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Änglagård - Hybris CD (album) cover

HYBRIS

Änglagård

Symphonic Prog


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5 stars I was shocked by Anglagards flawless symphonic sound.It seems Yes or king Crimson were reborn in Sweden in the early 90s.Too bad they didnt like eack other and only made 2 studio albums.Synphonic prog at its best.Too bad i dont speak Swedish.

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Send comments to James Hill (BETA) | Report this review (#706)
Posted Saturday, November 15, 2003 | Review Permalink
Marcelo
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars An inspiration for a lot of Scandinavian bands, ANGLAGARD's first production is a must have in any prog collection. Maybe one of the few albums that everybody loves, and it's not merely coincidental. After the decadence of the great bands in '80s, and the poor approach to the original style from neo-prog bands, ANGLAGARD arised like the true response for all those who considered prog music dead and buried.

This album was a true inspiration for many Northern Europe bands like SINKADUS or LANDBERK, who emphasized the sadness and nostalgy found in "Hybris", making a sort of new "melancholic Scandinavian mellotronic" style. Precisely, "Hybris" is a party for Mellotron lovers.

Is KC best spirit present at this album? Yes, but increased. The four long tracks are unforgettable complex and melodic gems, and I'm sure that any prog lover can't be disappointed with this magnificent and original masterpiece.

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Send comments to Marcelo (BETA) | Report this review (#701)
Posted Saturday, December 20, 2003 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
5 stars This is the first one from that Swedish trilogy from 93 that made another Golden Age of prog and created if not a wide public, a wide array of band that followed on the heals of this one and Landbrek and Anekdoten. The influences here are clear Genesis, KC, Yes etc,,, but so well digested that this becomes original again . As one listens to this with the headphones, his head starts to turn as the music twists bends, twirls, dances from one movement to the next. Mind boggling how they can find their way through the numbers in concert. I just have one slight complain: the first number might have been placed last on the album for the sheer harshness of it makes it difficult to aboard this as it should. Every time I listen to this I program it as such: 2,3,4,1 and this goes exceedingly well.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#721)
Posted Thursday, February 05, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars One of my favourite albums ever. The compendium of progressive rock of all times. An axcellent recipe made of vintage instruments, classical, folk and seventies prog masters inspirations. A must for all music lovers in general.

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Send comments to lineateorica (BETA) | Report this review (#707)
Posted Thursday, March 11, 2004 | Review Permalink
loserboy
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Without a question ANGLAGARD are/were one of my personal progressive rock favourites with their dynamic vintage 70's sounds and deep dark mellotron runs. Both albums "Hybris" and "Epilog" are killer albums of epic proportions and deserve to adorn everyone's collection. "Hybris" was their first album and really introduced me to their deep picturesque music. For those less familiar with ANGLAGARD will simply freak out over their real keyboard accents with mellotron, hammond B3, piano and church organ and their amazing guitar, drum, flute and bass interplay. This stuff really does sound like something out of the 70's with long songs and excellent musicianship. There is a little bit of singing in native Swedish tongue but is not ever in the forefront and gets lost in the instrumentation. One of the biggest highlights for me here has been ANGLAGARD's use of classic instruments including the ol' Richenbacker bass, Gibson electric guitars, flute and mellotron. Nothing sounds "synthy" or plastic here.only rich pure music. If you are lucky enough to snag a copy of Mellotronen's re-mastered version will get an extra bonus demo track of a early working of a tune from "Epilog". Essential music guaranteed...!

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Send comments to loserboy (BETA) | Report this review (#704)
Posted Friday, March 19, 2004 | Review Permalink
Steve Hegede
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars What is there to say about ÄNGLAGARD's "Hybris"? 1993's "Hybris" is one of the top prog albums released since 1969. This album features four tracks ranging between 8-12 minutes in length. The four compositions overflow with aggressive Rickenbacker bass and Hammond organ riffs, hell-ish mellotron, FRIPP-inspired guitar lines, and gentle Swedish-folk melodies. ÄNGLAGARD formed in the early 1990s as a reaction to the terrible neo-prog of the late 1980s. Their goal was to bring respect back to progressive rock, and did they ever! The band's second album, "Epilog", is also a classic. If you're new to the prog scene, quickly add this CD to your collection.

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Send comments to Steve Hegede (BETA) | Report this review (#705)
Posted Sunday, March 21, 2004 | Review Permalink
Prognut
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars What else I can add to all the reviews.....not much I guess!!! Few artists achieved this level with their first album. What this 6-piece band showed to the world in 1992 with Hybris, is that the PROGRESSIVE rock music was alive and well. A killer album that you just have to get for your collection...A MUST, a Mellotron masterpiece dream that has everything a progressive fan is hungry for, a monster symphonic statement that will knocked your socks off. Highly recommended.

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Send comments to Prognut (BETA) | Report this review (#722)
Posted Sunday, March 28, 2004 | Review Permalink
lor68
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Well it's not the most original album of the nineties (here you find some references to CATHEDRAL's "Stained Glass Stories", SHYLOCK's "Ile de Fievre", regarding of their dissonances, but also an epic style in the vein of EMERSON LAKE & PALMER), but it's anyway a jewel, one of the best ones in the nineties, along with for example ECHOLYN's "Suffocating the Bloom" or AFTER CRYING's "De Profundis"...even though at the end you could erase one star from the evaluation, cause unfortunately the weak vocalist (in a few sung tunes to be remarked inside their album) is able to "risk" the fortune and the reputation as well of the most important Scandinavian "shooting star" ... and moreover this latter is too much involved in changing the rhytmical patterns and mood as well, if you regard their overstated attempt to make some extremely various and "new" small music "pieces" of their harmonic puzzle...but nevermind, above all when it's a minor defect in the contest (especially inside their long suite), cause after almost 20 years the present album makes us feel so good and discuss a lot anyway. Besides, I don't think that for example another Scandinavian band like Flower Kings is able to do the same with their music, despite of their strong presence inside the international prog scene!

"Hybris" is already a classic number, but it will remain as the unique jewel along with "EPILOGUE", cause the band will brake-up in a few years...long memory after all!

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Send comments to lor68 (BETA) | Report this review (#723)
Posted Thursday, April 01, 2004 | Review Permalink
Hibou
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Like a long lost friend from the early 70's, "Hybris" showed up unexpectedly in 1992. But make no mistake about it: it was made in '92 (the clean production attests to that). As James Hill said, their music sounds as if former YES and KING CRIMSON members had recently joined forces for a gig. And what a gig! The music of 'Hybris" is complex, sharp, almost edgy and with dark overtones - it sometimes sounds downright strange. At other times, you'll come across poignant passages that will make you ache with longing. The overall effect is simply mesmerizing: like a musical Disneyworld, the soundscapes change at dizzying speed and take you where no music lover has ever gone before. This is perhaps the least 'symphonic' (I'm referring here to the 'choppy' nature of some passages) of the prog albums that I truly enjoy. Unless you are completely brain dead, I'm sure you'll find in "Hybris" a whale of an album. A gem, pure and simple.

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Send comments to Hibou (BETA) | Report this review (#712)
Posted Saturday, April 24, 2004 | Review Permalink
Proghead
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars It's easy to understand how a band like ÄNGLAGARD had to happen. Let's see what happened in the prog rock scene in between the thirteen years before "Hybris" came out near the end of 1992 right up to that time: punk, disco, and new wave brought an end of prog rock by 1979. People were getting so desperate for something from their prog heroes in the '80s, they'd even welcomed ASIA, which I thought was just a pop band trying to pander to the Lowest Common Denominator. YES and GENESIS went pop. The Neo-prog scene emerged (such as MARILLION) which while welcomed by many progsters, many others derided it as being nothing more than a modernized update of the GABRIEL-era GENESIS sound. By 1991-92, things were really looking down on some of the big name prog acts: YES gave us Union, which is regarded by many as a big disaster. Likewise, ELP gave us Black Moon, which wasn't all that great, in my opinion.

That gave room to a Swedish band, in which half the members were 17-18 (that is drummer Mattias Olsson, guitarist Jonas Engdegård, and keyboardist Thomas Johnson - the other half, being older, around the 23-25 age range consisted of guitarist Tord Lindman, bassist Johan Högberg, and flautist Anna Holmgren). This band was called ÄNGLAGARD. Despite having members of age where they were either too young or not even alive when many of the great prog rock albums came out, they were obviously not pleased with how prog was going. If they had to put up with ASIA, if they had to put up with Love Beach, only to have the band reunite 14 years later and give Black Moon, they knew they had to take matters in to their own hands. And this was their approach: ditch all digital equipment, never lay their hands on a Yamaha DX-7, get themselves a Mellotron and Hammond organ, get themselves a whole bunch of other instruments, as long as it wasn't made after 1975 (except for the Korg Poly/Mono synth that came out in 1982). Basically take matters in to their own hands.

If many people think just how original Änglagård are hadn't tried hearing albums like CATHEDRALl's "Stained Glass Stories", or side two of SFF's "Symphonic Pictures". In fact the opening cut, "Jordröck" sounds a like like side two of the already mentioned SFF album, but with plenty of HACKETTt-like guitars, and some really nice, gently, pastoral passages with that Nordic feel. The rest of the album is of the same high quality, unbelievable complex music from musicians who obviously play like they were ten years older than they really were. There are the occasional vocals in Swedish, but are only brief. There's enough Mellotron and Hammond organ to make any '70s prog fan happy. And in fact, the traditional '70s prog fan not happy with the neo-prog scene, and not happy with digital equipment more than welcomed ÄNGLAGARD with open arms, even from people who obviously don't bother with most albums released after 1977 or 1978. I can see how this band set the prog world by storm.

It might be hard to believe that this album was actually availble on LP as well as CD at the time. The LP, released on the long defunct Colours label out of Norway was beautifully packaged complete with lyric booklet which has lyrics to all the songs, as well as photos of band members, various other photos, and what band member played what (in Swedish - in which they also included an insert in English which described the history of the band up to that point, and the band members and the instruments they played).

No doubt about it, "Hybris" is definately one of the best '90s prog albums.

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Send comments to Proghead (BETA) | Report this review (#713)
Posted Tuesday, April 27, 2004 | Review Permalink
Menswear
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars oH MaN!! tHIs OnE's A KeEpeR! Hey, one of the 5 best prog bands from 1990-2004. In 15 years, Anglagard has reached new standards in quality, dexterity and elegance. Who are those people? What talent!! This is a trully great prog ballet. Higher in quality than Epilog in my humble opinion. Why? More punchy and dizzyness along the whole album. Epilog is strong in some points, but overall, this one packs a tighter and meaner wallop. A more agresssive approach. I like the 'Tony Banks' way of playing the keyboards and the flute is played by...a lovely lady. Perhaps it could explain the emotion and the delicate intrigue the album is providing. Man oh man, with record like these, 90's prog shines with brillant colors. The first track is especially tasty and catchy. Such power combine with an almost feminine, graceful way. You know what I mean, that's why there made of sugar, spice and everything nice. Pretty cool artwork and jaw-dropping pictures inside the cover. Hey, they even tooked the inside pictures themselves. Once again, WHO ARE THEY? And that drummer! What a freakin' drum pounding viking! And the keyboardist! Tony Banks ressurected! And the guitar player! He carries many melodies only by himself, and we feel every single note he's playing. Makes a great sound. You'll see. A warm hug from the cold, cold north. The best thing from Sweden since guitar prodigy Ingwie Malmsteen. My 90's pick with Echolyn and Spock's Beard for best prog over 1990. * WAY BEYOND 5 STARS*

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Send comments to Menswear (BETA) | Report this review (#725)
Posted Wednesday, May 26, 2004 | Review Permalink
richardh
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars A Mellotron Classic!

After the eighties neo prog scene subsided and turned into a more sophiscated brand or 'art pop' we really needed a band to remind us of what the original symphonic prog experience. However this is no imititation. Anglagard draw very heavily on their Scandanavian folk heritage and there is never one moment here that reminds me of seventies prog. A puzzle within a conundum within a paradox. New music that reflects the old.

Nothing here is rushed. The atmosphere is allowed to build slowly and the compositions and playing are as tight as a bell. No slackness just beautifull playing throughout. Superb recording.If you don't have this in your collection then why not??!

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Send comments to richardh (BETA) | Report this review (#726)
Posted Tuesday, June 01, 2004 | Review Permalink
The Prognaut
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars It was one of those abrupt, boisterous Saturdays at the most important music flea market in the heart of Mexico City: El Chopo. So, as usual, I bumped into my old prog dealer, "El Ganso"; and he led me to the newest stuff he's been shipped to lately. As I flipped back and forth inside the LP's box, I came across this oddly strange record that showed a bizarre kind of sun in its cover and I retrieved some info on the album from El Ganso, he didn't know much about that particular item just that it was a Swedish band that was about to perform next Dec. the 12th at the Foro Cultural Azcapotzalco (some sort of forum that lent its facilities for the Änglagård concert I attended to, I'm talking about 1993 my fellow prog fans). I bought the LP for marvelous $4 bucks and waited patiently for two months, ticket in hand; to go see those Swedish guys.

For the moment I listened to the album for the first time, I completely embraced it, I shocked myself to the bone, I was pretty much sure that until that moment I had never listened to anything like that (of course I hadn't because I was clearly influenced by PINK FLOYD, GENESIS, MARILLION, YES, CAMEL...) and I made ÄNGLAGÅRD one of my favorite bands ever despite that was the only album they had released so far. The day came: Dec. 12th. One of the most important celebration days in Mexico due the religiosity surrounding the country, the day of "La Guadalupana", The Virgin of Guadalupe. The subway was crowded, every source of transportation was unable to be rode in due the seas of people trying to reach to "La Basílica de Guadalupe" (the most sacred Catholic precinct in the city)... the ÄNGLAGÅRD concert was about to start and I was about to burst into flames because of the expectation and the emotiveness to watch them play for the first time (I was already in love of Anna's exquisite flute performing and amazed with Mattias drum skills). To make this story even shorter, you may assume I attended the concert and that I had a wonderful time during the after show with the band, there was a CD autograph session and Anna's flute was missing...

I wanted to make this review this way because the first impact upon ÄNGLAGÅRD is unforgettable, in every single detail. The drum striking by Mattias is outstanding, unbelievable and out of this world, you just can't imagine how he manages to play that way, sometimes as fast as he cans, sometimes impetuous and some other as calm as the wind... spectacular. Anna HOLMGREN's performance in that concert and all along the 4 tracked LP (I got both LP and the CD 2000 - 2003 especial edition with the bonus single "Gånglåt från Knapptibble") is incomparable to anything that you've ever listened to before; sure you might as well think of Andy LATIMER to compare the work of Anna, but you simply don't know what you're saying. Harmonious mellotron and stylophone playing, conjugated with moody bass and guitar executions; "Hybris" is the most representative piece of Scandinavian prog rock work ever, all along the way with "Epilog" of course. Bands such as PÄR LINDH PROJECT (PLP) and ANEKDOTEN are surely impregnated with ÄNGLAGÅRD's essence and project it on every suite, up on the stage, on every single piece contained on their very own productions and just cannot deny their origins. Superb album, reliable under recommendation, I would've rated it 10 starts if I could, you have to have it.

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Send comments to The Prognaut (BETA) | Report this review (#727)
Posted Saturday, June 05, 2004 | Review Permalink
Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Prog Specialist
5 stars As some old progheads, I usually pay more attention to classic bands from the 70's than to the later ones, so I really never cared too much about ÄNGLAGÅRD until this Thursday when another reviewer of this page invited me to a musical clinic dedicated to this magnificent band, and my perspective changed in 180 degrees, really I haven't been so impressed with any other group since I heard Gabriel Genesis for the first time.

ÄNGLAGÅRD means Garden of Angels, and never a name of a band has been so perfectly chosen, their music is almost celestial, even when they belong to the 90's the members avoid the use of instruments that weren't used in the 70's by their predecessors. Plethoric of magnificent Keyboards and Mellotrons, is hard not to place ÄNGLAGARD CD's in the same section of the old dinosaurs as Yes, Genesis and King Crimson.

"Hybris" is everything that progressive genre represents, is simply brilliant and I will take the risk to affirm is absolutely original, even if some progheads believe they are too influenced by early bands.

It's clear that "Hybris" has strong influence from Yes, Genesis but specially from King Crimson and even from Focus, but ÄNGLAGÅRD took this influence and worked with it in their own unique way, avoiding to do simpler works as the Neo Prog Bands or cloning some great tracks. You can notice the influence of the mentioned bands but is almost impossible to affirm they are copying a determined song, they did their own original stuff, inspired in classic prog' bands.

The first track Jördrok (Earthsmoke) starts with an unbelievably beautiful piano section, somehow dark and melancholic as the winter season in Sweden but also haunting and scary, almost as announcing the Crimsonian explosion that will follow, precise flute touches, lots of Mellotron and baroque Organ sections by the excellent Thomas Johnson (Who was born long after the invention of the Mellotron but plays it with great ability) complete this incredible opener hard to describe in modest words, 11:10 minutes of pure and pristine progressive rock.

"Vandringar I Vilsenhet" (Wanderings in Confusion) is another almost 12 minutes epic that starts with a soft flute followed by a dark organ reminiscent of Bach, again hard passages softened by the sweet flute of Anna Holmgren. This is the first song with lyrics in Swedish, which of course are impossible for me to understand, but who cares about lyrics and words when music talks so loud and clear, Tord Lindman's voice is delicate and acute but absolutely unique and appropriate for the music. Another perfect track.

"Ifrån Klarhet Till Klarhet" (From Strength to Strength) starts with a circus like music the first and only section I really don't like, but so short that really doesn't matters at all, again followed by a shocking crimsonian section and Tord Lindman's voice, this time lower and less feminine than in "Vandringar I Vilsenhet". For the first time I can listen a passage clearly inspired in early Genesis with a flute that sounds almost as in Musical Box, great versatility of Anna Anna Holmgren who has a style closer to This Van Leer than to Peter Gabriel, but easily adapts her style according to the needs of the song also must mention Johan Högberg who does a terrific job with his bass.

"Kung Bore" (King Winter) is the closer of the album, starts with an a acoustic guitar section followed by keyboards and the whole band using a derivative style that I can hardly identify with any main ÄNGLAGÅRD influence, has a bit of Crimson, Focus, Yes and Gabriel Genesis but nothing specific of anyone in particular, and that IMHO is what influence should be, only inspiration but not a simple and cheap copy. In this track Tord Lindman proves he's a versatile vocalist using different ranges, the whole band is again perfect and I won't try to describe all this track because it's an impossible task, I can only say is that it's less dark but more nostalgic than all the previous and almost perfect.

I can't end this review without mentioning Mattias Olsson who plays drums with the skill of Bill Bruford but wasn't even born when Yes Album and Larks Tongues in Aspic where released, a real talent.

If there is an album that deserves 5 stars without any doubt is Hybris, the first chapter of the short but brilliant saga of ÄNGLAGÅRD.

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Send comments to Ivan_Melgar_M (BETA) | Report this review (#728)
Posted Saturday, June 05, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars I think ALL has been said about ANGLAGARD (from my brother country-Sweden) as i am Danish..and a prog freak at that!!ANGLAGÅRD...means: ANGEL YARD!!! This is by far the most sovereign prog album coming from the North. Loads of keyboards.....guitars implicit....and the wonderful arrangements!! 4 tracks fully... supreme progtracks....those laidback flute intervals....the mellotron tracks the increasincly beautiful songs!! Well..whats it all about??Who cares..the music are sublime... Its all about prog music..and this is as goood as it gets!! ANGLAGARD are supreme!! This Swedish outfit are supreme...by all means!! GREAT GREAT progmusic!! 5 STARS!!! Well why not ?? Youll never meet a better prog oufit than this!! Sweeden rules ...prog wise!!! What´s that ....Flower kings...kaipa....Pain of Salvation...Ritual....well ANGLAGAARD!! GO GET EM !!!!!Oh..and by the way :JORDROK...means: EARTHSMOKE...go figure!!

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Send comments to Tonny Larz (BETA) | Report this review (#729)
Posted Tuesday, July 13, 2004 | Review Permalink
diddy
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Anglagard, one of those bands EVERY proghead should have heard about. Lately I tried to get around reviewing the two Anglagard albums because I try to concentrate on bands without a general echo like Anglagard. But now it's time to write a little bit about this great band. I woun't tell you new things, just take a look on how many times Anglagard got reviewed here but I may help to proof that Anglagard is a band no proghead should leave out. I got to know Anglagard due to a german prog site. The two albums are rated as the two best prog albums of all time, at least refering to the rating and amount of reviews. And what can I say? I don't think that you will find a better prog band. I consider Anglagard's music to be perfect, nothing is missing, nothing bothers me, just perfect. I really love the fine mellotron-work, truly awesome. The mixture between beautiful, mellow parts and weird, crazy almost wild sections. Unlike "Epilog", their debut "Hybris" features vocals. Some consider the vocals to be bothering but I don't think so. The vocals don't make such a big difference. (Sorry for the same introduction...)

"Jordrök" is an instrumental and for me, one of the best songs on the big, wide world. The awesome piano intro leads into the main part of the song. I really like the melody and mixture of mellow and loud parts. One thing is conspicuous, no instrument seems to be dominating, all of them contribute to the general sound. "Vandringar i Vilsenhet" features swedish vocals. I don't understand them, unfortunately but they don't bother, far from it, I even like them. But the instrumental work wich envolves from mellow to wild and quite weird, is the main part of Anglagard's music. "Ifrån Klarhet Till Klarhet" begins with a muted crazy circus like music and directly changes to a heavier crazy part with lightly dominating guitar. The middle part is quite calm but rises in the end. The last two minutes feature a some melodies wich never got out of my mind, awesome. "Kung Bure" is another highlight, ok nothing but highlights on Anglagard albums. But "Kung Bure" features some great melodies and up and downs. I love the instrumental part in the middle of the song. I am a lucky owner of a remastered digipack edition so I can tell you something about the bonus track "Gånglåt från knapptibble". It was written for a music magazine dealing with our common passion prog. It features some parts wich also appear on Epilog. It sounds very weird and crazy in the beginning, features some vocals and lesds into a calm and mellow part. In the end the vocals appear again.

Like I said in my review for "Epilog", Anglagard is the best prog band there is, or was. All other bands are not fit to hold a candle to this great band from sweden. Genesis, King Crimson, ELP or Gentle Giant, nobody of them really moved me like Anglagard does. I can listen to "Hybris" and "Epilog" again and again, it never gets boring, you always discover new things because it is so varied. So if you don't know this band you definitely missed something. If you read this review because you want to inform about Anglagard and don't know what to thing about them, don't think, get their albums as fast as possible, you woun't regret it. Highly recommended isn't the right term here, we have to invent something new for Anglagard albums.

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Send comments to diddy (BETA) | Report this review (#730)
Posted Thursday, July 15, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Following in the next paragraph are the comments about the two ÄNGLAGÅRD albums that I submitted to the official ÄNGLAGÅRD website. Both albums, "Hybris" and "Epilog" are excellent, it is difficult to say which one of them is better. I only wish there were more vocals in the Swedish language in "Epilog"! By the way, I think English would be out of place in the group's songs -- England has created a plethora of wonderful groups and styles, but I don't see why groups from other countries (if they are more serious about music than sales) should imitate the English ones. ÄNGLAGÅRD style is unique -- nothing like it existed in English music before.

