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4 stars Traditional Swedish folk-prog with some very fresh and unique song writing. KEBNEKAISE mix a nice array of instruments to work each song to a different mood and atmosphere. You can clearly hear the folk roots, but it is the psych/prog branches which makes this such a memorable album for this music lover. In some ways the sound is not unlike mid period PINK FLOYD and FOCUS really. Instruments used throughout include guitar, violin, congas, drums, bass and a nice assortment of other gadgets. Songs are generally quite long and instrumental and are given lots of space to unwind and get into some pretty warped folk-prog interludes. Overall this is a picture perfect album with real beauty and charm and is clearly one of my personal fav's from the lovely Swedish 70's. I would say 100% essential.
Report this review (#28748)
Posted Sunday, March 7, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars With the second self-titled KEBNEKAJSE album (also known under the title "II") the band made a slight change in the line up. The members of the group Homo Sapiens (Pelle Lindström, Thomas Netzler, Mats Glenngård and Gunnar Andersson) who singed choir on the first album became permanentmembers of the band, and the music changed from loud guitar based hard rockto Swedish folk rock with fiddle and electric guitar in the forefront. The music was actually called "fiddlers rock" in a press release from Silence Records. If it wasn't for Kenny Håkansson's characteristic guitar playing you could almost believe that it was a whole new band.

This album contains highlights such as "Rättvikarnas gånglåt" where Turid Lundqvist beautiful voice can be heard, "Horgalåten", "Skänklåt från Rättvik" and "Barkbrödlåten". Silence has also added a bonus tracks called "Horgalåten" which was recorded live by a fan, Timo Toiviainen, at a concert in Mikkälä, Finland.

This is without doubt one of the better folk rock albums ever from Sweden.

Report this review (#28749)
Posted Thursday, March 25, 2004 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
4 stars 4.5 stars really!!!

Quickly abandoning their pure hard prog leanings of their first album, Kebnekaise drastically changed direction by heading towards Swedish folk and making a stunning album that can be considered a masterpiece of progressive folk of Continental Europe. This group alternated between nine and eleven musos at the time (nine in this album), allowing for much diversity in their given directions. The amazing thing is that none of the tracks on this album (and the next one for that matter) are original material: every single track is traditional folk adapted, reprised, deconstructed and rebuilt to give a superbly modern progressive folk.

If the opening track (you'll allow me not to write its name, because I can only butcher it) is rather traditional jig-type track, right from the second Horgalaten (there goes my integrity ;-) track, the album plunges you into a transient state where the dramatic tensions of the psych folk starts on a very gradual crescendo, slowly heading for the climax with that "oh, so subtle!" change from acoustic to electric instruments. The following Skanklat (I maybe just end up with a Swedish fatwah against me) is yet another slowly developing crescendo track with highly communicative tension (much like Fairport Convention did on their longer tracks early in their career), and slowly building up to some really orgasmic guitar lines (actually they are two collaborating like Betts and Allman) and a delicious end. The following Bradbrodslaten (I've just gotten a life insurance and my will is in the envelope below the buffet, honey ;-) is a relatively well-known theme that is obviously common to a few cultures and although quite nice, does not raise your enthusiasm quite the same way as the previous tracks.

But nothing was to prepare you for the 16-min+ Comanche Spring, the only non-trad track written by guitarist Ingmar Bocker (dying at the hand of a Viking, there is a glorious death ;-), which is simply superb, with its lengthy musical interplay between violin, guitars, the whole thing underlined by a double percussion attack, sometimes getting close to Santana or Allman Bros. The comparison to Allman is not innocent here, as in some weird kind of way they (Kebnekaise) would resemble a Swedish folky equivalent of the great Brothers Band. Even if it is fully accomplished, the track is calling for more of the same and unfortunatelmy the record is over. What a shame.

Truly one of the best examples of what folk prog has to offer, this album is a unique blend of folk, rock, psych and improvisation including Latin-beats, Kebnekaise's second album is a must hear for all progheads. To be ranked along with algarnas Tradgard's debut album as Sweden's most obscure lost gems.

