Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography


All Traps On Earth

Symphonic Prog

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

All Traps On Earth A Drop of Light album cover
4.29 | 567 ratings | 34 reviews | 49% 5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of
progressive rock music

Write a review

from partners
Studio Album, released in 2018

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. All Traps on Earth (18:17)
2. Magmatic Warning (16:10)
3. Omen (13:00)
4. First Step (2:04)
5. Bortglömda Gårdar (14:01)

Total Time 63:32

Line-up / Musicians

- Miranda Brand / vocals
- Johan Brand / Mellotrons, Moog Voyager/Minitaur, organs, Fender Rhodes, clavinet, basses, Taurus bass pedals, guitar, percussion, vocals, composer, arranger, producer
- Thomas Johnson / grand piano, Fender Rhodes, Wurlitzer, Pianet, clavinet, organ, Mellotron, Moog Voyager
- Erik Hammarström / drums, snare, vibes, marimba, xylophone, glockenspiel, crotales, timpani, bass drum, wood block, tam tam, tubular bells

- Phil Mercy / guitar
- Fredrik Lindborg / bass clarinet, baritone, tenor, alto & soprano saxophones
- Karl Olandersson / trumpet, flugelhorn
- Magnus Båge / concert flute
- Matthias Bååth / bass & concert flutes, tenor & alto recorders

Releases information

Artwork: Santiago Caruso

2LP AMS Records ‎- AMSLP145 (2018, Italy)

CD AMS Records - AMS300CD (2018, Italy)

Digital album

Thanks to rdtprog for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
Edit this entry

Buy ALL TRAPS ON EARTH A Drop of Light Music

ALL TRAPS ON EARTH A Drop of Light ratings distribution

(567 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(49%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(24%)
Good, but non-essential (15%)
Collectors/fans only (8%)
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)

ALL TRAPS ON EARTH A Drop of Light reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
5 stars Änglagård founding member and bass player Johan Brand and former Änglagård, current Thieves' Kitchen keyboard player, Thomas Johnson, plus drummer Erik Hammarström and Brand's daughter Miranda on vocals = ALL TRAPS ON EARTH! If that's not enough to get your interest piqued, add a bunch of classically-trained guest musicians on a dozen wind instruments and you've got the foundation of a pretty high-potential band!

1. "All Traps on Earth" (18:15) traipsing into Zeuhl territory with quite some aplomb, I'm reminded of UNIVERSAL TOTEM ORCHESTRA and KOTEBEL throughout this song. The difference maker is the horns and Mellotron. And the bass--that loose, chunky, in-your-face bass! Awesome. (8.5/10)

2. "Magmatic Warning" (16:09) a dynamic and temporal display reminiscent of a weatherman's reporting of the rise and course of an Atlantic hurricane. The bombastic, almost violent opening is beautifully tempered by the song's slow, sensitive development over the following five minutes. Love the chunky flanged bass and Mellotron over which the flugelhorn wails. The following andante section of piano, bass and flute is beautiful and unexpected though obviously rather ominously positioned. The ensuing full-on eruption section is awesome for the way it captures the insidious and unremitting power and course of a volcanic eruption. Having just visited Pompei and Vesuvio, I'm not sure I agree with the choice of expression in the thirteenth and fourteenth minutes as things seem to quiet down and then slowly, inexorably build and release over the ensuing fifteenth and sixteenth minutes before suddenly (too suddenly?) subsiding. Cool song--especially great if one forgets the title. So Zeuhlish. (Is the Magma reference in the title also--or only--meant to cite the French Zeuhl band?) (9.25/10)

3. "Omen" (12:59) an orchestral masterwork--definitely putting on full display the orchestral training and talents of drummer/percussionist Erik Hammarström. Though the opening three minutes is quite ominous in a Zuehlish way, the melodic riff repeated from the fourth minute on is a wonderful earworm to latch onto. As vocals, trumpet and flugelhorn play with this main theme, the bass, drums, 'tron, vocalese, and percussion work is sublime--at times genius. The 'tron work in the seventh minute conjures up pure King Crimson 1969. The following section of staccato and centerless interplay reminds me quite a little of the talents and style of JACOPO COSTA and his LOOMINGS and CAMEMBERT projects as well as all his contributions to other AltrOck Productions bands (Yugen, Not a Good Sign, Factor Burzaco, Empty Days). Such a well constructed, fully "orchestrated" song! (9.75/10)

4. "First Step" (02:03) what starts out as a Russian-sounding solo piano expression becomes a brief and quite romantic whole-band theme. French? Inspired by Chopin? (2.5/3)