Hats off to ÄNGLAGÅRD, gentlemen! I had hardly thought I would have the pleasure of listening to progressive music half as accomplished as that of PINK FLOYD or GENESIS of the seventies, but now, after discovering ÄNGLAGÅRD, I must say I proved myself wrong. ÄNGLAGÅRD would have been widely known and placed among the few greatest bands in the world if only the group started twenty years earlier, in the era when intellectual music was still much admired, and if only it lasted longer! Whatever happens next to ÄNGLAGÅRD, I want to express my deepest gratitude for 'Hybris' and 'Epilog', and humbly hope that the group will overcome all obstacles and will continue to create magic with their music. To give you the idea of how impressed I am with ÄNGLAGÅRD music, I may add that I am studying the Swedish language because the group members speak it!

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Send comments to Arteum (BETA) | Report this review (#731)
Posted Thursday, July 15, 2004 | Review Permalink
erika@ppn.as
2 stars What's with all the hype for this album?! It was a major dissappointment when i bought it. This is a good attempt, but not more. Some very interesting moments and good ideas here, but what screws it all up for me is that overly prodused, hellish crystal-clear [&*!#]sound of the nineties. Drums with echoes realy suck!

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#733)
Posted Wednesday, September 08, 2004 | Review Permalink
penguindf12
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars [Note that this review was originally written in 2004, when I was 14 years old. I am now 22, and this album doesn't really hold up. I'm moving my star rating down, but keeping the review intact as a testament to being young and naive.]

Now then, the premiere album of ANGLAGARD is better than "Epilog" in my opinion. This album features a band which does not seem to be multiple instruments, but a single instrument created from many. The only standout instruments here are the ones that play in the quieter parts, and even these intruments will switch. Then the music will spring to life as a single, colorful and purely symphonic instrument. Very nice stuff here.

The first track, "Jordrok" is possibly my favorite of all ANGLAGARD's songs. An 11 minute instrumental, it rises and falls with mere whim. If I ever get a band together and we master "Stairway to Heaven" by Led Zepellin, this song will be next on our list of covering. If a band can play this song, the band can play anything. Very complex and synchronized, with a specific pattern which runs throughout all of ANGLAGARD's music: loud, then soft, then loud, then soft, and so on.

The second track is very flute oriented during the softer parts, and sounds like GENESIS' "Apocalypse in 9/8" performed in reverse with more modern instruments in the faster, louder parts. This track has Swedish lyrics sprinkled here and there sparsly, and in my opinion it makes the song better.

Track three begins with an odd music box/ carnival sound, which springs into their louder, fervent section. In this track, the bass is the most noticeable instrument. It is odd that it does not fade into the rest of the music like most of their songs, instead seeming to accompany the rest of the band's instrumental fusion. But by no means does this detract from the song.

The final track, "King Winter" I think is the translation, is another great track with a more wintery feeling. Overall, the album is very hard to find and expensive to import, but worth an effort. It is not essential, however, because of its ambiguity and the fact that it fails to hit my disc player as much as say, GENESIS or YES. But still, very, very good.

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Send comments to penguindf12 (BETA) | Report this review (#734)
Posted Friday, October 08, 2004 | Review Permalink
frenchie
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars After downloading the "Jordrok" mp3 to see what all the fuss was about, i was completely blown away. I couldn't believe how good an instrumental it was. Anglagard have found a near perfedt logic when creating their signature sound on "hybris", to make an album that sounds like one of the great prog masterpieces of the 70s, dont use instruments that weren't around in the 70s! This album definetly sounds like something that would have been made around the late 60s/early 70s and that is what makes it so unique and extraordinary to listen to.

"Hybris" is a pure symphonic rock album which definetly takes influence from YES and GENESIS. This is apparent in the excellent guitar work as well as the choice of instruments and how they have been arranged to give that pure symphonic prog sound. Anglagard have pulled it off incredibly well. What's more astounding is that they managed to get it right on their first outing, and they were only aroun 19 when they made this album!

"Jordrok" is an excellent blend of synth, organ solos, emotional guitar solos, mellotrons and drums. I love the way the piano intro just pulls you in and instantly tells the listner that they are in for something really different and amazing. The mulitlayered instruments continue to build up and progress into a wonderful melee of sketchy guitar pieces that lead into the wonderful emotional piece (around 1:35). The bass and drums are so apparent on the album and stand out really well. The song manages to find its way into a rather random organ solo which reminds me of Rick Wakeman in the centrepiece of "Close to the Edge" or "And You And I". It is absoluetly magical to hear, because nothing else like that has ever been done since the 70s. Angalagard nail symphonic prog surprisingly well and show off all their inspirations and musical roots.

The second track enters with a soft flute that leads into mellow guitar picking in the background, this song builds up so much atmosphere just like the track that proceeded it. This track builds up into some excellent keyboard work but the bass seems to be a star for most of this track. There is some amazing guitar work throughout. It is hard to pinpoint any significant areas because it all just flows so well and is a brilliant listen. The vocals can be a little hard to accept. I think their stronger points are the instrumental work and their arrangements. The vocals are not bad but i think they take some getting used to. The lyrics are obviously in swedish as are the titles so its can be hard to dig out the emotion in the vocals unless you speak fluent Swedish. Still the emotional guitar and flute work makes up for this.

the last two tracks show off their own amazing areas and are brilliant to listen to. The vocals sound a lot better on track 4, which uses darker and more menacing instrumental work. Track 3 is pretty insane with the intro, a quiet "music box" style sound which explodes into chaos! This is a more energetic piece that reminds me of "dance on a volcano" style music by Genesis or some frantic Yes songs, maybe even some King Crimon influence. The vocals on track 3 are tolerable but track 4 is the best track for vocals.

"Hybris" is a very special album by a very unique band. Its a shame they had such a short existance with only 3 albums to fill their discography. Personally i think Hybris deserves the "suggestion" under its name because it is much more original and i found it easier to listen to and generally better musically. "Epilog" is amazing too, but just sounds like more of the same, although it does have lot of expanded areas. "Hyrbis" grips me more because it is the start of this unique sound. An excellent piece to listen to if you can manage to track it down.

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Send comments to frenchie (BETA) | Report this review (#737)
Posted Thursday, November 18, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars A group of young man plays progressive rock with excelent talented. Music played raise of glory 70's progressive rock. Zest of Genesis, King crimson and Yes decorated Anglagard's sounds. If Hybris was created on the 70's, it's possible Anglagard become one of progressive rock icon. Main characteristic of the band was play music without modern touch, but music persistent plays luxurious, full dynamic (low, mid and high tempo alternately). Very precious.

Like majority progressive rock band, rule of guitarist was attention. Touch like Robert Friff's turn up when Tord Lindman and Jonas Engdegård playing, meanwhile Thomas Johnson plays keyboards smoothly. Bassist Johan Högberg, flautist Anna Holmgren, and drummer/percussionist Mattias Olsson increasingly power of the music. They played music with great originality and a strong identity. If you're the prog freak, you have to buy this album. torro-karawang-indonesia.

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Send comments to torro (BETA) | Report this review (#740)
Posted Wednesday, February 02, 2005 | Review Permalink
jm@aol.com
2 stars Was very disappointed after all the hype here. With respect to the comparisons to Yes, Genesis, et al it is as if this group reproduced the prog runs from these groups without any of the melody, harmony and just any of the beautiful musical ideas that these groups intertwined with the prog sounds and runs. The result is for the most part a lot of noise on familarir sounding instruments with only a bare trace of the influences that everyone here seemed to talk about. Prog is about melody, drama, songs as well as long prog runs. Nothing much here.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#744)
Posted Friday, March 04, 2005 | Review Permalink
Eetu Pellonpää
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This album is very famous, and I understand the appreciation it has attracted. However this enthusiastic artifact from the 1990's Swedish Mellotron renaissance did not please me as much as the records of Anekdoten and Landberk for example. I heard this album's music been compared to King Crimson's "Fracture" somewhere, making my expectations rise high. But I felt personally the record resembling more music of Genesis, if searching comparisons to classic progressive rock bands sound. There isn't in my opinion similar power and strength of feeling on these songs as on the divine composition from "Starless and Bible Black" album. Maybe one other reason to my personal disappointment lies also documented on the words printed to CD sleeve: "This music is built on a very human base through conflict..", and "We don't seek a well-balanced or predictable entity". I guess these facts wouldn't matter so much when doing avantgardistic recordings for example, but when aiming to symphonic structured music, I fear there should have been more work done in arrangements. But I consider this album is very important in the prog scene genre, and there are some very touching parts included on this carefully produced album, thus I agree with its importance in the progressive rock scene. Also the descriptions and the qualities of music most hopefully reflect the true insights of the musicians; A factor which I respect more than artistic creation's capability to satisfy my own personal whims.

There are lots of beautiful themes and feelings which are presented neatly and evolved, but they don't seem to lead to logical climaxes in my opinion. Also the music doesn't sound so "vintage" as I expected, though the instruments are mostly from old school selections. I especially liked the quotations of classical music, which appear at least on the "Vandringar I Vilsenhet" track, which I adored quite much. The best track for me is still "Kung Bore", which is the most compact composition of all of these mini epics, and has the best melodic ideas in my opinion. The album cover art is also so nice, resembling the symbol familiar from "Larks' Tongues in Aspic" album, and the booklet is full of beautiful pictures, consolidating the fine production quality of the record. It's also nice that the few vocal parts are sung in Swedish.

So if you see this somewhere it is very recommendable to give a listen, as you might like it much more than me. The bonus track on re-mastered CD released by Mellotronen is an early version of the song "Skogsranden" from their next album "Epilog". I don't think that this is a very essential feature, but interesting anecdote if one is especially interested about the song creation progress of this group.

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Send comments to Eetu Pellonpää (BETA) | Report this review (#745)
Posted Friday, April 01, 2005 | Review Permalink
pychamp@hotma
5 stars I'm only 18 years old and i'm one of the rare of my generation who listen to prog music. I'm a real fan of symphonic prog like genesis, yes, jethro tull, Mike Oldfield, King crimson and Gentle Giant. I have more then 100 cds at home and i can say that hybris is my favorite album after the classic of Jethro tull, Thick as a brick. The style of Angagard is unique. The mellotron is very nice. If you're a fan of symphonic prog and you want to discover a new band, i recommend you Anglagard. Epilog is very good album too, but start with hybris and then listen to epilog. Anglagard is not one of the best prog bands of the 90's......IT'S THE BEST PROG BANDS OF THE 80's-90's. HIGHLY RECOMMNDED!!!!!

(Sorry for my english, i'm speaking french normaly)

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#748)
Posted Monday, April 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
rick_baggerma
5 stars I must say before i start I only listened to the song which was on the site, and it was great

The different moods change, from soft sound to hard sound, quiet to loud, a real masterpice, you can rarely find them like this.

It cannot really be related to something, maybe a bit Jethro tull listening to the flutes but that's just a piece of the world for example.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#749)
Posted Monday, April 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
raymus@hotmai
5 stars If your looking for Marillion, then you'll be dissappointed. However, if your looking for a masterpiece in the vein of Ill Balleo Di Bronzio, Gentle Giant, Banco, PFM, Egg, VDGG, King Crimson then you'll find it here. Anglagard is a compilation of all the thnigs that made the best of the best in the 70's prog era. A must with with an open mind and ears.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#755)
Posted Monday, May 16, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is my favorite album of all times, mostly for its diversity. Sometimes it is melancholic and melodic, while at other times - agressive and electrifying. The other advantages of Hybris comparing to other progressive albums, is the perfect quality of the recording, and the choise of instruments which are never plastic/synth but instead rich and natural. The pace on this album is also great, every second something happens, you just don't have time to be bored. And for last, Hybris almost always has some sort of soundscape, sometimes a flute playing in the background, sometimes the guitar. In any case it doesn't have the fragmentary feeling which is common to the progressive genre.

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Send comments to EugeneK (BETA) | Report this review (#36872)
Posted Saturday, June 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Sounds of '70s symphonic, mixed, matched and repackaged into an explosive new whole.

The Swedish sextet has the technical chops or songwriting abilities to stand up on its own when compared to the giants of old, but are they playing original music or are they just merely clever copycats? Does the whole transcend the sum of its carefully assembled vintage parts? They report, you decide.

Certainly listening to "Hybris" is a little bit like "name that tune" - or at least "name that influence." The organist takes a page out of Tony Banks' playbook; the guitarist does his best Fripp imitation, and the flute alternates between Jethro-Tull-hard and Camel-soft modes. But go with the flow of the music, cut yourself adrift amid the pastoral/suddenly explosive melodies, the constantly shifting rhythmic patterns, the well-crafted solos, the majestic vocal harmonies, and the impression of artifice fades. For me, the stylings of Anglagard add up to if not unique, then uniquely satisfying listening experience.

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Send comments to Ruglish (BETA) | Report this review (#37012)
Posted Sunday, June 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
erik neuteboom
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars From the early Nineties Sweden delivered a lot of fine Mellotron-drenched progrock bands like Anekdoten, Landberk, Atlas, Catweazle and Par Lindh Project. But the the first known band in that period was Anglagard with their splendid debut-album Hybris. I was stunned after my first session with this album: four wonderful, vareid and moving compositions containing obvious influences from King Crimson, Yes and Genesis but also a typical Skandinavian touch, especially because of the Swedish vocals and the melancholical undertone. The final track "Kung Bore" is one of the highlights in the last ten years of progressive rock: what a tension between the folky parts and the bombastic eruptions! The 'epic' starts with a twanging acoustic guitar, followed by many quick switches from dreamy climates with acoustic guitar and flute and sumptuous outbursts with powerful organ, fiery electric guitar and a strong and propulsive rhythm-section. Some majestic waves of the 'Mighty Tron' evoke goose bumps and the intense Swedish vocals sound very moving. Halfway the atmosphere with church organ and all kind of sounds strongly evokes "Close to the edge"-Yes but soon the vocals and the use of the Mellotron showcase Anglagard's unique own blend of the 'sympho-dino's'. A slow crescendo leads to a long and emotional 'grand finale' with some mindblowing waves of the Mellotron. After another short mellow piece a menacing part with distorted vocals and propulsive violin-Mellotron turns into lots of bombastic eruptions with great interplay between the organ, electric guitar and Mellotron (imagine a blend of the early Genesis, Yes and The Moody Blues with Fripp as guest musician!). The afterglow on this magnificent track is from the unsurpassed Mellotron with some moving notes (choir, violin and flute), what a way to say goodbey!! ONE OF THE FUTURE CLASSICS!!

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Send comments to erik neuteboom (BETA) | Report this review (#37567)
Posted Saturday, June 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars My friend told me that änglagård sounds just like prog did in the 70s. I don't agree with him. Änglagård surely is influenced by those bands which created the concept progressive rock, but it has managed to create its own unique style. If I should name one that reminds me most of änglagård I would pick KING CRIMSON, because both of them are strongly influenced by classical music. Anyway, they both sound great and totally different.

It really is difficult to describe änglagård's music. I have read from bands website that they have a classically trained drummer. With good imagination you can hear the bombast of baroque in their music. There are also influences from folk music. Sometimes it even sounds like some role playing game sound track:D. It's an exciting mixture of whatever it is and you have to concentrate carefully while listening. There's no doubt that this album is a masterpiece.

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Send comments to Juhqli (BETA) | Report this review (#39144)
Posted Monday, July 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars THE album of the Nineties! The spirit of the Seventies floats on the whole of the parts of the album. Inspiration from King Crimson, Genesis, Trettioariga Kriget... Great Mellotron, great flute... the top of musicians. Amateur of percussions, made once the listening of the album while only listening the work of Master Olsson... a pure wonder. Drums God ! Can be too sad, even depressing for some, the album offers a dark music, full with emotions. Jordrök and Kung Bore are the tops of this album. Album with advising for those which can leave the beaten paths. Amateurs of Flower Kings, Arena and Marillion, be careful to your ears. Masterpiece, instant classic, a major work of the progressive rock. When will we see a group offering such an intense and complete album ? Go for it and dream... this album is real !

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Send comments to Koenji (BETA) | Report this review (#41169)
Posted Monday, August 01, 2005 | Review Permalink
kwp02@lycos.c
2 stars Hype! Too much!!!!! Reading about this band- you would think that they are influenced by the greats of prog- but after listening to this album- it sounds as if they were just a mere representation of popular rock of the 90's. I dont find anything very unique about this rubbish. Man- its hard to tell what music is REALLY decent on this website! 2.5 stars, maybe

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#44954)
Posted Tuesday, August 30, 2005 | Review Permalink
umut@trlinux.
5 stars Anglagard is one of the most technical, professional and also melodic progressive music I have heard from Sweden. It doesn't take much time to take you inside and feel the compexity behind the sweet melodies of the guitar and the keyboard. The band also makes use of the flute very well which helps to have a folkloric emotion inside the music. It is hard to rate but if I have to, Kung Bore is my favorite track on the album. If you like Niacin, Brand X, Gordian Knot, you definitely must have a look at Anglagard, 'cause this album is an essential masterpiece.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#58446)
Posted Monday, November 28, 2005 | Review Permalink
ytse-jam@star
5 stars This is the kind of ProgRock we all were waiting for. it's the prog of the new millennium, the 70's are gone, this sounds new, full of energy without leaving behind the classic prog elements: great keys, interplay between the instruments, odd time signatures and so and so...,. i've just discovered this band i now i love it. if you're searching for the greatest new prog band i think you should probably pick this one up!.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#58882)
Posted Friday, December 02, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars I really can't join in in the massive hype about this album. The singing is too poetically pretentious and the words are in my opinion a bit stereotype clichés, or at least that's the impression I get. Most of you don't speak Swedish anyway, so this is maybe an unfair thing to point out (because many of you probably would enjoy the words). I'm glad though that most of the album is instrumental, because there are really nice parts here. The album that followed this one, "Epilog", is all instrumental and I think that one is better than "Hybris". Many have already written about the melancholic feeling in this music, the musical virtuosity and the "retro-prog style". In this I fully agree, but I think though that there is a big portion of originality here and it also has a live feeling to it. I give the album another half star for this, in addition to the three in the rating.

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Send comments to 1971 (BETA) | Report this review (#60512)
Posted Friday, December 16, 2005 | Review Permalink
matti_sillanm
5 stars Yes, this album is regressive. So what? Forget that and enjoy the music. "Hybris" is an essential piece of 90's Swedish symphonic prog. That's right, 90's. The sound is of course completely 70's, and the main reason for this is that Anglagard refused to use any post-70's instruments when recording "Hybris."

The music is based on strong melodies, created by the lively guitar sound, the beautiful flute and the impressive analog-keyboard arsenal, including Mellotron, Moog and such. I don't understand that much of the lyrics, but I think the vocals fit and Tord Lindman has a voice pleasant enough for my ear. Pretty much everything in the music is just screaming out 70's symphonic prog, the album almost seems like a Genesis/Yes tribute. It's pretty obvious that these guys are obsessed with classic prog.

The songwriting is very skilled. The album consists of 4 long tracks, which all are based on the same thing; primarily instrumental, packed with the aforementioned melodies; a delightful dialogue between the different instruments, constantly changing from mindblowing hard-rocking parts to soothing and mellow acoustic parts in a blink of an eye, every now and then interrupted by the vocals.

I have nothing negative to say about the musicianship either. Each member of the band, although very young at the time, handle their instruments nearly as skillfully as their idols from the past. It seems this Swedish band really had the flame burning in their hearts and they just went for it. And truly, they succeeded and created an absolute masterpiece, an album to give new hope for a new generation of prog musicians and infinite amounts of delight for proggers around the world.

I didn't even stop to think when I gave a rating for this one; 5 stars.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#60522)
Posted Friday, December 16, 2005 | Review Permalink
viagem_mental
5 stars It´s a masterpiece! Wonderful! It´s a modern-classic prog album. They refer to classics progressive groups like Genesis and King Crimsono and inovate. Making a unic and beatiful work. One of the best albuns in the style!

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#60779)
Posted Monday, December 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars One of the top ten album of the 90's! It's a masterpiece of progressive rock and the begin of the swedish prog scene with anekdoten, Landberk, Par Lindh project etc. this masterwork is the rebirth of 70's progressive rock cause is very influenced by King Crimson, Yes, Genesis, Jethro Tull and especially for the use of vintage instruments like Hammond, mellotron, rickenbaker bass. But it's not a clone in every way, because the personality and the inspiration here reach the summit with four long songs, very dinamic and complex in terms of music and moods that range from slow and melancholy to fast and energetic parts, full of mellotron, hammond, Crimson heavy and acoustic guitar passages, with the costant presence of the beautiful flute by Anna Holmgren. My Favourite track is "Jordrök" with it's beautiful Piano intro that progresses in several change of times and moods, with a majestic break of the church organ in the middle, this is the only entire instrumental song of the album. "Vandringar I Vilsenhet" it's the most complex song, the first with sweden lyrics, with dark, slow and fast organ, flute and guitar passages, the sound of the band here describes very well the nordic melancholy, but i prefer the last "Kung Bore" (king winter), with it's wonderfull acoustic guitar intro and the folkish flutes and keyboard passages. Excellent "Ifrån Klarhet Till Klarhet" with it's strange circus intro by Anna Holmgren.There's no other things to say...this is a must in 'very serious progressive rock collection!! Even if it requires an open mind.

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Send comments to nico (BETA) | Report this review (#62708)
Posted Sunday, January 01, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album is one of my personal all-time favorites. Why? Because the music is very dynamic, intense, full of variation, ... The sound breaths a 70's atmosphere, mainly due to the intense use of mellotron and flute. But this band combines the prog-sound of King Crimson, Yes and other influences with a modern and sharp production. Too bad they only produced two albums. I saw the band on their reunion-tour in 2003 (in Belgium). Despite some technical difficulties with the mellotron, that concert was fantastic!

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Send comments to BDTF (BETA) | Report this review (#64834)
Posted Sunday, January 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
mat_boettner@
5 stars Anglagard has done the best symphonic album since the ´70: Hyrbis! Marvellous album, not quite a masterpiece but close. to say that they sound old school is right, but to say they sound like a copy of old bands is a lie. They have a very personal sound with heavy melotron, the beatufull flute passages, the hard bass lines, the high guitar fills and the astonishing drumm work...in a way they are a bit like Yes meets King Crimson, but again not a copy at all! Jördrok is the ultimate symphonic intrumental for me...its beatifull, hard, long and full of virtuosism. The rest of the songs are also excellent (special metion Kung Bore) but its Jördrok which really makes this album a classic. 4.5/5

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#65120)
Posted Tuesday, January 17, 2006 | Review Permalink
Heptade
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars I have to add my voice to those of the few people who don't seem to get the greatness of this group. They obviously play well, and sure, there are lot of vintage keyboard sounds, and the compositions are "complex", but having listened to the album a couple of times, nothing is sticking out as particularly impressive at all. I don't see how it's better than anything the underrated (and under-reviewed) Djam Karet, the more melodic Anekdoten, or the more aggressive Guapo have done. People say there are strong melodies on this album, but I can't hear 'em. The production is also lacking, sounding very early 90s low budget. The whole record seems more of an excuse to show how virtuosically proggy the band could be. I guess we can't all like everything- the Wobbler album everyone's going crazy about had the same effect on me. Definitely worth hearing, since everyone likes it so much, but I don't think it's the classic it's made out to be.

