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BLÅKULLA

Blakulla

Symphonic Prog


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Blakulla Blåkulla album cover
3.63 | 30 ratings | 5 reviews | 10% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection


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Studio Album, released in 1975

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Frigivningen (1:33)
2. Sirenernas Sång (6:05)
3. Idealet (3:44)
4. De får la Stå Öppet tess Vidare (1:47)
5. Maskinsång (5:16)
6. I Solnedgången (4:53)
7. Drottningholmsmusiken (2:20)
8. Världens Gång (1:53)
9. Erinran (10:36)
10. Mars (Bonustrack on CD) (7:46)
11. Linnéa (Bonustrack on CD) (5:49)
12. Idolen (Bonustrack on CD) (6:41)

Total Time: 58:23

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Bosse Ferm / organ, piano
- Dennis Lindegren / vocals, chimes
- Tomas Olsson / drums
- Hannes Rastam / bass
- Mats Ohberg / electric / acoustic guitars

Releases information

APM 9717 / AT/SYMPHILIS 7

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Joolz for the last updates
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BLAKULLA Blåkulla ratings distribution


3.63
(30 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(10%)
10%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(57%)
57%
Good, but non-essential (30%)
30%
Collectors/fans only (3%)
3%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

BLAKULLA Blåkulla reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Greger
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Finally it's here, the re-issue on CD of BLAKULLA's LP from 1975. Once again it's APM that has given us an old Swedish symph-classic. Earlier they have given us ATLAS ""Blå Vardag" from 1979 who also are a true Swedish symph classic, and many more. Now the time has come for BLAKULLA. The music is hard symphonic/progressive rock that stands out in competition with other early Scandinavian albums. The lyrics are written by among others Gustav Fröding and like the music they are of a high quality. The guitarist Mats Öhberg are especially worth mentioning.

The CD consists of the original LP's 9 tracks + 3 bonus tracks that are recorded 1974, before the LP. The main part of the tracks is unusual short for being symph rock, but are equally good. Sometimes it sounds like a harder version of KAIPA, sometimes like in the first song "Frigivningen" like ISILDURS BANE sounded in the beginning of their career, but also like ATLAS.

The best songs are the long track "Erinran" (10:35), "Sirenernas sång", "Maskinsång", "I solnedgången" and the instrumental "Mars". Another funny thing is their arrangement of "Drottningholmsmusiken, sats 1" by Johan Helmich Roman. If you're into Swedish symph from the 70's, this is a must. APM are always doing very beautiful booklets to their CD's, often with a lot of extra information. But thankfully they are keeping the original LP's cover even on the CD, which I think is very important.

Another Swedish symph album that APM are planning to reissue and that we can look forward to are Opus Est "Opus 1", which is a private pressed album from 1983. So keep your eyes and ears open. While you are waiting you can buy both Atlas and Blåkulla from APM. Recommended.

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Send comments to Greger (BETA) | Report this review (#29520) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, April 11, 2004

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Blakula is a one album band that was born in mid seventies, the glory days of rock music. I consider this group is a lost band as there was no follow-up after this album. The music of Blakula is a combination of rough classic rock music like Leslie West's Mountains, Canadian Moxy, Cream, Free combined with folk music and symphonic style - that has made it prog, I think. It's an interesting album despite the mixing and production quality issue. The guitar solo is too rough for my ears and mixed with relatively high volume.

When you spin the CD with an opening track Frigivningen you may immediately say that it's a folk-based music because the acoustic guitar work is a bit aggressive in accompanying the vocal. The combination of classic rock, symphonic prog can be heard clearly at track 2: Sirenernas Sang. The third track Idealet demonstrates the lead singer powerful vocal combined with organ and guitar work. De´fa´la Sta Öppe´tess Vidare starts the song with a powerful bass guitar play combined with guitar rhythm and melody. The bass player must be one of the best player in the seventies as his style in this song is magnificent.

