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Hidden Lands - Halcyon CD (album) cover

HALCYON

Hidden Lands

Neo-Prog


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Rivertree
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
PSIKE Team & Band Submissions
4 stars 2017 will evolve to another glorious Prog year, it seems, very promising. I'm continuously coming across new inspired albums appearing on the scene. In terms of niveau and style HIDDEN LANDS are acting similar to Sanguine Hum, Iluvator and maybe Nice Beaver somehow. All are representing a sort of remoulded modernized prog orientation, while flirting with some pop and art rock appeal too here and there. This quartet is hailing from Uppsala, Sweden, the musicians are experienced, singer Bruno Edling and Hannes Ljunghall (keyboards, guitar) for instance are deriving from a predecessor unit named Violent Silence.

Meanwhile 'Halcyon' is their third production actually, promises diversity, and some real prog pearls are emerging sooner or later, this counting the album opener in for sure. The Prince Of Goofs bears a rather tricky execution, though also runs in a catchy manner anyhow. Or let me also emphasize the (partially) uptempo No One Is In This For Love, which won't let me go anymore, inviting to sing along on top of that. Besides the electric piano Ljunghall caters for a somewhat quirky synthesizer within. This may annoy one or two, but definitely not me. A perfect tune! Ulleraker on the other hand appears like something I normally would expect from an avant band.

Or by way of variation with The Silent Service we also have an extended charming (quasi pop) ballad at hand. Not my preference basically, but this is really really well done. So finally I take the risk to claim, this is something for connoisseurs. No filler, and melodic compositions overall, though challenging, not straightened in any case. Bruno Edling delivers a very good singing voice, the focus is on the instrumental expansion anyhow, including enough room for solos like on the closing Rooftop Farewell. Eh ... now it feels like it's time for the preparation of the 2017 best-of list at the latest.

Report this review (#1711140)
Posted Sunday, April 16, 2017 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Reviewer
2 stars Back in 2003 a band called Violent Silence released their debut album through Musea, and I promptly decided that I wasn't a fan and said as much at the time. Of course, that didn't stop them, and they have since released a couple more albums, and Hidden Lands came into being in 2012 and this is the third album since then. What is the connection? Well, Bruno Edling (vocals), Hannes Ljunghall (keyboards and guitars) and Philipp Bastin (bass) all appear here, and were also all involved with the Violent Silence debut all those years ago. It's only drummer Gustav Nyberg who is the odd one out. I hadn't realised the history of the band until I sat down to write the review, as I always listen to music without any preconceived ideas, and often only read the press release or research the band after I have played it through a few times.

I'm really glad I did that this time, so that my previous dislike for Violent Silence didn't taint my feelings for Hidden Lands: I don't like this one either. I wasn't a fan of the vocals when I first came across them all those years ago, and the same is true in 2017. Also, there seems to be a distinct lack of musical ideas, so that the listener often seems to be treading water. Having long songs and being able to play your instruments well doesn't necessarily make your music appealing, and that is what I found here. The guitars aren't to the fore enough, and everything seems to have been suppressed and taken back as opposed to being brought forward and being dynamic. I have seen some rave reviews over this album, but I am used to being in the minority and just can't get on with this at all.

Report this review (#1730201)
Posted Sunday, June 4, 2017 | Review Permalink

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