Report this review (#28750)
Posted Tuesday, May 4, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars It would be appropriate to compare this album to legendary jazz pianist Jan Johansson's "Jazz paa svenska"(Jazz in Swedish) album. This is the rock equivalent - swedish folk music interpreted like no- one has ever heard it before or since, by superb musicians including guitar geniuses Kenny Hakansson and Ingemar Boecker, bass guitar duo Thomas Netzler & Goran Lagerberg, fiddlers Pelle Lindstrom & Mats Glenngard plus drummer/percussionists Gunnar Andersson & Hassan Bah (reportedly, and probably,drummer Pelle Ekman was absent during these recordings) and singer Turid Lundquist. This is not only the best Kebnekajse album, this is the best swedish album of the 1970s. According to Kenny, the recordings do not do justice to Kebnekajse's complex live sound. That may be so. This is what we do have. And this music is truly amazing. My favourite instrumental album of all time, and a cornerstone of scandinavian progressive music.
Report this review (#28751)
Posted Thursday, May 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars I'm a total sucker for Scandinavian Folk music, specially if it has a touch of rock (prog- rock)... Kebnekaise, a band leaded by Guitarrist Kenny Håkansson and a crew of very good musicians, and their self-titled album that sometimes is called under the humble name "II", is a great folk-prog (or prog-folk, as you wish) album that is totally worth checking out, because it is a legendary swedish rock album as well...

The album starts with "Rättvikarnas gånglåt" that includes the colaboration of swedish legend Turid Lundqvist on vocals, this one is probably the most memorable track from the album, but all track are really good, intense, with great instrumental passages (it's all mostly instrumental), in short, really recommendible, and, yeah, FOLKY!!!!

Highlights: Rättvikarnas gånglåt, Skänklåt från rättvik, Comanche Spring

Report this review (#51271)
Posted Tuesday, October 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
Carl floyd fan
5 stars This is an absolute masterpiece in the folk rock genre. I usually skip the opening track because these guys seem to sound their best when instrumental, and what jams they are! Track 2 is very psych oriented while track 3 is more folk with some heavy congas. track 4 is a blend of pysch and folk. These 3 tracks could have easily been one long track. But the genius is the closing track with a nice slow build up climaxing in a jam that seems to be inspired by Santana. In fact that last track is so good it makes up for the poor sound quality and brings the album into the 4.75 range. Pick this up soon! Gem from Sweden!!
Report this review (#55005)
Posted Monday, November 7, 2005 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars Interesting band who on this record play Scandanavian Folk music. This band boasts 9 members of which 2 are backup singers, 2 lead guitarists, 2 guys on bass, a drummer, a congas player and a violinist. There are no keyboard players. I really like the black and white picture (on the album sleeve) of the band on stage with all the hippies in the audience. Cool.

The first song has a real country feel to it and is the track I like the least. Female vocal melodies help out. The next track "Horgalaton" features some amazing and intricate guitar melodies.This guy can really play and I was reminded at times of Phil Keaggy. The sound here is dark and fairly heavy. Great track ! "Skanlat Fran Rattvik" features guitar and percussion for about 3 minutes before being joined by violin. This is one of my favourites from the album and check out the guitar playing at 7 minutes.

"Barkbrodlaten" features the two guitarists playing different parts in the same melody, it's great !The final song "Comanche Spring" is the longest and one of the best tracks on this record. The violin is at it's most aggressive early in this song and the guitar is really good as usual. The percussion / guitar melody 11 minutes in is both really cool and hypnotic, meanwhile the guitar stops and is replaced by the violin. The melodies are amazing ! Hey the bonus track called "Horgalaten" might be the best track of all with that Krautrock flavour.

Other than the traditional sounding first track I applaud the band for what they've accomplished here. A huge improvement over their debut. Love the album cover as well.