5. "Bortglömda Gårdar" (14:03) opens with 80 seconds of "harpsichord" sound over which male voice sings delicately (in Swedish) as other instruments and voices make small, subtle contributions. It's beautiful and "old" feeling. Then the full rock band kicks in with a bass-heavy complex weave of many instruments all seeming to be driving their own separate courses--though on the same wide boulevard. Within 90 seconds this comes to an end. (Perhaps all the vehicles are at a traffic stop.) Next, flutes, incidental tuned percussions, vibes, piano, and multiple female vocals lend the song an angelic visual before the opening section returns with religious harpsichord and male vocal. The ensuing interplay of Mellotron voices and flutes, harpsichord, and percussives is quite mesmerizing. Then, suddenly and inexplicably, at 8:20 a spacious section of multiple 'tron tracks, strolling bass, gentle and distant drums, and multiple trumpets rises. Then, at 9:45, just as suddenly, a full-decibel onslaught of Zeulish, goulish jazz takes over. The synth solo in the eleventh minute is certainly inventive. Then everything quiets down to ultra-delicacy again--with gentle piano repeating itself behind xylophone play. Flutes, synths and 'tron take over and play at a cherubic weave before fading away to allow the piano a full exposition of some quite stunningly beautiful solo play to finish the song. Amazing song! Perhaps my favorite song of 2018! (10/10)

As I listen to these songs the chunky bass and operatic female vocalese make me think that this is the same territory that the UNIVERSAL TOTEM ORCHESTRA has been exploring for the past 20 years, and then, alternately, I find myself thinking--as I do so often with all Änglagård albums--that KOTEBEL does this just as well if not better. The difference here, though, is the great bass sound mixed so far forward in the soundscape, the virtuosic use of changing and opposing dynamics, the brilliant use of horns and tuned percussion, and the virtuosic use of Mellotrons. The composers and producers here know how each and every instrument should and could be used-- much as a composer of classical music knows how best to use each and every instrument in his or her orchestra.

Five stars; a masterpiece of complex, eclectic progressive rock music. This is much more than another progressive rock album: This album puts on display the absolute highest levels of compositional skill and artistry. If there's one album you buy this year--and really, seriously dive into--let it be this one!

Review by Progfan97402
5 stars I didn't expect Änglagård to quickly release a followup to Viljans Öga, but they probably realize quality vs. quantity. All Traps On Earth was originally the name of a composition Johan Brand had in mind, but then he got Thomas Johnson and Erik Hammarström (who replaced Mattias Olsson in Änglagård), as well as his daughter Miranda Brand. So All Traps on Earth, the band, was hatched, with the composition bearing that name as the opening track. Miranda delivers some wordless semi-operatic vocals, as well as having various guests for wind instruments.

Unsurprisingly the music is not too different from that of Änglagård. This album only demonstrates how much of that Änglagård sound came from Thomas Johnson and Johan Brand. There will be a lot of that familiarity upon listening to this; however, you can tell it's not Änglagård, as you don't get input from Jonas Engdegård and Tord Lindman (as they were obviously not present). That means less of the gentle, pastoral passages, you do get some, but it's more calm piano sections than acoustic guitar sections. Also there's some some jazzy tendencies (example: trumpet solos that would be foreign on an Änglagård album) and a stronger influence from RIO and Zeuhl. I suspect "Magmatic Warning" was likely in honor of the famous French band Magma. Looking at the booklet that comes with the LP, it shows Johan in his studio with his basses, guitars, and his keyboards, along with a bunch of LPs, most of them familiar to the prog faithful (I noticed Viljans Öga is one of them, which is no surprise as he was obviously responsible for the creation of that album). And then there's the Mellotron, in which both Thomas Johnson and Johan Brand use, a real M400, and the M4000D (basically a Memotron with the Mellotron name on it). It's very clear the choir are very much a real M400, complete with key click. Like Änglagård, this isn't an easy listen, but what an amazing album still the same. Due to the approach and consistent quality throughout, it's really pointless to describe highlights. It's a bit longer than the typical Änglagård album, but it's quality throughout.

This album is sure to be a hit with progheads everywhere, and this easily sits nicely with your Änglagård albums!

Review by Rivertree
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Band Submissions
5 stars Offshoot, new outfit, solo project? Whatever, it's your choice. Bass player Johan Brand, known as a founding member of the acclaimed nordic prog band Änglagård, on this occasion ventures to move on his own feet. More or less, as he also relies on Thomas Johnson (keyboards) and drummer Erik Hammarström concerning the recordings. Anyhow, a solo effort (fixed yet!) often enough would mean experimenting with other styles and instruments. Regularly you don't want to offer a rehash from your mothership duties. First of all, the symphonic fundament is still evident. Besides some rare familiar references this nevertheless is something really coherent, unique. Convince yourself.

Secondly, maybe not important for one or two, but the band is not named Johan Brand Project or so. But he's the main influencer and composer of course, what means more artistical oppportunities in general. It took 5 years in the making, finally it's worthwhile, a highly recommended result. Sacral, provided with many twists, turns, breaks, odd time signatures. Sounds like a tiny classical orchestra goes prog. With a restriction though that the regular strings are substituted by the keyboards. Some like-minded supporters are catering for flute, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet aso. Johan's daughter Miranda serves some sacred operetta singing, moreover solely the last song Bortglömda Gårdar shows some regular singing, in native language.