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Send comments to Heptade (BETA) | Report this review (#65121)
Posted Tuesday, January 17, 2006 | Review Permalink
rorrogt@hotma
5 stars Really a Masterpiece Perfection it's the only adjetive that fit's on this album, i neverd listen to such originall and outstanding drumming like on this album, it completely blew up my head. Melodies are celestial. This is by far the best album of the last two decades, this album deserves 5 stars and nothing less.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#68732)
Posted Wednesday, February 08, 2006 | Review Permalink
Trotsky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars What a wonder it must have seemed to hear Anglagard for the first time back in the early 90s. As far as I'm concerned this group is quite clearly the best prog rock group to emerge over the last 25 years ... at least it beats out the hundred odd "newer" bands that I've given a chance to. Now, a word of caution ... if like me, you came to Anglagard having heard all kinds of hype about the band's brilliance, you might be a little disappointed at first ... give the discs a few spins, and as Anglagard's unique voice makes itself heard, your doubts will slip away.

Having said that, the opener Jordrök is an instantly gripping, absolutely majestic statement that is still my favourite Anglagard piece (although Höstsejd on the second album runs it close). Thomas Johnson's keyboard and Anna Holmgren's flute are but two of the spectacular most elements that go towards this combustive Nordic brew. Whether it's during melancholy, pastoral moments or fult tilt heavy attacks, Anglagard's music is always emotional and dark. It's hard to even wade through the numerous beautiful shifts that this single piece goes through, let alone provide a blow by blow account of Anglagard's compositions

Second track Vandringar i Vilsenhet starts off another brooding, gothic affair, with Holmgren taking the lead on flute, over some acoustic guitar backing in. It too soon bursts into life in absolutely spectacular fashion ... a bit of a "formula" that was to serve the band well over the course of Hybris and its successor Epilog. When they come, Tord Lindman's vocals are almost a surprise as Anglagard is largely an instrumental band. While the vocals aren't strong in a technical sense, they add to the overall intensity of the piece. The conclusion with echoing bells and deep ominous bass is superb. I have to say that the other "vocal piece", Ifrån Klarhet Till Klarhet is actually the least strong of the tracks here, but after a poor beginning, it too has some fine moments that recall Trespass-era Genesis. Kung Bore is yet another fully functional epic work. The vocals threaten to diffuse the intense momentum brought to the song by the rest of the album, but one needn't worry, because Anglagard are simply too good to let that happen. Rapid-fire runs, jarring attacks, delicate sombre flute passages ... they all return with double the intensity.

Amazingly, Anglagard would go on to make another equally superb album before imploding. ... 80% on the MPV scale

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Send comments to Trotsky (BETA) | Report this review (#69394)
Posted Wednesday, February 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars After a few months of searching, I was finally able to get a copy of this album. It's the digi-pack version with the bonus track to make things even better. If you are a fan of symphonic prog, especially the stylings of Genesis and King Crimson, this is THE album for you. Here is a band that knows their influences, but offers their own unique take on things. The Swedish folk overtones add a dimension that helps to make the compositions unique to the giants of '70's prog.

The musicianship is almost startling, even more so when you consider the age of the band members. The drumming is what struck me first and foremost. The drumming is both utterly complex and amazingly delicate depending on the mood the band is trying to achieve. And speaking of moods, Anglagard switches time signatures and musical styles with blinding speed and dexterity. Music this complex is rarely shown on a debut release. And yet, they have the uncanny maturity to make all that complexity musical. This isn't just complex for the sake of showing off, they are very congnicent of this being music and not a mathematical excercise.

I'm simply in awe of this band and I'm so glad that the ProgArchives exists otherwise I would never have known about them. One listen to Jordrok and I was hooked. Now I would consider it my absolute favorite instrumental, even more so than La Villa Strangiato. That's something I never thought I'd say. If I could give this album 6 stars; I would. I honestly don't think you can be a serious symphonic prog fan without a copy of this album. Hybris is that good and that important.

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Send comments to adigitaldan (BETA) | Report this review (#72081)
Posted Thursday, March 16, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Right off the get go when the piano gavs way to the first swell of symphonic orgasm on Earthsmoke, I fell in love. This album is wonderful and sounds like it came straight out of the early 70's. This album is so good it's in the top 25 'key' Symphonic Prog albums section, and the other 24 are from the 70's, and this... from 1992. I am at a loss for words. Brooding dark atmospheres with touches of light, floating piano and keyboards, brutal crunching bass lines, face-melting guitar riffs, beautiful flute interludes rivaling those of Andy Latimer, everything you could ever want in music. The album artwork is mysterious and beautiful, and stands as a perfect first impression and embodiment of the music. As for my favorite track.. I'd have to say Earthsmoke or Wanderings in Confusion. If I understood the lyrics, I'd probably lean more towrds the latter, but it's a tough call. The only thing I could do without on the album is the weird circus theme or whatever it's supposed to be on the intro to the third track, From Strength to Strength. It's hardly enough to spoil much appeal, as it only lasts for about ten seconds, but that aside, this album is WONDERFUL, and it's becoming one of my all time favorites. Also worth mentioning is that this album is totally unique and not a ripoff of anything, although the influences are obvious- (Yes, some Genesis, and a bunch of KC for the hard edges and the punch.) It is totally fresh and 100% original. It hasn't come out of my CD player for a solid week now, and I don't forsee that happening anytime soon. A masterpiece of progressive music if there ever was one! ---Enjoy---

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Send comments to ____VdGG____ (BETA) | Report this review (#75432)
Posted Wednesday, April 19, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Even though this album was released in 1992, it still has all of the intentions of an epic album that was made back in the 70's. Now I must admit that 99% of my music collection consists of music from the 60's and 70's and I'm a little bit more than skeptical when it comes to newer music.

The first time I listened to this album, I was hooked! Jordrok has to be my favorite and most memorable song on the album. I'll find myself singing the melody and even playing air guitar at any given time. Anglagards sound is fantastic and is a breath of fresh air for all symphonic prog fans, old and new alike.

Hybris contains very little vocals, which I don't mind since I'm not Swedish. Even without a standard dose of vocals, this band consists of top-notch musicians at the top of their game. The heavy bass tones, flutes and beautiful mellotron give this album a well rounded sound. The four tracks are very accessible and makes you wonder how a band that emerged from an unfortunate generation of music in my opinion, could produce such fantastic music.

If you enjoy this album, I highly recommend getting the instrumental 'Epilog' as well as the live album 'Buried Alive'.

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Send comments to smokey (BETA) | Report this review (#75925)
Posted Saturday, April 22, 2006 | Review Permalink
infandous@exc
4 stars Well, what to say about this excellent album? I found myself scanning the reviews here and only looking at the negative ones, just to see what might be negative about it to someone else. I'm afraid I can't relate to any of those negative reviews, nor can I see their point. I find a good deal of melody on this album, albeit of a very dark and minor key variety. The playing is outstanding and the compositions are quite entertaining to listen to. Still, I can't call it a masterpiece either. I'm not sure exactly why, but it does lack something that I look for in prog rock. Emotion. There is a melancholy feeling to the whole thing, but there seems to be more of a focus on style and ability rather than conveying a feeling. Admittedly, there is a good deal of prog music that has this same issue, but I guess there is a coldness to this album that keeps it from being a favorite of mine. Still, it stays in rotation for me, getting played a few times a year, so there is no denying the greatness of it. But I can "only" give it 4 solid stars. Well worth checking out, if only for the fact that in 1992 it was one of the key albums that started the prog resurgence that still seems to be going strong today, i.e. the "3rd wave".

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#76352)
Posted Wednesday, April 26, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars There a very few albums that can be called "perfect", when you don't do it in a rush of a moment. "Hybris" is simply the most pure, constant, mature, balanced, deep & unique masterpiece I've heard. A combination of church atmosphere, a bit of metal & a touch from the gothic culture, created a great album. I can really say that "Hybris" is one of the best prog albums of the 90's. After one of their tours in 1993, viewers defined them as "the best prog band in the world" - and i can't agree less. The reviews of this album was also at the same height.

The major plus of the album is the moving tunes, Anglagard keeps the stable melodic attitude, that based well on the basic principles of classic music, but on the same time they give a strong feeling of the stress between two different cultures fighting against each other. The rich & eclectic productions are known for their wide dynamic, and that's what makes listening to this album interesting & exciting.

It's hard to pick several favorite tracks, but here are two of them: "Jordrok" - The opening track, one of the best instrumental tracks i've heard, brilliant solos, with the help of a new, scary melotron, 70's techniques with brilliant additions. "Kung Bore" - If anyone will ask me why do i love this album so much, i could say this will define my opinion. "Kung Bore" proves how much Anglagard uses the basics so well...

"Hybris" is a mith-breaker, because it shutters down the saying that "prog is a 70's-style". Anglagard are proving in the album that prog music can develop, and enrich itself. If only music lovers could treat it like they should, and put it on the same place with "Wish U Were Here" or "Selling England By The Pound", it would be a justice because this title fits this album like a glove. A good investment to every prog fan. It would be a big injustice to even compare it to the 70's bands, beacuse it's a modern masterpiece, that takes the basics that Genesis & Pink Floyd taught us and built their own style above it all. And the funny part is, it's not even their best album.... :)

The bottom line is clear: 5 stars!

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Send comments to Open-Mind (BETA) | Report this review (#83077)
Posted Friday, July 07, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Compositions - 5.0, Memorable Melodies - 5.0, Inventiveness with a Purpose - 5.0, Vocals - 4.0, Extended Value/Charm - 5.0,

AVERAGE = 4.8.

GENRES: Symphonic Prog, Progressive Rock, Classical Prog, Prog Folk. SIMILAR BANDS: Genesis, King Crimson, Wobbler, Landberk, Anekdoten, Gryphon, Yes, Maxwell's Demon, ELP, SFF, Spektakel, Cathedral, Pangee.

One of the best prog albums of the past 25 years. The compositions are amazing on this album. The music swings from symphonic prog to folk to classical without ever losing the continuity. Dark foreboding moments of creepy mellotron and guitar shift into beautiful warm flute and organ passages effortlessly without ruining the flow of the song. The melodies are all over the place and top notch. Most bands have a hard time coming up with 3 or 4 SONGS with a memorable melody in it while on Hybris EACh song has 3 or 4 memorable melodies on it. Incredible. The vocals while sparse are well done (in Swedish) and go well with the music. The singing is warm and melodic as to enhance the music going on around it instead of to overtake the music. Don't be surprised if Hybris stays in your CD player for many weeks. This is amazing and varied symphonic prog full of wonderful moments.

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Send comments to dalt99 (BETA) | Report this review (#84993)
Posted Friday, July 28, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars A very intersting combination of romantism and a sweet aggresiveness.

What I admired the most to a band is the specific sound which, in this case, is very clear and pure.After you will listen once the album you will certainly recognize the style.

Of course there are influences(Genesis) but don't compare this release with the others because is unique. It is very nice that the band chooses to use their native languange.This gives originality. I don't know swedish but I have read the translation in english and I was very suprised about the quality of the songs.

It is hard to choose an highlight but I would choose Kung Bore.

Too bad that the band released only 2 albums. I strongly belive that this is one of the best releases from the '90 and one of the finest from the entire history of progressive rock.

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Send comments to petrica (BETA) | Report this review (#89074)
Posted Wednesday, September 06, 2006 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars What can I say that hasn't already been said ? This is one of those very rare, post mid-seventies albums that actually doesn't take a back seat to the very best that the golden era of Prog had to offer. A bold but true statement. You can place this along side of "Thick As A Brick" , "Selling England By The Pound" and "Close To The Edge" and it sounds like it belongs. It wasn't uncommon for the band to have three mellotrons on stage when they performed live. And they also boast one of the best rhythm sections I have ever heard. Jonas playing his Rickenbacker bass, and Mattias the classically trained drummer are both all over this one. I have heard Mattias play on other projects, but nothing comes close to his performance on "Hybris". Everything about this band and this record are first class. By the way they thank ANEKDOTEN and LANDBERK in the liner notes.

"Jordrok" opens with a minute of dark piano melodies that are joined late by mellotron, followed by angular guitar sounds, and pounding drums. Dramatic ! Then back to the serene, with acoustic sounds and flute, just thrilling music. Love the complex and intricate sounds that follow before the guitar returns with mellotron.Themes are repeated until we get some gentle guitar 3 1/2 minutes in then flute. Some powerful church organ before 5 minutes, and check out the drumming a minute later. Some great Hammond organ after 7 minutes. A dead calm before 8 1/2 minutes before it kicks back in. Flute ends the ride. Lets do it again ! "Vandringar I Vilsenhet" also starts softly with beautiful flute. It's building 2 1/2 minutes in to a fantastic but all too brief section that includes angular guitar, bass and some outstanding drumming. It calms down with flute again leading the way as vocals arrive for the first time before 4 minutes. The rest of this song is pure joy for me as again themes are repeated and changed. Brilliant ! A calm before 10 minutes as marching style drums build. Mellotron comes in gloriously and continues right to the end of the song. Nice.

"Ifan Klarhet Till Klarhet" is a beautiful mellow track that reminds me a lot of ANEKDOTEN when the vocals come in. As usual loads of mellotron and some beautiful gentle guitar leads. Flute comes in before 4 minutes as drums continue.The full sound 5 minutes in is increble but it settles again quickly. It kicks back in as guitar, mellotron and chunky bass lead the way. It's settled again, now it's building. You get the picture. I'm thinking ANEKDOTEN again 7 minutes in. What a song ! Mellotron and bass end it. "Kung Bore" is an amazing song, but then they all are. It begins with a nice piano intro then builds. The bass and drums really shine bright on this one. A calm after 2 minutes with fragile vocals before 3 minutes joining in. The deep bass is back before 4 1/2 minutes as it kicks into a higher gear. It settles again before becoming full again 7 minutes in. The bass and drumming are killer ! Check out the mellotron 9 1/2 minutes in. Flute follows. Angular guitar arrives 11 minutes in. The song ends in a pastoral manner.

All I can say is "God bless Sweden" for all the amazing music they've given us. It doesn't get much better than this.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#89363)
Posted Saturday, September 09, 2006 | Review Permalink
OpethGuitarist
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars For too long has this band and their pair of albums been overlooked, often cast over due to the language differences and the time period. Know this. Had Anglagard been a band which was formed and emerged during the 70's, producing this kind of work, I have no qualms comparing it on the same grounds as those works so acclaimed from the period. And even finding this album better than many of the masterpieces many of us proclaim as such from that era.

Fittingly, as the time is almost near, the album opens with a haunting and eerie piano lead that would fit appropriately with Halloween. We are led into beautiful floating keys serving as background for a rocking riff. Jordrok presses on, with perhaps one of my favorite lines halfway through, a wonderful band combination pulsating with energy. The most noticeable thing to me, when comparing this to other 70's albums, is how much fuller and richer the bass sounds, really bringing the record to life. Mellotron lovers will not be dissapointed in this either, as it is really the primary instrument of choice throughout much of the work.

To me this is all very unfortunate. Lucky for people like you and I, who have had the good graces to discover such a gem, but unfortunate for the band, who appears to have been born about two decades too late. Highly reccommended for those in search of a modern symphonic great.

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Send comments to OpethGuitarist (BETA) | Report this review (#95230)
Posted Friday, October 20, 2006 | Review Permalink
Tony Fisher
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars I guess I'm a bit of an old cynic when I hear claims that a band is the reincarnation of the great days of the 70s or that they have somehow reinvented the genre. Most of it is overoptimistic poppycock.

But not in this case. This album is brilliant with a capital B. It's clearly influenced by the great bands of the 70s but in no way is it copied or cloned. This is great original prog with memorable melodies, great instrumental solos from the guitars, keyboards and flute, including some fine interplay, and some dramatic mood changes. I love the crisp drum sound and the tone of the Rickenbacker bass, too.

Many have described the tracks individually; all I will add that Jordrock is near the top of my all-time favourite tracks and the others aren't far behind.

It is a tragedy that this briillant album was one of only two studio albums they recorded. What a loss they were.

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Send comments to Tony Fisher (BETA) | Report this review (#95861)
Posted Thursday, October 26, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars I must start off by saying that this is, quite possibly, the most perfect album to arise from the 90's, as far as progressive rock is concerned. It must be noted that while there are some King Crimson and various other influences detectable, this is an extremely original album by an extremely original band. The character of this music can best be described as a mixture of Edgar Allen Poe and Andrew Lloyd Weber with the presence of an unknown Nordic power. It is very Gothicly Romantic (as in the musical period) and atmospheric (caused mostly from the beautiful mellotron playing that is as strong an atmospheric effect as humidity, searingly fragile guitar runs and harmonies, and an excellent sense of dynamics) in as dark a vein as any Krimson or VDGG. The sound of this band is so cohesive that you wont notice the shift from dark, moody rock to acoustic medieval folk and band.

The only weakness on this album is the vocals, which on the slightest occasion seem strained and (gasp) out of tune.

This is an essential buy for all Symphonic and Art Rock fans (if you dont already have this and love it, you should be ashamed) and well worth paying more than full price for for all fans of good music (it has been out of print for some time).

Truly a modern masterpiece!

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Send comments to Atomic_Rooster (BETA) | Report this review (#97022)
Posted Friday, November 03, 2006 | Review Permalink
NJprogfan
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars One of a handful of classic symphonic prog to be recorded in the 90's. Actually, when you think about the time this album came out it was a pretty low point musically, (unless you were into grunge, or shoegaze...which I enjoyed) for prog. Had I known there was something of this caliber, I would have been first in line to purchase it. If you're a fan of the mighty Mellotron, great guitar playing coupled with multiple chord changes you'll love this album. Mostly instrumental with minimal vocals, (not exactly the greatest singing, btw) it reminds me of early King Crimson mood wise, dark and sad at the same time. Johnson's keys and Endgegard's guitars are highlights, both play their instruments with a ton of originality. They compare themselves, or should I say connect themselves with the 70's, so right away I'm thinking they'll rip off a band or two. Yet, with ears straining to hear a chord, melody or anything else from the past, I'm shocked to say they come out wholly original and that's a hard thing to do, even 14 years ago. So, for me, it's very easy to say 'Hybris' is a modern masterpiece and should be high on your list of best ofs of the 90's. It is for me and rightly so!

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Send comments to NJprogfan (BETA) | Report this review (#98463)
Posted Sunday, November 12, 2006 | Review Permalink
ClemofNazareth
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk Researcher
5 stars Well, there are those progressive music fans who feel the real masters were the early pioneers: King Crimson, Yes, Genesis, Camel, Jethro Tull, and the like. Many of those fans would pan newer groups as ‘derivative’ for simply learning from those bands and adding their own musical ‘voices’ to the mix. I think that’s unfortunate, and particularly so in the case of a band like Änglagård. This album is a stunning piece of art in every sense. I can hear influences of every one of the bands listed above in this music, and I think that is great!

This band was a brief and shining example of what can happen when a group of dedicated and talented musicians lend their skills, and their new ideas, to the progressive music. Each of the four tracks is full of complex and intoxicating sounds, most of it swirling and rising above Baroque-inspired mellotron and organ. The guitar work is in the finest tradition of a generation of great Swedish guitarists, passionate and melancholic but at the same time full of life. The tempo changes and occasional Swedish vocals serve to extend the mood of each track even beyond their substantial lengths. Anna Holmgren’s finesse as a flautist is every bit as interesting and artistic as the power of Ian Anderson’s, perhaps more so due to the great range she shows throughout. The first few times I listened to this album I found myself engrossed from start to finish, ignoring everything else going on around me as I drank in the beauty of it.

I won’t bother to expand on the tracks individually, as I’m listening to the album right now and having trouble focusing on putting down words to describe it. Suffice to say that this music reaffirms for me that symphonic rock was not an aberration of the seventies – it lived again in the nineties with Änglagård and bands like them, and it lives today with bands like the Tangent, Transatlantic, and Wobbler, among others.

This album is a must-have for just about any fan of prog music, and particularly for those who value symphonic rock. Highly recommended. Five stars.

peace

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Send comments to ClemofNazareth (BETA) | Report this review (#98509)
Posted Sunday, November 12, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars A very good album let down by the vocals. I assume that they are being sung in Swedish which doesn't bother me. It's the fact that they are very weak almost appologetic at times. The music is fine, moody and atmospheric without being fussy. At times reminding of early Genesis, and maybe even Gentle Giant? Excellent keyboard and organ work lift this album to the pinacle of prog, but not quite to a five star

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Send comments to laghtnans (BETA) | Report this review (#100329)
Posted Saturday, November 25, 2006 | Review Permalink
FruMp
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Incredible symphonic prog album harking back to the glory days of the genre. If you like Yes, King Crimson, Camel and similar bands you are going to be suprised by how good this is, extremely melodic and beautiful, amazing dynamics and many subtlties if you look under the surface. The musicianship is top notch too, the drumming is a standout performance, the flute provides some of the most memorable parts of the album and the keyboard basically holds the thing together and gives it all direction.

It shouldn't take another 5 star review to convince you to get this album you should have it already, and if you don't then cast aside any prejudices you have and grab a copy, it's a terrific listen.

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Send comments to FruMp (BETA) | Report this review (#101798)
Posted Wednesday, December 06, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars What an album!!!!! Personally, I can not imagine why a fan of symphonic prog could turn this down. It is breath taking and one of my top 5 albums. The sounds are reminiscient (probably due to the band's use of only vintage instuments), but they are also new. These songs move from jagged, spooky rythyms into beautiful flute melodies seemlessly. I cannot say enough about the musicianship. It's phenomonal, especially that drummer!! This album is an absolute must have for any fans of Yes or Genesis. Highly memorable music! No wonder these guys are legends. This is definately one I will always cherish. Sure to please your ears

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Send comments to Howe Protege (BETA) | Report this review (#101945)
Posted Wednesday, December 06, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars A major recording, a must have for everybody who like symphonic prog. Hybris is a 90's album that sound as if it was recorded in the 70's. From the opening piano notes to the great melody line that end the album, every song in here are 5/5. The mellotron sound majestic, one of the greatest mellotron album ever :) The dynamic between beautiful calm melody and agressiveness is very impressive. The only low points in the album IMO is the vocal interpretation that may not be as strong as the music, so that's why I prefer Epilog over Hybris, but they are very close in terms of my apreciation and rating. Essential, definitively a masterpiece of progressive music.