Report this review (#104299)
Posted Saturday, December 23, 2006 | Review Permalink
Prog Folk Researcher
4 stars What an amazing transformation of a band in just two short years! The change in Kebnekajse from their first album to this one is unbelievable. While the band’s 1971 debut has all the feel of a good-ole’ boy Southern U.S. boogie band (but strangely not many authentic blues licks), this record is an unquestionable masterpiece of Swedish folk classics with imaginative and inspired modern interpretations.

The story goes that Kebnekajse guitarist Kenny Håkansson (who was in demand as an guest musician throughout Sweden at the time) had spent time following the release of the band’s debut touring in support of Dutch/Swedish folk legend the late Cornelis Vreeswijk. Håkansson is said to have developed an appreciation for the traditional violinists in Vreeswijk’s entourage, and more so for many of the folk standards he performed. Specifically, Håkansson took a liking to the sparse but seductive melodies around which many of these tunes were crafted. As a result Håkansson followed up the tour by teaching himself to pay violin, and by integrating the former Kebnekajse supporting act Homo Sapiens into the group for their second studio release.

This recording features Håkansson’s interpretations of four such Swedish folk traditions, as well as Kebnekajse guitarist Ingemar Böcker’s American Indian-inspired “Comanche Spring”, the longest and most elaborated composition on the album.

The opening “Rättvikarnas Gånglåt - med Turid” is a pleasant but surprising adjustment for anyone whose only exposure to the band is the aforementioned debut. The rhythm is an almost martial three-beat conga affair by transplanted Guinean Bah Hassan, and the wordless chanting of Turid Lundquist, who oddly appears only on this track. The basic arrangement is quite melodic, with Håkansson’s sparse guitar work complementing Böcker‘s more elaborated style. Homo Sapiens violinist Mats Glenngård sounds almost Celtic at times, and dominates for most of the piece. As a result this comes off as the most traditional-folk effort on the album.

“Horgalåten” on the other hand leans more heavily to the guitar, wandering and loose with a faint Arabic feel at times. Like the remainder of the album this is an instrumental, and while the percussion is more subdued here there is some rhythm on timbale by Hassan. This has more of the feel of a traditional dance arrangement, and again is highly melodic and for the most part a three- step tempo. There is also an extended live version of this track on the CD reissue, and while the recording quality is rather poor there are clearly two drummers and more animated guitar, and the comparison to the studio version is interesting at least.

The guitar work on “Skänklåt från Rättvik” has a more modern feel, with just a hint of psychedelia and some slow but intense picking dancing above the plodding bass line and an almost playful rhythm. This is a mesmerizing composition that I can just picture being played in an Asian opium den while the smoke drifts listlessly above the just as listless audience. Very beautiful.

Finally comes the Ingemar Böcker tune with an interesting Nordic twist on the American Indian – “Comanche Spring”. This sixteen minute piece with often torrid psychedelic rhythms, passionate conga and highly elaborated guitar work is supposed to pay homage to the plight of American Indians around the time of the settlement of the New World. Never mind that the Comanche Nation was almost entirely located in the American Southwest and almost definitely never battled Vikings (Mexicans or Spaniards perhaps); and forget that the sometimes improvisational jazzy bass and psych guitar does nothing to connect itself to that culture. The viewpoint is refreshingly novel, particularly to an American, and the latter half of the song does manage to evoke a bit of the mood of a summer Albuquerque sunset. So nods for managing to pull that one off.

In all this is so much more interesting, lively, and richer than the rather mundane debut album from the band that it has to be given its due. This is definitely a four star recording, and one that would easily be welcome in the collection of any prog-folk fan, and probably most other types of prog fans as well. Highly recommended.


Report this review (#143479)
Posted Thursday, October 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is Kebnekajses first album containing Folk Rock and a real highlight of their career. It's probably their most famous release. It's all made up of traditional Swedish folk tunes plus the trippy 16 minutes long "Comanche Spring" written by guitarist Ingemar Böcker.