They are starting with the title track, and then, in the aftermath, there's practically no need for another statement anymore. Man! What a discovery! Especially when you are a keyboard aficionado. Of course the allmighty mellotron won't be missed. You definitely should not avoid these traps. Strong composing competence, no doubts. I'm nearly overchallenged due to this range of impressions. King Crimson and Zeuhl fans should pay attention too. That means about sixty unpredictable and gripping minutes of sheer beauty, a new milestone of scandinavian symphonic prog. Preferably take your headphones and simply enjoy! Despite some tough competition 'A Drop Of Light' is a strong contender for the album of the year 2018.

Review by poslednijat_colobar
5 stars Anglagard II

All Traps On Earth appears practically after a reunion between the Anglagard musicians Johan Brand and Thomas Johnson, following the departure of the latter from the renowned symphonic Swedish band Anglagard soon after the release of their third studio album - Viljans Oga (their best to date in my opinion). They both, together with the current Anglagard drummer Erik Hammarstrom, Brand's daughter Miranda Brand and a couple of wind instrumentalists bring this alternative Anglagard line-up to new heights and development. The sound of the musicians continues to evolve, reaching new musical fields with inimitable and complex abundance of wind instruments entwined with the typical intensive and saturated symphonic line of the band. All these wind instruments help the album to touch a beautiful fusion domain. Extremely complex, profound and accomplished songwriting typical of this bandmembers amazes. A Drop of Light could easily have served as the newest best Anglagard album if that moniker was to be used. In spite of having three wonderful masterpieces Anglagard musicians continue to make another steps forward. The Anglagard musicians maintain their respectful status of the legislators of post-70s symphonic prog. Do not miss it!

One of the most complexly accomplished and balanced albums of the 21st century!

Review by siLLy puPPy
5 stars By far, THE best prog rock album of 2018!

There's nothing like a good traditional prog album in the modern day. While there are many brilliant new forks in the road in the ever expanding musical universe that constitute progressive rock, there's something very comforting about the moments when a band with connections to the past takes a traditional true and tried stylistic approach and upgrades it for the modern era. Such is the case of a prog revival band that hit the scene in 1991 and was one of the major bands that launched the prog revival of the 90s which together with such acts as Dream Theater took the genre to new levels and an increased awareness of the musical history from which they stemmed. I'm talking about Änglagård of course, the slick and complex Swedish outfit that revisited the past, honed the chops of their primary influences which included King Crimson, Genesis, Gentle Giant, Trettioåriga Kriget and Van Der Graaf Generator just to name a few and concocted a unique and diverse musical amalgam of satisfying retro prog which assisted the once mighty genre back onto the world's stage.

While Änglagård was one of the primary movers and shakers in the new prog revival scene, the band after releasing only two albums ("Hybris" and "Epilog") seemed to disappear as quickly as it came but reappeared out of nowhere almost a decade later with the third album "Viljans öga." Once again the band took a hiatus after playing peek-a-boo with the public but this time didn't come back with a followup and rabid prog fans have been left in the dark ever since as to whether the band will ever emerge from the shadow world and release a much wanted fourth album. Come 2018 and still no new Änglagård album but perhaps the next best thing. One of the members, namely Johan Brand (aka Johan Högberg) had planned as far back as 2012 to release some sort of solo album but never quite had a firm grasp as to how it would actually sound and what sort of stylistic approach he would adopt. With some rudimentary pieces in place, the project sort of gestated slowly until some new developments occurred.

By 2016, two more members of Änglagård, keyboardist Thomas Johnson and percussionist Erik Hammarström found a common interest with Brand in taking the classic Änglagård and adding new elements that were missing from the original team. The intended solo album became the band ALL TRAPS ON EARTH which like the band from which it spawned, pays tribute to what came before and adapts the classic sound to the modern era. The first album A DROP OF LIGHT sort of picks up where"Viljans öga" left off except that this time around, the band expanded to include a wealth of new musical styles in the mix with an unfathomable number of instrumental overdrive woven into the musical tapestry to create one of the most vibrant and exciting retro prog albums of the year 2018. Joining this power trio from the once mighty band of symphonic prog wizards is the inclusion of Brand's own daughter Miranda Brand who contributes an amazing delivery of operatic wordless vocals that add an angelic human touch that was mostly absent from Änglagård's classic sound but in the process evokes prog's heyday Canterbury Scene acts such as Hatfield & The North.

A DROP OF LIGHT despite the darkened album cover art actually evokes a lighthearted feel to the album's 63 and a half minute run. Much like the classic band that it evolved from, ALL TRAPS ON EARTH unleashes an epic sounding prog album of four lengthy tracks with a fifth tiny two minute inclusion that serves as a breather amongst the four sprawling adventurous behemoth tracks that exceed the thirteen minute mark with the opening "All Traps On Earth" clocking in over a staggering 18 minutes. Much in the vein of classic Änglagård, the music is very much centered in a classic symphonic prog setting that focuses on complex melodies of a classical nature and then forcefully develops them into sprawling prog monstrosities with a thick dense atmospheric overcast as time signature rich angularities march into infinity as they deliver stellar instrumental interplay and exquisite virtuosic workouts while supplemental instruments find their ways into the nooks and crannies. Yes, the similarities are stark and there is no doubt from which great band this new creation has emerged but there are differences as well!