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Send comments to Fido73 (BETA) | Report this review (#101973)
Posted Thursday, December 07, 2006 | Review Permalink
1800iareyay
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars It's a shame Anglagard only lasted as long as it did, since they truly could have been giants in the prog genre. With only two studio albums before break up, they almost single handedly gave hope back to the progressive community. I'm personally a fan of neo prog, but that movement resulted in bands with absolutely no originality. There are those who argue that even Marillion, the forerunners of the sub-genre, were Genesis knock-offs. However, Anglagard managed to pay homage to King Crimson, Yes, and Genesis in a way that allowed them to create original, inventive music. The lyrics are in Swedish, so I ca;t understand them but, much like Italian symphonic, the instrumentality speaks louder than the words. Olsson's drumming is incredible and he joins the ranks of underrated prog drummers like Mark Zonder of Fates Warning with his astonishing kit work.

The band itself sounds like it was a prog supergroup; the bass reminds me of Chris Squire, the guitars have a Frippian element to them, the flute unwillingly conjures images of Jethro Tull, the keys have the aggression of prog metal, and the drums sound like many drum gods combined.

My favorite track is the opening instrumental Jordok, though all tracks are prog gold. Despite sounding like an amalgam of 70s prog heroes, Anglagard is one of the most original prog groups of the 90s. The non-English lyrics might put off some, but those who can look past it will find some of the best instrumentality ever heard.

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Send comments to 1800iareyay (BETA) | Report this review (#102584)
Posted Monday, December 11, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars There comes a time when we drive through a period of music dryness: when none of our previous loves seem faithful. All albums are daunting, there's no light in music, every instrument is a curse from God! I used to have specific albums that helped through these momentary droughts - I had back-up albums, so to speak. Albums I've cherished since childhood: Minstrel in the Gallery, Dark Side of the Moon, Foxtrot. But the magic faded from even these albums; I seemed utterly alone and hopeless in the world of music. Then I heard Hybris, and life was restored in the musical me.

From the very first key of Jordrök, the utter brilliance of the precise, sharp intrigue lured me again into the musical realm. A profound internal shift caused such a dramatic connection to the music: I wasn't hearing that dark, melodious piano, I was feeling it. Instantly, a knowledge swept over me: this music is special. The novelty of their sound lies in their polished flawless playing and the perfect sound quality. High-end musicianship, bewilderingly complex songwriting, ever-changing moods, and brilliant production all add ot the experience.

The sometimes sinister, sometimes epic atmospheres hold up throughout the album, and never falter. Really beautiful flute playing, reminiscent of Peter Gabriel's, adds a dynamic touch to the sound. The use and near abuse of the infamous mellotron generates a perfect reproduction of that classic prog sound, and the aggressive bass, guitar and drums creates a driving modern feel. The end result is a superb blend of 70s style prog with a more contemporary flavour (and, of course, the great modern sound quality).

The lyrics (translation available on their website [listed here as their "official" website, but, as I understand it, it truly isn't official]) are extremely thought provoking and exploratory. When reading the translation I paused and considered each sentence. It's very fine poetry, even in a translated form which is undoubtedly watered down from the original state. Or perhaps not - perhaps the translators took some liberty. Either way.

Overall, this album is extremely well written and played, leaving a sense of accomplishment after listening. Musicianship is top notch, and, once again, a great thing about this album is how neatly and faultlessly the mathematical phrases are played. The epic scale will undoubtedly floor any casual symphonic fan who has no prejudices against modern music. And I'm proud to say now that Hybris is in my list of back-up albums now (along with my fore-most albums).

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Send comments to Shakespeare (BETA) | Report this review (#106320)
Posted Saturday, January 06, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars You won't witness such complex music flowing continuously with emotion and elegance often as it is in this outstanding album. Containing 4 wonderful tracks, every one lasting long enough to completely infuse to your soul, this album really is a gem to find and enjoy... Frankly, I can't find any flaw to tell, every detail about this work is perfect; and it is only a debut album! It's a very sad thing for fans of good music that Anglagard has given only two albums.

Buy this album. It is a strong contestant for the "best album ever"... Pure, heavenly progressive music. No doubt, 5 stars, a masterpiece.

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Send comments to taylanbil (BETA) | Report this review (#107872)
Posted Thursday, January 18, 2007 | Review Permalink
russellk
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars A delightful album with a great deal of depth, which seems to have been a thinly veiled attack on the state of progressive music at the time. It occupies a pivotal place in the history of progressive rock, signaling the renaissance of the genre.

Or, at least, it ought to have.

But because it was from an unheralded part of the world (at that time), and the lyrics were not in English, it was not promoted and distributed as it ought to have been. So other albums, such as DREAM THEATER'S 'Images and Words', shaped the progressive rock scene in the early-mid 1990s.

Musically, the album is incredibly strong. The musicians are skilled, and what they play is meaningful and well-composed. 'Jordrok', in particular, stays long in the memory even after a first listen, and will please even casual fans of the symphonic prog sub-genre.

I wish this band had continued. With such strong musicianship and compositional skills, I can't help wondering what they might have become when they found their own voice. Because, for all its strengths, this album has one weakness: it is an echo of other voices. Those looking for innovation, for a new voice, will not find it here. But you will find something enchanting.

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Send comments to russellk (BETA) | Report this review (#112565)
Posted Sunday, February 18, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars During the 1980s, good symphonic prog (or even any at all) was a rare find. There are a few gems, of course, such as BACAMARTE's "Depois Do Fim," but for the most part these albums were undermarketed and overlooked. Prog in the 1980s had been mostly overshadowed by the recent trends of punk, hair metal, synth-pop and new wave bands.

Perhaps what was truly necessary for a resurgence of symphonic prog in more mainstream prog circles was the familiarity of '70s instrumentation. ÄNGLAGÅRD, Swedish for "Garden of Angels," did exactly this: stayed true to symphonic prog's roots by using vintage keyboards and similar compositional techniques. But while ÄNGLAGÅRD certainly has influences from classic symphonic prog bands, especially KING CRIMSON, GENESIS, and a number of Italian Prog bands, they created something very new with Hybris.

ÄNGLAGÅRD mostly writes mini-epics, ranging between eight and fifteen minutes. While the length of these pieces might cause one to expect meandering, aimless compositions, each of ÄNGLAGÅRD's works is a very tight, one or two-movement piece that seems quite a bit shorter than it actually is. "Hybris," unlike "Epilog," contains the vocals of Tord Lindman, which, unlike other reviewers, I don't find to be a weakness in the music at all. Lindman sings Swedish lyrics with a delicate and pleasant voice somewhat akin to that of Jon Anderson. The vocal sections of "Hybris" are one of the factors that makes this album considerably more accessible than "Epilog," not because of the vocals themselves but because the music during vocal sections is considerably more digestible than the rest of the music on the album. Still, "Hybris" is a predominantly instrumental album, with only about five or six minutes of vocal sections.

The comparison of "Hybris" to GENESIS' works is mostly due to the similarities in instrumentation. "Hybris" includes vintage '70s keyboards along with flutes and classical guitars. The comparison to King Crimson is mostly due to the rhythmic intensity of the music. But I would argue that ÄNGLAGÅRD's music is even more rhythmically complex than KING CRIMSON's, only being matched by the music of GENTLE GIANT in that respect. The number of time signature changes per composition typically lies in the double digits, which makes the music extremely unpredictable and challenging.

"Jordrök," or "Earthsmoke," is the album's first track, and is completely instrumental. I was new to ProgArchives when I first heard this track on the site's audio download (now streaming audio) feature. From the first listen, I was under the impression that the audio available was a .MIDI file, and only through exposure to other bands' music via ProgArchives did I realize that this track had an extremely precise and almost mechanical piano introduction. Many fans consider this to be ÄNGLAGÅRD's best work, and indeed, this is the track I would suggest to others to get an idea of what this band is all about. This track, although completely instrumental, contains a great deal of variance, and somewhat serves as a midpoint between their later work on "Epilog" and the rest of the music on "Hybris." The latter section of this piece contains dynamic variation that truly must be heard to be understood.

"Vandringar i Vilsenhet," or "Wanderings in Confusion," begins with a solo flute section and slowly builds upon that. This track exemplifies ÄNGLAGÅRD's ability to effortlessly transition between darker sections of music to more energetic and chaotic sections. Parts of this track, especially in regards to the rhythm, remind me almost of gypsy music. This track is the first on the album to contain vocals. The build near the end of the song creates an interesting outro.

The next track, "Ifrån Klarhet Till Klarhet," or "From Strength to Strength" is likely the weakest on the album. I agree with reviewer Iván Melgar-Morey that the circus-like intro section to this song seems a bit out of place, and it doesn't really contribute much to the rest of the piece. That said, it is followed by one of the most random outbursts of chaotic music I've ever heard, and perhaps its purpose is to contrast that. The rest of the piece continues in typical "Hybris" fashion, though I don't feel the melodies here are as strong as those on the other tracks.

"Kung Bore," or "King Winter," is the last and strongest piece on Hybris. It begins with a pleasant 5/8 classical guitar melody that eventually settles into common time and gives birth to the rhythm section. After a rhythmically complex and agitated section of music, the piece slows down and is overtaken once again with lush guitar and flute. Lindman beings singing, and then the music continues in the typical ÄNGLAGÅRD fashion. At about the seven minute mark, the piece begins to build to its conclusion. At the eight minute mark, there is a section of interplay between percussion and keyboard/guitar that I find utterly perplexing rhythmically. The composition continues to build until it is swept away by the sound of lush mellotron orchestration.

One thing to note while listening to this album is the virtuosity of the rhythm section. What is even more unbelievable is that Mattias Olsson, ÄNGLAGÅRD's drummer and percussionist, was only seventeen at the time this album was recorded, and most of the rest of the band wasn't much older. The fact that these young musicians demonstrated the musical maturity to create a record of this quality to me is incredible.

The result of this album was a resurgence of progressive music in Scandinavia, with acts such as ANEKDOTEN and LANDBERK rising shortly after its release. WOBBLER's recent release, "Hinterland," also demonstrates a heavy ÄNGLAGÅRD influence.

As difficult as this is to do, I'm only going to award this album with four stars. But this is pretty much the closest a four-star album can be to masterpiece status. My rationale is that I've already awarded too many records with five stars and also that "Epilog," the album that followed this, is slightly stronger.

Anyone who enjoys symphonic prog or rhythmically intense album but does not have this album is really missing out. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys progressive music of the '70s.

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Send comments to CaptainWafflos (BETA) | Report this review (#114297)
Posted Monday, March 05, 2007 | Review Permalink
Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This is my 1000th review posted at May 7, 2007 20:17 Jakarta Time. ENJOY!!

-------------------------------------------------------------------

Well crafted composition, flawless performance!

Anglagard was formed as a venture to reinvent music with the basis of early senties sounds. It started with Tord Lindman and Johan Högberg join forces until this album "Hybris" was created. As stated in the opening sleeve Introduction: "This music is built on a very human base . through conflict. It's created with the thought of each person's momentary feelings, with a lot of variations as a starting point." It's a quite impressive introduction even before I listened to the CD.

When I spun the CD at the first time, it caught my attention as my first feeling told me that this music was definitely created with perfection. Why did I say that? Oh yes.. I can feel it right from the opening track "Jordrök" (11:10) where the band performs the tune flawlessly with accurate precision. There are many surprises throughout the song combining multi instruments like guitars, keyboard / Hammond / mellotron, dynamic bass lines and powerful drumming. The tempo moves dynamically from high to low and comes back to high with great melody. What surprises me is that with this relatively long duration I don't get any sense of getting bored at all from intro right to the end.

"Vandringar i Vilsenhet" (11:53) starts mellow with a combination of smooth flutework and keyboard, augmented beautifully with acoustic guitar and deep bass lines. Oh man .. the opening melody is really melodic and catchy. It's damn hard for not remembering this part because it's really nice. The music moves into complex arrangement with great combination of guitar, flute and dazzling drum work. Wow! It's really a terrific arrangements! Unlike the opening track which is instrumental, this one has unique vocal line and it's so energetic. Listening to this track, I feel like being dragged ups and downs with great enjoyment of rich textures of the music. The structure is complex but it does not harm the overall music flow. All of the segments are connected smoothly with great transition pieces which in most part are augmented with flute or vocal.

"Ifrån Klarhet Till Klarhet" (8:04) kicks with an ambient style followed with a blast of music that sounds relatively complex, combining guitar, mellotron, bass lines and powerful drumming. The song moves into lyrical part through the bridge of mellotron sound. During this lyrical part the music turns into mellow style with catchy melody. The non-English lyrical part enriches the music and brings it to the next level. The slient break combining acoustic guitar and mellotron / keyboard after first lyrical part is really stunning and enjoyable.

"Kung Bore" (12:57) starts off with a classical guitar work augmented with soft piano work. It's quite interesting intro, especially when the music flows into complex part using Hammond as main rhythm section - reminds me to Keith Emerson of ELP. Like the other three tracks, this is a wonderful one!

My CD includes a bonus track "Gånglåt från Knapptibble" which was recorded in August 1993 for the English magazine Ptolemaic Terrascope who wanted to release a single to come with the magazine. It's another great track even though it's a bonus track. This reconfirms the music of Anglagard as a combination of Genesis (expecially the melody), ELP (especially on how keyboard is played) ,Yes (especially on complex structure) and Gentle Giant (complex structure and some vocal line).

Conclusion

It's definitely a masterpiece of prog album. You might reckon that the music presented in "Hybris" is not truly original in styles because the band combines all elements of early seventies music into composition. But, I have to admit that the band has written great composition in this debut album. Highly Recommended! Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#121066)
Posted Monday, May 07, 2007 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars A textured and dynamic album played in a very classic style featuring well-composed songs showcasing the instrumental dexterity of the young group. "Hybris" is a gem of the prog- revival and holds up today.

Largely instrumental, "Hybris" abounds with complex melodies which never disappoint; they are played with razor precision and energy (blonde, Swedish energy). Each member has their moments, and all are on top of their game. The song writing is epic in sound, and gives the listener a variety of themes and textures to enjoy, as well as varied instrumentation to mix things up. The lyrics are exclusively Swedish, which in my opinion makes the album all the more enjoyable, and sung with a nice inflection and soulfulness.

There really isn't a weak spot on this album, and complaints about it will likely come down to a matter of taste; however, for those who enjoy symphonic rock or the prog-giants of the '70's will not be disappointed.

Songwriting: 4 Instrumental Performances: 4 Lyrics/Vocals: 3 Style/Emotion/Replay: 3

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Send comments to Prog Leviathan (BETA) | Report this review (#121919)
Posted Sunday, May 13, 2007 | Review Permalink
Melomaniac
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars 1995. I was working in a record store. Was a lot into prog, metal and prog metal. A client asked me to introduce him to the modern day prog bands I was enjoying. He left with a copy of Images and Words. He came back the very next day saying he liked it but it wasn't the style of prog he wanted. But, in exchange for my suggestion, he gave me a tape, and said "This is a copy of a new prog band from Sweden. If you're into old Yes, Genesis, King Crimson and Gentle Giant, you should dig this". He had just named most of my favorite bands in the same sentence, so I immediately looked at the tape : Anglagard - Hybris. After work I went home and put the tape in the cassette player... and from the opening notes, I knew I had something very, very special.

Vintage prog, I thought, played on vintage instruments (mellotron, Rickenbacker bass, Hammond B-3, etc...). I remember thinking how much Anglagard sounded like a side project of members from the bands mentionned above, only recorded and mixed using modern technology (modern in the 92). And the musicianship only helped me think that way : what great musicians these guys are (were). Not only is their playing extremely good, but the songwriting is even better. Every note is carefully placed and played, with the proper intensity for each. Very melancholic, moody, contemplative, dark, delicate at times and rocking in others, and... even though it sounds like vintage prog, there is something fresh and exotic about Anglagard. Very northern. The vocals may sound strange at first, but once you focus on the melodies rather the sound of the words, everything falls into place.

So, to me, this album is a definitive classic, every song perfect as is the running order. As much a tribute to the symphonic prog bands of old as it is a breath of fresh air for the genre. 12 years after that stranger gave me the tape (never saw him again, so if you're out there, THANK YOU SO MUCH), I bought the CD twice (was once stolen from me) and I enjoy it as much as I did back then, if not even more.

Without a doubt, five superb shining stars. Mandatory purchase.

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Send comments to Melomaniac (BETA) | Report this review (#127010)
Posted Thursday, June 28, 2007 | Review Permalink
clarke2001
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars A masterpiece of proghead's frustration.

This is a nice little record, but a few issues need to be addressed. First of all - - this is NOT the album that sounds like it was recorded in the seventies, as many tend to claim. Nor played, nor composed. It's certainly got some of a 70's charm, but that's about it.

What about the sound?

The album is sort of a mixed bag - utilizing wide spectrum of progressive rock influences from late sixties to mid-late seventies, all that spiced up with the nineties productions. Organ sound of Hammond is polished with crystal clear production. Moods produced by Mellotron vary from hilarious to magnificent - unfortunately band inclines towards the "choir" sound, which always sounds unnatural if played on keyboard - it simply sounds like "oohs" and "aahs" played on a 8-bit sampler. Those sounds were not unknown in the seventies (RENAISSANCE springs to mind), but the presentation here is bearing a reflection of an extra decennium in history of pop music. Korg Mono/Poly, certainly, failed in a role of a Moog-like soloing synth. Other keyboard instruments are fine, more or less. I would rather prefer to hear those instruments at their best: Mellotron for the organic pads (not only string ones) and Korg for arpeggiated bouncy oscillator sequences. Guitar stands out as an instrument (along with the drums) because it's played very beefy and with emotions, both dirty and clean when necessary, in a good tradition of Gilmour and Latimer. Bass sounds everything but the seventies, but it's decent enough. Flute too; perhaps a bit too mellow and without harsh edge. Please note I'm only talking about a sound here, rather than about melodies. More about that later. Perhaps the instrument that stands out the most is the drum kit - drums are played well, precisely, energetically and ...modern. A bit formulaic at the moments (from symphonic prog standpoint) but I just love the monstrous dynamics provided on "Vandringar i Vilsenhet", where reverb applied to a dry snare created an outstanding atmosphere - the ultimate goosebumps moment of this band.

Vocals are not outstanding, bet they're not annoying neither, and in my opinion they fit in an overall picture quite nicely. A few verses (sung in Swedish) are scattered here and there, but tracks are mostly instrument-oriented.

What about the structure?

All the songs are longish, multi-part compositions, often combining lovely, mellow flute melodies accompanied with acoustic guitar with electric monsters of furious phrases containing the wall of guitar sounds and keyboards sounds, underlined by drumming, often repeating the almost-similar pattern in slightly different time signature, sometimes playing the same pattern through different major or minor scales (if you're looking for a blues scales, look elsewhere.). Sometimes a melody is going into a slow crescendo surrounded by a non-conventional rhythmic pattern, mutilating itself into something else but not entirely different, changing the textures and making a musical journey more vivid and interesting. There are hints of similar themes played in foreground, just to be found on some absolutely different place in background, like a hint or a reference of band's musical expression. Which is a great thing and a characteristic of a good songwriting.

So, what's wrong with the picture and why?

Let's start with my most subjective impression. High expectations. I always wanted to hear, buy, possess, listen and enjoy some new band, with their hearts on a right place, playing uncompromising progressive rock in a good old seventies style. My expectations were even higher after all these positive reactions by people all over the world - the people that, it seemed, have a musical taste very similar to mine.

And after discovering ÄNGLAGÅRD, a disappointment occurred. Hey, they don't sound very 70's! OK, that is not relevant because the music is what counts.

What about approach?

Well, most of time is lovely, sometimes beautiful. Arrangements are very intelligent. But my overall impression is that album sounds very hermetic. Like these guy were forced to play symphonic progressive rock. I'm sure they all loved it, but it seems that they forced the values of today's definition of prog rock - rather than enjoying the era of art-rock when it was young and fresh. Don't ask me what these values exactly are - because I'm not sure myself, and I'm talking about my gut feeling here - simply put, all the elements are here, but album lacks the zeitgeist. I would be much happier if only band dared to jump over that artificial restriction that they gave to themselves.

How that reflects the music?

After ÄNGLAGÅRD, I never wished to hear retro-prog band again. But not for a good reason. The band is obviously influenced by giants of progressive symphonic rock - I don't need to name them here - and I had found traces of PFM, other prog bands from Scandinavia, and by Jove, that flute melody that starts in 04:44 on "Kung Bore" sound like the essence of ex-Yugoslavian prog rock scene. I would really like to know the detailed influences of this band. Here's an example: "Gånglåt från Knapptibble" starts with mad xylophone sections, breaking into exploding unison riff in x/y time measure, a little bit later everything is calming down until the band reached acoustic passage resembling the B-side of CAMEL's "The Snow Goose". After a short organ idea, the band strikes again with BOOOM! the craziest mixture of VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR and KING CRIMSON and it sounds like madness. Powerful, grotesque, you name it. What I hear from that is SMACK! SMACK! blood pouring from the nose, the guys (and girls) from the band beating with instruments the hell out of an average pop iconoclast, there you go SMACK! this is for all the years of torturing us with your cheesy pop music SMACK! now take this!! while music is rolling in a distorted picture, penetrating into brains...

Yes, I know it's silly, but that's how I feel - like this album is a labour of frustration and a canalized energy of (bad) vibrations rather than labour of love. Furthermore, I don't have an impression AT ALL that band had a great time recording this - I guess they are (or were) close friends, but despite the numerous lovely melodies, there is not much seconds that sound like the band members were enjoying while playing this, let alone having fun. This album could really be compared to a birth; it's a debut and it's tedious.

This is an album that could be recommended to the fans of symphonic progressive rock who won't mind cold atmospheres and difficult-to-swallow music and attitude.

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Send comments to clarke2001 (BETA) | Report this review (#133378)
Posted Thursday, August 16, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars My best surprise in almost 20 years... As a big fan of Jethro Tull, the period I prefer, for them, is not generally the preferred one, excet the masterpiece TAAB. I love the period that follows, especially Minstrel, Passion Play, Heavy horses (and Chateau d'Isaster tapes) more than Aqualung, which is a good album, but.... I believe they were more creative and are not enough recognised for their work during this period.

Why I am speaking of JT concerning Anglagard... Most people find reference in Genesis and King Crimson. They're right, in some aspêcts, and even if I love or like a lot of the musics of these both groups, I'll never forget the feeling I had hearing "Hybris" (unfortunately not with the 5th song).

Complexity, high quality melody with some disturbing but exciting moments, rythm changes, a free spirit, precision, a smooth melancholy, with moments of rage and despair, in a changing but consistent pieces of music.

The feeling I had a long time ago, with JT, I felt it once again: hearing a first song, knowing there was "something" in it, needing 2 or 3 times to get used to the atmosphere (Jordrok, can be listened on this site). After a difficult journey to find a copy, discover new songs, some of them being more difficult, but still stimulating. And especially, discovering a "revelation" with" Kung Bore": emotion, dexterity, sweetness, darkness, despair, renewal... no "soap"-like emotion: a deep feeling - I don't understand Swedish, but no matters.

The other songs are not so easy to get use to it, but are very interesting, digging in other dark/ disconsolate but also contratsed movements and emotions, even though the "best" ones for me are masterpieces: 1 and 4.

The second album has also interesting aspects. I wish they could still enjoy us with their clear, sophisticcated and emotional music.