The album starts quite weak though, with "Rättvikarnas gånglåt", the only track to feature vocals - female chanting by Swedish singer/songwriter Turid. To make up for the weak beginning the rest of side A consists of the albums two highlights: "Horgalåten and "Skänklåt från Rättvik". It's fine guitar-work along with Mats Glenngårds electric violin.

Side B begins with "Barkbrödslåten", which became a hit for the group and is certainly their most well known tune. Not a bad one but it doesn't reach the heights of the two other traditional instrumentals of the album, which both builds up to a climax, something "Barkbrödslåten" lacks. The rest of side B consists of already named "Comanche Spring", which has more to do with an acid trip than Native Americans.

Report this review (#160791)
Posted Monday, February 4, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars First time listening to Kebnekajse, it was hard to imagine this was the classic swedish prog folk groud i had been hearing so much about, as the music wasn't what i at the time consdered to be progressive. Rather, it sounded like the opposite.

Kebnekajse takes a step back and looks at the classic swedish tradition of folk music in a completely different sense than other Swedish bands. They don't just let themselves be influenced by traditional folk songs, they take the whole thing as it is and then put their mark on it. Being swedish myself, i found it hard to grasp the concept of this album when i first heard it, since this kind of music is somehow very familiar to me and the melodies seemed just very natural and hard to identify as rock music, but eventually i got around that and discovered the traditional swedish folk melodies from a new point of view, and how beautiful they can be. As the opening track begins, you immediately picture lots of people dancing around on a swedish midsummer night, and if you don't, then the wordless vocals by Turid should get you into the right mood.

One thing that sticks out of this traditional swedish folkiness, however, is the fact that Kebnekajse II features both rock percussion and congas as well as prominent electric guitar by both Ingemar Böcker and Kenny Håkansson. Ingemar Böcker has a jazzier style of playing which compliments Kenny Håkanssons more straight-forward style of only playing the melodies and not much more.

This exotic blend of Swedish folk, dual percussion and twin guitar keeps up for the first four songs on the album. The melodies are very addictive and at times there are hints of something resembling a psychedelic vibe through all the folkiness.

Last song on the album is Commanche Spring. Cue major change in direction, towards the much more jazzier territory. No doubt a very good song, but it sticks out, both in style and length, being over 16 minutes long. The indroduction is slow and building and and after an extensive guitar workout there is a quieter passage with steay bass and some soloing by Hassan Bah on the congas until the guitar picks the song up again before leaving it to the violin to round it up.

Overall, Kebnekajse is a very smoothly flowing album, and even if the concept is nothing which will thrill the RIO/Avant-heads, the melodies in themselves are surely timelessly beautiful.

Report this review (#162049)
Posted Sunday, February 17, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Swedish tribal-folk for the fireside

Kebnekaise is a Swedish prog-folk outfit featuring guitarist Kenny Hakansson. This album is their most oft-mentioned, a collection of Swedish folk as a starting point blended with a sort of hippie idealism and improvisation (mostly guitar). Besides guitar the album is driven largely by fiddle and percussion of the fireside variety.

"Rättvikarnas gånglåt" is the most overtly traditional sounding song to my American ears which are admittedly not too up on Swedish traditional folk. While this song seems to be dismissed by some it was my favorite part of the album. I really enjoyed the wordless vocals of Turid Lundquist as she sort of croons away to the repetitive, swaying melody of the violins and drumming. I guess it appeals to me because it is so different from music I hear on any regular basis. With "Horgalaten" the album shifts to its main focus which is a trippy counterculture bending of Swedish folk music. Slowly working the rhythm section to luke warm, the dual guitars of Kenny Hakansson and Ingemar Bocker begin to explore---the conversational tone of their playing is quite developed and impressive I must say, teamwork in action. They hear each other and they compliment each other rather than simply trading off with each other. "Skänklåt från rättvik" features very bright sounding lead guitar over a rhythmic, repetitive fusion of violin/bass/percussion that is the modus operandi of the album. In some ways the feel of these jams is not unlike the Grateful Dead carrying on for 15 minutes to "Fire on the Mountain." Nationality differences aside, you have able musicians thinking out loud on their instruments to percussion not unlike the Micky Hart variety. As with the Dead, occasionally the peaks can be exciting but sometimes things can get a bit static. "Barkbrödlåten" is more of the same, nice but nothing earth shattering. "Comanche Springs" has a rather tepid intro before breaking to a jog with some nice clean guitar leads over drumming and hand percussion. The congas begin to increase in intensity which drives the guitars to more frantic playing. The bass is a bit buried in the mix but the guitar and percussion are heard well. Soon we get some violin entering the fray and mixing with the lead guitar. After an extended congo solo section the violin comes in and the pulsing rhythmic sound achieved suddenly sounds like Alamaailman Vasarat for a bit. More sensitive and thoughtful lead guitar returns and continues to trade off with the violin to the tribal drumming.

