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Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Norwegian band WOBBLER are veterans of the Norwegian progressive rock scene as well as a renowned and established name in progressive rock circles, with a career going 18 years back and with concerts in most parts of their world on their resume. So far they have four full length studio albums to their name. "From Silence to Somewhere" is the most recent of these, and is set for release in late October 2017 through Norwegian label Karisma Records.

While this is hardly news to anyone with more than a passing interest in progressive rock, Wobbler have made a name for themselves as purveyors of high quality, vintage era symphonic progressive rock, and they do not disappoint on this most recent album either. Those who know they enjoy music of this specific kind can safely add this album to their list of music that needs to be bought, whether they are familiar with this band already or not.

Report this review (#1787904)
Posted Wednesday, September 27, 2017 | Review Permalink
5 stars The wait was so long for Wobbler I simply assumed they broke up. Instead it simply took six years for them to follow up the great Rites at Dawn. Original guitarist Morten Andreas Eriksen had been replaced by Marius Halleland, which was truly the right move for the band. Nothing wrong with Morten, but if they needed a new guitarist, then they needed one compatible with the band, and of course Marius certainly fits the bill! He's at home with electric as the more calm Anthony Phillips or Steve Hackett acoustic end of things. Lars Fredrik Frřislie is up to his usual bag of tricks with the analog keyboards, with plenty of Moog, Hammond organ and Mellotron, as always. Lars seems to be a busy man, also involving himself with White Willow, Tusmřrke, Opium Cartel, and others. This is a wonderful followup, with some incredible and intense playing from all around. The title track stretches to 20 minutes, and it doesn't bore you. This band figured out how to do a wonderful 20 minute piece. They had a little trouble on Hinterland with the 27 minute title track as it was a bit overlong for some. Not here. This is some incredible stuff, with some medieval stuff going on with the recorder, as well as some Änglagĺrd moves and lots of great jamming. "Rendered Shades of Green" is a really doomy sounding piano and Mellotron-dominated piece that's very short. "Fermented Hours" is nothing short of incredible, the intensity is incredible. They are certainly no slouches here. "Foxlight" demonstrated the new guitarist knack for those gentle acoustic parts as well as more rocking electric guitar parts, and with some medieval stuff on krumhorn towards the end with that Gryphon or Gentle Giant feel to it. They really topped it here. This is bound to be a classic as far as I'm concerned. The only drawback is we'll probably have to wait another several years for another release. The huge wait for something new from Wobbler got me thinking the still-obscure Jordsjř had appeared on the scene creating similar type of prog to fill the void (hopefully they won't stay totally obscure for long, I hope they get as much recognition as Wobbler, they already now have a deal with Karisma Records, which From Silence to Somewhere was released). With so few releases from Wobbler, it's probably good as well. They could have been The Flower Kings clogging the discography with overlong CDs (frequently double CDs clocking at over two hours) and that meant serious hit and miss, and it's clear Wobbler didn't want to go that way (quality over quantity). There is no doubt about it, From Silence to Somewhere is Wobber's crowing achievement and a must have!
Report this review (#1814794)
Posted Friday, October 20, 2017 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Though many sounds and riffs from old classic prog songs continue to pop up in their music, their self-proclaimed more collaborative, whole-band approach to song composition has really paid off in terms of rendering a distinctively fresh collection of songs. The musicianship is, as usual, extraordinary, but what strikes me more on this album is the remarkable diversity in musical and vocal instrumentation choices and styles. Like a Mike Oldfield album, I found myself sitting on the edge, waiting for whatever new and amazingly unexpected shift the music would take: from Yes-like to medićval to psychedelic to folk. Plus, in several places they were able to pull off one of the better incorporations of the GENTLE GIANT style that I've ever heard from a 21st Century artist.

1. "From Silence to Somewhere" (20:59) an interesting and unpredictable run through some older sounds and styles, shifting, as noted above, quite surprisingly and refreshingly from quite different dynamic ranges. These guys can really play! (9.25/10)

2. "Rendered in Shades of Green" (2:05) a pretty little treated piano solo with mellotron, synth strings, and tuned percussives mixed in for the second half. (9.25/10)

3. "Fermented Hours" (10:10) opens with the sounds and freneticism of Yes's "Sound Chaser" (which it seems to be inspired by--though it sounds a lot like "L6 Bealtine" from their last album, Rites at Dawn). The awesome organ work in the second quarter behind the more folksie vocals make for a nice section. The second half continues with the awesome organ work beneath some very Yes-like vocal and instrumental passages. I like the theatric shouts in the final minute just before the song crescendos and fades. (9/10)

4. "Foxlight" (13:19) opens acoustically (with 'tron): flutes, guitars, bass clarinet, glockenspiel, before vocal section begins its play over the top. Very delicate and beautiful! Then at 3:42 the delicacy ends and a loud, bombastic sequence of chords opens--though harpsichord support helps to balance it out. The vocal section starts out nice but then gets a little washed out by too many instruments soloing at the same time as the singing. A Spanish acoustic guitar chord sequence beneath the busy rock weave at 5:45 is nice but ends up fizzling out and letting the heavy cacophony resume its dominance. At 7:11 we get a reprieve and return to more acoustic, almost DOORS and GENTLE GIANT-like, instrumental section. I love this! I must say, the presence of the harpsichord is quite refreshing and welcomed. A kind of "Cinema Show" dream-sequence takes over at 8:40 over which some beautiful harmonized group vocals and flute play make their show. At 10:07 we get a true medićval/GENTLE GIANT section. The singer's voice even sounds a bit like an older Kerry Minnear. Great section! Horns (or, really, kazoos)! Probably my favorite on the album. Definitely my favorite song, overall. (9.5/10)

Five stars; a masterpiece of progressive rock music.

Report this review (#1815221)
Posted Sunday, October 22, 2017 | Review Permalink
5 stars A pleasant Sunday morning in New Zealand and I am transported to the impending winter of Norway. For me, this is the best album of 2017 by a country mile. At first, the atmosphere did remind me of Gazpacho's "Demon" and yes there are hints of the 70's with nods to Yes but to be honest Wobbler have crafted their own sound. There isn't a note wasted during the four tracks on offer as they blend an array of instrumental atmospheres ranging from winter campfires, medieval courts, and Woodstock, as yet another unexpected groove appears from near silence to somewhere. This includes the vocals which are quirky, pleasant and melodic acting as part of the atmosphere rather than a separate entity. The title track and near 20 minute epic, just about carries all of the above and proves that the time taken to put this album together was well worth it. It even shows an improvement on their past offerings in terms of composition, as it weaves ideas together eventually coming back to ideas with variation, techniques unused on their debut "Hinterland" which had been my favorite to date. From then on the album doesn't let up in it's quality and at times actually gets better. The final track "Foxlight" manages to tick many boxes of prog for me. It has the melodic melancholy I enjoy in modern Marillion whilst breaking out into something, whilst nowhere near as heavy, that the more groove style of Black Sabbath might recognise. The only problems I have with this album is that I am finding it difficult to listen to anything else and I am going to have to wait another number of years for their next album.

Highly recommended,

Report this review (#1816017)
Posted Wednesday, October 25, 2017 | Review Permalink
5 stars Polyphonic saturation mastery

This exceptional piece of art has been composed for 5 long years and it works on several different levels. From Silence to Somewhere by Wobbler is one of those albums that stuns me more with every new listening and feed itself from itself. An inexhaustible source of musical power, energy and gradation of every part to another. It passes smoothly without being smooth. The polished compositions allow the listener to build a knowledge of the album with every new listening. Being a flawlessly composed and performed, the album offers a lot of variable moments from the best prog structured pieces with harsh, gentle, polyphonic, nordic-sounding and complex musical ideas out of its main genre of symphonic prog, without emulates anything that has been done before and even overcoming a row of classics with huge innovative charge. Collecting the prog's heritage in an inimitably intensive way in terms of musicianship and songwriting From Silence to Somewhere is an inmost echo of the talent and hard work of Wobbler for the last 5 years, converting them to a prog giant. The album is highly recommended and a must for every profound music listener. Do not miss it!

A candidate for best album of 21st century so far and one of the most spectacular albums of all time!

Report this review (#1817626)
Posted Monday, October 30, 2017 | Review Permalink
Heavy / RPI / Symphonic Prog Team
5 stars This new adventure in the world of Wobbler represents the resurrection of a band who were in a bad mood after the departure of their guitar player Morten Andreas Eriksen. He has been replaced by Geir Marius Bergom Halleland which seems to have brought back some fresh air. The band's music is still old 70's symphonic prog rock using old vintage instruments, such as analog keys, mellotron, and flute. The first 20 minutes epic "From Silence to Somewhere" delivers some beautiful old symphonic prog rock with that inevitable link to some structures and sound of many bands of that genre such as Genesis, Anekdoten, and Focus. The song goes into some fascinating moods, powerful crescendos, and twirling content. The band navigates between atmosheres with refined delicacy. There are some marvelous melody lines by Lars Fredrik Frřislie in a long instrumental section. Many delicate parts of the music in others section are reminiscent of some acoustic music of Hackett and there is a lot of similarity with the analog sound of the synths of Tony Banks. The sound of the flute is adding some energy and light to the melancholic and dark parts. The interlude "Rendered in Shades of Green" is quiet dispendable, but the 2 others tracks continue to the majestic grandeur of the first track which is half of the album duration. To me, this is the most mature album of the band that has reached the balance between emotions and musical creativity (or the heart and the brain) with some great melodies.
Report this review (#1817914)
Posted Tuesday, October 31, 2017 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is my very first review on prog archives and Wobbler's latest release has been haunting my player in such a degree that I had no other choice but to write about it.