A an old fan of JT, for the first time since a long time, I retrieved the same spirit, and some moments have similarities, but mainly I retrieve a feeling I thought was ever gone: be completely surprised, fascinated and sad that they stopped after 2,5 albums.

But I must confess: Anglagard music is more than just a fan question. I put them at the same level of TAAB: on the top. There is something that is above the band with this album. They reached someting that can't be replicated every 10 years...

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Send comments to gabnat (BETA) | Report this review (#133542)
Posted Friday, August 17, 2007 | Review Permalink
Prog-jester
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Usually I try to avoid reviewing well-known albums. I concentrate on lesser known bands, on post-Soviet bands, on one-shot bands etc. This review is made mainly by a silent request from Erik “The Dutch Rocket“ Neuteboom ;)

I got both “Hybris” and “Epilog” on 90-min CD-R two years ago along with some ANEKDOTEN, LANDBERK, SINKADUS and other CDs. Funny enough, I’ve already written reviews on most of them, but this is my first ANGLAGARD review. I put the CD on and it has blown me away with opening “Jordrok”, one of the most captivating pieces of music ever written. I think thousands of progheads know opening tune by heart and can tell it from hundreds of others. Lame are attempts of contemporary bands that try to make anything “Jordrok”-related, usually getting together 50-60 tunes at once and receiving cacophony as a result. “Jordrok” is one of my favouritest instrumentals ever, complex, melodic, awesome!!! Very dark and moody, with best elements from almost any Prog band ever existed – KING CRIMSON, GENESIS, CAMEL, GENTLE GIANT, ELP…

Unfortunately, any other piece written by ANGLAGARD fails in comparison to that one. I know there’s little sense in comparison here, but I can’t help myself. Other tracks are long, well-structured and complex, they feature singing (rather average but very fitting) in Swedish, but I can’t make myself LOVE them. I respect them, I listen to them (pretty rarely though), I know that they have made immense impact and influence on the whole Scandinavian Prog scene…and beyond! I appreciate their manner and usually seek for something related. My searches once were satisfied with SINKADUS – I found them to be more folky, less technical but with more SOUL and EMOTIONS in their music.

I like ANGLAGARD a lot. I would like to get reissued CDs of both “Hybris” and “Epilog”. But I won’t call them my favourite Scandinavian band even taking into account everything they have done. Tastes are different y’know ;) Highly recommended nevertheless…if you’ll manage to find it!

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Send comments to Prog-jester (BETA) | Report this review (#133608)
Posted Saturday, August 18, 2007 | Review Permalink
progrules
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars A few years ago I learned about the song Jordrok (thanks to progarchives) which I downloaded (possible then) in a same period as many other songs mainly to get to know a lot of progressive bands I never heard of till then. My conclusion after several listenings to all those songs was that Jordrok was absolutely one of the best, so Anglagard could not really be a poor band. When I started finding out more about the bands and the albums behind the songs I discovered that Hybris was one of the great classics in progressive music. I was astonished because it was a not very well known band with just a few albums in a short history. And they also sang in their native language, I mean who knows Swedish apart from the Swedes themselves and maybe a few other Scandinavians ? So the next step was to try to get the album, I absolutely had to find it caused by a huge curiosity. It was hardly to be found somewhere in The Netherlands but finally I succeeded. Again I had to listen quite a few times to get familiair with the other songs, but the ultimate conclusion was it was all very interesting. Actually it was more that than very good. One thing must anyhow be said: it is a very special album. After all I still like Jordrok best, although Kung Bore is a very good second, lots of variation, terrific composition !

The special element in Anglagard is no doubt the flute and it helps for the special atmosphere you find in every song.

Though the overall judgement of this work is realy positiv, I am not ecstatic about it. It's a solid 4 stars.

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Send comments to progrules (BETA) | Report this review (#140460)
Posted Tuesday, September 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Neo Prog Team
4 stars Really unique band who's excellent prog style can only be compared with the gods KING CRIMSON.There are long compositions in the album,allowing the band to show their orchestration and synthesis great ability.I could say that most of the album is instrumental with other themes reminding me of the dark sound of KING CRIMSON and other ones coming straight out of the special Scandinavian prog rock scene of the 70's.A gem which should be in everyone's collection!PROG RULES...

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Send comments to apps79 (BETA) | Report this review (#146752)
Posted Wednesday, October 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Materpiece No Doubt. How could I have missed this album. Maybe I suffered from the 80's prog-dip. Thanks to ProgArchives is was able to download Jordrok a few years ago. However, it took me a while to get the CD. What a beautiful piece of prog. It has it all. Sometimes you wonder why this CD is not available in every porg-related music shop. Guess it is all about marketing.

The music might a bit hard in the beginning if you like only Symphonic. However, because of its complexity it will never get bored. Kung Bore is the best for me. Their style is unique. On all the ProgSites I know of, this album is ranked very high. It's a must to have it in your collection. I start to wonder if there is a gene for prog which circulates in Scandinavia.

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Send comments to Aleph0 (BETA) | Report this review (#149521)
Posted Thursday, November 08, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars This band is alright, but this is pretty derivative stuff. It's a shame that this band is on the top symphonic prog bands list when far better bands like Transatlantic aren't. It's as though because these guys are influenced by more by darker sounding classic prog like VDGG and King Crimson they are somehow more progressive than bands like The Flower Kings, for example. Most modern bands are very derivative, The Flower Kings just happen to be more obviously so because of their blatant epic symphonic sound, but they add different elements to their music just like Anglagard. TFK add jazz fusion where these guys add classical. Both are derivative, that's pretty much a given these days with relatively new bands, but TFK are catchier, and they mix different elements into their music better than these guys. Anglagard have created a good album here, but the music isn't memorable at all, in fact I can't remember a damn thing about it. So, before you knock bands like TFK and Spock's Beard for being Neo-Prog or derivative of classic symphonic bands, just realize that bands like Anglagard and Anekdoten are equally as Neo-Prog, or even more so.

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Send comments to King Crimson776 (BETA) | Report this review (#149781)
Posted Friday, November 09, 2007 | Review Permalink
Fight Club
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars <Nearly Flawless

Hybris has been a really odd album for me ever since I was first introduced to it about a year ago (actually I think it was Thanksgiving day of last year!) Back then I was instantly turned off. It was too random, not melodic enough, too meandering, far too proggy for my current tastes. Those were a couple of the things I recall thinking at the time, a couple of my excuses for why I just couldn't handle it. Oh I couldn't have been more wrong. How I ever came to any of those conclusions (except yes, it is very proggy!), I'm really not quite sure. In the genre of progressive rock, Hybris is everything one could hope to find and so much more.

I gave Anglagard numerous chances, each of which ultimately led to failure. It wasn't until I decided to give it a spin in my car that it hit me for the masterpiece it was. It all began with the melancholic piano intro of "Jordok". There was just something about it that instantly hooked me, something beautiful and mysterious. Then the mellotron choir came in and I knew I had come across something fantastic, some measure of elation that so many seek and few rarely ever find. After a minute or so the song catapulted into a ridiculous 7/4 frenzy that just ruptures my insides to point of near eruption. It's one of those experiences that's just so exhilarating that I almost lose control and feel like I'm going to crash my car every time I hear it. It's that good.

At this point I realize, "my God, and this is still the beginning?" Only a few minutes through the first track and I already don't see how the band could go any further. But they do. The album moves from one section to another, seamlessly covering every inch of ground traveled by the classic prog acts of old. All out time and key changing prog destruction, beautiful flute work, soaring guitar solos, and a rhythm section that just leaves the listener breathless in the end. The final notes leave the listener begging to find out what the band next has in store for them.

After the sensational "Jordok", which may take its place as my favorite instrumental track of all time, we get another incredible piece of art, "Vandringar I Vilsenhet". The song starts off slowly, building it's way up ever so slowly. A sense of impending doom fills the air as the tension rises, like a time-bomb that could go off at any second. Suddenly everything breaks out into another breathtaking section that once again takes control of my appendages. It's always a miracle I make it home in one piece after a full listening of this album.

Musically, this track is again, Flawless. Besides the climactic levels reaching Olympic proportions, the level of instrumental interplay between each member is enough to make even the most prestigious musicians jealous. Did I mention how ridiculous the changing time signatures are? Only about 19 bars into the first track we get some 5/4, 11/8, 7/8, 6/8, and 7/4, all of which lie within a few measures of each other. As if things aren't complicated enough, each instrument continuously plays in its own independent rhythm. Pay close attention to each alone, barely between them are the same melodies and timings repeated, yet it all somehow works. Not only does it work, but it manages to sound beautiful, melodic, and intense. An awe-inspiring feat in my eyes if I've ever witnessed one.

After all that raving you must be wondering if there are actually any weak points on this disc. Well, for one thing I'll tell you this is not your average joe's cup of tea. Play it in the presence of your roommate or your work acquaintance and they'll probably think you're out of your mind (trust me I know). But hey, we're all pretty used to that aren't we? So no big deal. If you're only just touching upon the progressive genre (ie. Dream Theater) this might be a difficult listen at first, but if you've been a long time fan then you need to witness this ASAP.

Honestly, the album is a bit weird. Yes, weird. Compared to Sleepytime Gorilla Museum or Koenjihyakkei they're the most normal band on the planet, but like I said, for someone just getting into prog they might seem pretty obscure. The intense sections are a little difficult to follow for an untrained ear. Persistence is the key though, as I learned myself. Fail once, listen again. Fail twice, don't give it up, it'll come to you I promise. I can hardly come up with the words to describe how rewarding it is in the end. Overall, I highly recommend this to anyone seeking anything different. For a progger, it's essential.

5 stars without hesitation.

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Send comments to Fight Club (BETA) | Report this review (#154538)
Posted Thursday, December 06, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars An incredible album to say the least, and I have this wonderful website to thank for discovering it. When I first heard this album I was already addicted to the symphonic greats Yes and Genesis and this album was no less as amazing as these bands' excellent albums like Fragile and Foxtrot, as well as having an incredibly unique mystical, haunting yet magical quality to it. I can almost imagine playing Zelda to it. I'll admit what attracted me first was the album cover - you have to admit it is one of the coolest out there. The music within does not disappoint, indeed it is so incredibly complex and elaborately constructed I had to listen to each song very intently about two dozen times before I felt like I knew the material very well, and since then it is one of my favorite albums, especially when I'm in the right mood. Each song is simply amazing, with so much to offer to any listener. I noticed some of the vocal parts kind of clash with the music in a very interesting way, quite dissonant, and if we didn't like dissonance than we wouldn't like King Crimson very much, would we? On a more personal note, many of my band-geek friends also eventually fall in love with this album with a few listens. One showed his Saxophone tutor the album and he loved it, as just about any musician or progressive listener should as well. All in all I'd give it about a 4.3.

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Send comments to Draith (BETA) | Report this review (#155992)
Posted Thursday, December 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars Everyone says that ANGLAGARD is such a great band and I have always wondered why I can't appreciate them and now I know why: I miss the long lines in their music.

These guys want something new to happen all the time, nothing must last longer than four bars, which leads to that I find their music an aimless presenting of musical fragments without any mutual connection. The musical ideas come and go in an continuous flow but I find no themes that are elaborated and varied, no structure and wholeness. It's like a mosaic where every stone has a new colour and together they don't form any pattern.

It doesn't help then, that they are faboulus musicians, that they have a sound reminding of YES or GENESIS, that they can play sometimes delicately and sometimes at full throttle, that they have a beautiful flute here and there, that they can smoothly change tempo every fourth bar and that they know all the complex chords - it just falls flat.

If you think HENRY COW are too difficult, or if you find it sometimes hard to follow GENTLE GIANTS music, or if you find that JETHRO TULL's A Passion Play in some parts are overelaborated, or if you think KANSA'S 'The Spider' from Point of Know Return is too hard to digest, than you know what I mean.

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Send comments to Boluf (BETA) | Report this review (#165073)
Posted Wednesday, March 26, 2008 | Review Permalink
Certif1ed
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Bored Rock

Having felt rather bitten by Epilog, a less than amazing album, I decided to give Anglagard another try - and Hybris certainly starts out sounding a lot better than its successor.

Despite its overall proggy feel, however, it's rather over-crammed with repetition that puts it well in the shadow of bands such as Genesis, and ultimately is a Prog wannabe, with plenty of precise and well- practised execution skills, but a severe shortage of clues in the composition department.

Indeed, the first thing you notice about Jordrok is the extremely close similarities with Genesis in timbre and style. The composition is somewhat weaker though, erring more towards the improvised than the composed, with a lack of overall feel for where the piece is going and an emphasis on creating different sections that sound nice individually, but collectively tend to lose the sense of purpose, and have a proggy feel for the sake of sounding and feeling proggy rather than actually progressing. By 6 minutes I've really lost interest in where the piece is going, and am having severe deja vu on all the musical ideas that are presented.

A quick analysis of the multiplicity of sections (as this is clearly composed in sections rather than as a free-flowing piece) should indicate why I feel this is weak as a composition;

We start with a piano ostinato - essentially a 4 note motif with a high pedal G, giving an 8 note loop in the right hand. The left hand then plays a rather simple noodly improv underneath this, with no strong feeling of melody, but reasonable success in finding dark and moody tones - albeit with too many harmony-weakening open octaves for my taste. This stops completely, then a transposed variant of the intro takes over, and these two ideas are then interspersed and layered with 'tron, and noodled about with before the band join in with a repetitive Yes-like riff. A guitar solo kicks in - but is based around arpeggios and lacks any kind of melodic sensibility, as does everything that follows.

A welcome break to something quieter is dropped to around 2:50 - which builds and drops back again. There are some nice guitar tones here and tinkly bells... then, despite the building feel, it's all dropped back even more, which I find structurally irritating. Open octaves from the bass weaken the underlying harmony and remove all drive from this section - which incidentally sounds like a cheap Genesis imitation almost all the way through.

Then an organ thunders in with an idea completely unrelated to anything that's gone before, and drops back yet again to a quieter idea. The percussion and guitar join in for yet another build-up to another Marillion-alike solo with more irritating open octaves from the bass.

And so it goes on.

Obviously we could analyse in more depth - but there will be no surprises. The sections all feel like they were written in separate sections then tacked together, and the perpetual build-ups and breakdowns just smack highly of lack of creativity in composition.

The huge perfect cadence at 8:14 should have marked the end - that's what perfect cadences, especially drawn out ones like this are for. But no. There's more stuff created in another session that's unrelated to the previous material. The quiet ending is a coplete anti-climax.

Kudos to the band for having (and borrowing) a lot of musical ideas, but no kudos for creating a sprawling mess of the over-indulgent kind that gives Prog a bad name, that would have worked better as several much shorter tracks.

The other 3 pieces are more of the same - there are plenty of good ideas mixed in with the bad ones, but not a single piece that comes across as a cohorent whole. The material itself is strongly rooted in Genesis and Yes, and ideas from 1970s Prog Rock generally - and, as with Epilog, I do not hear a Progressive Rock band as much as a band playing music in a quasi-Classic Prog style.

But it's all unconnected ideas that run into each other either via build-ups (that usually feel a complete let-down when you discover that the end result is a rather uninspired and highly repetitive riff) or the occasional tangent -ie stopping dead, then playing something else.

King Boring

The production is probably the highlight of this album - each instrument is very clear in its part of the sound stage and there are some really great tones - the bass is rich and fat, the Stratocaster-clear guitar tones ring out, the percussion packs a wallop when it needs to and has the right level of sizzle and tinkle for the quiter moments, and the keyboard lines are satisfying and analog sounding.

But the music is dull, boring, and a welcome omission to anyone's Prog Rock collection.

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Send comments to Certif1ed (BETA) | Report this review (#168575)
Posted Thursday, April 24, 2008 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars With no doubt, this Swedish band has had a lot of influence on other of their fellow countrymen. I'm instantly thinking of "Anekdoten" of course. But before being a source of inspiration, it is obvious that they borrowed a lot to Crimson and Genesis. Equally, I would say.

For sure, their music is probably not love at first sight for the majority of listeners. But when I listened to "Jordrok New", I was really impressed. It sounds as if Tony (Banks of course), is behind the scene; while the first part has the complexity of any Crimson track.

They sound at times very melodic, while at others the music is hardly accessible. But it is really worth an effort. Some sections are of the masterpiece calibre (the closing section of Kung Bore for instance).

Each of the composition ranges to the long format and as you might know, I can't really complain about that. The intro of "Vandringar I Vilsenhet" is very much "Trespass" oriented, featuring some enjoyable fluting and peaceful music. The song will then evolve to a more upbeat and symphonic piece.

Still, the key plays is bringing us back to Tony again and again. Some might say this is regressive prog, but I don't consider it as such. On the contrary, there are lots of reasons to fall in love with this album. Some might argue that this is pure nostalgia, but there is more than that.

The only minus point here being that some tracks are maybe too long. But this is not too damaging to the global quality of this album.

But don't expect fine melodies or catchy chorus. The music is almost all instrumental and while sung, it is in Swedish (which is rather unusual and completely incomprehensible unless you are Swedish of course).

Änglagård was sadly short lived, so you have to take advantage of their music while listening to Hybris. This album is highly recommendable to any Crimson and Genesis fan (but not only). I rate Hybris with four stars.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#179301)
Posted Saturday, August 09, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album labels the beginninig of Swedish Progressive Rock....and I think that all other great bands came after this album, Vemod - Anekdoten in 1993, Riktigt Akta - Landberk 1992, The Flower King - Roine Stolt in 1995, Galleon 1992, Sinkadus 1997 and so I can go on......Most of all I think this band set the stage for Anekdoten, but I think Anglagard is more more classical...more flute and piano....and this album has some fantastic work in relation to that....

Right from the first song, Jordrok, you have the feeling that you deal with a bunch of extremely talented musicians that have all the right to stand in the shadow of King Crimson...cos its obviously the main source of inspriarion....although sometimes I also tend to recognise some Yes....perhaps deu the use of the Rickenbacker bassguitar....which sound is so characteristic. The other instrument worth mentioning is ofcourse the Mellotron...long associated with Anglagard....the Mellotron is sometimes literly splasking of your speakers.....and then used extremely suddle as a background....especially the more quite pieces where mellotron and flute is going together like the end of Jordrok is extremely beautifull.

The overall sound is bombastic....dynamic...and the somgs are all quite long....lots of improvisations and long spinned out improvisations...Its sometimes like every musician gets his moment to shine and solo a bit..and that they tied all this solo's together and turned that into songs.....

All in all is Hybris an incredible treat to listen too....but that that goes for every Anglagard album.....its so bad they only made 3 of them....so I wouls say that all 3 belong in your collection.......

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Send comments to Daniel1974nl (BETA) | Report this review (#201451)
Posted Monday, February 02, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars HYBRIS is archetypal prog rock. Every stereotype associated with prog rock is showcased here to full force - even bands like YES and KING CRIMSON are not this textbook prog.

Yet that by no means makes HYBRIS an essential album. The band's bibliography mentions that ANGLAGARD formed to make progressive rock music in the style of the 70s greats - and boy does that show. The result, unfortunately, is amazing music tainted by a feeling that this whole album is a back-patting musical exercise. It just seems like there's too much Mellotron (does that make me a heretic? :-] ), too many tempo and time signiture shifts, too many directions the music is going at one time. It is, quite frankly, too overwhelming for my ears.

All that being said, I do give this album a spin from time to time, although it is difficult to digest in one sitting. Recommended to anyone who needs a break from the classic symphonic prog albums but doesn't want to stray too far off stylistically.

3.5 stars, rounded up for instrumental and production sophistication.

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Send comments to FlowerA (BETA) | Report this review (#203925)
Posted Saturday, February 21, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars One of the best surprise of my life. After having listen to all 70's classics, I had already explored quite a lot of the top rated album, mainly in Symphonic prog, ProgMetal, Eclectic or Crossover. Several very good albums, but I felt always that something was missing, an inspiration the classics had but not the albums I was discovering. This one is the first exception. Beautifull melancholic melodies - even if very different, I find similarities with other Swedish bands (OPETH, mainly). Quiet moments escalating to a desperate cry, without excess, a litle contained. Exceptional players; chalenging time structures. To be listen in a very confotable environment. Enjoy the moment.

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Send comments to JethroTree (BETA) | Report this review (#209568)
Posted Wednesday, April 01, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars In a time when few bands were writing prog rock, the Swedish band Anglagard was producing what sounds like a 1970's prog classic. The band definitely took a lot of inspiration from 70s prog like king crimson, yes, genesis, elp, etc, but they managed to create an excellent new prog album with their own unique style. In my opinion, this is the best prog rock album made after 1990. If you are a fan of all the classic 70s bands, I can almost assure that you will enjoy this album and you should definitely give it a try. It is a beautiful and complex album, with everything you want in a great symphonic prog album. The vocals are not in english, but if that is not a problem for you then you wont have any problem with the vocals. The band's second album, epilog, is not bad but definitely not up to the same standard so definitely get this one first. Hybris is another album that I discovered through this site and I am really glad I decided to get it. For me, this is a masterpiece of prog and I strongly recommend it to any fan of 70s symphonic prog.

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Send comments to rpe9p (BETA) | Report this review (#209909)
Posted Thursday, April 02, 2009 | Review Permalink
DamoXt7942
FORUM & SITE ADMIN GROUP
Moderator / Psych Team
5 stars This is a masterpiece of heavily symphonic progressive rock. Whatever anyone says... :-)

Look here, I've wondered why ÄNGLAGARD could not re-release their brilliant portraits till they did recently. Now I suggest their thought was the same as David Bowie. That is, they might not want to be tied to their past. (Well also David did not try to sing his old hit songs at all on the stage.) Now could they wipe the feeling out? Whatever happened, thanks ÄNGLAGARD and Alvarsdotter Records for re-releasing it.

Their music style or characteristic is definitely the mixture of heavy riff by a bass, drums, a guitar, and classic sound and phrase. Especially Anna Holmgren's flute is very lyrical, free and easy, and graceful. Indeed in other progressive rock bands are some flute players, but believe me, I feel nobody else can play such a graceful play.

The very start...Jordrök. Exact an explosion of an emotional and excited keyboard solo. How impressive! After that, fast and fluently, drums and percussions, and loud guitar sounds knock us out. Our heart rate may be faster and faster. In a middle part, as above mentioned, a flute solo may let us weep. Also sound of a pipe organ is wonderful. Scrambled with aggressiveness and gentleness, this song should be a killer one. On the next track Vandringar i Vilsenhet please weep again with a floating flute solo. And suddenly your tears are blown away by the loud and dark bullets. In general this song is so plaintive that you may not feel the heaviness. Yes, you bet, all this album has such an atmosphere. Ifrån Klarhet Till Klarhet has a fantastic voice by Tord Lindman, not only a spice. He must not be beaten by other heavy instruments. Why can they make such a well-balanced work? In the beginning of Kung Bore is a melancholic and complex guitar solo. And more complex percussions and a flute sound follows that. Ouch...in the middle part the fighting with a flute solo and an acoustic guitar one is very very amazing, and terrific voice, key & synth... At last all instruments attack you completely out...you'll fly away from here. :-)

Enjoy it. Again thanks ÄNGLAGARD for your great masterpiece.