Unlike the classic Änglagård playbook, ALL TRAPS ON EARTH embellishes the classic prog underpinning with a wealth of timbres and tempo changes. Firstly of all, there is very much a zeuhl martial rhythmic influence that protrudes into the mix at various stages but not the in your face sort of Teutonic Magma style, but rather the avant-prog infused style of the one hit prog wonder Dün. Likewise A DROP OF LIGHT finds jazzy touches with the help of stellar saxophones, trumpets, flugelhorns and clarinets. In fact there are five guest musicians that not only provide the horns but include flutes, recorders and extra guitars. The instruments performed by the power trio alone number in the dozens with every kind of organ, mellotron, keyboard and piano sound finding its way into the flow of things. Percussion is well tended to with the extra gusto of marimba, xylophone, glockenspiel, crotales, timpani, wood block, tam tam and Mike Oldfield's favorite of all, tubular bells! The tapestry of this music is woven in a much more diverse manner with the instrumentation and voluminous vocal grace of Miranda Brand's presence which takes this to a similar but distantly related sonic reality. While Änglagård could be cold and detached, ALL TRAPS ON EARTH finds an easier emotional connection with not only angular rhythmic swirls pounding away at the senses but sensual tender moments that offer easier on the ears periods of breathing room.

While clearly tailored for the modern era, there is no doubt that ALL TRAPS ON EARTH is a traditional retro prog album through and through. Through the lens of the Änglagård heritage, ALL TRAPS ON EARTH captures the initial 70s influences that made that band so retro on its own terms. Tucked into the edgy and complex nature of A DROP OF LIGHT are the usual classic prog influences such as King Crimson, Genesis, Van Der Graaf Generator as well as the more alienating zeuhl and avant-prog sounds mixed with the warmth of the Canterbury Scene. The music can be dark and forbidding as well as enlightening and elegiac all within the same composition and then moves onto more angular constructs but the overall vibe of A DROP OF LIGHT is as written on the packaging sticker "magnificent symphonic prog from Sweden." While my main form of modern prog entertainment often comes from the unfettered experimentations that pushes the genre into a wider array of expansion, there's no doubt that a perfectly executed slice of traditional prog that evokes the forefathers' master plan can be as exciting as the most cutting edge unorthodoxies. In recent years, we have been finding a new strain of retro prog reaching the qualitative magnanimity of their influences as evidenced by 2017's outstanding Wobbler album. ALL TRAPS ON EARTH is here the very next year to prove that it was indeed no fluke and that a new generation of classic prog is back. For all the hype that surrounds certain albums, many trends seem to only attract a portion of the prog world but every once in a while an album like A DROP OF LIGHT descends from the heaven's above as a musical unifying factor which in this case signifies the undisputed champion of best prog album of 2018! Hallelujah!

Review by DamoXt7942
FORUM & SITE ADMIN GROUP Avant/Cross/Neo/Post Teams
5 stars At the end of 2018, I've stumbled upon a surprising, amazing album of ALL TRAPS ON EARTH, that was created mainly by three 'nglag'rders (Erik HAMMERSTR'M, Thomas JOHNSON, and Johan BRAND). Veiled in a dark, depressive sleeve full of deep meaning, the soundscape in the creation goes forward as if it would absorb their previous world into the core or as if it would release their glory out from themselves and let them jump over completely. The melody lines or the rhythmic sentences have got more complicated and more dynamic than the Swedish symphonic legend, but you can feel vividly 'nglag'rd's atmosphere and their methodological sound construction along with such a critical, chilling artistic structure. Every track except the fourth "First Step" is quite long (over ten minute) but delightful time would be spent just a moment, let me say.

Anyway listen. The first self-titled track is the masterpiece, everything. All instruments can get synchronized and harmonized perfectly, under such a complex melodic / rhythmic situation. Cool, crazy, and powerful voices by Miranda (Johan's sister) sometimes sounds like a brilliant sunflower and sometimes like a dead dry rose. Wind instruments by some guest session musicians work like special collaborators without any blur nor distortion. A similar mention above can be done in the second track "Magmatic Warning" with slight delicate and fragile sentences in the beginning, and serious parts (each of which cannot be predicted at all) coming one after another. Heavier, deeper, and more introspective sound should be passing by, overall.

In the middle one "Omen" you can feel directly 'nglag'rd's similarity. Intensive, ardent, and magnificent wind instrument sounds are pretty effective and energetic. Slender, fragile Miranda's scat should move you to tears. Beautifully crystallized symphony based upon deep, heavy turf can stream comfortably. "First Step" is quite too short for them but quite condensed to still, safe and sound. You could be releived for a moment. "Bortgl'mda G'rdar" is the best epilogue for the artists and the audience. Along with fantastic chorus and harmony, their sound dogma is told from the beginning until the end. Quiet, gentle moments amongst hard, metallic phrases ... upon the recording in the studio, they might have looked deeply into your inner mind I imagine?

In conclusion, this album should climb up to the top of 2018 progressive rock scene. How awesome.