Wobbler show exceptional musicianship in this album, both in compositions/song-writing and in executions. The arrangements are great, the production is ideal and every player is shining in here. Yes, Genesis, King Crimson, Gentle Giant and PFM play an important role in here but I think Wobbler integrated all these influences and have finally found their own voice.

Speaking of voices, Andreas Wettergreen Str'mman Prestmo has a unique taste and is very characteristic, adding a lot to the band's personality. I would not like to chose a particular player in here because every instrument is important in their sound and has its place there, but if I had to, Kristian Karl Hultgren could have been the main protagonist with the sweet a la Chris Squire bass tone and very interesting bass lines.

This is a release not to be overlooked. It possesses a unique quality, and Wobbler have definitely put a lot of effort to make the outcome so high-quality and interesting. In a few years it will be considered a classic, so all prog archives members should listen to this record now that it is fresh!

Report this review (#1820490)
Posted Thursday, November 9, 2017 | Review Permalink
5 stars Wobbler continues to produce the highest quality modern progressive rock available. Hinterland, Afterglow, and Rites At Dawn are stellar albums that are the closest thing to that classic Yes sound from the 70s. Just sink into that comfortable chair or couch, and do nothing but listen. From Silence to Somewhere continues where the three predecessors left off, but advances their sound even more. First play, I felt right at home with the long passages, fantastic keyboard work, and all around amazing musicianship. The vocal tone and style of Andreas are so similar to Jon, that it is hard not to have the Yes comparisons ready. Wobbler is it's own group that will fuse some folk elements into the music. It is time to place them up there with all the great modern progressive rock groups. I have already queued up all four albums into a playlist at work, and I will play them for quite a while.
Report this review (#1823590)
Posted Wednesday, November 15, 2017 | Review Permalink
5 stars I haven't had a prog album grab my attention so quickly and so fully since I was a teen, and discovering albums like 'Close To The Edge' and 'Foxtrot' for the first time. Wobbler has been my favourite prog band of the last ten years or so, since 'Afterglow' for sure. So to hear the band mature so fully, and execute their vision so successfully is especially satisfying. Though I'm always hesitant to prognosticate, I can easily see 'From Silence to Somewhere' occupying a place among my favourite progressive rock albums of all time.

Though there are many levels on which I appreciate this album, I have to mention the work of rhythm section Kristian Karl Hultgren on bass, and Martin Nordrum Kneppen on drums. Their playing reminds often me of Chris Squire and Bill Bruford, and moves easily from light, gentle passages to heavy, symphonic moments with ease. And as always, Lars Fredrik Frøislie's keyboards are a delight. His playing really deserves to be considered in the same breath as Emerson, Wakeman, Moraz, Banks, Bolin, and the other great prog keyboardists. New guitarist Geir Marius Bergom Halleland brings a heavier edge to things, which I think helps the band's sound immensely. Much like John Weathers' heavier drumming helped Gentle Giant move up a level, the guitars here really bring out the band's capacity to be heavy.

And then there is Andreas Wettergreen Strømman Prestmo's voice. I've read some describe it like Jon Anderson's, and I can see that to a degree, but I think he really brings a new, fresh voice beyond the sum of his influences. He can do moving, soft passages, be he's also capable of holding his own against loud, busy symphonic sections, too.

Influences of Yes, King Crimson, Nektar, Gentle Giant, Genesis, and so many other great prog bands. This isn't an album to be missed in 2017, or any year.

Report this review (#1823675)
Posted Thursday, November 16, 2017 | Review Permalink
5 stars Opinions concerning Norwegian symphonic prog rock outfit Wobbler have been quite divided in the past. From the beginning Lars Fredrik Froislie and his bandmates were labeled an Anglagard cover band. Things didn't seem to change when Andreas Wettergreen Stromman Prestmo added his singular falsetto on 2011 release "Rites at Dawn", adding a lighter texture to the band's overall sound. Wobbler had now officially become a yes clone to many. The main complaint of critics is never aimed toward their technical capabilities concerning composition or instrumental virtuosity but simply lies in Wobbler not having an own individual voice, but only borrowing the latter of those before them. Yes indeed, Wobbler tap into some Yes, King Crimson or Gentle Giant repertoire from time to time, integrating the one or the other idea into their pieces. But this is symphonic progressive rock. Who doesn't?

Truth of the matter is: Wobbler's 2005 debut "Hinterland" introduced a very mature new voice to the prog world and the consecutive releases only demonstrated further growth and improvement on every front. Same goes for the object of this review, latest release "From Silence to Somewhere". While "Rites at Dawn" strongly diffused more positive vibes framed in shorter structures, the newest album continues where sophomore release Afterglow left off. 3 Epics (one clocking in at over 20 minutes) and a short intermezzo half way through form the outlines of the record.

The Album opens with the eponymous title- and longest track of the album, swallowing the listener straight from the start down a road of life, death and resurrection, bedded in organically dynamic layers of mellotron, Rhodes, vintage guitar, throbbing basslines and franticly stomping drum-work. Divided into 3 parts ? Part I: Humus, Part II: Corpus and an Epilogue, the themes presented here flow seamlessly into one another without leaving the listener overwhelmed. The material displayed is not to densely packed but takes it's time to develop and climax with highly dynamic buildups here and there. The first 6 minutes demonstrate these elements. A threatening organ grows more and more ominous until replaced by a galloping 6/8 with the main melody carried by the guitar. After a conversational jam between organ and guitar the floor quiets down and the synthesizer introduces the main theme, then taken over by Andreas' heavenly light voice. The exposition leads directly to the second theme of the song, which is of more folkloric and positive nature. The Flute adds to the folkloric feel and general celebratory mood. Apart from an instrumentally demanding middle section, calling to mind the 'Relayer' Yes phase, the rest of the track works through the material presented this far and intelligently arranges the motifs around different harmonious progressions. The Epilogue is lightly instrumented, mainly lead by quiet electric guitar chords split in arpeggios accompanying Andreas' longing wish for resurrection. The melancholic harmonic context fits its lyrical content wonderfully and leaves the listener baffled.

An Intermezzo, pensive and lead by a quietly haunting piano, serves as a bridge to 'Fermented Hours', which picks up the afore introduced menacing vibrations with organ arpeggios that grow louder with every beat until the main verse comes crashing in. Framed in this more aggressive theme, the middle section builds in calmer and more melodious motifs, lead by stand out bass work and, yet again, beautifully sung melodies. A 6/8, which could be interpreted as a danceable ž Waltz, due to the bass-emphasized 1 and 4, builds the dreamy center of this section and experiences further development after a short build up exercised by emotionally performed spoken word in Italian, to which the subject is the 'dolce vita' (the sweet life).

Don't be fooled by the talk about an epitaph in closer 'Foxlight', for this is only the beginning of things, a 'crossroads' where 'the journey still remains'. Opening with acoustic guitar strokes a fairy like atmosphere is established with the addition of several vocal layers. The buildup takes it's time and truly savors the mood diffused by Andreas' vocals. After 4 minutes change happens suddenly. Decisively hard blows by the harpsichord break the mood and drench the piece in darker waters, which remain mysterious and undefined throughout. Here, drummer Martin Nordrum shines, continuously layering and alternating between a multitude of rhythms over a long 6/8 section, creating a vicious circle with never ending cycles. After another short Harpsichord break 'Foxlight' finds it's piece and closes in a positive light, ornamented with folkloric chant.

With 'From Silence to Somewhere' Wobbler have once again improved and created an album that demonstrates great virtuosity, gripping songwriting and a gift for thoughtful and dynamic arranging. The Songs put truly unique and beautiful melodies on display, leaving no room for doubt, that this is a band with a very special and unequaled voice of its own.

Report this review (#1824593)
Posted Saturday, November 18, 2017 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
5 stars "Masterpiece of the Year!"

Norwegian Symphonic Prog Rockers Wobbler are the surprise hit of the year with one of the best albums of 2017 "From Silence to Somewhere". The album from the outset has the sounds and ear candy of the classic Prog Rock Of the golden 70's era when Prog was at the peak of the mountain. So close in resemblance is the sound, one may be forgiven for thinking this is an album from that era, comparing favourably with masterpieces such as Yes' "Close to the Edge", Genesis "Foxtrot", Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso's debut and Gentle Giant's "The Power and the Glory". Similar to those albums, Wobbler feature an epic multi movement suite clocking over 20 minutes. There are only 4 songs just like the classics of Yes, ELP and Genesis, and each track builds on the next with Spiritual themes and metaphorical poetic lyrics. The vocals are so close to vintage Peter Gabriel or Jon Anderson it is astounding, and so well executed by Andreas Wettergreen Str'mman Prestmo, who is wonderful on guitar, glockenspiel, and percussion. Geir Marius Bergom Halleland is the lead guitarist, one of the best, Lars Fredrik Fr'islie is a virtuoso keyboardist, and the complex rhythm section is made up of Kristian Karl Hultgren, bass, bass clarinet, bass pedals, and Martin Nordrum Kneppen on drums, percussion, and recorder.

The album opens with the glorious epic From Silence to Somewhere (21.00), that has as many twists and turns as the lengthy treasures of early Genesis, Supper's Ready, Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso's opus Il Guardino del Mago, and Yes with Close to the Edge. The organic music switches moods throughout, from melancholy and reflective to uplifting melodies with intense emotional power. It dives headlong into a guitar driven melody with crashes of cymbals and whirring sustained synths, the bassline and drum section is chaotic and exciting. The lengthy cacophonic intro finally breaks into a peaceful ethereal organ with acoustics, awash with lush Mellotron strings.