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Send comments to DamoXt7942 (BETA) | Report this review (#213748)
Posted Monday, May 04, 2009 | Review Permalink
Nightfly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
5 stars Essential nineties symphonic masterpiece.

Anglagard were part of the early nineties Sweedish prog scene but unfortunately only released 2 albums. This, Hybris is the first. The album is not particularly long and consists of only 4 tracks, 5 if you have the remastered version.

Anglagard play complex and hauntingly beautiful melodic symphonic prog very much influenced by the seventies prog scene; you'll hear parts that remind you of most of the seventies giants but with a bit of themselves added to the mix it doesn't come across as contrived. The music is largely instrumental which to be honest is no bad thing as on the few occasions Tord Lindman does sing his vocals are never more than adequate. Anglagard produce a very dynamic sound with much light and shade ranging from a pastoral feel to more bombastic moments dominated by searing lead guitar, Hammond organ and a dextrous rhythm section . Like their fellow countrymen Anekdoten they also use mellotron to great effect. Anna Holmgren's flute is also an integral part of the bands sound which features heavily and she plays beautifully.

It's to Anglagard's credit that despite only releasing 2 studio albums they have come to be regarded as such an important and highly regarded band in the prog scene post seventies. Anyone with a love of seventies prog will almost certainly enjoy this album which is an absolute masterpiece of the symphonic genre to equal that or any decade.

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Send comments to Nightfly (BETA) | Report this review (#220670)
Posted Thursday, June 11, 2009 | Review Permalink
Negoba
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Classic Masterpiece Album of Symphonic Revival

Anglagard's Hybris is a classic album that many have heard and the reviews tend to fall into either a "Flawless Masterpiece" or "meh" camp. I happen to be in the first group, but I recognize that this music represents one of my favorite subgenres of complex, truly symphonic prog. Certainly, Anglagard's sound reminds of Genesis and Lark's Tongues-era King Crimson, but the aesthetic is more akin to some of the RPI bands or pastoral faves Harmonium. However, what Anglagard has over all these bands (even KC) is a monster command of the use of dissonance. This is often harmonically difficult music, and those whose ears need a certain standard structure may not enjoy this album. It's certainly not for everyone.

But for those with a taste for massive amounts of tension and release, wide swings of mood and color, and a love of serious experimentation, this is one of the best albums ever made. There is NOT anything like it available in the classic era, though certainly the band is heavily influenced by the classic giants. Predominantly instrumental, the album's occasional vocals serve more as an additional texture than a lead, especially for non-Swedish speakers. The pastoral sections lie somewhere between Harmonium and Damnation-style Opeth, but the heavy sections are bludgeoning. The bass tone is especially overwhelming, and it often sounds as if the player were trying to beat the instrument within an inch of its life. The guitar distortion is light and full, but the lines played are very interesting, exploring melodic territory far beyond expected notes. The rhythm section is tight but organic, and the music sounds very much as if was composed to be played live. Overdubs are for mere accent, and seemingly at a minimum.

Again, the mastery of this album is that the band has created something that is very individual and unique using fairly classic prog sounds. This is in no way a rehash of old material. Absolutely essential despite its (only relative) obscurity compared to its companions at the top of the PA charts.

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Send comments to Negoba (BETA) | Report this review (#221723)
Posted Thursday, June 18, 2009 | Review Permalink
The T
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars ANGLAGARD's Hybris for me is not the masterpiece others have claimed it to be precisely because it goes too deep into that territory that marks the border between the land of complexity and the land of incoherence, between great musicianship and overindulgence.

As others have said, the band takes inspiration in the prog classics of the 70's but the sound is modern, it doesn't really feel like retro. There's a good amount of jazz in this symphonic progressive rock project, and some psychedelia too. While the band's influences are clear, the music never sounds derivative or unoriginal. i can give them that.

The musicians in ANGLAGARD had lots of talent. Rarely have I heard such a display of skills in such a short-lived group. This fact is made even clearer by the outstanding production of the album: all the instruments sound crystal clear.

Is in the composition part of the deal when Hybris comes out short in my view. The 4 long songs in these collection all contain excellent bits and sections of music, but they all feel like a random collage of ideas more than like the result of a long process of creating songs. For the sake of progresiveness, the bands fails to create coherent short epics that flow from beginning to end and that reveal themselves in their magic after repeated listens. No matter how many times I listen to this album, I still can't find the logic that is so evident just after a few session with songs by GENESIS ("Musical Box") or even YES.

Among the bands that helped reignite tghe passion for symphonic prog in Sweden, ANGLAGARD has a special place, but I feel their best works were still ahead of them. Sadly, we may never find out what they could've accomplished. The talent, as made evident in the best track in the album, the opener, was there, and in truck loads.

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Send comments to The T (BETA) | Report this review (#230867)
Posted Monday, August 10, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars It doesn't suprise me that this album is ranked in the top 20 prog albums here. It features everything a typical progger love, and take inspirations from all the classical prog bands in the seventies, especially Genesis, Yes and King Crimson. You can even see it as a tribute to classic, symphonic prog, all elements are featured. That means great arrangements and very skilled playing in each track, and that almost every proggy little instrument is featured, but also that most things on the album is recognizable, and that the band shows very little of their "own style". And I am sure that such a side excist, because between all the proggy inspirations you can hear a folky, beautiful, kind of own style I apreciate very much.

Theré are lyrics in 3 of the 4 songs, and they are all in swedish. They sound poetic, wise and thoughtful, but at the same time quite wimsy and it's hard to know what they are all about sometimes, even if faith and truth seem to be main subjects. You can make it trough without knowing the lanquage or the meaning, sincethey are not a big deal compared with the instrumental arrangements. However, they help the songs to keep their focus and can act as somekind of relief between the intense instrumentals.

What can you then say about hte music? It's very complex and skilled, very symphonic, both intense and calm, but most of all it's very variating and tighted together. There are very seldom just one instrument in focus (if there are, it will not last long at all) instead there are many of them played at the same time creating an entirety. All the time there are instruments jumping out while new jumping in. The instruments, the mood and the rythm (you can hear some Crimson-like stop-and-start moments several times) changes all the time. For a progger, that's of course very good, but it can sometimes be quite demanding to listen too when the music jumps just a little bit too much. With all those things going around there are always something new to observe over the listenings, however.

The first song, Jordrök, is the "worst" one if you ask me. It's very complex and has some catchy guitars and a powerful church organ in the middle, but I dont think the complex parts sound that good with their lack of melody and despite all the changes the song manages to feel a little bit repetative and pointless since the parts it changes between are very similar in mood and structure. You can summarize it with: a lot of guitars and organs, a hectic mood and constant changes between symphonic , melodic parts and very complex dissonant and confusing parts. Still, it's not bad song and other proggers at this site seem to apreciate this one very much.

Vandringar i vilsenhet is (despite it's name meaning something like "walks in confusion" when translated) a more focused song witha better arrangement. It begins with a mysterious, gloomy organ and developes into a mellow song with melodic guitars and a lot of flute, together with some wimsy vocals. At the end of the song it changes to a more worried and angry sound with some more dramatic aggarngements. A good song.

Från klarhet till klarhetbegins with an awful intro, but that lasts no longer than less than a half minute so its no big deal. It then turns out to be an organ loving progger's wet dream, with a lot of organs, guitars and intense drumming. Very good and catchy song!

The last one, Kung Bore, can be called the albums epic. While all the songs are in equal lenght, this have to be the most ambitious, symphonic and powerful of them all. In the beginning it has a very folky mood, but later slowly developes into dramatic, mellotron driven symphonic prog.

This album has some outstanding playing and arrangements,some beautiful mellow parts and some dynamic intense parts. It fails to bring something new to us, but takes the best from the classic prog era in the seventies. Since I dont like the first song that much, it's probably a "four stars" for my own taste, but with all those great, proggy moments in the two last songs, with the tight arrangements and writing, and with so many prog elements, I can't deny that this is the proggiest album I have heard and manages to capture almost everything apreciated by prog lovers, and therefore have to deserve five stars. It's the great tribute for all prog-lovers

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Send comments to Eastvillage (BETA) | Report this review (#232109)
Posted Monday, August 17, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars When I first heard this a couple of years ago, I was in the mood for more-complex-than Zeuhl music. Luckily, this album had classical music scales but (in a way) interesting new complex time signatures. In the aesthetic sense, this album has a romantic quality but tends to be beautiful reminiscent to late 19th century / early 20th centuru symphonies rather than the Chopin type of song. Flutes explode for a scandinavian world-music touch. A marvellous achievement both musically and stilistically. My personal favourite would be Kung Bore. Also there are some classical guitar passages to be remembered. I love playing the songs besides listening to them. It is a wonderful experience.

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Send comments to aSimionescu (BETA) | Report this review (#238364)
Posted Thursday, September 10, 2009 | Review Permalink
snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars It, s a quite rare album, which likes almost everyone progrock fan. Is it good or bad?

Album is really very strong, classic in melodies and instrumentation. For me it reminds some King Crimson and sometimes ELP sound, but I am sure any fan will have some citates from his beloved classical prog band.

So ,in fact we have there important event: this album accumulates all the best from classic prog albums from 70-th, and at the same time build a base for new prog generation ( at least - in scandinavian progresive, which is very important in first years of XXI century).

It's difficult to find, what is weak points of that album. Very balanced mix of best symphonic rock of it's predescesors. So, if you are not a big fan of innovations, this album is perfectly for you.

I can note at least two weak points there: first, I don't like vocal at all ( happily this album is mainly instrumental), and second - there are nothing new at all. Perfect musicianship without searching of new horizons.

So, very strong and important classic prog album of it's period, but not too innovative one. Strong 4!

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Send comments to snobb (BETA) | Report this review (#241827)
Posted Monday, September 28, 2009 | Review Permalink
Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Errors and Omissions Team
5 stars I know that people talk a lot about this album. I also am aware that a lot of things has been said here and I believe that they're true. But I don't want to read them, I want to make my own opinion.

Just listen to this music, let it grow on me (already accomplished), or let it disappoint me (weird, it also happened). And if there's rock equivalent of classical music, it's Änglagård. Complex composition isn't descriptive enough. It's also interesting, you can clearly hear melody here, but also it's nothing "just-for-fans", everyone who's able to track 10 minutes song is capable of enjoying it. Well, it's not so hot with being melodic here, it's taken here more as side-effect, than real purpose and I keep being lost in this music from time to time, but one thing is for sure. This music is intriguing a lot and really have a lot to offer.

5(+), Absolute opposite to some endless copies, dull tunes about nothing and recycling of ideas. And proof that you don't have to be melodic to be interesting.

One of the most unique albums I've ever heard. And that's not nostalgia speaking, I know this one for just a year.

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Send comments to Marty McFly (BETA) | Report this review (#246092)
Posted Saturday, October 24, 2009 | Review Permalink
Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
3 stars If I may start with a bit of criticism, I find that, while Anekdoten and Landberk always aimed to assimilate their 70's influences with a personal artistic view, Änglagard never went beyond revisiting Genesis. So if a well-executed Nursery-Knife-Cryme-Foxtrot with a touch of Crimson is your cup of tea, then you will enjoy this album a lot. Luckily, I like that era an awful lot as well.

A remarkable thing is that Änglagard doesn't sound very much like that other band that revisited Genesis 10 years earlier. I'd say that while Änglagard picked up the 71-72 sound, Marillion focussed more on the 73-78 phase. For me it's just another proof of how versatile and truly remarkable Genesis was. I'm tempted to say that Hybris pales a bit by that dazzling perspective.

If I may continue with another bit of criticism, I think the vocals are slightly disappointing. In that respect they are nothing like Genesis at all. I'd say it's a bit ironic that the only aspect where they really differ from their idols turns out to be so unfulfilling. They must have felt the same as their next album would be entirely instrumental. Luckily, also here they don't sing all that much.

Looking at it from 2009, there's one big redeeming factor for their lack of originality. I can see the impact this must have had at the time of its release. Unlike neo-prog that took in too much of the 80's glossiness; this 'retro-prog' sprouted a new wave of bands that really re-connected with the musicality, the rich ambience and the feel for melody of the original symphonic prog bands. 4.5 stars for the instrumental tracks. 4 stars on the whole.

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Send comments to Bonnek (BETA) | Report this review (#251762)
Posted Thursday, November 19, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars The first time I listened to Hybris, I was somewhat unimpressed, and found it boring. However, after many, many listens, this album did more than just grow on me- it completely took over my music-listening habits- any moment not listening to Anglagard was a moment sadly wasted! Though the five star rating gets thrown around a lot, I can honestly say that this album deserves it and more, and is definitely one of my five favorite albums ever.

Anglagard's sound has been compared to many other bands- mostly Yes, Genesis, King Crimson, and Cathedral- though my definition of Anglagard's sound is; Genesis with Chris Squire attempting to emulate King Crimson's style, however there is more under that- flute reminiscent of Jethro Tull, a dark, melancholy atmosphere evocative of Pink Floyd circa Animals, and a maybe a hint of ELP thrown in here and there. However, there is one thing that especially makes this band unique, and that is the cold, wintry Swedish sound they incorporate. The music manages to be so accomplish so many moods in the alternating loud and soft parts- from cold and misery to warmth and happiness, from fear and uneasiness to peace and freedom, Anglagard's music is very emotional. However, all the praise I and others can give to Hybris will never do it justice- the only way to know and feel the music is to listen to it! This is an astounding effort by an excellent band, and deserves a place in the collection and heart of any prog fan! 5 stars, 10/10, perfection!

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Send comments to Neurotarkus (BETA) | Report this review (#258578)
Posted Wednesday, December 30, 2009 | Review Permalink
Atavachron
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars The reputation that precedes this release and almost savior-like following Anglagard receives in the Prog community is intimidating. And for progoholics still virgins to these Swedes, the feeling of anticipation leading up to the first hearing is enough to make the most grizzled, jaded listener transform into a giddy schoolgirl completely disarmed and flushed with carnal desires. Few albums could live up to the legendary praise Hybris has enjoyed, and under such conditions stakes are indeed high for the unexposed who just dropped 25 bucks on this beautiful repackaging from the band in a 3-section gatefold. I mean, it better be good, capishe?

Among other things, Anglagard distinguished themselves as one of the bands active during the early 1990s that began a serious effort to revive and restore golden age progressive rock. The impact and ripples caused by that alchemical summoning of the classic period began showing up for years to come in other outfits - as Wobbler, the Tangent, Anekdoten - and in retrospect this six-piece deserves much credit for showing that rock 'n roll backed-up by real skills and big ambition can still be a good thing.

I must say, describing the predominantly instrumental music is a bear of a job, and I can't blame those who have (or will) thrown their hands up unable to write much more than, "It's great, with a lot of stuff going on and, well, you'll love it!" Indeed, and you probably will. That is if you appreciate the utterly high-class playing of pianist Thomas Johnson and flautist Anna Holmgren in support of founders Tord Lindman [voice/guitar] and Johan Högberg [bass]. 'Jordrök' establishes the sophisticated if grimly serious tone, the long winters to the north reflected in the chill and dark beauty of Johnson's piano, the band breaks open and the exploratory surgery begins-- one compounded theme interrupted gracefully by another; songs within songs; light folk met with anchor-heavy church organ; Malmsteenian guitar campaigns; a solo cello. Pastorale 'Vandringar i vilsenhet' moves slowly but picks-up, shuffling the genre deck between bass-heavy rock, sly keyboard flurries, and a Mexican guitar all interconnected by delicious little pieces of tissue, cartilage, fat and nasty bits. A sad trio of horns whimsically opens 'Ifran klarhet till klarhet', a perfectly alright if somewhat blah number, 'Kung Bore', this writer's favorite, unfolds with Passion Play-era Tull and more strings from south of the equator, and terrific bonus cut 'Gånglåt från Knapptibble' wraps things perfectly and would've made a fine closer on the original issue.

Surely deserving of 5 big ones if only for the amount of high quality material here that will leave most reading this quivering with delight as they devour measure after measure of some of the richest, most authentic stuff around with relish, the juice dribbling down their chins as they slurp up every last chunk of meat, tidepool of grease, and bit of marrow. Bon appétit !

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Send comments to Atavachron (BETA) | Report this review (#262035)
Posted Friday, January 22, 2010 | Review Permalink
tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover Team
5 stars Austere darkness, fuming mists floating upon the frozen lake and out of the dense woods, raging dissonance purveyed by some kind of Nordic insolence, talented and taciturn musicians from Sverige (Sweden for those who don't know) who exude their national characteristics with gusto. The entire atmosphere is angrily phosphorescent as if some distant firework display was motivated to shock the silence. The sheer contrast between smooth mellotron/flute intermezzos and the booming Rickenbacker, brief church organ, slippery guitar and monster drum onslaught is the defining quality that makes Anglagard so endearing. They write in their booklet introduction some rather fateful words, illuminating the sensory process that went into creating such a concise piece of music. "This music is built on a very human base?through conflict. It's created with the thought of each person's momentary feelings, with a lot of variations as a starting point. Personal feelings and the impulsiveness has been the hardest adversary in our struggle to put the tunes together. We don't seek a well-balanced or predictable entirety. This pot is cooked by six fanatic cooks, each one a victim of hybris". Fine fighting words and it dawned on me quite quickly that only true proggers could get into this bizarre concoction, as the soundtrack to a hot date and sweaty tryst this is definitely not!

The music requires not only effort but patience as well; the clashing rhythms and tempos rival the extreme improvs of veteran jazz fusion outfits, with an obviously grittier prog style. The polyrhythmics abound, dense sonic jungles that shudder all over the scales, complex structures with simple note selections. Bassist Jonas Hogberg is a tremendous figure, craving solid lanes for Mattias Olsson's Brufordesque drums, a powerful combo that slams with the best of them (like compatriots Anekdoten and Landberk = the 3 founders of prog Renaissance in Scandinavia), while two guitarists weave some serious tapestries and keyboardman Tomas Jonsson colours the entire palette with blitzing runs on a variety of vintage instruments. The 4 tracks form an entity that makes it difficult for me to slice and dice track by track or pick out some specific solo or other. This is a perfect example of team play where the whole means so much more than the parts, also why they disappeared rather quickly after only 2 studio albums and a live job. Rumours abound though! As for influences, it's not as clear cut, though one can detect overt Genesis moments, with Anna Holmgren's flute one can smell the KC bouquet and the mad rhythms can amuse the Gentle Giant. Throw in some ELP runs (the Hammond B- 3 /drum play in particular), a heady dose of Nordic folk and we really start cookin'! Truth is that this is very unique and original, at times demented melancholia to the point of paranoia, or should I say desperation, yet somehow also peaceful and contrite. The unending time signature changes are defiantly boggling the mind and the excitement from the constant unknown is utterly compelling.

As a few fans and critics have mentioned , Anglagard is to be lauded for reigniting the phoenixed torch in 1992, a time that still seemed bleak for the progfan and for exhorting by example thousands of unknown musicians to instill some music into their music (if you know what I mean! And you do). Others have nicely dissected this masterstroke nicely and it would be hard for me to not pin five asteroids on this one but with the added notation that this ain't an easy listen by any stretch.

As an essay on obscure virtuosity, this earns the bottle of akvavit, a jar of lingonberries and 5 golden crowns.

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Send comments to tszirmay (BETA) | Report this review (#262505)
Posted Tuesday, January 26, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is a classic prog rock album. It contains extremely complex music that is certainly not for anyone. Although the mellotron and many other 70's prog influences are abundant, and the band is heavily influenced by Genesis, they have enough originality to create something interesting. The flute passages, with the arpeggiated guitars are very Gabriel/Hackett like (even the crescendo's are done just like Genesis would) Anglagard's dynamic shifts and certainly their faster sections have more chromaticism and classically influenced atonalism than many other prog bands. Perhaps the highlight of the album is the incredible drummer Mattias Olsson who even more remarkably was only 17 when he recorded the album! His drumming is unique and some of the best you'll hear on any prog album. The melodies are beautiful, the music richly complex, and the writing very accomplished. A prog masterpiece.

5 stars.

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Send comments to prog058 (BETA) | Report this review (#275495)
Posted Tuesday, March 30, 2010 | Review Permalink
AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
5 stars The infamous legendary prog album "Hybris" from Swedish proggers Anglagard marked an indelible place in prog territory in an era that was deprived of the prog brillaince of the 70s. Anglagard sound like they are from the 70s and are comparable to early Genesis, ELP and King Crimson.

It begins with 'Jordrök'; the opening is dark chilling piano and male choral voices. The time sig is strange and off beat. The music is tight and definitely prog, and there is an excellent catchy melody on guitars by Engdegård. This instrumental continues as an acoustic treatment is given with bells and ambient keyboard pads from Johnson. A sublime flute chimes in from Holmgren; a very gentle lulling sound that is dreamy and surreal. A huge pipe organ cathedral sound blasts forth. The time sig changes completely as keyboards and guitars crash in. The shimmering Hammond is wonderful and a real feature. The track changes pace again, the flourishes of keys and drums are fascinating from Olsson. The whimsical flute returns, followed by a dark heavy section. A silent passage with minimalist woodwind begins. Then melodious blasts of organ riffs with a scorching guitar take hold of the track. An absolutely essential piece of prog music.

'Ifrån Klarhet Till Klarhet' begins with an off kilter quirky amusement park effect then it goes in to fill swing with a prog time sig and Engdegård's very cool guitar riffs that are incessant and relentless. It builds and locks into a strange time sig with irregular drum patterns. The Swedish vocals of Lindman are very clean and follow the strange rhythm, with nice organ chord changes, jazz fills on guitar and jazz drumming. The acoustic interlude is gentle and played with feeling. It finishes on a powerful instrumental focussing on shimmering Hammond organ and guitar sweeps.

'Kung Bore' is another highlight with Engdegård's guitar picking introduction, a heavy bass and drum patterns fade up and a strange time sig locks in. The music is complex and compelling. It is an uplifting sound, with light and dark shades utilising many instruments to create a delightful atmosphere. Lindman's vocals are gentle sung in Swedish language. The sound is often like Pink Floyd with huge mellotron keyboard chords from Johnson and space guitar passages. Holmgren's flute sections are divine throughout. Time sigs change towards the end gaining in pace. Then a wall of symphonic washes take the tune to its conclusion. A single flute is heard bookending the piece. A quintessential progressive album.

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Send comments to AtomicCrimsonRush (BETA) | Report this review (#277125)
Posted Saturday, April 10, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Amazing album of this band from Sweden. A sound made in seventies with lots of mellotron but with a more sofisticaded guitar. Nostalgic sound that made this album, for lot of people, one of the best made in 90 décade. The questions and answers of guitar and keiboards are very good in last track. Only instrumental, just a few lirics in Sweden but nothing special, and the strong context of this album is just the strong music, with a high quality performances of this members. A high inventive drums work, a very good guitar and bass and a mellotron. We can find some Genesis sound and King Crimson sound but, to me, the band that create Anglagard sound is a German Band called SFF, (Schicke, Fuhrs and Frohling in his Symphonic Pictures album), with same keiboards sounds and arrangements. Great music context and unfortenely, they finish and we can see his performances just in a video of progfest, but for ever, we have one of the greatest albuns of progressive world. A masterpiece? Oh yes, absolutely.