A 14 minute live version of "Horgalaten" is featured as a bonus track on Silence Records SRSCD-3608 reissue. The sound isn't perfect of course but how nice to get such a rare document from this group. As you'd expect the guitar playing is even less inhibited (not that the studio version is!) The CD booklet features a nice history with photos although only in Swedish unfortunately. Kebnekaise is a good album though not terribly essential in my view. I think there are more exciting prog-folk entries out there. These guys are average musicians with some nice extended jams that will appeal to some and bore others. Check it out if you're interested in Swedish rock or long, mostly laid back jamming. I think their sound is just unique enough to have in your collection but I'm not sure how often you'd reach for it.

Report this review (#165358)
Posted Sunday, March 30, 2008 | Review Permalink
Queen By-Tor
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Beautiful folk music from Sweden!

Yes, Sweden, that wonderful country that has brought us so many excellent prog, rock and heavy metal bands at one point brought us this excellent group. Using everything that they had at their disposal, Kebnekaise, in their short career, managed to make some truly beautiful music. This album is an amazing showcase of how much talent and potential the band had. 5 rather long compositions (only one dips below 5 minutes) of instrumental wonder, ripe with a variety of well used instruments and a little bit of voicing without words that simply adds to the experience of the album.

In terms of what the album sounds like (for those unfamiliar) it's kind of tough to explain. The band uses folk melodies exclusively (as one could expect) through their guitars, rhythm sections and violins to create winding music that does not lose attention. There's nothing ambient about these compositions as they all seem to tell a tale simply through their ups and downs (in tone and tempo) as well as almost set verse and chorus despite not having any lyrics. The music is up beat and plays rather smoothly with only a few ''darker'' moments which are far and few between the very pleasant other songs.

For those of us who only speak English the songs titles are nonsensical (our penalty for not learning other languages I suppose) except for the final opus, the 16-minute Comanche Spring. As for the others such as Rättvikarnas gånglåt or Skänklåt från rättvik it's probably better that you just think to yourself, ''I liked song three a lot!''. That's okay though because for those of us who don't speak the language it adds just another element to the music, likely not dissimilar to those who listen to too much Magma. One thing that does suck if you're not savvy with Swedish is that you won't be able to read the story of the band (or the album, I don't know!) that's in the liner notes!

As for the previously mentioned Comanche Spring, this is a track to have your eye on. Likely attractive to the prog fan thanks to it's sheer length, but the playing and wonderfully driving rhythms and melodies of the song make for an excellent tour de force of folk music as the song just picks up faster and faster throughout the course of the song making it seem a lot shorter than it is (and that's a good thing!). Secondary melodies that act as a kind of bridge make the song all the more wonderful as they come in to press the track along.

Other tracks of note include the only song with vocals, Rättvikarnas gånglåt which has a very pleasant female voice serenade the song along without any lyrics and the excellent Barkbrödlåten with it's pseudo-dark melody that's just oh so pleasing to the ear.

All in all an amazing album. I hesitate to give this one a solid 5 because it's hard to recommend to everyone - a lot of people may simply not like the idea of Swedish folk songs. However, if the idea appeals to you at all this nine-piece band is sure to steal your heart. 4.5 stars! Highly recommended!