The lyrics explore the idea of metamorphosis, from the womb to the grave and beyond the veil. Reminiscent of the ideologies heard on Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso's Metamorfosi from their masterpiece debut. Part 1: Humus 'all that becomes and perishes' opens with lyrics "From the mould, the mother womb that dark and moist, dark and moist shield of old, to rise again from the tomb and like the fragile sprout in twilight's gloom, into the world unfold, ancestral gold, the line of blood, a web stretched out so long ago, built to last." The poetic lyrics are fulfilling and augment the music in the same way lyrics are quintessential to the overall experiential and existential journey of Yes, "Tales of Topographic Oceans". A flute dominates over the next section and the pace quickens into complex shapes. It switches into a quiet contemplative phase. The flute adds its own embrace of beauty to the scape; a chrysalis opening to release the butterfly. Part 2: Corpus 'That no one of existing things doth perish, but men in error speak of their changes as destructions and as deaths', there's a subtitle! Here the lyrics turn a darker shade as the protagonist contemplates the meaning of death after life; "This now when everything never dies, live again, burst into the scarlet skies reshaped, resized, in this dark hour I search the cave relentlessly pondering grand designs, troubling me, cloaked in the veil of light, clarity brightens my halls, proof of the undying, truth beyond these walls." The hard drum returns to signify a new change, and a beautiful lead guitar break breaks through.

Another verse and everything halts as church pipe organ begins and some odd effects before a cascade of Hammond descends into a fast paced drum pattern, until scratches of strings grind like a creaking door opening to a new scenario. The tracks changes completely with a weird spasmodic fractured signature in iambic pentameter, punctuated by staccato crashes of organ and drums. The flute cuts in to the dance, and breaks away so that a lead guitar can have a turn. It becomes heavy as a phased guitar howls over the sound wall. Angelic choral music heralds a new dawn of thought. A gentle guitar passage soothes the storm as swathes of Tron float by. Vocals return and still sound strikingly like Anderson. The epilogue moves into a reflective theme of hope and escape into light, and the music reflects this with bright passages of aural clarity, gorgeous organic strings and guitar layered over pondering basslines and decisive percussion. The Mellotron takes centre stage with grandiose sweeps and tonal phrases as multilayerd vocals blaze away.

It breaks again with tranquil guitars and ambient strings as the vocals contemplate the feeling of death, "boughs of green, so gently dancing in the wind, embracing the earth, my death and my birth, here I lie, at peace in solitude forever until I'm stirred from my nest like a bird and soar into the world once again." The mesmirising beauty of the symphonic music is in direct mirror reflection of the serene feeling of floating Spiritually into the sky.

This colossal epic is a dynamic, bold and innovative journey that Wobbler takes the listener on. They inject so much passion in their music, so much understanding for the medium, and those artists who inspired this genre, that it is difficult not to be overwhelmed by the sheer bombastic grandeur. But the best is yet to come! Rendered in Shades of Green (2.05) is alarmingly short after the previous marathon. It is virtually a transition as a veritable calm before the storm. This intermezzzo is tranquil piano over waves of lush atmospheric Mellotron strings that gently caress the ear.

Fermented Hours (10.10) is a return to the complexity of the opening track, the time signatures are off the meter, and there are some intricate instrumental passages. I adore the opening electronics that build into a killer riff with very loud guitar and Hammond stabbing viciously without mercy. The vocals are theatrical, "far way in the Northern regions", that are sung along the heavy handed melody. One may be reminded of the early Focus or Yes sound, and it wanders into Rock Progressive Italiano territories. Indeed it almost acts as a love letter to such bands as Premiata Forneri Marconi, and their "Stories in one Minute" era, particularly in terms of structure and layout, building into progressive musical shapes utilising Hammond, flute and strong percussion in 6/8. The cool organ solo at 2:30 minutes in is a delicate sound that generates a mysterious atmosphere. The Peter Gabriel style is prevalent in the vocals and the melody is infectious. Mellotrons flow lucidly beneath the soundscape. It sounds like raindrops coming down, and the vocals do state "I'm soaked with the sweetness of wine" so perhaps this is the idea. It breaks signature at 5 minutes in, the percussion gets dramatic and some odd vocals speaking another language reminds us that this is inspired by RPI. Steve Hackett style lead guitar can be heard in places and the Gabrielesque vocals continue to tell the story of fermented hours, and seeking solace and meaning among chaos. The music becomes chaotic too with a frenetic bassline until a Cathedral organ grinds majestically, like entering the church with stained glass windows. The glass shatters as the heavy punctuated rhythmic guitars return in an arrhythmic meter and bookend this magnificent track. It is an outstanding example of how great music can be, relentlessly inventive and daring beyond the barriers of music; my second favourite on this awesome album.

Foxlight (13.19) closes the album with a genuine masterclass performance of the band in full flight. This is the best track on the album and after hearing it I had no hesitation in rating this album a five star triumph. It opens with flickers of flute and sweeping Mellotron that floats along acoustic picking. A lilting woodwind ballet of clarinet and flute playfully dances gracefully over the rivers of acoustics, and then a glockenspiel chimes in. Lovely pianoforte passages and a tambourine build the progsphere. It soon ignites into a paroxysm of lightning striking heavy Hammond and berserk guitar in a polyrhythmic meter. The melody locks in with interchanging schizophrenic moods. The vocals sound as high falsetto as Jon Anderson with creative lyrics, "Bewildered here down at the crossroads, confronted with the choices for my epitaph, a distant flame gives me a sign, shows me a path within my mind." The flute has a Tull like quality. The meter picks up and switches signature as the Yes like sound continues, "Too tempting are the ways that promise release, through blissful subjection and foxlights leading the way, a vortex of realities has dragged me under, all the things I believed, what my yesterdays conceived is lost." It begins to sound really close to Yes, then the Hammond becomes more aggressive and the Mellotron dominates as a foundation. The percussion is sporadic, until it breaks.

The introduction of a harpsichord enhances the atmosphere with a medieval flare. Flamenco guitar waltzes along with the harpsichord. The arrangement settles into a haunting contemplative mood, with harmonious vocals "here I lie". A gorgeous lush Mellotron with flute segues into a Gentle Giant sounding passage, especially in the vocal style, "even if the pieces change only the journey still remains", and the marching percussion heralds a new mood of triumph. Gryphon style medieval music glistens over a dollop of flute before a climax of Gentle Giant style a Capella multi layered harmonies. A krumhorn sounding like a kazoo can be heard over the wall of sound, and the flute twitters until the sound breaks into drums and a "la la la la la la la la" harmony, with loud staccato stabs of organ and guitar. It is an absolutely brilliant track; a throwback to 70s Prog and yet sounding so current. This is the magic of Wobbler.

I have heard this album many times and each time it dazzles my senses. Contender for album of the year? Absolutely! It certainly deserves masterpiece status as it pays homage to classic 70's Prog, crosses Prog rock borders and delivers it wrapped up in a new package. The versatile style and structure of the album is a captivating experience. If you looked up the definition of Prog you could put a picture of this album next to it and it would be sufficient. Everything about the album rings true as a prime example that the sound of classic Prog is alive and kicking! "From Silence to Somewhere" is a triumph; an outstanding achievement destined for masterpiece status.

Report this review (#1824911)
Posted Sunday, November 19, 2017 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
Crossover Team
4 stars Mellotrons, how do I love thee, let me count the ways, one, one thousand, two, one thousand, three, one thousand. I can't help it, the first time I played this I got an image of Roger Rabbit in my mind and it won't get out! But, instead of a fluffy white rabbit in a film where Bob Hoskins was cruelly denied in Oscar, what we have here is the Norwegian quintet back with their fourth studio album. To say that this album is making waves in the prog scene is something of an understatement: as I write this, after 138 ratings this is the top ranked album from 2017 according to ProgArchives, and by a country mile the top ranked Norwegian progressive album of all time. So, critically it's not doing too bad at all!

The one thing I can't really make my mind up on with this is whether I should say in the review if the album belongs from 1971 or 1972: part of me is having an argument with the rest to say that it could be as late as 1973 but I'm ignoring that at present. This is classic retro prog as they say, in that not only has it take the influences of bands such as classic Genesis, ELP and Yes but have decided that there is no need at all to move any further and can stay quite happily there and expand on the themes, musical motifs and styles. At this point, progressive rock truly becomes a genre and style, as opposed to music that is challenging boundaries and creating something that is different and exciting. This is where I have another discussion with myself in that part of me gets annoyed that a band is attempting to move music back forty-five years, but the rest of me says 'who cares when the music is this damn good?!'. Maybe I should start taking tablets'

Anyway, there is no denying that this is an amazing album in many ways. If you are the type of discerning proghead who bemoans the demise of flares and sitting cross-legged at gigs while partaking of various illegal and legal substances, then this is for you. To be honest, this is something that progheads simply can't ignore as pretty much all will love it to one degree or another, as it really is quite special. Did I mention the mellotrons?

Report this review (#1826311)
Posted Saturday, November 25, 2017 | Review Permalink
4 stars From the first time I ever heard Wobbler's 'Rites at Dawn' five years ago, I felt that this was a special band. Back then I was only just beginning to really explore progressive rock. Though I'd actually been a fan of some prog bands for a couple of decades, I was never aware of the 'prog' label until 2010! 'Rites of Dawn' impressed me so due to the complex music that was so expertly executed with many of those thrilling parts that you just have to hear again and again, and though many albums that made it into my collection have, after a time, been left to play again at some unknown future date, most of the songs off 'Rites' have been invited back for repeat performances in my ear phones throughout the last five years.

Of course, that meant that I soon picked up 'Hinterland' and 'Afterglow', which I also enjoyed but not as much as 'Rites'. 'Hinterland' bears the massive 27-minute plus title track epic which is also rich in awesome parts but sure takes a while to get through. Add two more tracks that are both over ten minutes and that's a lot of music to digest, especially since Wobbler are not a band who commonly set up simple structures in their compositions. Take 'In Taberna', an instrumental off 'Afterglow'. It's like a musical journey where you never visit the same place twice. 'Rites at Dawn' brought in song structure and tamed the complex structure of Wobbler's compositions somewhat so that the individual tracks on the album were easily more memorable thanks to vocal harmonies, melodies, and a variety of instrument showcases with flute, or saxophone, and styles such as funky jazz or an older classical style as showcase moments.

