & Musical Companion.

HFMC is a 63 minute release that contains 9 tracks, three of which totaling greater than ten minutes in length. After a short keyboard intro by Kjell Harldsson, Seconds, the band begins the album with the track, Can't Stop The Clock. This song has been chosen as the first video for the album. With the majestic beginning and memorable chorus, I can see this song as a natural opener for the live stage. The next song, Everything Can Change, was described by Froberg to me as one the best songs he has written in terms of structure and arrangement. The next song, Pages, is the longest one at over 15 minutes in length. With music written by drummer, Ola Strandbeg, this is one of the proggiest songs by the band with many exciting twists and turns. The Gilmour influenced guitar by Anton Lindsjo at the ten minutes mark is particularly memorable. Genius slows down the tempo for five minutes and Froberg sings about the mental struggles of someone blessed with talent that left the world too soon. The Warmth of the Evening is next and is described by Froberg as the most symphonic rock song on the album. More than any other song, this one may remind the listener a bit of The Flower Kings. The next track, Something Worth Dying For, is the heaviest song on the album and again features the guitar of Linsjo. The final ten minute plus song on the album, Someone Else's Fault, was described by Froberg as, ' a mix between Stevie Wonder, Yes, Whitesnake and AC/DC.' As with many of the songs, the guitar of Linsjo, the keys of Haraldsson and majestic vocals from Froberg lead the way. The album concludes again with the ticking clock, this time representing Minutes.

There is no question that HFMC further cements this band as a force on the modern progressive rock scene and not just a side project for Hasse Froberg. The band are truly masters of blending modern prog with blues based heavy/classic rock and the playing and arrangements on the album are a treat for the listeners. With his work with both The Companion and The Flower Kings, Froberg continues to distinguish himself a top notch songwriter, musician and performer. In addition, the members of The Companion, Anton Lindsjo, Kjell Haraldsson, Ola Strandberg, and Thomas Thomsson, all equally contribute to the synergy that is evident to the listener. This fantastic album is available on Glassville Records and I would highly recommend to attempt to catch Hasse Froberg & Musical Companion live.

Don Cassidy President, Interviewer, DJ, Artist Promo contact Delicious Agony Progressive Rock Radio

Report this review (#1380129)
Posted Monday, March 9, 2015 | Review Permalink
Heavy, RPI, Symph, JR/F Canterbury Teams
4 stars Here's the third releases of the second Flower Kings guitar player and vocalist. Here, he can express his ideas with freedom being the main songwriter. The album start and end with the sound of a clock ticking which connects all the songs together and identify the main concept of the album : time. The first song "Stop the Clock" is one of the highlight song of the album that illustrate all the colors and moods of the album, from the heavy parts to some more gentle melodic part. The symphonic music of Flower Kings is balanced with some heavy and darker rock sound. "Everything can change" brings some more conventional rock with a little jazz segment and some bluesy and sometimes pop feel. "Pages" starts like a ballad with some flute and some Yes influence that's get more upbeat with some straight forward melody. Some nice vocals parts are bringing this song to another level. "Genius" is less complex but still emotional. "In the Warmth of the Evening" is the second highlight song that is complex and contains many shades, textures and tempo changes. "Something Worth Dying For" is dark and goes to the Progressive Metal side with some crunchy guitars. "Someone Else Fault" is a return to some classic/hard rock sound in the first part, but in the second part it gets more symphonic.

This album could be the most satisfying of the band's career. If the vocals and the guitar work of Hasse Froberg are the main attraction, the rest of the musicians complete this band perfectly to create this captivating album that will enjoy fans of Flower Kings, Yes, Kaipa and more standard rock bands.

Report this review (#1385131)
Posted Friday, March 20, 2015 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars If you know The Flower Kings, you also know Hasse Fr'berg. A fine hard rock singer and guitarist in the 80s, the man ended up in one of the biggest progressive rock acts of the 21st century - and together with four equally skilled musicians, he even has found the time to release a new (by now the third one) album under the name Hasse Fr'bergs Musical Companion.

An album with a slightly uninspired title (HFMC), but after listening to it on and off for 6 weeks, I can only conclude that the inspiration has instead gone into the music. Music that is introduced by a ticking clock on Seconds, which is soon replaced by a short keyboard piece by Kjell Haraldsson that flows seamlessly into the whirling keyboard and guitar opening of Can't Stop the Clock. This is the first real song on the album and it starts full of energy, reminding of Images & Words era Dream Theater and 2015 Franck Carducci at the same time. This track is varied in style, as well as in tempo and key (which the band already announced on their web site when it was released as a preview video. It contains metal and hard rock, but also mellower parts - in short, it rocks.

Less varied, and totally different is the the follow up Everything Can Change, which has a jazzy feel to it in various places, when the piano is the lead instrument, but in other places it also feels like a 60s rock song with synths and guitar added to make it more complex. On this one, Hasse Fr'berg's slightly hoarse voice really works very well.

With Pages, we move into longer songs, over 10 minutes. The opening is a quick crescendo of guitar and keyboards, followed by a more melodic keyboard piece. In a way, the music reminds of Yes, and later on also Genesis, but never too strongly. The vocals of Hasse remind me of a more emotional version of Grobschnitt's Wildschwein. The highlight of this song is a guitar solo by Anton Linsj', which I put in my review notes as "it's not Gilmour, it's not Stolt, it's that guy from HFMC'. After this solo, a well done vocal part (with piano and acoustic guitar) leads into an outro that is as bombastic as the intro. Circle closed.

With Genius, a more ballad like track, the listener gets some rest before moving into the net long track, In the Warmth of the Evening. A varied track, like Can't Stop the Clock, but 4 minutes longer and without the strong metal influences - although in the second half the keys become really bombastic, before a closing guitar solo with a lot of feeling in it - like some great blues guitarists also could, but here no blues is involved.

On Something Worth Dying For, the band moves slightly into Hasse's past as a hard rock musician. This one has guitar leads, and riffs accompanied by a strong drum work (lots of cymbals too) by drummer Ola Strandberg, and matching bass work by Thomas Thomsson.

The last track of the album Someone Else's Fault brings us back to the world of symphonic rock, with vocal choirs and keyboards that remind of Yes and Genesis. But when Hasse sings alone, over a dancing keyboard tune, it becomes almost soulful, something Jon Anderson never did. Half way, the music changes into bluesy hard rock, with yet another very well executed guitar solo - before going back to symphonic land at the end. I put the words 'soulful', 'bluesy hardrock' and 'Yes' in my review notes - only to find out later that apparently Hasse Fr'berg described this track as a mix between Yes, Stevie Wonder and AC/DC. Well - I guess he got that more or less right.

After this, all that remains is the ticking of a clock, on Minutes, which makes the album go full circle. And full circle it may go - as some other albums that I reviewed, I have no problem putting this one on repeat. In the second half of 2015, the band will be playing gigs in various countries, and I already spotted my chance to see them in The Netherlands. Get your chance as well, or just get the album, or do both... you catch my drift.

Report this review (#1417809)
Posted Wednesday, May 20, 2015 | Review Permalink


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