Review by Nogbad_The_Bad
FORUM & SITE ADMIN GROUP RIO/Avant/Zeuhl & Eclectic Team
4 stars Well this was a pleasant surprise at the end of the year, good solid retro prog with a darker zeuhly feel from the Anglagard alums. Not sure it's bringing anything particularly new to the scene but a good enjoyable album. Not much more you can ask for. Recommended for anyone into Anglagard or similar dark symph instrumental music. The vocals tend to be of the wailing variety which fits the music well.

The core of the band is Johan Brand (keyboards, bass & vcals), Thomas Johnson (keyboards), and Erik Hammarström (drums and percussion), with Miranda Brand on vocals. There are a bunch of guest musicians playing horns, reeds, guitar and the like.

Review by rdtprog
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Heavy / RPI / Symphonic Prog Team
5 stars This one came as a surprise just like the Hybris album 25 years ago. The project is the work of a founding member, bassist of Anglagard with other members of the same band and guest musicians. The result is a new kind of Anglagard with more intricate song structures and an atmosphere that sound like a movie, remind of Goblin at times. If the guitar has a minor role, the music is so rich with other instruments: mellotron, flute, sax, trumpet etc., that you don't suffer the lack of guitar. All this instrumentation is accompanied by the voices of Johan Brand's daughter Miranda who gives a dreamy atmosphere to the music. The symphonic music here takes the usual mood changes but with even more complex and unusual song structures, some light jazz, Canterbury tones, and avant-garde music. The songs can hit you with some sudden majestic passage that is embellished by the sound of a new instrument. This album sound if Anglagard had left the door open to the world and invite many people to the family using all the instrumentation you can use in the prog rock genre to craft a masterpiece that you learn to discover his great beauty with each listens.
Review by jamesbaldwin
3 stars This is the twentieth review of "A Drop Of Light" which until now has only 19 reviews (but in total 207 ratings). And it is, with so few reviews, at the twelfth place in the prog album ranking of all time, after "Fragile" and before "Larks Tongue in Aspic" (thirteenth), followed by "Nursery Crime" (fourteenth). I must confess that this fact gives me the creeps. The summit is a few positions higher up. Do I really listen to an absolute masterpiece of the history of progressive rock? Is "A Drop Of Light" able to keep up with the greatest masterpieces of Yes, King Crimson, Genesis (and Pink Floyd and Van der Graaf)? I don't know, I usually wait two or three years before writing a review, because I prefer to "settle" an album for various seasons. But with this review I want to start writing my impression on the contemporary prog, knowing that I could change my mind on this Lp in the next future. So what is my impression? Well, I can't say Ihad the thunderbolt.

This music, very cerebral and convoluted, very composite, seems to me a display of compositional and executive ability, of original arrangements, rather than the result of clear, crystalline inspiration. I don't discuss the high class of the initial suite "All Traps on Earth" (18 minutes, vote 8), the initial lyrical opera tone (Miranda Brand), the orchestral passages that mix lyric singing, obsessive rhythm and suond almost heavy metal. We are dealing with a very eclectic symphonic rock, the insertion of wind instruments (saxes, trumpet and flute, I guess) is very original, and the frenzied rhythm seems a race to want to surprise at all costs, but what is affected is the pathos, the emotion, which has no time to develop because the mind remains dazed.

The second song ("Magmatic Warning", 16 minutes: another suite, almost entirely instrumental, vote 7,5), which begins with the grand piano (Johan Brad, the factotum: composer and arranger and producer), soon follows the orchestral atmosphere at a frenetic pace (with more melodic flashes) than the previous one. Listening to it, I begin to realize that the pieces I like the most are the less orchestral ones, where the most "noble" instruments are heard: saxophone, flute, clarinet, trumpet. There are various enjoyable moments, but on the whole the piece lasts too much, the last 5 minutes are dragged along, save for a jolt towards the end, when the tone becomes more solemn and the lyric (mezzo-soprano?) voice of Miranda enters. The beginning of "Omen (13 minutes, vote 7,5/8), again in lyric style, recalls the King Crimson's "Pictures Of A City" (as already some moments of the first song). When the orchestral part arrives together with the lyrical voice, I can't deny that I seem to have already heard those musical moments, and after a while I get the impression of listening to something extremely verbose and devoid of a central melody, of a bearing structure. Again, the less orchestral pieces seem to me when the wind instruments peek out. I begin to think that the album is logorroic, hyperproduced and formed by continuous instrumental variations on an absent central theme. These critical observations don't indicate that the music is bad or poor: on the contrary, the music is high class and extremely refined, but does not reach, in my opinion, the top of excellence, just for the reasons mentioned.

After a track of two minutes ("First Step"), perhaps the most melodic piece on the album, conducted by Johan Brand's piano, arrives the fourth and last suite, "Bortglömda Gårdar" (14 minutes), with, strange, a vocal incipit. Maybe this is the better track of the album (vote 8+), thanks to the melodic moments, the trumpet solo (there are many instruments that I love in this album, the arrangement is really sumptuous and composite, but no instrument makes a real unforgettable solo), the vocals passages. "Crescendo ending".

Overall we are between three and four stars. For the moment I remain cautious.