Report this review (#172066)
Posted Friday, May 23, 2008 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
4 stars Kebnekajse released their self-titled album two years after the debut which marked a change of direction for the band. Gone were those cheerful and completely dated compositions that reminded more of the '60s than 1971 and instead the music on this 1973 release became all about great musicianship combined with interesting compositions.

The band fused together some nice folk melodies with rock arrangements and the result is this 5-piece album where the individual track lengths vary from 5 minutes up to the 16 minute final composition. The prominent guitar melodies by Kenny Håkansson dominate the material and make for a very accessible music. Notice that the first four tracks have the word "låt" (song) in them which almost makes it seem like this is a contemporary album that tries to arrange the different folk music styles. Still considering the range of different "songs" the overall mood of this instrumental record is pretty consistent all throughout.

Comanche Spring is the only composition out of the lot that come off a bit daring towards its middle section but generally the style of this release is very much the same, featuring soft guitar driven melodic folk rock. Horgalåten might be considered somewhat darker in its tone compared to the rest of the material due to the compositions slow buildup and the very bouncy guitar sections but I personally never considered anything off this album to go outside of the comfort zone of the listener.

This self-titled album from Kebnekajse plays almost like a Pat Metheny album but instead of jazz the music features distinct folk undertones. Overall though, the styles are very much the same. It's pleasant guitar driven rock music at its finest but don't expect to be challenged in any way by what you will hear on this record.

**** star songs: Rättvikarnas Gånglåt (5:07) Horgalåten (6:18) Skänklåt Från Rättvik (8:31) Barkbrödlåten (4:36) Comanche Spring (16:01)

Report this review (#278688)
Posted Tuesday, April 20, 2010 | Review Permalink
2 stars Buying albums from this band is a bit like playing bingo. You don't know what you get. Hence, you have to investigate each and individual album in ProgArchives before you buy a Kebnekaise album.

In this case, the album starts out as a Swedish folk music album. Folk music mostly from Dalarna if I am not wrong. The album then changes over to a more straight Jazz album. At the end, the styles merges in the bonus track, which is a live version of Horgalåten. A track which is also a space rock track where the guitarist and the rest of the band uses as an improvisation excersise.

Space rock and jazz is not what you think you get when the album starts with a straight folk music tune called Rättvikarnas Gånglåt though. To be fair, they have tried to root their jazzy and space rock excesses in their folk rock roots. And that with a high degree of success. My problem is that I cannot stand Swedish or Scandinavian folk music at all. I think this type of music is a piece of squirrel dung, in general terms. This is a matter of personal preferences though. I am therefore far more happier when Kebnekaise moves into space rock and jazz on this album. The bonus track, the live version of Horgalåten, is far better than the studio version of this track. The jazz tracks at the end of this album is far better than the opening track Rättvikarnas Gånglåt. In short, this is a album that swings between poor and good. But ultimate, this is not my kind of album. I find it messy. There is no tracks here I really like too. Hence my modest sprinkling of stars.

2 stars

Report this review (#283183)
Posted Sunday, May 23, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Kebnekaise II is a record I am proud of to own. It is the group's secord effort and the first with their famous folk rock approach. It has a blue cover with mountains and a fjäll(montain) sea/älv(Swedish river). In inte left corner a japanese person rests. On the back side there is a beautiful painted tree where all the Kebnes have climbed up with guitarist Kenny Håkansson with his long black hair in the middle, drummer Pelle Ekman and bassist Göran Lagerberg in the top, guitarist Ingemar Böcker and conga-man Hassan Bah in the second highest bransch, fiddler Mats Glenngård and bassist Tomas Netzler down on the left bransch and finaly the choir guys Pelle Lindström and Gunnar Andersson on the low right bransch. It was recorded i september 1973 and released on the label Silence(on of the two big progressive labels in 70s Sweden).