Maskinsang (track 5) demonstrates a rocking style that combines organ, vocal in guitar in relatively fast tempo music. The bass lines are reasonably solid. The organ solo interlude in the middle of the track is superb - reminiscent of Keith Emerson style. It is followed with guitar solo. I Solnedgangen opening with lead guitar work reminds me to Focus early albums. There are some riffs introduced in this track, combined with long sustain organ sounds. Drottningholmsmusiken reminds me to the music of Rick Wakeman; combining guitar and solo in relatively fast tempo music with influence from classical music. Världens Gang brings the album back to an acoustic guitar based music featuring good voice line. It's not a completely unplugged song as after middle of the track all instruments contribute.

Erinran is probably the band's epic with a relatively long duration (approx 10 minutes). It starts with a long instrumental part led by guitar with excellent bass lines and guitar work. It's an excellent composition with powerful vocal line. The music has tempo changes and multi forms as it gives an opportunity for acoustic guitar, electric guitar and organ quite a balanced exposures.

When the production quality issue is removed, I think this album deserves a four stars rating. I enjoy the bass lines and organ part - but the guitar sounds are too rough actually for my ears. Keep on progging

Progressively yours,

GW

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#39416) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, July 14, 2005

Review by Progbear
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Somewhat average/slightly above-average sympho from an obscure Swedish band. Yes is the obvious influence here, probably comparable to TIME AND A WORD or THE YES ALBUM, as the album is totally piano/organ based. It's well-played, and the modest keyboard work is charming in the face of the Mellotron/synth overkill so many similarly-intentioned bands indulge in. The vocals tend towards the strident at times. The CD appends three bonus tracks, which have more of a heavy rock basis, yet remain explicitly prog/Yes influenced.

A pleasant/enjoyable enough album, but not a must-own.

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Send comments to Progbear (BETA) | Report this review (#44985) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
3 stars 3.5 stars really!!!

Sole album from this Gothenburg (across the channel from Denmark's Copenhagen) quintet and a rather surprising lightweight one. Like most of its second-wave group Swedish peers, Blakulla chose to sing in their native tongue, but these guys were substantially lighter-hearted than say Trettioariga, Host and Kaipa but I would not call them pop either. Actually their brand of prog, despite poor production, has aged fairly well and could favourably compare with many of 90's bands, be they neo or retro or any other kind of prog. In terms of Swedis H rock, they sound most like Atlas and 70's Kaipa.

Musically the group hovers your mid-complex art rock (in the 70's US sense) with plenty of references to Yes (mostly Yes Album era) and to a lesser extent Kansas, but in great part still have their own sound (which saves the album) and tried a commercial edge. The main two musicians coming to mind is the bassist (doesn't sound like Squire, despite a Rickenbacker) and the guitarist (sometimes inspired by Howe), while the singer has a very average rock vocalist, well suited for later FM rock, but once the choirs come in, one thinks Italian prog. They develop rather shorter song( (if you'll except the closing 10-mins+ Erinran) that rock rather hard (harder than Yes, less than Kansas) where the guitarist certainly likes his histrionics and guitar-heroes moves, but he's well seconded by the keyboardist (organ mainly). Blakulla can be slightly irritating with heavily inspired passages like in most Solnedgangen, the classical-inspired Drotthing and the other short Varldens piece and I'm only mentioning these. Easily the album's highlight (can't call it centrepiece since it closes the album) is the afore-mentioned Erinran epic with a lengthy intro and all of the required features, including a folk passage.

There is an added three bonus tracks from a previous session (roughly one year before) with a slightly different line-up (the bass player is different) and the production is certainly not any better. The 7- mins+ instrumental Mars is the key track from this session and can be considered a second highlight of the Cd. The almost 6-mins Linnea is plenty good in terms of interplay, and although the vocals are perfectible (they were in the album proper as well), its not a problem either. The final Idolen is actually in the same league and has an excellent and heroic ending. On the whole the three bonus tracks are probably slightly superior to the album proper, if you can believe it.