Vote album: 8. Rating: Three (and a half) stars.

Review by Warthur
4 stars All Traps On Earth isn't Anglagard, but it's terribly close to it, with multiple members of the band joining with Miranda Brand (daughter of Anglagard bassist Johan Brand) adding an important extra texture in the form of her impressive vocal talents. Without distinct words, this is very much in the realm of voice-as-instrument, which might prompt some listeners to draw comparisons to classic Magma, whereas musically this very much feels like part of the Anglagard family tree, with the mid-1970s King Crimson influences perhaps peeping through a little more prominently than usual.

The total package isn't quite as groundbreaking as Anglagard's early works were, but it remains an impressive accomplishment and establishes this side project as a force to watch out for, should they decide to lay further traps for unwary listeners.

Review by Menswear
4 stars Return to the Haunted Woods.

Attention all seekers of sonic goodies, we have a solid contender here., All Traps is more or less the same canvas as their brother Anglagard. And that's good news. Really good. Althought my scandinavian phase is behind me (13 years ago already), it feels nice to plunge again into a chilly country again.

Althought it's not carbon copy (about 70% the same), All Traps are shooting more brass\ woodwinds jazzy moments in the mix. Many times I thought of King Crimsonesque saxes and mellotrons. This time, and fortunately, they've thrown in a new element: haunting feminine 'Aaahs', making some moments pretty vampiresque, to say the least. But basically, it's pretty much the formula we all know and love: haunted woods on a very cloudy, windy day.

Even though All Traps sports all the ingredients that made it's counterpart Anglagard a treat, it also carries the same flaws: every track sounds the same. I was hoping a bit of variety in the textures, but no. Again, I feel that I'm listening to one continuous track for an hour. Same glockenspiel, flute, organ, Hackett guitar, Ricky bass, jerky back and forth rhythms, making at times the album quite monotonous, a long trip with the same landscapes. Some like it. Some find it annoying.

To Each His Own.

Review by VianaProghead
5 stars Review Nº 516

One of the best things about this great big wide genre of music, usually known as progressive music, is that there are nearly as many sub-genres as there are listeners. It's not like in rock or metal, in general, where the differences are very insignificant. Rather, most of the progressive music fans take this stuff seriously enough that a sub-genre is usually not created without a good reason. And this genre has many sub-genres spread all over the world since the end of the 60's.

Sweden has been the home of some of the best prog bands in the several sub-genres through the late 20th Century, like Kaipa, The Flower Kings, Anglagard, Anekdoten, Opeth, Pain Of Salvation and Beardfish, only to name a few and some of the most known. However, lurking within the forests of the genre is something completely unexpected. Somewhere, lurking in the dank of a prog forest is a Swedish band called Anglagard. Anglagard has a strange story. While the band was extremely active and ambitious in the 90's, having released two studio albums "Hybris" in 1992 and "Epilog" in 1994 and also a live album "Buried Alive" in 1996, they lay dormant for nearly two decades, until that finally they emerged from where they hibernated so long, to release their 2012 album, and most recent until now, "Viljans Oga". They are quite possibly the modern masters of a sound inhabited by those bold enough to tread where few others dare.

In 2013 was founded another Swedish prog band named All Traps On Earth. All Traps On Earth is the new band of Anglagard's bassist Johan Brand, who is basically a kind of Anglagard Mk. II. Along with Brand, one of the strongest personalities among those bold adventurers, we have Thomas Johnson and Erik Hammarstrom, two other Anglagard's members, and Brand's daughter, Miranda. In addition we have trumpeters, flutists, saxophonists and horn players.

Despite the differences between Anglagard and All Traps On Earth, there is still a portion of Anglagard in it. In addition to powerful Mellotron cascades, clear King Crimson's reminiscences from their early phase, some moderate Magma impact, and a clear horror soundtrack touch in the style of the Italian Goblin, we have the dark and bulky music with reserved vocals. It has the tonal and compositional magic that takes a welcome journey through time to the prog of the 70's. This is how you can recognize the role models, but the material from All Traps On Earth breathes musical, quite imaginative free spirit, melancholy, sadness and the retro power and jazz-rock character in its own and very vital corset.

"A Drop Of Light" opens with "All Traps On Earth". It features Miranda's operatic voice, which along with keyboards, as the piece unfolds create an escalating and foreboding picture. Then everything breaks loose in a chaotic free- style, with an intensity which conflates King Crimson's "Lizard" era, the RIO movement, Steven Wilson and Gentle Giant. The track is awash with some intensive time signatures, always creating a big tension and power. "Magmatic Warning" has some references to Zeuhl. Still, I wouldn't say that this is a tribute to Magma. Brand employs distorted bass to add power before piano walks us into another setting for another gruesome scene. Trumpet, nightmarish synths, growling fuzz tone bass, and giant swell-like drums offer a suitable climax. It's left to Miranda's voice to bring tranquillity to the proceedings, although there's no chance of bringing peace here. "Omen" shows more appreciation for RIO movement. It has retro-prog, jazz-rock, bombastic, orchestral, experimental, Zappaesque, lots of blowers and clear references to King Crimson's "Starless And Bible Black" era, wild loud quiet changes with careful metal outbursts and quickly brought back to melodic, by flute tones and classical piano passages, aria and movement chants. "First Step" is an atonal composition introduced with piano and where flute and Mellotron emerge, providing a nice counterpoint to all the epic bombast with a Goblin's like arrangement that makes you feel something crawling up your spine. Sometimes, it also reminds me King Crimson, the delicate piece, "Peace" of "In The Wake Of Poseidon". "Bortglomda Gardar" ends the album with the only piece with clear vocals in Swedish. It's another additional timbre that ultimately not only leaves the progressive enthusiast, as promised on the album title, a sonorous drop of light, but flooded with the brightest rays of sunshine of progressive music passion and mastery. It's a nice conclusion to a fascinating and captivating album.