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Send comments to João Paulo (BETA) | Report this review (#277156)
Posted Saturday, April 10, 2010 | Review Permalink
EatThatPhonebook
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars 9/10

"Hybris" is perfect, beautiful, mysterious, epic, legendary.

It's very hard nowadays to find and album this beautiful. It took me about seven listens before I could really appreciate it, so you can imagine how complex "Hybris" is.

The album is full of dark and memorable moments, thanks mainly to the large use of the mellotron; all musicians are extremely virtuous and are really technical, besides extremely talented in songwriting and performing (half of the band at the time was younger than twenty years old). Impressive are also the many times the band changes the moods and rhythm, without losing themselves in musical technique or excessive instrumentation.

Other than the great technical performances, Hybris is even full of nice, pleasant folkish moods that are very frequent in each of the four songs of this album, usually being put there as a sort of interlude, pause, before the song re explodes with another strange and clomplex melody, which always manages to be utterly original and haunting at the same time.

Another interesting thing is that the few vocals in the album are sung in Swedish, which is very rare thing in rock music. Usually you can find vocals during interludes, or some other mellow moments, but generally they aren't many moments.

An incredible album, perfect, beautiful, mysterious, epic, legendary. Essential for every prog fan.

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Send comments to EatThatPhonebook (BETA) | Report this review (#278966)
Posted Thursday, April 22, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Änglagård is a Swedish band with influences from ELP, King Crimson and Camel. Especially for fans of the golden age of progressive rock, Mellotrons documents that accompany the entire disk, Hammonds and flute; can say INFLUENCE but not copy as neo prog bands do with Genesis or algums bands called retro. What I emphasize is that MASM is a jazz album in nearly all instruments, this does not fall on albums such risk: the boredom. Some say that music is the universal language of all peoples and at the same time is communication ... ámbum this is the biggest example. Another thing to highlight is the electric guitar with his unique sound and featuring the band's sound. Upon hearing such as conceptual albums, it seems to be traveling while listening to a story sung. What I can say is that this HYBRIS not due to any of the classics of progressive rock and without exaggeration, is better than many overrated. is breathtaking!

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Send comments to nandprogger (BETA) | Report this review (#282031)
Posted Saturday, May 15, 2010 | Review Permalink
Flucktrot
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Like a windy day on the water, Hybris continuously, predictably, rises and falls with intensity. Sometimes they play soft, then they swell--but never to tsunami-level--and then they die back down again. Also like the waves, it is all too easy to become accustomed, after a while failing to notice the space between crests, with the certainty that nothing too unexpected or different is coming.

So is this a bad thing? When the musicianship and composition is this tight, certainly not, because this album really does sound fantastic: I love the clear and bouncy bass, the mellotron swells, the delicate flute, and the deceivingly natural ebbs and flows in the songs. Unlike others, I only hear traces of relations to classic prog--Anglagard function more as a chamber group than a rock band. If you've always wanted a set-up like this--as I have--then Hybris really will do it for you.

I'm certainly glad that Anglagard came around when they did, but I'm not going to let that induce me to rate this as a masterpiece when I really think it is simply an hour of wonderfully played and produced music. As an important caveat, I believe if I saw this performed live, I would be much more impressed, due to the variety of instrumentation and attention to detail.

Classically influenced progressive rock played on vintage instruments. Nothing revolutionary, nothing groundbreaking, and by extension, not a masterpiece...but most definitely worth owning.

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Send comments to Flucktrot (BETA) | Report this review (#282719)
Posted Wednesday, May 19, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars An amazing debut!

This is the first of Anglagard's two albums. It's a shame such a great band had to have such a short career. But anyways, here is their stunning debut album. I blew my mind from the first time I listened.

A description of the music: A very good chunk of this album is instrumental, rather than vocal. The first track, "Jordrok," begins with a gorgeous piano line that soon explodes into a fun instrumental with some neat soloing. A very fun to listen to instrumental which goes through many mood changes and pretty much shows what symphonic prog is all about. "Vandringar I Vilsenhet" begins with a beautiful flute section, which eventually builds up into a louder instrumental section. When we hear the first vocals of the album, they are quite high-pitched, and seem to take some influence from Jon Anderson. This track, like the first, features many distinct mood changes and is quite hard to effectively explain. "Ifran Klarhet Till Klarhet," unlike the others, explodes right from the start and grabs hold of your attention immediately. Here, the singer sounds less like Jon Anderson and a little more like his own sound. This song also has some outstanding guitarwork. "Kung Bore" begins with an absolutely majestic classical guitar section, which is eventually joined by the other instruments and instantly changes into the fun, bouncy mood that was present in the rest of the album. The vocals in this song are beautiful, but there aren't many. The instrumental section in this song goes through many different changes and never fails to keep your attention. This song is closed by a beautiful string section, some cymbal work, and then a very quiet flute.

PROS:

The style: This album is like nostalgia for older prog fans. It's quite hard to believe Anglagard are not from the 70s, as they draw the symphonic prog influences from Yes and Genesis and also small influence from King Crimson in some sections, yet at the same time come off completely original and new. They also did not use any instruments that were not made in the 70s. Clearly these guys were on a mission to revive good old 70s prog.

Musicianship: A humongous part of this album is instrumental, and the instrumental sections are very well done. The drumming draws Bruford influence and there are many effective and fun to listen to solos. The bass is also catchy and has a great tone. The organ also comes in when it is most effective and never fails to amaze. There are also some very beautiful flute sections.

Production: Every instrument is completely clear and work together to give this album a great sound.

Very complete: Every song on this album is very complete and you'll never finish a song and feel as if it is missing something. They all contain many moods and have all of the characteristics of 20 minute songs compressed into shorter lengths.

Constistency: This album seems to have no real weak moments and contains constant quality.

CONS:

Very little vocal work: It is really quite unfortunate, as the band possesses a great vocalist who gets very little time to shine on this album.

Song ratings: Jordrok: 10/10 Vandringar I Vilsenhet: 9/10 Ifran Klarhet Till Klarhet 9/10 Kung Bore: 9.5/10

Recommended for: Any fan of symphonic prog. People in search of an album that will grab your attention and never let go.

My rating: Definitely 5 stars. This was love at first listen for me. One of the greatest albums of the 90s without question.

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Send comments to DisgruntledPorcupine (BETA) | Report this review (#287752)
Posted Monday, June 21, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Hybris...there are so many words in my mind when I think of this album: wonderful, melodic, complex, eclectic, strange,...with one word, this album is just unbelievable.

Anglagard created the perfect symphonic prog album with all elements which should be in it. There are smoothly and melodic parts like at the beginning of "Jordok" or "Kung Bore" and they are switching into very eclectic parts like in the middle of "Ifra'n Klarhet Till Klarhet".

The musicians are all masters on their instruments. You can find beautiful piano and flute parts on this album, very nice and complex guitar sections, the mellotron of course is always present and the performance of the drummer is just great. There are also some vocals on this album and the voice from Tord Lindmann sounds very nice and works perfect together with the rest of the music. It's no problem that you don't understand the swedish lyrics because its sounds just like another wonderful instrument.

So, all in all, if you like symphonic prog and if you like eclectic music you have to listen to this album which is a masterpiece and one of the best albums in history of prog.

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Send comments to Elveeye (BETA) | Report this review (#294312)
Posted Friday, August 13, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is by far the most successful attempt made by a post 80s band to recreate the atmosphere of the golden age of prog. The startling fact that this appeared in 1992 and most of its band members had barely even be born when that era was taking place adds to the amazement. We should be grateful that Sweden rears such young artists of integrity.

The beautiful evocative soundscapes which Anglagard create are certainly up to the standard of the greatest prog tracks ever, but perhaps the quality of material is not absolutely the highest. This is not to say that it is in any way derivative(although various influences can be heard they are assimilated into the band's mature-sounding style...and this from a band of 18-19 year olds) but merely that it does not achieve the last degree of memorability. When I listen to any of the 4 longish tracks on this album, I get lost in its exquisite world, but afterwards I struggle to recall any of its themes.

Thus I think this a difficult album to rate, not ground-breaking but a work of ethereal beauty, technical excellence and considerable power: 4.5 would be about right.

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Send comments to Cheesehoven (BETA) | Report this review (#300518)
Posted Sunday, September 26, 2010 | Review Permalink
lazland
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I'll be brutally honest. I had never heard of this band prior to joining Prog Archives, but I am so glad I have. This is one of many new albums I have recently bought as a direct result of ratings and reviews on the site, and the fact is that this one is worth all of the praise that has been heaped upon it.

Scandanavian prog represents to me a very important part of the third wave of prog, coming on the back of the initial classic era, followed by the 1980's neo wave led by bands such as Marillion & IQ.

Hybris, in common with many others of this last wave of prog, takes its influences very much from classic prog such as Genesis, Yes, and King Crimson, but, as with class bands such as The Flower Kings and offshoots, makes it all into its own glorious symphonic sound.

Jordrok is a fine example, the album's opener. It's lovely to hear a modern take with flute, Hammond, complex rhythm section backing, the track simply roars along, and there is also some lovely, but delicately understated, guitar work, that reminds one of Fripp in his pomp.

Anna Holmgran, playing the flute, is at the forefront of this album, and no more so than at the start of the second track, Vardrigar I Vilserhet. Her flute playing really is exquisite and delicate. But, crucially, in order to satisfy ourselves as to the true symphonic nature of the album, it is as part of an ensemble, creating an orchestra of almost majestic proportions throughout. I really do think that in decades to come, music such as this will come to be regarded as the classical music of its time.

I would here make a point to people reading this who are put off by lyrics sung in foreign tongues - don't be. I don't speak a word of Swedish, but, to these ears, the rare vocal moments on the album are absolutely complemented by the tongue in which they are sung, in much the same way as the best Italian prog bands. I would also address some of the criticisms that previous reviewers have stated about the vocals, that they sound nothing like Genesis. Well, good. I think that this is one of the joys of this album, making a clear homage to the classic bands, but in their own unique way.

I cannot praise this album highly enough. For those reading this who still love the old, classic, bands, but are looking to expand their horizons into something that is clearly retro in nature, but in a clever, modern sense, and also looking to move beyond the UK, start here.

In closing...Flute, mellotron, complex signatures, delicate, yet intense, playing , dark, symphonic in the classic sense. Need I say more?

I have done over 90 reviews on the site now, and I have learned to be a little bit more conservative in awarding 5 stars, because these should be reserved for true masterpieces.

So, when I award this 4 stars, I would state it is 4.5 stars really, and meaning every single word of that phrase, an excellent addition to any prog rock music collection.

Do as I have done. Expand your horizons. Get this album.

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Send comments to lazland (BETA) | Report this review (#303150)
Posted Sunday, October 10, 2010 | Review Permalink
Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
4 stars Änglagård is one of the many Swedish bands that I knew nothing about before reading about them on Prog Archives. It's not that I'm bad at tracking my country's popular acts but rather the weird fact that bands like Änglagård, A.C.T, Pain Of Salvation and even the Flower Kings aren't as commonly recognized here as they seem to be outside of Sweden. Therefore my discovery of the band came almost a decade after they had already broken up, but to be honest, I doubt that I that listening to Änglagård at the age of 7 would have actually benefited me too much.

There is really no doubt that this release has great instrumental arrangements all throughout these four lengthy compositions. The melodic hooks are great and all the band members show a great passion in their performances. My only real complaint is targeted towards the lyrical context of these songs. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against Lindman's vocal performance, instead it's the lyrics themselves that sound completely hideous to my ears. This is one of the few occasions where I actually wish that I wouldn't have know the spoken language since it really drags down the overall experience of this release for me. Having said that, I don't exactly consider the band's all instrumental followup album Epilog to be any better, but I'll leave the reasons undisclosed until my next review.

There's no denying that Hybris has won the heart of our prog community and I can definitely appreciate its appeal. Still, I wouldn't call myself a hardcore fan of this release or Änglagård in general. This album is simply an excellent addition to any prog rock music collection and I'll leave it at that.

***** star songs: Jordrök (11:10) Ifrån Klarhet Till Klarhet (8:04)

**** star songs: Vandringar I Vilsenhet (11:53) Kung Bore (12:57)

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Send comments to Rune2000 (BETA) | Report this review (#306453)
Posted Sunday, October 24, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars The year was 1992, and fans of progressive rock were afflicted.

Behold the Anglagard appears and casts his masterpiece, "Hybris", the album that saved rock progressive.

The opening track, "Jordrok" is one of the best instrumentals I've ever seen in my life.Her begins with a delicate piano, but it grows until it culminates in a passage well dark.So music calms down again, a beautiful part with flaute.And then ... a majestic church organ breaks the pace, before moving on to a guitar solo that is my favorite of album.The passes by several times before quitting.

Then we have "i Vandringar Vilsenhet" one more track down heavy.The bass is enhanced diversity, especially in the final minutes (which also have a powerful organ.) Tord Lindman's voice is very beautiful and sweet, but it is only useful in the album, which is mostly instrumental.

"Till Ifran Klarhet Klarhet" is the lower range (it has "only" eight minutes) and is also the weakest, it lacks the strength and originality of others, and there's not much I can talk it up.However it grew on me a bit, I realized that there are good moments, but it is still the weakest of the album.

"Kung Bore" closes the album majestically, it starts with a delicate guitar solo that cresce.At about two minutes, after following a more upbeat, guitar and flute combine to form the main melody.The best vocal of album are in this music.The are grand finale it is about 3 minutes, ending with a powerful mellotron.

Unfortunately, Anglagard lasted a short time but left for us fans a wonderful album.

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Send comments to voliveira (BETA) | Report this review (#334180)
Posted Thursday, November 25, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars I've heard so much about this album before I bought it. when it arrived I felt like I've already knew it, but when I put it on my CD player, I felt a like a total stranger. It was like nothing I've expected it to be, it took me on a magical journey to the almost heavenly world of the most complex and amazing music I've ever heard. From the very first track(Jordrok), with the soft and melodic beginning, you can hear the soul of the musicians bound to every note and sound here. Very few album have that impact, and words can't describe the music. Only your ears and mind.

Highly Recommended, get a copy, sit down and enjoy.

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Send comments to BlindGuard (BETA) | Report this review (#359447)
Posted Tuesday, December 21, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Viking prog!!

There is only one word needed to perfectly describe this gem of an album - beauty!

I love the folk-like melodies throughout - a unique flavour making for an enjoyably listen. An example of one of my favourites is the rise-then-fall contour melody half-way through the track "Kung Bore".

The band has captured everything that is brilliant about classic symphonic prog - beautiful melodies, engaging complex rythms, flirting between lyrical melody and dissonance.

I love the flute!! Just beautiful.

Contrasts in dynamics are used very nicely (something less available with electronic instruments, but something I enjoy very much!).

Vocals are average, but IMHO they don't take away from this album being a masterpiece.

The bonus track is great too.

Isn't the artwork amazing? Love it!

4.5 stars!

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Send comments to Kassimatis (BETA) | Report this review (#372466)
Posted Tuesday, January 04, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars The sort of album that often gets criticism for "lack of originality" with a sound very much based on the classic prog of the 1970's but this album may take almost all of it's influences from the likes of Genesis and Yes it does maintain it's own sound which is instantly identifiable as Anglagard. From the first few piano notes on this album you know what you are in-store for. It is a feast of classic keyboard sounds, virtuoso playing and beautiful atmospheric symphonic music, everything prog should be associated with. Often records like this which recreate the prog of the 70's lack emotion but with this release Anglagard captured the raw emotion and feel of classic prog. This is a Symphonic Prog album through and through and should be heard by anyone who wants to know the genre. 5 Stars album and Anglagard earn any appreciation they get for an album of this quality.

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Send comments to topographicbroadways (BETA) | Report this review (#372888)
Posted Tuesday, January 04, 2011 | Review Permalink
poslednijat_colobar
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Classic symphonic prog enters into the dark 90s

Many words have been said about this remarkable release from the beginning of the 90s. I firstly would say this is the most recent symphonic prog album with classic statute. That means very much. Moreover, Hybris contains unique distinctive style. It doesn't looks like any of 90s' albums. It's like transferred album 20 years forward with time. That typical distinctive style of Anglagard is strongly inspired by 70s cult bands, but reveal genuine ideas and comprehension of songwriting. Some of the main reasons for that are saturated, balanced and very,very dark melancholic sound; profound and elaborated songwriting, combined with perfect musicianship. All compositions are inimitable and very memorable. Except that, Hybris consists of much heavier tunes all over itself, than the usual symphonic album. All that makes Anglagard a landmark and Hybris a must for all symphonic fans! 5 stars

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Send comments to poslednijat_colobar (BETA) | Report this review (#413988)
Posted Thursday, March 10, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars I was amazed this record was rated as highly as it is, to be rated ahead of foxtrot for an example, peaked my interest, and since the record is nearly 20 years old, and has been well reviewed, i thought i would take the plunge, After 2 listens, I can honestly say this is not over hyped, though with it's flaws, the production, even the remastered disc, has some soft to loud issues, i had to adjust volume a few times, also i detect a tad of neo prog hair metal in this from time to time, the lead guitar especially. The opening track is worth the price of the disc, just wonderful Crimson like sounds, The flute is simply gorgeous through out, I was pleased this wasn't a metal record, hard rock yes, but varied and all the influences come through, some times that doesnt work,but it does here, and never seems like a Genesis or crimson Knock off. The fact i replayed this immediately tells me 5 stars is in order, Typically anything less, I would have it up for auction, This is a keeper. and while 13th seems high on this list, top 100 for sure.

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Send comments to darkprinceofjazz (BETA) | Report this review (#419441)
Posted Monday, March 21, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Having finally procured this album about a month ago, it has been on my playlist ever since--not necessarily because I love it but more because I'm trying to let it grow on me--trying to figure out what I'm missing, what's wrong that I'm not loving this album. I could immediately hear all of the comparisons and possible influences, (Crimson, ELP, Hackett, Genesis, Yes, Tull, VDGG, Camel, Rush, Nektar, Ant, etc.) I recognize the high level of compositional skill and musicianship, but something is missing--something just isn't drawing me in. I have concluded that it is a deficiency of heart, soul, and emotion that leaves me feeling cold and unattached-- impressed but unattached. I am very much reminded of my similar reaction to most Steve Hackett albums: I recongize and appreciate the genius, the experimentalism, the skill, but it leaves me cold and unattached. (Mostly.) I cannot in good conscience rate this collection of masterfully constructed and performed songs anything less than 4 stars, but I am equally unable to rate it as a masterpiece. It may deserve its standing in the PA Top 100 but not in mine.

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Send comments to BrufordFreak (BETA) | Report this review (#443536)
Posted Friday, May 06, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars They come from the land of the ice and snow, from the midnight sun, where the hot springs blow ... and, last but not least, they play great prog!

After a long wait I finally managed to find this work so well reviewed. I must admit that the quality of the album has surpassed all my expectations, "Hybris" is a great record from all points of view, in some ways even unique.

The most striking thing is the great solemnity of music expressed in the four long tracks that make up the album. In production, the band decide to avoid the use of synthesizers in favor of mellotron and Hammond organ: the choice is really excellent as the synth would have debased the great solemnity of some parts. Although the style is clearly derived from the classic progressive era, the majesty of the compositions is such that the album is now a key reference point for many contemporary bands and is therefore not correct, in my opinion, to consider "Hybris" only as an album of derivative music. This work is also a starting point, not lacking some originality.

The four songs are beautiful and there are no weak points. Perhaps only the finale of Kung Bore has not the same intensity of the other parts of the album. The vocals are sung in Swedish and it is certainly not the most harmonious sounding language. Howewer, the importance of the vocals is rather marginal and therefore the slight roughness of Swedish do not bother at all. Difficult to choose the best song since the level is very high everywhere, but probably I prefer the first two tracks (the instrumental Jordrok and Vandringar i Vilsenhet ). Jordrok in particular has an incredible evocative power: it could be the perfect soundtrack for a bloody battle in the cold northern lands! In addition, the frenetic organ accompaniment in the middle leaves me breathless every time I hear it.

Despite some exceptional melodic parts, with the flute of Anna Holmgren in evidence and beautiful guitar arpeggios, the album is mostly experimental, and therefore need a strong dose of attention in order to listen: you can not expect to hear "Hybris" while you prepare dinner or do household cleaning, it takes concentration and repeated listening to appreciate it fully. Like many other progressive albums patient is required! As for me until today I heard this album at least a dozen times and I can say that I consider "Hybris" the greatest contemporary progressive record I've ever heard.

Final rating: 10/10.

Five stars.

Best song: Jordrok

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Send comments to Dark Nazgul (BETA) | Report this review (#460653)
Posted Monday, June 13, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Anglagard - Hybris

This is a largely, though not entirely, instrumental album resplendent with all kinds of instruments and odd noises and things twinkle and chime and toot and crash; essentially, we are in the traditional realms of symphonic prog, fuelled by pomp, circumstance, and bombast.

The instrumental focus is made clear from the start, and it is a full 15 minutes before we are allowed to hear any vocals at all (which ring out with a sort of Jon Anderson esque sweetness to them, albeit in Swedish. It is a style, incidentally, of which I must confess to not being a huge fan.), and they disappear again very soon afterwards.

It is an album with a slightly off-kilter feel, but, one suspects, intentionally so, as musical passages come and go with a sort of jittery rapidity that create an odd tension without having to resort to overly clich'd communications of this mood. Passages of gentle flute are interrupted by a thunderous organ, which flees away to leave a rising hum of guitar and bass, and so on. It is unsettled, but, in equal measure, unsettling.

The madness of it all almost comes unhinged halfway through, as track three opens with a brass segment which can only be described as asylum jazz, itself punctuated by the towering noise of an organ. This is then reigned in again for a more delicately melodic section'.and the ride begins again.

As a result of this only-semi-organised chaos, this is very much a 'have to be in the mood' sort of album. Nonetheless, when the listener is in an appropriate mood to listen, it is quite an astoundingly good album.

I shall score this with 4.5/5, which I am sorely tempted to round up to a full five stars, holding off only due to the vocal style mentioned earlier, my own preference for more singer- involvement, and because when one not in the mood for it this album can seem to drag on a bit. Rounding down, then, to 4/5, but with a strong recommendation attached.

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Send comments to stranded_starfish (BETA) | Report this review (#461231)
Posted Tuesday, June 14, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars This album is regarded as something of a masterpiece in the progressive rock community, as shown by its high rating here on this site, and while it's by no means bad I must confess I've never understood its reputation in the upper echelon of modern progressive rock.

I suppose the best way to describe this album would be to say that it combines the aesthetics of Genesis with the technical proficiency and frequent mood swings of early King Crimson, with less of a focus on lyrics and vocals than either. This proves to be the album's appeal as well as the thing that keeps me from regarding it as anything but pretty good: On a technical basis it's as impressive as they come but it's impossible to feel like you aren't traversing well-trod ground. There's nothing unique enough to truly grab and pull in the listener and as such, without lyrics it functions as little more than pleasant background music.