For me this is the perfect prog folk record. Kebnekaise(which also is Sweden's highest mountain) combines old folk songs with psychedelic rock and more experimental rock. This full record is amazing. It starts with "Rättvikarnas gånglåt"(The Marching Tune of the People of Rättvik) which is a joyfull folk tune which is sung by singer/songwriter Turid Lundqvist(a front woman of 70s progg). Thereafter comes "Horgalåten"(The Hårga Song) with a psychedelic cautious introduction to explode in a fast folk song with great playing of Kenny Håkansson. This is one of Kebnekajse's most popular tunes and they still use to play it on tour. I heard it last autumn, they are still the same guys and play it wonderfully. Next song "Skänklåt från Rättvik"(Gift song from Rättvik) is even more cautious in the introduction. They are improvising in the beginning in a very psychedelic way and then it totally changes unto a wonderful traditional folk song with great guitars. This is really folk prog heaven, in my opinion much better than Jethro Tull. The B-side has two fantastic tracks. First comes "Barkbrödslåten" (The Bark bread song) which was a progg hit in the 70s. The guitars are very sharpe and powerful, of course a real very old folk song. Finally we have "Comanche Spring" which is the only tune here that is not a traditional folk song. It is long and episodic, starts slow with bass line and explodes with powerful guitars in an exuberant wild melody with interesting tendencies. Sometimes the sound is very experimental here and in my opinion this track is the disc's best.

I would absolutely say this is an essential record, and one of the best in the prog folk genre. Highly recommended!

Report this review (#970974)
Posted Tuesday, June 4, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars Competent, intricate folk rock with a distinctively Swedish sound. Some aspects of the production and sound suggest that Kebnekaise was keeping up not just with the American folk rock greats but also the likes of the UK's own Fairport Convention, but at the same time they didn't let this dilute their own personal band identity. At its best when the band let themselves sprawl a little, as on Comanche Spring, the album feels like it's carrying forward the ideals of 60s-era counterculture folk rock without rooting itself in the aesthetics of the previous decade, with the band successfully balancing accessible melodies with progressive song structures.
Report this review (#1028672)
Posted Wednesday, September 4, 2013 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars According to Kenny Håkansson, after the release of Kebnekaise's first album he was touring with singer/songwriter Cornelis Vreeswijk, who had two fiddle players in his backing band.Their music was so impressive that forced Hakansson to redefine Kebnekaise's sound.By the time of a second album Bella Fehrlin and Rolf Scherrer had left the group, which featured now an expanded line-up: Ex-Heta Linjen's Göran Lagerberg on bass, Mats Glenngård on violin, Gunnar Andersson on drums, Thomas Netzler on bass, Ingemar Boecker on guitar, Hassan Bah on percussion and Pelle Lindström on harmonica and violin.The album, simply entitled ''Kebnekaise II'', was recorded at the Decibel Studios in September 73' and it was released at the end of the year on Silence.

It wouldn't be an excess to say that Kebnekaise not only had passed through a total lifting, musically speaking, but their new style defined a whole new world for Swedish Rock, with elements that plenty of groups borrowed in the future.They mixed Psychedelic Rock with Swedish Folk in a charming way, combining the rock instrumentation with the some folky tunes and the heavy use of violins.Unlike mane people would expect, their music was rather joyful with optimistic tunes, headed by the impressive electric guitars of the Hakannson/Boecker duo, the rural edge of traditional fiddles and the strong use of percussion.Groovy, mid-tempo tracks with good interplays and an emphatic rhythm section, backing the main role players.They even included a long composition, the 16-min. ''Comanche spring'', which sounded a bit different and rather more progressive than the rest of the album.The guitars had now a slight jazzy edge, the solos became more furious, the interactions between guitars and violins were endless and the track swirled between different atmospheres with upfront segments and more smooth lines.The performances overall are pretty great with the Folk touches in the forefront but also many Psychedelic Rock offerings.

A milestone album for Swedish Rock.Not totally flawless or masterfully composed, but certainly this is an album full of great moments and a very original mood.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars

Report this review (#1101698)
Posted Sunday, December 29, 2013 | Review Permalink

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