Conclusion: Any fan of Anglagard needs to buy this album. It's not exactly the same thing, but it will scratch the itch left by the six years between "A Drop Of Light" and when "Viljans Oga" was released. Thematically "A Drop Of Light" falls somewhere between Anglagard's first two albums, though it's not far removed from their latest either. "A Drop Of Light" is an absorbing, dark voyage, filled with disturbing twists and chilling dynamics. Not for the faint of heart, however this is an incredible journey that you will be compelled to take. This is a unique album full of dark, dense and complex music but, it's also an album with nice melodies and angelic vocals. If you like a blend of symphonic prog rock, like Anglagard, King Crimson, a variety of styles and a wide range of instruments, this is an album for you, surely.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Review by Dapper~Blueberries
5 stars In recent years Prog Rock has been dominated by countless Swedish bands that seem to have mastered the genre in new and cunning ways. Bands like The Flower Kings, Introitus, Beardfish, and Moon Safari continues the legacy of bands of old with new and exciting feats, while bands like Opeth, Edge of Sanity, Pan.Thy.Monium, and Seventh Wonder brings down awesome heavy metal styles of Prog to really get the blood pumping. There are a ton of great bands that came out in Sweden, some of which have become some of the biggest names in the Progressive world. With how expansive the world is now, the idea of new bands coming out of the woodwork has become a lot more widespread. Back in the late 1900s, it wasn't rare to have a band get big, but it wasn't common either. Now with the internet, people are now discovering the joys of newer bands a lot more often. One of those bands that caught the eyes of many Prog fans is All Traps on Earth. They are loved pretty highly among many Prog fans, both young and old, and that already got me interested in seeing how they live up to the greats in their area, or if they bring out a different flavor of Prog that I haven't heard before.

Let's start with the first track, which is All Traps On Earth, the band title track for the album. It is a 18 plus minute epic that is actually very interesting at the beginning, starting off very quietly with an organ and a flute, creating a nice atmosphere to really set the mood. Afterwards it then evolves into this Avant jazzy type melody with some great horn work that just melts together with the drumming of Erik Hammarström and the vocals of Miranda Brand. Immediately it took me back to when I first listened to Lizard by King Crimson and I immediately got pumped for some amazing and gothic sorta sounding Prog. As the song progresses, it gets weirder and creepier, with my favorite part being near the middle going a bit playful sounding with the clarinets and flute as it slowly gets more and more sinister with the use of guitar and choir vocals. It admittedly gave me the best kind of goosebumps. This song also knows how to relax a bit with a piano piece immediately afterwards to try to cool down a bit and add more to the already chilling atmosphere. Already I am awestruck by how well they managed to create such a foreboding feel with this album, and we're only at the tip of the iceberg. Those stunning operatic vocals of Miranda, those amazing horns, the amazing drumming of Erik, and those great keys of Johan Brand and Thomas Johnson all come together to create an already fantastic experience.

The next song is another epic. A 16 minute piece called Magmatic Warning. Continuing off the heels and atmosphere of the last song, we get another impressive force of dark and gothic sounding symphonies that really hammer in your skull the power this band can pull. It goes from wild and crazy to more angelic and soft at a blink's notice, and it's so good hearing how it twists and changes from those great jazzy segments to those more desolate, almost folk styled playing. I was thinking on what comparisons to put them at, and the only result was Wobbler, but not by much. Wobbler is a bit more cheery, still a little gothic but they clearly focus more on a cheery and lighthearted vibe with more cohesive playing than this album's creepy and eerie vibes and styles. It really stands out from the crowds and just makes something very unique. Also how this song ends is super amazing. Very cinematic sounding with the vocals and instrumentation going ham with each other and giving it their absolute all. It's just super epic and definitely the strongest bit of music I have heard in a good while.

Next up is Omen. A 12 minute song that showcases a lot more of the vibes the band has deployed, however it focuses a bit more on its more folk like side for a bit before evolving to a more symphonic playing, and then focusing on all their aspects as one, with some jazz sprinkled in. It just flows so well, no filler whatsoever with this song. This is another thing the band does really well, and that is their flow and progression. No song has any filler at all, resulting in this nice consistent package of creepy chaos that just bleeds out into your ears. They really knew how to make a damn great first impression after three songs, and I feel no signs of wavering here.