'From Silence to Somewhere' is the long-anticipated fourth album then and it was at last completed and released at the end of October. (I had been following Wobbler's Facebook page ever since hearing in 2016 that a new album was in the works). I was at first disappointed that the new release didn't follow the 'Rites' approach with five songs clocking in somewhere between six and twelve minutes (plus two short instrumentals bookending the album). The disappointment quickly faded, however, as the album began. After a buildup of swirling organ chords, Wobbler erupt in their typical quick-paced, direct to classic prog approach. Those not familiar with the band should take note that Wobbler use only classic prog era equipment and are determined to a point of perfection to recreate the sounds and atmosphere of that era, all the while writing strictly original material.

The title track serves as a 22-minute album opener and it's rife with good old-fashioned prog goodness. Andreas Wettergreen Stromman Prestmo (a name as long as some of Wobbler's compositions) holds the lead vocal duties as he did on 'Rites' and I have to say that his voice has improved greatly. Though his work was certainly commendable on the previous album, he shows positive strength in his singing here. There are times when I almost though he wasn't going to be able to hold the note, but he did it! He does sound more like Jon Anderson on this album, I feel, but it's a compliment to him. Unfortunately, the wonderful vocal harmonies from the last album are nearly gone this time, and that may be because one member has changed. Guitarist Morten Andreas Erikson has gone and now Marius Halleland has the role. Perhaps this change has left the lead vocals with less backup.

Another note is that even though this album takes the 'Hinterland' approach with one epic piece, two shorter epics, and one short non-rock instrumental, the music is less about meandering and exploring every nook and cranny of progressive rock but instead feels more focused and concise. That doesn't mean the music stays on repeat, but rather it's like the band have matured to where they don't need to prove that they can write a song that has 19 different melodies and motifs in 11 minutes and can now concentrate on writing something better held together. The title track features several highlights for me including some growly bass reminiscent of King Crimson John Wetton (at 10:40 and 12:40), some terrific flute going along with the beat and groove (at 11:48), and an older Wolfmother guitar sound (at 12:40). The track rises and falls with some quieter moments and louder, more anthemic melodies. Particularly at the 17:00 mark, the emotion really builds and strikes me as a new approach for Wobbler to take.

'Rendered in Shades of Green' is one of those gentle and short instrumentals with piano and strings, at first seemingly an odd inclusion but actually rather typical of Wobbler. I personally like 'Fermented Hours', a track that both rocks and rolls and also eases back. This shows Wobbler at their most intense and even dark at times. When they did something similar on 'Afterglow', it earned them a feature in a metal magazine which labeled them as avant-garde metal. It's not metal, but it is the most intense and darkest part of all the music in places.

Our marvelous journey through Wobbler's musical adventure world takes us to 'Foxlight', the final track, though at 13:19 we have lots of time to coast to the end. It begins in strong contrast to 'Fermented Hours' by playing out more serenely at first but then at 3:50 it too becomes more powerful with some sinister bass action coupled with some tension-filled harpsicord. That harpsicord comes back to perform a solo at 7:20 along with acoustic guitar and clean electric guitar. The track concludes with a kind of medieval melody (something Wobbler do very well) from 10:20, and whole band are in full motion, strutting their stuff for the album's finale.

I'm familiar enough with Wobbler's style to have enjoyed this album from the first listen, but it's not just a clich' to say that with repeated listens, I am enjoying the album more. It's been a great opportunity to play the other three albums and enjoy them anew as well. Though 'Rites at Dawn' still remains my favourite Wobbler album for now, 'From Silence to Somewhere' was worth the wait!

Report this review (#1826408)
Posted Saturday, November 25, 2017 | Review Permalink
5 stars Wow! What an amazing album. Jam packed with excellent melodies, dynamic interplay, exquisite musicianship and top notch composing skills. It all flows naturally, and no note is replaceable or superfluous. Aesthetically it's rooted firmly in the 70's, but it feels fresh, modern and original nonetheless. The first song, "From Silence to Somewhere" must be THE epic of the last 40 years. And the cover art is so beautiful, especially the gatefold cover of the vinyl version. It suits the themes and music so well. I'm flabbergasted that it's possible to create such a wonderful piece of art in 2017. This modern day classic is very highly recommended!
Report this review (#1827124)
Posted Tuesday, November 28, 2017 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
5 stars I'd be very surprised if this isn't the album of the year for 2017 on most Prog sites and on my particular list. I really feel that they've gone that extra mile this time going into ANEKDOTEN and ANGLAGARD territories. Mind you the previous four studio albums are all incredible in my opinion. The debut still has this mythical feel to it for me. I remember back in 2006 taking my oldest daughter to a friend's place, they lived in this little village on the mountain and I played "Hinterland" for our journey. Memorable music.

Since they hired a new vocalist for the "Rites Of Dawn" album there is a YES vibe because he does sound very much like Jon Anderson. Even instrumentally I felt YES was an influence at times on that "Rites Of Dawn" album but not nearly so much here, in fact hardly at all except for the vocals. I'm a little sad that the list of instruments that Lars Fredrik Froislie plays isn't listed on here, maybe because it's a paragraph long. Here it just says keyboards and backing vocals. How about organ, mellotron, clavinet, electric piano, synths, keyboards, zither and grand piano but there's actually even more details to this. Impressive!

"From Silence To Somewhere" is the 21 minute opener and we get a guest appearance from Ketil Vestrum Einarsen playing flute and he's from JAGA JAZZIST. He also guests on the closing track with flute as well. Atmosphere builds before a full sound kicks in quickly. Love that in your face bass and the distorted organ starting before 2 minutes. A beautiful calm arrives just before 3 minutes. The synths and atmosphere bring YES to mind but when the vocals arrive well this sounds like YES during their classic period. Mellotron before 4 1/2 minutes then it starts to build a minute later as the mellotron becomes more prominent. It then picks up with flute over top then the vocals return. A calm with mellotron, acoustic guitar and more after 6 minutes. It kicks in again before 8 minutes with flute over top and vocal melodies. The guitar starts to solo before 8 1/2 minutes. It steps aside as the vocals return. An experimental calm then kicks in sounding amazing before 10 minutes. Love the huge bass lines and old school keyboards. Another experimental calm then the keyboards and bass return before it kicks into an insane soundscape where it's every man for himself(haha). The flute is back then it's the guitar lighting it up as it grinds away before the mellotron returns before 13 1/2 minutes. An almost silent calm after 14 minutes as some sparse drums then vocal melodies join in. Acoustic guitar takes over ala GENESIS. Atmosphere then rolls in. It kicks back in before 17 minutes with mellotron storming the soundscape reminding me so much of ANEKDOTEN. Passionate vocals follow. A calm after 18 1/2 minutes as reserved vocals join in. What a beautiful way to end it.

"Rendered In Shades Of Green" is a 2 minute instrumental with piano leading the way at first. It's melancholic as other sounds join in on this sad piece.

"Fermented Hours" builds right from the start and I really like this. A vocal melody follows then it kicks in heavily with keyboards over top. Vocals just before a minute in this uptempo section. Check out the bass! Some guest spoken words before 2 minutes and later on too. The singer is back signally a return to that uptempo and fiery instrumental work. A calm with keys, a beat and picked guitar follow as the mellotron helps out. Man this section starting before 3 1/2 minutes really sounds like IQ. It's building after 5 minutes with those guest spoken words. Love the mellotron and bass that follows. The vocals are back after 6 minutes followed by a mellotron storm after 6 1/2 minutes. Organ before 8 minutes as it settles right down. Here we go again! Not worthy!

"Foxlight" is the stunning closing track. It actually reminds me of CHICAGO's "Wishing You Were Here" classic until the vocals arrive. The flute flutters as the picked acoustic guitar and atmosphere continue. Some piano too as the vocals come and go. This really sounds good. Crumhorn too. It suddenly kicks in quite heavily with organ, drums, bass and more. Oh my! The vocals arrive as the bass leads the way into battle. Flute to the fore after 5 1/2 minutes then the vocals return. Back to the heaviness. So good! Check out the bass, drums and mellotron 7 minutes in as the vocals continue. Powerful is the word. Intricate sounds follow as we get a lighter but more beautiful section. Distant almost spacey vocals arrive before 9 minutes as it turns melancholic and mellow. Mellotron rolls in as the vocals step aside. Suddenly it all brightens as these upbeat vocals kick in with a catchy rhythm. Nice chunky bass and vocal melodies too. It's like a happy ending! I like happy endings.

I will be shocked if this isn't my favourite album of 2017. Got several more to get to yet.

Report this review (#1840330)
Posted Sunday, December 10, 2017 | Review Permalink
5 stars Yes it's a real masterpiece, a path to future - but exclusively thanks to the closing track, Foxlight. Otherwise From Silence To Somewhere might be no more than just another excellent prog album released in 2017... or 1971...

...well, a strange and magical thing occurred with us all in early 1970s. Before that, since 1920s, those who expected something more than just entertainment from music had no satisfying substance that might be called 'actual serious music'. Or, if you prefer, 'current serious music'. Professor Kabalevsky divided all music into 'serious' and 'light'. 'Serious' is more or less the same as so-called 'classics'. 'Light' is musical entertainment. Starting with 1920s' foxtrots, charlestons, shimmies and tangos, only 'light' music was actual, while 'serious' was archived. The fabulous times when Glinka and Strauss Jr (both actual) were contemporaries were gone. As for Ginastera, Penderecki, Tippett (Michael), Shostakovich, Lord Britten, Shchedrin and others, what they did was brilliant but - on the other hand - archived since the moment it was conceived. That beautiful and innovative music was nevertheless made mostly following the 19th century's prescriptions for melody making, arrangement, instrumentation etc. Jazz was actual but - at least from 1920s to 1950s - too 'light' to be 'serious'.