Blakulla's sole album got a Cd reissue on the now-defunct APM label and like many albums of that label have been now long out-of-print. Nevertheless, despite a poor production and a sometimes too-light SOUND, this album sports enough positive points that a re-issue some day would be welcome as is with most of the APM catalogue.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#208814) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, March 26, 2009

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars Lightly symphonic prog and fairly straight-forward art-rock with strong vocal harmonies, quickly catchy melodies that lodge themselves into your brain and very tight instrumental playing forms the bulk of the debut 1975 self-titled album from Swedish band Blåkulla. The quickest and easiest comparison would be the first couple of Yes albums (up to `Fragile' more or less) before they dove head first into very ambitious prog-rock, and this is further highlighted by the thick upfront bass playing, ragged and blistering Steve Howe-style electric guitar soloing and the warmest Hammond organ washes more along the lines of Tony Kaye than the caped wonder Rick Wakeman. There's nothing too demanding or complex here (although the two longer tracks that close each side of the LP come closest), but it's all very well played, easy to listen to rock/ballads with light proggy flourishes and unexpected turns here and there.

It's unusual that the band opens the album on a quick balled `Frigivningen', with a soothing lead vocal from Dennis Lindegren sung in Swedish with delicate yet nimble acoustic guitar chimes. Confident rocker `Sirenernas Sang' instantly reminds of `The Yes Album', with skittering drumming, chunky bass playing, softly exploding lead guitar runs and thick cascading Hammond organ. It sets a standard in superior vocal harmonies and melodies that maintains throughout the entire LP. Energetic tempo changes and lovely electric guitar/organ melodies twisting together enliven slightly repetitive vocal rocker `Idealet', while `De' Fa...' is a tasty interlude of bluesy guitar wailing duelling it out with the thickest darkest grumbling bass. Side A closer `Maskinsang' is the most daring piece so far, a slightly malevolent heavy rocker with morbid intimidating organ and Tomas Olsson's aggressive relentless drumming, with a killer symphonic prog flavoured repeated theme played with electric guitar bite, the entire track full of devilish little tempo change bursts back and forth. Bo Ferm cuts loose with some deranged Hammond soloing, and the whole piece is a totally killer track that kicks so much rear-end!

Many of the symphonic instrumental themes that run through `I Solnedgangen' could have easily come off one of the classic Focus albums, all played and sung with a real joyful warmth, and the Hammond organ gleams here. Organ driven `Drottning...' is a near- medieval flavoured fanfare that also wouldn't have sounded out of place from Focus, with a foot-tapping melody full of classical flare and pomp, yet it always remains quite playful. Most of `Varldens Gang' is a fragile, reflective and somewhat melancholic acoustic ballad, be sure to listen out for the ominous electronic buzzing that brings a hint of unease. The ten minute album closer `Erinran' lets the band more fully flex their progressive rock muscles, full of plentiful soloing mostly powered by Mats Ohberg's dynamic and victorious electric guitar soloing lifting the grandly symphonic themes with ease. Hannes Rastem's bass ripples, there's constant thick upbeat Hammond washes and strident drumming, even a sprightly folky acoustic break in the middle, and overall the piece is almost in the style of Aussie symphonic proggers Sebastian Hardie and even fellow Swedish prog band from the time Kaipa. It's the perfectly epic finale that's expected of symphonic prog albums.

The original vinyl is a super rarity these days, but there's a few CD reissues with bonus tracks more easily and affordably available for curious listeners. I found the front cover unusually eerie and quite unpleasant (look closely at that shadowy inverted figure - brrrr!), so I expected to find an album of occult themed heavy Hammond rockers in the style of Atomic Rooster (only the track `Maskinsang' comes close to that sort of sound)! Instead, `Blåkulla' is a winning collection of smooth symphonic prog, heartfelt pleasing soft-rock/ballads and some brief welcome heavier turns. It really deserves some wider recognition and a renewed exposure, and it showcases what a talented bunch of musicians Blåkulla were. What a shame they fell victim to the `one and done' prog band curse and disappeared, because they showed great potential here. If you're a vintage symphonic prog fan, do yourself and favour and take a chance on `Blåkulla', this very enjoyable and full of life album might really impress you!

Three and a half stars, rounded up to four.

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Send comments to Aussie-Byrd-Brother (BETA) | Report this review (#1298580) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, October 29, 2014

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