By no means bad but lacking in innovation, "Hybris" doesn't reinvent the wheel but makes fair use of it. To extend the analogy, it's the prog equivalent of an affordable sedan: It'll get you to where you're going in comfort and safety, but you can forget about it turning any heads as you're cruising down the main drag. Great for fans of symphonic musicianship and precious few others.

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Send comments to 40footwolf (BETA) | Report this review (#502705)
Posted Saturday, August 13, 2011 | Review Permalink
2 stars Tunes recycled.

Many bands are influenced by Genesis and Yes. There is nothing wrong with it as such. But there is a difference if bands sound as if Genesis/Yes made another album, which would be great. Or if well known sounds are simply reused, which is bad. For me the latter is the case with this album.

Hybris of Anglagard sounds as if the best Genesis and Steve Hackett tunes are simply mixed together. A Genesis/Hackett hybrid so to say. I am a massive Genesis/Hackett/Yes fan, and while I was listening to this album, it all the time reminded me of certain pieces of music from the 'orignal' bands I have already heard before. Here a bit mirror-inverted guitar solo of Firth of Fifth, or was it The Lamia? There a bit flute from Voyage of the Acolyte, vocal arrangements like Schindleria Praematurus, acoustical guitar pickings where I expect "Walking across the sitting room...", rhythms like Apocalypse in 7/8, keyboards like in The Knife, mellotron use like...oh I can't tell. Is it only me that I hear Barclay James Harvest's Mockingbird in Kung Bore? And where have I heard that kind of church organ again? I could go on nearly note by note through the whole album, and comment what it reminded me of.

Moreover, I have the impression that all those musical pieces are put together a bit like in a medley, and the songs overall lack some structuring. After having listened to the album, it rather made me want to listen to all the 'original' albums of the 70's again.

With the fifth song Gånglåt från Knapptibble, which is only the bonus track, I have difficulties to find, what it reminds me of. Probably a sign of originality at last? The beginning sounds dark and a bit crimsonesque (I am also a huge King Crimson fan), interrupted by some smooth flute, and interesting vocal arrangements. To conclude, the music is technically well done and in a whole nice to listen to. But because I hear so many musical allusions I find it more amusing. And the bonus track is worth a more attentive listening.

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Send comments to Formentera Lady (BETA) | Report this review (#505390)
Posted Thursday, August 18, 2011 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Anglagard's debut album is a remarkably confident fusion of symphonic prog influences - the pastoralism of Genesis, the wildness of King Crimson, the tranquility of Camel - into an original and unique sound which provided a much-needed shot in the arm for symphonic prog. Though the band wore their influences on their sleeves, they still had sufficient tricks unique to them to make them a worthwhile listen for any fan of classic, 70s-style prog rock - the flute work of Anna Holmgren, for instance, sounds nothing like Ian Anderson (the usual go-to guy for unoriginal prog bands looking for someone's flute technique to rip off), and doesn't even resemble Andy Latimer's flute playing on, say, Camel's The Snow Goose.

Everyone knows how this album, among others from around the same time, electrified the online prog audience and paved the way for the prog renaissance since then - unlike some albums that become "internet darlings", however, Hybris has the meat to match the hype. It's an unabashed nostalgia exercise, of course - but when the nostalgia's this good I can overlook that.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#609192)
Posted Friday, January 13, 2012 | Review Permalink
Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Eclectic Prog Team
2 stars Each composition on this Änglagård album is a Frankenstein's monster: Individually, most parts may be aesthetically pleasing or gripping, but sewn together, they make up something unsightly and ungainly. I must stress that these are incredibly talented musicians, and the production is remarkable (this album has one of the greatest bass tones). However, the methodology behind their compositions is that of stopping one section to bring in an apparently unrelated section, stringing them together piecemeal with precious little regard for flow or context. The pieces may build to what could be a satisfying conclusion, but no- another section is tacked on, and the tracks carry on in this rambling manner. The instrumentation should make this just about everything I love about symphonic progressive rock, but I cannot get past the compositions themselves.

"Jordrök" Following an anticipatory piano, expect punchy bass, Mellotron, and an ominous lead guitar. Light guitar, Mellotron, and flute ease in thereafter, but are abruptly cut off by a churlish church organ out of nowhere. No matter how many times I try, I simply cannot follow this piece, even though there are a few exceptional passages.

"Vandringar i Vilsenhet" Solo flute offers a pleasant melody that is gradually joined by other soft instruments. A shadowy organ that rises up and brings a section that is like Yes and Genesis thundering together on the same stage- "Close to the Edge" and "Firth of Fifth" at the same time. The bass riff is particularly derivative of Chris Squire's work on the former. Unfortunately, the vocals spoil it; in my opinion they do not fit the music, not in tone nor melody nor context. The ominous, almost haunting conclusion is powerful and well-executed, with a marching snare to lead us out.

"Ifrån Klarhet Till Klarhet" Don't turn up the speakers on account of the quiet, outlandish little twenty-second bit that sounds like circus music, because the band explodes into a brain-rattling jam, which quickly gives way to soft music and more substandard singing.

"Kung Bore" Classical guitar and piano double up for the quiet beginning, and the rest of the band eases in until erupting into a solid theme. The vocals return on this one, and aren't as awful as they were on the other song. Predictably, the action suddenly tapers off, leaving behind a quiet, minimalistic passage, followed by a more explosive one, which is in turn followed by a quiet one, this time with some spoken word, and so forth. The conclusion sounds almost borrowed from Yes's Tales from Topographic Oceans, especially "The Ancient."

"Gånglåt från Knapptibble" This bonus track opens with some disharmonious, jingly percussion, and in bursts the loudness of the band, organ and bass leading the way. The vocals are not very appealing. The second half involves distant tones with an eventual flute, very similar to Genesis. It eventually turns into a mess of instruments.

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Send comments to Epignosis (BETA) | Report this review (#646012)
Posted Sunday, March 04, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars This band pretty much nailed the 70's English Symphonic Progressive style to a tee, although to be fair they mix in a bit of a Swedish folk music influence here and there. It's been a while since I really listened to a lot of Symphonic prog rock, but I'd say this album is relatively unique - influence from bands like King Crimson and Yes are present (though not as instrumentally excessive as the latter), but I feel like Änglagård interpreted them in a somewhat different and interesting way. For the most part it's a fairly well written record that's well crafted and wasn't afraid to be playful from time to time. They were pretty good as well when it came to developing their ideas, though the songs overall maybe could've benefitted from being trimmed slightly.

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Send comments to Lord Anon (BETA) | Report this review (#800875)
Posted Sunday, August 05, 2012 | Review Permalink
octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
5 stars Some years ago a friend gave me a copy of this Anglagard CD telling me that he had found this band while digging in the web. Since the first dark notes of Jordrok which made me think to Gentle Giant I realized two things:

1) prog was not dead 2) prog can be good even with Swedish lyrics

In particular I was familiar with bands like Eloy which even with a strong German accent were used to sing in English. Initially Swedish appeared weird to me, but if you consider that one of my favorite bands today are the Hungarian After Crying and that I was already used to the Kobaian, it didn't take me too long to adapt my ears to something different from English. This was quite long time ago.

But this is how I have discovered progarchives.

This is my story with the album. Now let's speak of music. As I have written the first feeling is close to Gentle Giant, but the sudden changes in the volume were common in ELP, especially in Trilogy. Some passages have a YES flavor but the folk moments involving flute which in the first track are alternated to symphonic shorts in 5/4 are a mix of Genesis, Camel and make me think even to Gnidrolog. So it's clear that this band has a lot if classic prog influences, but it's also strongly original in my opinion. Said so, "Jordrok" is a short suite which flows very well and is full of interesting things not totally exploited.

"Vandringar i Vilsenhet" is Swedish. I mean that the sounds and the mood remind to the cold atmospheres typical of Bo Hansson and his Lord of the Rings. It's where the Swedish lyrics arrive first. The high pitched voice is similar to that of Squire but the melody and in particular the guitar make me think to Mike Oldfield or better, to the great Finnish multi- instrumentist Pekka Pohjola. The main theme is alternated with apparently disconnected parts with odd signatures and even a short moment of flamenco. However the remind to Pohjola is a consequence of the big role interpreted by the bass on this track long, complex and dark as the first. the final crescendo with the hypnotic guitar sounds very influenced by King Crimson.

"Ifrån Klarhet Till Klarhet" is opened by an untuned accordion which is suddenly replaced by a musical explosion. Frequent changes in signature in a YES style lead to a calm moment of acoustic guitar and keyboards very close to the early Marillion but the general mood of the track is more classic than neo.

"Kung Bore" starts with classical guitar followed by piano. It's another crescendo in 7/4, I think. The structure is still the same of the other tracks, a sort of patchwork of different odd signatures alternated with symphonic moments underlined by the flute. Also this track has lyrics and its melody is excellent. Here I can hear influences of all the classic bands but in particular Genesis.

So let's stop here. This album is so full of things that describing everything is a work too big. I'm not sure that it deserves completely the full five stars which I'm going to give it, but it contributed in renewing my passion for prog, so I'm grateful to it.

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Send comments to octopus-4 (BETA) | Report this review (#810512)
Posted Sunday, August 26, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars For those who think prog died at the end of the 70's look no further than this album. Hybris borrows from all the originals, like Yes and Genesis, but sounds as original as if it were released in their time period. Musically, this is some very complex stuff, with tons of odd time signatures and tempo changes. For example, in just the first minute and a half of Jordok the signatures change between 4/4, 5/4, 6/4, and 7/4. The dynamic sound achieved in many parts is also astounding. One moment you could be hearing a soft flute part and all of the sudden the music explodes as the rest of the band comes in. But besides the complexity, Anglagard remains to be incredibly melodic, and some of the riffs are catchy as ever. Furthermore, the atmosphere and moods they create is equally unparalleled, often relying on deep mellotron chords and gentle flute to create serene, lighthearted atmospheres which can easily change to melancholic and dark in a second.

I won't review each song by itself as they're all very chaotic and all over the place, but that's what makes them so interesting. There is no dull moment in any of them. The variety of instruments used contributes to this, but so does the rather loose style of composition these guys use. Regardless, there is a perfect flow in every song.

Hybris is simply a must have. As far as I'm concerned there is not a single flaw with this album.

10/10

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Send comments to Mr. Mustard (BETA) | Report this review (#811846)
Posted Wednesday, August 29, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars I have done myself a great disservice ... instead of embracing Änglagård gradually, I jumped into their ultimate chef d'oeuvre Viljans Öga as soon as it had been released last summer. The impression was extremely positive, so we bought Hybris a few weeks later to serve as a sort of prequel to VÖ. Hybris shouldn't not be a disappointment in any way to anyone, I haste to say. The great quality of musicianship and sound engineering is there. There is no lack of elegance, sense of measure or sophistication in the compositions. The cover art is not only tasteful, but also a dead-on reflection of the album's vibe pattern, which helps the listener to tune in. The whole album is full-bodied, sharp, intensive, lush music ... no slack, no fillers here.

Now, it's time to do the "sad pahty poopah" impersonation. My only problem with Hybris is not with what is missing ('cause nothing seems to be), but with what IS there. The vocals. There, I said it.

The Änglagård's singing talents aren't really a close match for their virtuoso instrumental capabilities. Besides, for some of those who aren't blessed with Scandinavian heritage, the lyrics in Swedish - instead of adding an extra dimension to the compositions - can be more of a distraction, like 'why are those people talking when I am trying to listen to the music, and what the heck are they talking about?'

Perhaps, it's just my uncontrollable fear of getting into an embarrassing situation, so eloquently depicted in the infamous Soesman Language Institute commercial. If you want to Google it up, do make sure there are no minors and/or folks who disapprove of inappropriate language next to your computer :)

Nevertheless, I am glad to assign 5 stars to this album, even though it's half a notch "lower" than Viljans Öga on my chart.

An unexpected byproduct of having listened to Hybris a few times: a re-assessment of Steven Wilson's recent efforts. I thought GFD was pretty great, and originally rated it with 5 stars, but now I realize (with a degree of indignation) that 50% of GFD's 80' is time-stretching techniques, so it's down to 3 stars.

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Send comments to Argonaught (BETA) | Report this review (#841043)
Posted Saturday, October 20, 2012 | Review Permalink
Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams
5 stars Anglagard appeared on the scene at just the right time. Without the Internet to bring us together, the search for good progressive music after 1980 was often fruitless. Old favorites, like Yes, Genesis, Rush, and even the mighty King Crimson had removed much of what was interesting about their music in order to continue their major label contracts. There was an inkling of new prog on these labels, but most of these were heavily arena rock oriented, or Genesis wannabes. The only reprieve we had was through independent suppliers, like Wayside Music, where we had to take a chance on an artist we had never heard of before.

But by the early 90's the foundation of the Internet was gaining popularity, and it was on one of those text based discussion groups someone informed me of this new fantastic band from Sweden that would restore my faith in the prog scene. And looking back, it signalled the emergence of Scandinavia as the up and coming center of the new prog universe.

The opening of Jordrök gives the impressing that Anglagard is going to be a dark chamber rock band, in the vein of Univers Zero. But once the full band joins in, the music becomes a fabulous blend of the classic seventies era prog masters. There is the darkness of King Crimson (and the Mellotrons), the soaring vocals and complex virtuosity of Yes, some nods to Genesis in keyboard and vocal passages, and even (as shown in the bonus track on later editions) the intricate arrangements of Gentle Giant.

Aside from the fact that this album refreshed my enthusiasm for progressive rock, it is a nearly perfect endeavor.

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Send comments to Evolver (BETA) | Report this review (#890999)
Posted Friday, January 11, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars Hybris by Änglagård (not Anglagard!) is one of those records that sure draws people to the world of progressive music. I had just heard Viljans öga before, and it amused me much. But this was even better. I presume it's a matter of taste and that others would consider the third record as the best. But this record featured voices by guitarist Tord Lindman. He doesn't sing much but what he does, spices the music with an even stronger dimension. The lyrics are poetical and take inspiration from the nordic religion.

Hybris includes super powerful symhonic rock as its best. It is totally genuine unlike some other new bands I think just tries to be symphonic without being real progressive. I hear a mixture of inspiration from swedish folk musik, Genesis, other progressive stuff and something they have found out by theirselves.

"Jordrök" is a magnificent blend of heavy and light, deep mellotrons and melodic flute. The recurrent melody is amazing. This is a sound to dive and drown to. "Vandringar i vilsenhet" has some vocals but it doesn't do so much. Even spanish tunes can be heard here. "Ifrån klarhet till klarhet"s music is full of chaotic and wonderful signs and this episodic music proves it develops, like its title suggests. The lyrics takes place in the world of the Gods: Oden, Tor, Frej, etc. Finally we hear "Kung Bore", absolutely an epic, with brutal folk influences and wondersweet lyrics.

Änglagård shows the sound of thhe mellotron, the flute, guitar, drums and bass unto a marvelous harmony of frameless music. I feel almost ashamed I waited so long with listening to this. This is the proud heir of seventies prog. Tord Lindman and Jonas Engdegård make Hackett and Fripp proud, Anna Holmgren makes Ian Anderson happy, Thomas Johnson is the heir of Wakeman, Johan Högberg would frighten Squire and Mattias Olsson is the new Bruford. Thus, a progressive masterpiece i every second of listening.

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Send comments to DrömmarenAdrian (BETA) | Report this review (#977872)
Posted Friday, June 14, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars As "Formentera Lady" said, the whole album is just copies of old prog rock acts with quite little variation (albeit great production). "Hybris" is not really in the spirit of progressive rock for me, and doesn't feel risky and outgoing enough for a high rating from me, even though on paper the music should be excellent, and almost as good as bands like Genesis and Yes. Some nice little melodies throughout, and it's good to hear some of the old stuff in a slightly dimmer light, with a whole new atmosphere, but this is just the most overrated album on PA by a long shot. It's almost in the top 10, and I could think of hundreds of better albums! But anyway, I'll stop my rant and start the review!

The first song "Jordrok": too dark and intense for me. If you listen to this album for the first time, don't expect much variety afterwards. Quite depressed piano tunes, which sound a bit awkward, and don't really fit in with what's to come, but quite intriguing. The whole song doesn't really flow, and the instruments don't complement each other most of the time. Good tones and recording though, and of course the musicianship is spot-on.

"Vandringar i vilsenhet" is also a bit over the place. Quite an odd mood change from the dark symphonic opener, to the more simple (but very layered) style. Of course, everything is there that you would want in a prog rock song, but it's not experimenting with anything further. I suppose in a way it states a signature consistent sound for "Hybris"

"Ifrån klarhet till klarhet" is quite similar to the previous track so it starts to get a bit tired after 15 minutes of ongoing "laid-back" complexities in the album. The guitar (as with the following track) brings a gentle, warmer vibe joined with the flute that I think defines a certain sound that they could have refined down to a very melodic and calm work, but one of the problems with "Hybris" is that it's all over the place really, and quite undecided in its direction apart from progressive rock.

The last track, "Kung Bore" is probably my favourite, and is what secures this album in the 3-star rating for me. This is the sort of thing that I like, with the intricate passages and mixtures of baroque and rock, although once again lacking the experimental value. I could probably listen to this song on its own, but not with the whole of the album - it's just too much altogether. The mellotron, flute and acoustic guitar works well together, but not at all a fan of the organ/electric guitar thing going on. A bit stifled in my opinion, but some nice little themes reappear I guess, and some pretty good melodies.

C(-): A struggle to listen to and to not feel drained by the length of non-stop, non-varied music, regurgitated from the prog rock bands of the 70s. Therefore, mediocre.

Jordrök: *** Vandringar i vilsenhet: *** Ifrån klarhet till klarhet: *** Kung Bore: ****

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Send comments to Xonty (BETA) | Report this review (#987936)
Posted Friday, June 28, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars Hybris is a whole, Hybris is perfection, Hybris is the first album of these Scandinavian masters... five excellent tracks (including the BONUS) and a group of excellent musicians, plus a nice cover make of this album one of the best in progressive rock. Simply impressive... piano, mellotron, hammond, guitars, bass guitar, drums, flute, voices ... every single instrument used in this album fits accurately in time and space. The progressions in the songs are perfect, the combination of melodies as well. I love the beautiful folk sounds playing while the rest of the band is playing in different tempos and arrangements... without a doubt a masterpiece to have in your hands!

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Send comments to Memo_anathemo (BETA) | Report this review (#1017276)
Posted Monday, August 12, 2013 | Review Permalink
UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars "Hybris" is the debut full-length studio album by Swedish progressive rock act 'nglag'rd. The album was originally released on CD through the Mellotronen label in late 1992 and on vinyl through the Norwegian Colours label. "Hybris" has since seen several reissues. The original version of the album featured 4 tracks while later reissues feature a 5th bonus track in "G'ngl't fr'n Knapptibble"

The relatively inactive 80s progressive rock scene in Sweden, which had been pretty active in the 70s, made a major comeback in the early 90s with acts like The Flower Kings, Anekdoten, Ritual and Landberk. Few artists have been met with almost universal praise as 'nglag'rd have though. They didn't exist for long the first time around and only released two studio albums before they disbanded, but especially "Hybris" is widely considered a "classic" Swedish progressive rock album.

...and it's apparent why that is when listening to the album.

The first thing you notice when listening to "Hybris" is the high level musicianship. These guys (and girl) are outstanding on their instruments. They successfully balance their playing between organic dynamic playing and precision interplay. Flute is the dominant lead instrument in the mellow folky sections, while the busy drumming, keyboards/synths, guitars and bass form the basis on the more energetic parts of the album. Vocals are sparse, mellow and delivered in the Swedish language.

The music is heavily rooted in 70s progressive rock and while a combination of Kaipa and King Crimson is a much too simplified description of 'nglag'rd's sound, I think it'll give people a general idea of how the music sounds (I heard a few nods toward Genesis too). The lush and occasionally folky symphonic progressive rock of Kaipa (the sparse Swedish language lyrics also point in that direction), the dissonant darkness of mid-70s King Crimson and the beautiful and mellow acoustic guitar sections of Genesis (as heard in "Ifr'n Klarhet Till Klarhet"). It's a great combination of mellow and heavy elements that make "Hybris" a very dynamic listen.

The tracks range from 8 to almost 13 minutes in length, and there is a lot going on in each track. This is not an easy listen and even seasoned progressive rock listeners might find themselves challenged quite a bit. But that's of course also part of the appeal of the album and it certainly ensures longivity. This is the kind of album where you'll find new details every time you give it a spin. Initially I found the compositions a bit disjointed and I struggled to understand them as full compositions and not a bunch of great ideas thrown together to form tracks. The more I've listened to the album though, the more all the pieces seem to form a coherent puzzle.

But it's not only the musicianship and the songwriting that are top notch. Add to those two important elements the fact that "Hybris" features an organic, detailed and powerful sound production and we have a high quality product on our hands. The only flaw/issue, if you can call it that, is that the music isn't particularly original sounding (it's still highly adventurous though). Most elements on the album have been used before by various 70s progressive rock acts, but I guess it's the combination of elements, that makes "Hybris" such a strong release. To my ears this one deserves it's "classic" status and a 5 star (100%) rating is deserved.

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Send comments to UMUR (BETA) | Report this review (#1089580)
Posted Friday, December 13, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars Usually I'm very sceptic to progressive rock with the main goal to recreate the music of the 70s with todays sound quality, the result is more than often horrific and annoying. �nglagård is one of the few exceptions I know of bands succeeding to create "classic" prog with a modern touch (not to modern, though) and actually make something interesting from it. With a lot of Crimson blended with some classic swedish melancholy their "Hybris" is a modern classic and a fine example on how great progressive rock is to be done!

The sound of first song "Jordrök" is raw, mysterious and crazy with all the melodies colliding into each other and a drummer going completely mental over his drum kit. It goes through all this different phases, from the scary piano opening to something absolutely wild and then back to slow and calm. It goes on like that for eleven minutes without losing the listener for a second. Its a fantastic and beautiful mess!

I think all the songs have pretty much the same characteristics (and I don't mind at all), wild and crazy, slow and beautiful, all in one. Howling guitars, flutes and bass playing that reminds you a little of Yes. Drummer Mattias Olsson sound a lot like Bill Bruford at times, which adds an extra dimension of complexity to the songs. Its as close to perfection as you get. Also Hybris got one of the best closing tracks I know, "Kung Bore" is so epic it almost makes you faint in the end!

So why four stars? Why not five? Its with a great deal of sadness I tell you that I absolutely hate the vocals on the album, its terrible! I dont really know if its the singer or the vocal melody, but there is something about it that just doesn't work for me, it just sounds so awkward, like the singer doesn't really wants to sing. Im from sweden, so I know the texts aren't that good, but I think its more the way the singing sounds. But I don't know if Hybris would have been that good without any song at all either, instrumental music is hard to write. The first song is of course instrumental, but for an whole album?

I can't end this review like that, because it IS an awesome album and deserves better. The music is as good as it gets, overblown and probably too majestic for most people, but thats the point with progressive rock! And I got to say (except from the vocals) �nglagård nails it big time!

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Send comments to BatBacon (BETA) | Report this review (#1161362)
Posted Monday, April 14, 2014 | Review Permalink

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