And then... 'all of a sudden appears a light, horizons open wide'. It happened in late 1960s, many people say in 1969, with In The Court Of The Crimson King, but I think it occurred in 1967 with Days Of Future Passed, with a little help from Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and much more help from The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn. After the 50- years hiatus, appeared a music which was actual and 'serious' at the same time. Now we call it prog. Back in 1970s it was not just actual but even fashionable, trendy 'serious' music. Its prescriptions were partially inherited from 12th- 19th centuries but mostly original and self-made. Its foundation stones were laid down in 1970s, its paradigm was seriously renewed and upgraded in 1990s. Now, in late 2010s, prog is becoming more and more refined - and, at the same time, senile, still following the same high road and transforming into a sort of 'new classics'.

Perhaps Wobbler is a peak of the evolution of prog music. Or at least one of its existing peaks. Their latest album clearly shows that prog is nowadays close to its perfection - and has no way to go further in the same kind as before. No, Wobbler and other current bands do not simply repeat or reproduce the 1970s music. But the prog paradigm is evidently growing older and not likely to have as much capacities for renewal and upgrade as in 1990s. The 2010s prog is still 'serious', even more serious than in 1970s, but hardly actual. It's harder and harder for prog to avoid becoming archived.

Moreover, sometimes modern prog artists proudly emphasize their initially archived status, though they don't hesitate to use actual recording equipment and software. Lars Fredrik Froislie has a monstrous collection of vintage analog keyboards (Hammond organ, Mellotron, some fossil Roland etc) but does not use magnetic tapes and vintage analog recording equipment. No, he uses Sonar. Back in 2011 we had a short conversation on MySpace, and Lars revealed how happy he was to find two plugins which help to get a better sound...

In other words, modern progsters are not conservative or old-fashioned sensu stricto, they use the 2010s soft... to make 1970s-like music. And this approach meets full approval at their audience. Similarity to 1970s is considered a merit. But it's 'another cul-de-sac'. Tempus fugit, and soon new exacting listeners will experience a new critical lack of actual 'serious' music. As a result, a next 'serious' music's algorithm will be born, maybe again with long delay, nobody knows. I'm not sure but hope that Foxlight (along with selected tracks from Galadriel's Calibrated Collision Course, Haken's Aquarius and Lifesigns' Cardington) may become a part or a predecessor of that future algorithm. And anyway I'd prefer the remaining three tracks on the album From Silence To Somewhere to be as unwonted as Foxlight and less canonical than they are.

Report this review (#1842468)
Posted Saturday, December 16, 2017 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
5 stars .








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A teneris unguiculis

From tender little nails, from the earliest childhood


As the golden age of progressive rock gradually weakened under the weight of its own agglutinating overindulgence thus rendering an alienation of the uninitiated as it ballooned into unthinkable complexities, the musical genre was banished to the underground during the course of the ensuing decades as simpler musical expressions usurped its initial popularity. Despite this great fall from grace, there has always been a steady stream of artists who have never broken their fixed gaze on the pinnacle of the compositional fortitude that was seemingly beamed down from the heaven's for a small span of time from the latter years of the 60s to the midpoint of the 70s. Throughout the flow of time that has elapsed ever since, there has been a small but dedicated following whose sights have not been set on creating newer more contemporary forms of cutting edge progressive music that seeks to eschew the curricular guide of the past masters but rather have had their sight secured on the Holy Grail of prog from the era that provided a hitherto unexperienced syncretism of musical genres with the mission of expanding the pop and blues oriented rock universe into the new realms fortified with Western classical, psychedelia, folk, jazz and beyond. Such results yielded a big bang of creative and expressive albums that have hardly been matched yet a few ambitious artists have taken it as their mission to revisit the past and ever since have tried to replicate its majesty in all its splendiferous glory.


A fonte puro pura defluit aqua

From a clear spring clear water flows


Once upon a time near the town of Hřnefoss, Norway, the industrial hub of the Řstlandet region of the country, not too overly far from Oslo, the small city of 14 thousand plus residents wasn't exactly famous for exporting progressive rock classics to the world but rather more known on the world's stage for its Olympic gold medalists and enthusiast ski jumpers. However in the midst of whispers of the frigid white winters were progressive rock dreams thawing near the fireplaces and sweated out in the saunas were unfolding far from the English countryside from whence they spawned decades prior, the band known as WOBBLER was born in 1999 when Kristian Karl Hultgren, Lars Fredrik Frřislie and Martin Nordrum Kneppen discovered they shared the same burning passion for all things progressive rock that were heard in the bands before their time and became obsessed with emulating the very progressive prowess of bands like PFM, King Crimson, Gentle Giant, Yes, ELP and so forth. Staying true to the sounds of their heroes, they implemented all the expected characteristics of era specific prog with healthy doses of mellotron, hammond organ, minimoog, rhodes, clarinet, ARP, piano and harpsichord fortified with healthy time signature rich guitar riffing, Rickenbacker bass lines and complex compositional arrangements. The band caught the world's attention with their debut album "Hinterland" which utilized all the techniques and trademark styles of the musical maestros but somehow, something wasn't quite complete. Despite all their efforts they hadn't seemed to have gone that extra mile to completely separate themselves from the legions of retro prog worshippers who were growing and multiplying every single day seemingly like cane toads in the Australian outback. However something special was gestating. The question would be only if it was allowed to express itself in time before it would become suffocated in its nascency.


Materiam superabat opus

The workmanship was better than the subject matter.


While "Hinterland" set the tone and cemented the band's unique spin on the golden age of symphonic prog properly seasoned with the eclectic influences of the entire prog universe, WOBBLER appeared to be going through the motions on their next two releases. While "Afterglow" showed even more development in their retro prog approach and compositional development, "Rites At Dawn" sounded more like a band that had peaked and was on the way down rather having the mojo to pull off anything far more visionary and grander in scope as it sputtered along in a seemingly endless Yes mode with every prog check list accounted for to maximize retro appeal. While brilliantly performed, the compositions just didn't feel like they had their own soul and the end result found "Rites Of Dawn" feeling somewhat hollow despite the Herculean instrumental workouts performed at every single cadence and crescendo.

Something seemed amiss and hunches are that the band themselves could sense the stagnation as they hesitated for several years before they would initiate any thoughts of a followup album. As the years passed, WOBBLER became ever more inspired by the spirit of what made the retro prog they were trying to copy. The spirit of grandiose inspiration had finally hit them and in a profound way. After six long years of self reflection, healthy work habits and reinventing the wheel in order to suit their needs, WOBBLER emerged at long last in 2017 with their not so anticipated fourth album FROM SILENCE TO SOMEWHERE. This sounds like WOBBLER but something had changed. No longer did the band sound like they were desperately seeking to become the heroes of prog greatness. Suddenly they sounded like they themselves were admitted to the very club that so many have tried in vein to replicate with few capable of grasping their lofty visions turned to dust. Even upon first glance of the cover illustration from the Cabala's esoteric texts there is an insinuating feeling that there's a King Crimson "Larks' Tongue In Aspic" connection in either complexity or magnitude. And after an initial listen, it was apparent that this will be one of those albums that requires some time to investigate.


Mutatis mutandis

The things that ought to have changed having been changed with the necessary substitutions having been made


Against all odds and to the amazement of prog fans of planet Earth, WOBBLER delivers one of the least anticipated albums of the year and dazzles the listener with the aura of an instant classic. Perhaps it was the ghost of Chris Squire who was not ready to leave this dimensional plane and decided to create his own astral plane version of American Idol where he could personally choose a successor to the giants of the past. Perhaps he chose WOBBLER who had already come a long way in the prog world and simply needed that extra spark of divine mojo to fully ignite their compositions in a way that only come from higher planes of reality. Perhaps they won the inspirational lottery. Perhaps. However unexplainable these things may seem, it matters not for WOBBLER clearly had something going for them and with FROM SILENCE TO SOMEWHERE they indeed have climbed their way into the top ranks of the progressive rock high arts that not only worships the heroes of the past with all the appropriate boxes checked, but infuses a whole new updated spirit to this creative fusion and delivers one of the absolute best albums of 2017. While instantly addictive with rich melodies and driving dynamics ranging from contemplative pastoral symphonic segments to hard rock riffs, like any classic prog album invites the listener to dig deeper and settle into a new musical world that only becomes more comfortable after each experience.


Contra felicem vix deus vires habet

Against a lucky man a god scarcely has power


FROM SILENCE TO SOMEWHERE contains a mere four tracks with the second "Rendered In Shades Of Green" serving merely as a two minute intermission between the twenty one minute opener and the two final tracks.

The opening title track immediately sets off an air of epic proportion as a synthesizer eerily enters the soundscape and ushers in a rock guitar riff and followed by mellotron and keyboard rich atmospheric buildup that continues to grow immediately bringing the classic opening sequence of Yes' "Close To The Edge" to mind as it delivers a moog rich jamming session as the Rickenbacker bass line and guitar riffs conspire to create munificent melodies until after a few minutes things calm down and a slow and haunting melody replaces the raucous roar with a theremin type tone reminding of the sequence of Rush's "Xanadu" that serves as a bridge between segments.

The melody established remains the backbone of the track henceforth and variations seem to revolve around this single catchy hook alone. In comes the poetic lyrics finding a major improvement in Andreas Prestmo's vocals which grace the epic aura even further into magical territories for let's face it: music of this magnitude demands a skilled vocalist and i would testify that Prestmo's vocals are the make it or break it element of this whole album's success.

Close to eight minutes the eerie slow lyric driven pastoral segment breaks into heavy keyboard rich rock with Steve Howe inspired guitar riffs, Keith ELP derived keyboard runs and expansive melodic developments. After nine and a half minutes, the style shifts again and creates and arpeggiated guitar segment with heavy bass and drum accompaniment that goes down a strange road of changes as the guitar driven segment gives license for a free-for-all jamming session where the keys and guitars take turns going wild around the melody.

About twelve and a half minutes in, the melody changes again and becomes less folk oriented and more melodic rock dominated with guitar licks and fuzz-fed riffing playing around while atmospheric keys churn out heavenly counterpoint melodies. Silence hits after fourteen minutes and as Prestmo vocalizes the melody before a pastoral folky segment streams on as the complex melodic shifts that are interrelated never once sound out of place and the beginning vocal section regains its hold only Prestmo's vocals are warmed up now and goes for it and hits the next logical notes higher on the register. There is more instrumental gusto this time around and the band erupts into a heavy bass driven groove rock with the expected mellotron drenched atmospheric drama alongside.

At eighteen and half minutes in the pastoral segment reprises as Prestmo sings his heart out while slowly winding down the momentum as the percussion has died and a medieval flugelhorn type of riff is heard bringing a medieval folk funeral to mind or something equally as somber until finally the long and winding road down the track ends and only contemplation and the desire to hear it again rings in my ear.


Tu ne cede malis sed contra audentior ito

Yield not to misfortunes, but advance all the more boldly against them


"Rendered In Shades Of Green" is nothing more than a short classical piano piece that is slow and sombre with a touch of mellotron echoes behind it. A violin and viola enter and add a sense of deepening dread and urgency as if a great friend has died and a battle for the kingdom is to come. Very epic soundtrack sounding as this one but bridges two distinct halves of the album.


Homo doctus is se semper divitias habet

A learned man always has wealth within himself


"Fermented Hours" is the heavy rocker of the album. Although it begins with a keyboard cry that sounds like no other once the heavy rock hits, it sounds like a mix of Steve Hillage's "Fish Rising" in hypnotic guitar riffing with the extra heft of the heavier era of Porcupine Tree. As the riffs are cranked up the keys add their own ferocity but alternates with a slow spoken word part that adds an interesting contrast but slightly over the two minute mark the heavy rock ends and a slinky key and bass exchange that sound like a TV series soundtrack of the 60s bounces around for a while as Prestmo is allowed to recite his lyrics without shouting over the heavier din aspects of the track. His vocal counterpoints bring back the folkier feel of the track as symphonic mellotrons frost the horizon.

A slight calm eventually allows another recitation in Italian to usher in a heavy instrumental workout where all the cast members are allowed to jam on for a while and play off each other while the vocals join in singing about barley and esoteric symbolism and such but at six and a half minutes the guitar riff changes as it provides an anchor for the more extensive jamming segment and changes the melody that builds up more tension that leads to a very Yes sounding segment once again reminding me of key transitional points on "Close To The Edge," however nothing remains long on FROM SILENCE TO SOMEWHERE and the band slowly inches their way back to the opening melodic heft of the heavy rock only with a sizzling guitar solo and extra oomf. As the track ends it builds and builds and builds until it collapses under its own reckless abandon. Way cool.


Horas non numero nisi serenas

I count only the bright hours


With a title like "Foxlight," how can one not immediately conjure up images of Genesis' "Foxtrot" album. Just like when you're told not to think of an elephant, well, what do you think of? This track indeed starts off like a classic prog era Genesis track with calm bucolic guitar arpeggios, flittering flute runs that sound like bird wings flapping in the breeze as Prestmo augments the melody with intermittent vocals. The flutes give it away as they slowly intensify and the keys follow suite by creating more vigorous waves of notes sway in classical piano style with touches of jazzy overtones. When it seems like the track is set on autopilot at over three and a half minutes in, a sudden burst of energy occurs and a guitar driven prog riffs with a melodic yet time signature riff leads the way. Instead of changing things up totally, the track builds upon what came before. The main theme breaks for some guitar riffs with extra gusto as well as flute solos. After six minutes the main riff slows down as the instruments play polyrhythms with each keeping different times and a bizarre tension is created in the process but once again Prestmo is the glue with his outstanding never-miss-a- beat vocal delivery.

At over ten minutes in, the vague atmospheric scatterings of the instruments unite to create a final rock intensive melodic outro which plays off the main melody which seems to tie the best aspects of Yes' virtuosity with Genesis symphonic style along with Gentle Giant type vocal polyphony, Tullish flute lines in more of a Comus type folk style. As the series of la la la la's build to end the track and album it all ends with a final bang and before you know it, it's all over leaving me wanting more but also leaving with a sense of leaving us hungry is the perfect strategy as WOBBLER realized the prog attention span has weakened over the decades and that the classic running time of a 70s album seems to scratch the itch without causing infection.


Gratia placenti

For the sake of pleasing


I can hear the skeptics opine of whether it is the case that we need to revisit the golden era of prog in 2017 when so many classics were delivered to our earthly plane during that unique historical era. The obsession for continuously striving to recreate the perfect synthesis of the golden era classics may indeed seem tantamount to reinventing the wheel and adding new artistic treads and bright shiny colors. It may even seem like an overindulgence in musical excess like a drug addict never finding that final fix that leaves him/her in blissful satisfaction however as the 21st century churns on after decades of experimental paths into the hitherto musically unknown, there is something very comforting about the divine balance of elements that occurred in the classics of the past that are becoming as timeless as the Cabalistic images that grace the cover of FROM SILENCE TO SOMEWHERE.

True, we may not need yet another prog reinterpretation of the past just like we didn't need one more beer at that party last Saturday night, however when a group of musicians is so utterly determined to take their passions to the ultimate heights of expression, then how can i fault them for doing what they love. After all, it's the results of the fruits of their labor that matter in the long run and in the case of FROM SILENCE TO SOMEWHERE, everything came together in an eerily majestic way, therefore after playing these over and over purposefully trying to pinpoint a single little peccadillo to tear it down to size, i in all honesty cannot detect a single flaw that inhibits my enjoyment and reverence towards the brilliant fusion of different classic albums of yester- millenium. WOBBLER have undoubtedly created one of the most satisfying progressive rock experiences of the year and possibly of the decade as they impeccably delivery the goods without missing a beat and all this comes after a third album that seemed to show the band waning instead of building up to such outstanding summits of eminence. Yes, indeed. A modern day prog classic with unlimited re-listening potential has been born. Hallelujah!

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Report this review (#1845173)
Posted Saturday, December 23, 2017 | Review Permalink
5 stars Imagine Jon Anderson in his prime jamming with Genesis, with medieval harmonies suggested by Gentle Giant and an overall pastoral atmosphere suggested by a mashup of peak Gryphon, Genesis' own Trespass and Anthony Phillips' Geese and the Ghost (with energetic outbursts here and there inspired by a few spins of ELP's debut) - then imagine Anglagard and Landberk getting together to produce a cover version that blows the original out of the water. Then imagine Wobbler came along - six years after their Yes-esque Rites at Dawn - and went "pffft, hold my beer and let me show you how this is done *properly*".

If you can hold all that in your head, you might have something appropriate expectations for this release, and for many prog fans the actual album will exceed them. When it comes to modern expressions of classic 1970s prog approaches and that medieval, pastoral style that a certain subset of the original prog bands grasped at occasionally, From Silence to Somewhere doesn't just nail it, it constructs the whole darn carpenter's shop. The major caveat I would add is that once you have listened to this, great swathes of retro-prog bands will seem tepid and flavourless in comparison - you need to be prepared to assess the rest of your prog collection in a whole new light after listening to this one.

Report this review (#1853069)
Posted Tuesday, January 2, 2018 | Review Permalink
Avant/Cross/Neo/Post Teams
4 stars Let me say, the newest album by a Norwegian progressive rock star combo WOBBLER has established another symphonic world view, with colourful, kaleidoscopic, complexly convoluting sound revolution via the longest titled suite.

Like Yes in their golden years, the quintet can squeeze their skillful play and incredible technique directly into our brain as sort of a melodically / rhythmically acceptable structure 'regardless of complicated sound formation'. This undoubtful matter can be heard for everything in the tilted track. Even under multirhythmic and melancholic concordance, we should not pay massive attention to analyzing their material at all, but only listen with leaving ourselves for the melodic stream.

The track can be divided in three pieces approximately, and there are some points we should listen to carefully. In an apparent manner they attractively use melodic / rhythmic potentiality and intonation. The last moment of the first part, full of dramatic melody lines featuring flute, gentle synthesizer, or acoustic guitar sounds, should move our mind obviously ... sounds like a French symphonic legend Ange. And the middle part is kinda giant, flooded with ethnic, oriental religious mysticism produced fully with Lars' terrific, enthusiastic keyboard works. Forgive my personal feeling but a progressive rock fan from Japan has completely got immersed in this part, and not helped assuming the ethnicity might exist upon the Norwegian land. 20 minute via this track is not long nor lengthy but is perfectly condensed with their activated sound motivation and variation.

Quite a few progressive rock fans might have noticed King Crimson-like heavy symphonic tendency blended with old-fashioned keyboard works via the third track "Fermented Hours", quite inspirational and highly energetic one. The shortest track "Rendered In Shades Of Green" is like a day-off when we can take a safe and sound breath, and another fantastic one drenched in mellotron comfort. And in the last piece "Foxlight" pretty addictive are harpsichord (keyboard) works in the middle part, absorbing the audience into heavily psychic but soft, smooth acoustic atmosphere.

In conclusion, they and their important cornerstone released in 2017 should not fall short of the expectations of the audience. This would be another brilliant credential in the progressive rock scene.

Report this review (#1864868)
Posted Sunday, January 7, 2018 | Review Permalink
5 stars 2017 turned out to be great prog-year.

After all the violence of progmetal and overabundance of neoprog and the tsunami of Porcupine Tree/Radiohead-wannabes it's refreshing to hear bands focus on the more instrumental, folky, jazzy, medieval, symphonic side of progrock.

I knew Wobbler of their former release, and that one was already dear to me. Now unto this new release;

Four long tracks wich sound organic and not once too pretentious. The instrumentation is tastefull, the dynamics are just right. Heavy parts and softer parts seemlessly flowing into one another.

The vocals are just right aswell. Reminds me of Anekdoten, but Wobbler is less heavy and more symphonic. I love the flute (finally the flute is back in symphonic rock) and the mellotron, wich gives it that special 70's vibe.

The music harks back to the days of Genesis, Gentle Giant (victorian vocal-parts), Camel (flute), King Crimson (mellotron) and has a kind of canterbury-feel to it.

This record is strongly recommended to anyone who wants to step in a timemachine an go back to the years of 1970-1974.

Report this review (#1870049)
Posted Sunday, January 28, 2018 | Review Permalink
5 stars Resplendent! Sonic dynamo. Triplicate exquisite, aural odysseys and a delicate, palate cleansing, keys laden interlude. Wobbler's melodious tapestries spread out over an expansive range of emotion, culminating in a series of crescendos. The sonic Shangri-La solidifies into a private, aural-visual exhibition equivalent of Picasso paintings, Kandinsky composition, and Matisse masterpieces. Visualize a sextet of Clydesdales hauling a heavy golden stagecoach, under the horsepower of 70's epic classics, "From Silence to Somewhere" canters, head-held-high alongside "Foxtrot", "Animals", "Close to Edge", "Relayer""A Passion Play". Rubies, sapphires, emeralds, and pearls. Scandinavian winter winds. Roofed with shields, opaline Odin's skull splitting mistletoe arrows. Loki locating the wet warm center of Aphrodite's suite on the half shell.

Report this review (#2010017)
Posted Monday, August 27, 2018 | Review Permalink
5 stars 4.7/5 Wobbler's best work,this album was an adventure to listen to from start to finish. The 1st self titled song kept me on edges when it was supposed to and calmed me in other parts. The guitars were a piece of work, the bass melodic and punchy, the drums were just crazy. Not to mention the woodwinds and flutes that were extremely peaceful and provided necessary atmospheric sound. All the tracklists share a same vision of the first one. My only complaints would be some of the vocals that needed to be either included more in parts, or completely removed from other parts.
Report this review (#2023140)
Posted Saturday, September 8, 2018 | Review Permalink
3 stars I have not really dug into Wobbler until recently. I knew there was strong neo vibe to it. What began to interest me was the well textured arrangements and general good quality of performance as I began listening to "Rites At Dawn" (2011) . I found myself being drawn into the songwriting. However, as I checked out the reviews on this site I noticed that this more recent 2018 release was actually rated their best so I decided to give a listen. Wow, was I let down. Of epic length, the first track disappointed with a string of prog-cliche grooves and textures with no compelling song structure. It felt like a flea market sale of assorted proggy grooves indulged by the band. A nice little song at the end is fine but chop 2/3 - 3/4 of this away I say.

Tune #2 starts off simply enough but this dirge-like idea is a bit overused and is kind of like a spooky wallpaper in an old house, but short and sweet. No harm, no foul.

#3 An in-your-face aggressive song. However, band drowns out vocal which I lyrically I cannot understand simply by listening. Weird that this piece is so dramatic without a good setup. Nice section at 2;10. Would have been more compelling if tune began this way. It would draw in listener more. I like this section very much. 4 star section. As it unfolds I wish for more play of densities within the arrangement, but it's not bad. Next section suffers from less- than-creative choices of sounds. If this section developed textures from the 2nd section at 2:10 ..... To be fair, they eventually get into this a bit around 6:00. Here again, vocals aren't mixed clearly or upfront enough. Keyboards in general are too heavy and smother the timbres of vocals. Finally, sonic relief at 8:00.

Wobbler needs to find new ways to present their grooves and perhaps consciously do the exact opposite of what their initial instincts are at the time. It sounds like choices are made somewhat out of habit and this really whitewashes the creative textures.

#4 Haven't I heard this kind of gentle, friendly, warm guitar arpeggiation a million times? Surely it can be done differently. Flutes, bell-like percussion, guitar squeaks, etc. I think what kills it for me is the guitar part just not played musically enough. It would be interesting to cut out half its notes and bleed it more with the background which isn't bad. (Actually I could see this being the beginning to the 2nd section of the prior tune). Anyway, at the 4:00 mark we get the obligatory heavy progband sledge hammering of simple chord grooves....then, vocals over a too heavy background. A few less notes per player I suggest.

As I often find Prog bands aren't great at handling the weight and color of textures. A shame because often there are some nice structures that just need better and more diverse choices of sounds and nuanced choices of notes. More pruning and shaping, more diversity in texture and timbre is needed.

Don't get me wrong. Wobbler has a nice sound and I will go back to other material in hopes of what I initially sensed with "Rites". But I think reviewers on this site are a little too kind.

Report this review (#2119171)
Posted Thursday, January 17, 2019 | Review Permalink
4 stars "From Silence To Somewhere" is the first Wobbler's record that I listen. My approach to contemporary prog music, specially when it is acclaimed as masterpiece is... prudence.

The suite "From Silence To Somewhere", 21 minutes, is very interesting. After the first three minutes, very pompous, there comes an acoustic part, almost Renaissance music, on which stands the singing of Andreas Wettergreen Strømman Prestmo, who declaims an austere melody that tends to go towards the sharp notes at the end of each verse. Then comes a very sustained but a bit compulsive, powerful rhythm. Certainly this music is rather unpredictable and full of citations, stratifications, but also ... hyperproduced in order to touch a saturated, sendationalist sound. The instrumental tour de force proceeds with a great work on percussion (Martin Nordrum Kneppen), bombastic effect. Then finally comes another acoustic gash where the initial melody returns (in fact the only melody of the suite). But finally there is a new instrumental escalation, to conclude the suite with an acoustic piece that constitutes a variation on the theme. The suite is melodically thin. At the arrangement level it is mammoth. Vote 8+.

"Rendered in Shades of Green", two minutes, is a piano instrumental ballad, with mellotron (Lars Fredrik Frøislie), I guess, in the background. A good melody is missing, to be remarkable. Irrelevant (no vote).

"Fermented Hours", ten minutes, starts with a very sustained rhythm. After about 5 minutes comes a part of math rock to keyboards, in Gentle Giant style, followed by a more relaxed singing. Then comes another variation, with an almost operatic Italian singing (Renato Manzi sings: O mia amata, mia amata, vita, dolce vita etc.: "my beloved, beloved, life, sweet life") that stands out on a musical crescendo. Perhaps this central section is the best piece of the whole album. Then comes the initial sustained rhythm, complete with bells and church organ. Surely Wobbler know how to use all the tricks of the trade to load the music. Last two minutes forced. Mini suites of high value, where the desire to amaze and make noise ruin partly the result achieved in the less overproduced pieces. Vote 8+.

"Foxlight", almost 13 and a half minutes, opens acoustically, with an acoustic guitar phrasing that drags the same for 4 minutes: extremely repetitive (it recall "Cinema Show" by Genesis), almost boring, if it were not for the creative arrangement (flute, glockenspiel) on the edge. The doubled voice, in a sharp crescendo, is reminiscent of Yes (Jon Anderson). The song overlaps, becomes more voices, it seems almost a counterpoint, until an acoustic piece arrives with the harpsichord, jazzed, but the phrase on the guitar is always the same... Unfortunately, what is missing in these suites to make them really great is the melody: if there was a beautiful, clear melody! But there is not. And this lack seems to be covered by the sumptuousness and the richness of the arrangement. After 10 minutes, the song seems to end, goes into fading, but then resumes singing, again Renaissance music (Gentle Giant reminescent?), and finally we hear a music moving in unison, aimed at marking the same melodic verses, and also we hear the electric guitar, little present in the album. The song tries to bring back the renaissance melody, that could have written Angelo Branduardi, Italian bard. Great ending, Genesis style, or Yes style. Vote 8+.

I find many similarities, in terms of merits and defects, between this album and that of "Al Traps On Earth" (A Drop of Light): much grandeur in the arrangements, saturated sound, hyperproduct, refinement in the musical composition, excellent performance, but also poor melodic content, will to exasperate the creativity of the arrangements to achieve a sensational sound in order to hide the lack of limpidly noticeable moments, which don't need grandeur to be overwhelming or full of pathos. I reserve myself to listen to this album several times and even change my mind, but at the moment, although I see a work of extreme value in it, I don't see a masterpiece, from the point of view of pure musical inspiration. Maybe his quality is slightly higher than A Drop of Light, just enough to reach (slightly) in my personal ranking, 4 stars. In fact, Four stars, in my ranking, starts with the vote 8+ (Five Stars: since 9 to 10).

Vote album: 8+. Four Stars.

Report this review (#2134745)
Posted Thursday, February 7, 2019 | Review Permalink
3 stars TOO comfortably prog: 7/10

Often modern bands play odes to progressive rock, but almost as a mystic and distressing law of nature they sound like cheap imitations or uninspired covers of the prog's giants. Yet in 2017 a massive Scandinavian storm called Wobbler blasted the skies of the prog world and poured delicious symphonic nectar called From Silence to Somewhere over all continents, quenching the thirsty fans of the genres with an album that successfully encapsulates and homages the genre's heyday. It has it all: symphonic melodies and arrangements, dynamic and Mellotron-tainted instrumental breaks, folksy pastoral interludes, long compositions. The rejuvenating rain the inhabitants of Progland were all craving for. So, if too you are a fan of symphonic prog on withdrawal, Wobbler's holy water is the medicine you're desperately requiring.

But the issue is... I'm not a fan of symphonic prog on withdrawal. And I felt From Silence to Somewhere to be severely underwhelming.

There's nothing I haven't heard before in here: symphonic melodies and arrangements, dynamic and Mellotron-tainted musical interludes, folksy pastoral interludes, long compositions; all factors of a consecrated musical formula. There is no audacity to go further than the established frontiers of their genre, and Wobbler's musical output sounds like a safe, unadventurous journey. That's not inherently an issue. Sometimes people yearn for familiarity and there's nothing with assembling a product to tackle that market. But I'm not part of that market. So three stars from me.

(And, as far as ProgArchives' rating is concerned as of now, a rating of 4.45 and 19th place feels absurd.)

Report this review (#2138389)
Posted Thursday, February 21, 2019 | Review Permalink

Many progressive rock fans desperately crave a modern prog classic in order to show that progressive rock did not become obsolete in 1977, and that the 21st century is capable of producing prog rock albums that are on a par with the 1970's heyday of prog.

So, when Norwegian prog band Wobbler released this album in 2017, there were many in the prog community who instantly hailed it as the incarnation of a prog rock classic to rival the great classic albums of the golden age of prog.

Such lofty claims mean that this album deserves special attention and consideration.

Let's begin by saying that this is a wonderfully crafted album, with excellent musicianship and great production quality.

The opening of the album is one of the best openings you are likely to hear in prog, as a gentle prelude gives way to a stunning intro piece that smacks you full in the face with towering guitars and organ in an infectious high energy riff that grabs your full attention from the get go.

The title track is very strong throughout and, were the whole album of the same quality and intensity, then the album would certainly be a contender for the top table of prog rock albums.

Unfortunately, whilst the musicianship remains excellent throughout the album, the composition loses intensity as the album progresses, and, by the time we get to the final track of the album "Foxlight", my attention begins to drift somewhat in parts of the track.

The band do pull it back and the album ends strongly, but, for me, the album lacks the total consistency of excellence throughout to be considered amongst the greatest classics of the genre.

Furthermore, an all time prog rock classic album should possess moments of true originality that delight and surprise the listener. I listen to an album like "Relayer" from Yes and, after more than thirty years of listening I remain stunned at the sheer creativity exhibited in that album. For me "From Silence to Somewhere" does not contain the originality and musical ingenuity required in a true masterpiece of the genre.

Ultimately, whilst Wobbler are to be commended on creating a wonderful album full of great music, they are, for me, followers of the giants of the 1970's and not true originators in their own right.

Despite that assessment, this is still a great record, and the opening track in particular is a spectacular display of symphonic prog at its very best. I'm just not sure that, overall, the album takes progressive rock in new and surprising directions, rather it reprises the golden age of prog rock, albeit in a truly wonderful way.

Is this album the holy grail of modern progressive rock? Does it deserve a seat at the top table along side such classics as Close to the Edge, Selling England by the Pound, and Thick as a Brick? Well, not for me, but it is an excellent album all the same and many progressive rock fans will enjoy this album very much and will be very pleased to have it as part of their collection.

Definitely recommended.

Report this review (#2151365)
Posted Saturday, March 2, 2019 | Review Permalink
5 stars I don't generally write many reviews, but this album is truly special. This album can easily stand tall among past symphonic masterpieces, as well as shadow many.

The album is near flawlessly produced, every instrument can clearly be heard and picked out of the mix.

"From the mould, the mother womb That dark and moist, dark and moist shield of olde To rise up again from the tomb And like the fragile sprout in twilight's gloom"

The album opens with the epic 20 minute title track: From Silence to Somewhere. The song seamlessly flows from movement to movement and feels very cohesive. There's an abundance of great melodies, particularly in the vocals.

To me, the centerpiece of this song is the middle "jam" section starting around the 9:45 mark. It is simply one of the most dark and intense movements of any prog song ive ever heard. Every member is given their time to shine, in the mix is a nasty organ solo and a vicious wah-wah guitar part. There is no dull moment here, every note is just as memorable as the last. (10/10)

Then we have the transitional piano-led instrumental Rendered in Shades of Green. I see it as a nice cool down from the explosive title track.

"Far away In the northernmost region In a dark land of ice and snow The old man dwelled in his tower"

Fermented Hours eclipses, or at the very least matches the intensity of the title track. A heavy, dark organ builds us up to a huge explosion of sound. Again the vocal melodies are very much on point throughout the song. A few minutes in, the song somewhat abruptly comes to a quick transition where a percussive organ takes the lead. In a way I think the abruptness of the transition is what makes it hit so well. There's so many head banging moments throughout. Exemplifying that is the big buildup and jam that closes the song. 10/10 (Two in one album! Very rare)

"Bewildered here, Down at the crossroads. Confronted with the choices, For my epitaph."

Foxlight closes the album with great style, though of the three main tracks it is my "least favorite." Take it with a grain of salt, because some albums don't have a worst song. This one opens with a somewhat mysterious sounding acoustic guitar accompanied by flutes and soft vocals, if you close your eyes you can almost see yourself drifting down a snowy river. This builds up until a harpsichord leads us into another heavy jam that just evolves and evolves. If Fermented Hours is the guitar song, this is the keyboard song.

....Even if the pieces change....

The final 3 minutes of Foxlight is the peak of the album, it is the celebratory bliss that I love so much in this genre of music. (9.5/10)

At the end of the day, this is one of my all time favorite albums. It is played and produced so masterfully, I believe even the most modern prog or retro prog skeptic couldn't even deny this album is great.


Only among a handful of albums I consider 10s

Report this review (#2183757)
Posted Wednesday, April 17, 2019 | Review Permalink
5 stars I've never heard about Wobbler until From Silence To Somewhere, but after I've listened this album and I've studied other bands albums (Hinterland, Afterglow and Rites At Down), I can say that Wobbler is one of my favourite prog bands ever. The first three album are very good (especially Afterglow ) but From Silence To Somewhere is a masterpiece. The band's music is heavily rooted in 70's symphonic prog rock using old vintage instruments and at the first play it reminds me of Hybris, Anglagard's first album. The album structure is very similar with classic prog albums. It contains four tracks with the second "Rendered In Shades Of Green" serving as a two minute intermission between the long opener and the two 10+ minutes final tracks. All songs are pure gold, containing many dark and intense passages and melancholic parts, pastoral interludes, medieval atmosphere, all combined in the grandeur of symphonic prog. From Silence To Somewhere is without a doubt Wobbler's most polished, original, complete and near perfect album yet and maybe the best prog album of the last five years. Highy recomended!! 5 stars.
Report this review (#2265421)
Posted Tuesday, October 1, 2019 | Review Permalink
4 stars I say it again: I was wrong.

I'm not ashamed to admit when I'm wrong, but I'm man enough to admit when I make a mistake. And I made a mistake on Wobbler.

I used to bash on their earlier albums for sounding disjointed and unoriginal, and while I have corrected myself and edited my prior reviews to be less biased and more respectable, I still never cared much for them. So, of course, by re-reviewng their previous works, I had to of course listen to their latest record, one which all the masses adore. Naturally, I rolled my eyes.

But I was wrong.

"From Silence To Somewhere" is without a doubt Wobbler's most polished, original and complete album yet. Just the mammoth title track alone shows a rhythm and pattern in chorus and composition and, of course, an instrumental bridge with a good few minutes for solos and instrumental display, my favorite aspect of this band. There's some flute for color, string synths for flavor and rock organ for good measure. Only downside I have is that I wished the track would be just a couple minutes shorter since there are a couple of "empty spaces" of sonic atmosphere that feels like something should be happening there but isn't.

After a beautiful but again utterly pointless piano interlude, "Fermented Hours" kicks me awake. Is this the same Wobbler I've been bashing the whole time? Here it's frantic, a bit of King Crimson-esque schizophrenia. Sure, there are some softer lilting waltz-like sections in between, but the whole song still feels like it hangs on a knife edge; one new element or melody could send the band hurtling back towards an instrumental brawl. The band's technicality and musical prowess truly shine on this song, but the best part is that the composing finally factored the vocals into the equation. Unlike "Imperial Winter White" off of "Afterglow", there's purpose in the vocals here. There's cooperation between vocals and instruments and one ins't stepping on the others toes. It's a truly wonderful thing.

"Foxlight" begins softly, but eventually builds into another crowdpleaser. The instruments shine and solo , the vocals have their place and time at the right moments, and there's more of that medieval times-esque sound I liked from their previous albums. Sure 46 minutes is a decent length for an album, but still feels a bit short compared to some mammoth prog albums out there. Nevertheless, Wobbler finally managed to push me over the edge and join the dark side. This is the band's most polished effort yet and hopefully they've coalesced on an original sound going forward.

If I had a gripe, and I usually do, because I don't have nice things, it may be the fact that they're completely ditched the Yes playbook and instead thrown in a couple of plays Xeroxed from the King Crimson playbook (hey, that's not necessarily a bad thing, but there's a difference between influenced by and and copying. I feel this album is influenced by King Crimson, whereas "Rites at Dawn" was completely written with the intention of sounding like a Yes record).

Having said that, this is an impressive album showcasing everything that Wobbler is capable of, and that makes me feel good. Bitterness at previous albums subsided, I eagerly await the next Wobbler release with renewed hope and optimism.

Report this review (#2269989)
Posted Monday, October 14, 2019 | Review Permalink

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