Next is First Step, the shortest song on the album being a mere 2 minutes. This is a piano and choir piece that is a lot more pretty than gothic and spooky. It still sets the vibes, but it is quite effective at giving a small break from those intense horns and jammy passages the last three songs gave us. It serves its purpose, and it serves it well, and despite it being pretty short, I think it is still as good as the tunes and melodies that came before. You know a band is great when even the smaller songs are just as good as their big and sweeping epics.

Lastly is Bortglöma Gårdar, a 14 minute song that takes you back to the past where those gothic sounds originated from. This song clearly has a ton of inspiration based on those old medieval tunes in Western Europe while it evolves into that signature style, while also showcasing their adaptive nature on combining the two styles to create something even better. It works tremendously well here and I am just blown away by it. However I do have to critique it where it is due, and that has to come from the singing. Now Jonan Brand is not a half bad singer. He has some good moments on this song, but man do I wish Miranda sang here instead. She has proven herself throughout the album that she can pull off some very angelic sounding vocals that are very operatic to where I was pretty stoked to hear if she might sing full on verses and choruses on one of the songs since the first epic creeped its way into my ears, however sadly that never came true. A small nitpick really, but I do hope Miranda does get her time to shine on a hopefully second album someday. Despite this, it leaves off with a high note with a beautiful piano melody to close out an amazing album.

I am very blown away by this. It is rare for a band to come out of the woodwork this strongly with an album that creates an amazing atmosphere. No wonder this band is highly regarded, because they are wonderful. If you haven't checked them out yet then I highly recommend it, cause right now they are very promising for the future of modern day Prog rock, and I bet they'll deliver more in spades in the near future.

Review by Mellotron Storm
5 stars ALL TRAPS ON EARTH is the project of ANGLAGARD's bass player Johan Brand. He's brought in ANGLAGARD's keyboardist Thomas Johnson as well as drummer Erik Hammarstrom who was ANGLAGARD's drummer on that live album from Japan called "Prog PaSvenska" released in 2014. So yes the ANGLAGARD influence is very strong. Johan's daughter Miranda is the fourth member adding wordless vocals on and off throughout the album. Man this is one complex album. I was overwhelmed many times with the array of sounds constantly changing to the point my head is spinning. I mean I can't take notes on what I'm hearing because I can't keep up. Now Johan certainly contrasts these many powerful sections with atmosphere and calm.

Miranda's otherworldly voice really adds to this recording. Johan himself describes her voice as magical and unique with an authority that cuts through all the layers of complexity on this record. Johan says Erik was an obvious choice on drums describing his style as innovative and explosive bringing a new dimension to the music. "His drumming has also influenced us to rewrite and rearrange some of the themes after his playful style". Johnan says this about keyboardist Thomas Johnson "He has been immensely important for the records growth and completeness in all respects. Starting from my wild demo recordings we sat down and structured, rearranged and extended the songs to their final form".

I should mention that Johan and Thomas are both in THIEVES' KITCHEN and their guitarist in that band is British musician Phil Mercy who guests on here along with two flautists and two horn players. So cool to read them thank Stefan Dimle(LANDBERK) along with Greg Walker and others in the liner notes. Reminds me that I got a mention on that SHAMBLEMATHS "II" record from 2021 which beats this one but barely. Two of the finest recordings I've heard in my life. Just so much to chew on with these records and both are way over my head. Just so much respect for what these two bands have recorded. The man who did the cover art also came up with the album's title "A Drop Of Light". A worthy visual to the audio in fact the whole package is done so well.

Johan also mentions "Because of the sometimes dense instrumentation, with many instruments that play against each other. I wanted the production to be dry and intimate when necessary: but there are also moments when we wanted to let the sound open up into atmospheric and evocative landscapes". There is a ton of mellotron on this album. Both Thomas and Johan play it as they both do in ANGLAGARD. Johan's bass sounds incredible as usual. I mean he uses several different ones but man upfront the way I like it. He also plays guitar on here. Lots of vibes, marimba, timpani, xylophone and the like from the drummer.

And I want to mention the Chamberlin harpsichord on the closer as sounding very cool and Johan actually wrote the 14 minute closer by improvising with this instrument. The Swedish title for this track means "Forgotten Houses" with lyrics as Johan sings about "...beautiful old family houses standing and maturing around the Swedish countryside... The houses remain as monuments to time, as echoes of the past." As much as I like to describe the music this is one album that needs to be experienced with headphones and your full attention just like SHAMBLEMATH's "II" record released three years after this one. Another glorious retro record from Sweden and like many of you out there this is my album of the year for 2018 just ahead of SONAR's "Vortex" and Dewa Budjana's "Mahandini".

Latest members reviews

3 stars Any discussion of All Traps on Earth requires at least briefly discussing Änglagård, the band's progenitor. Änglagård were one of the best (read: one of the few good) progressive rock acts of the 1990s. They put out two classic albums, Hybris (1992) and Epilog (1994). These releases brought the s ... (read more)

Report this review (#2903083) | Posted by TheEliteExtremophile | Friday, March 31, 2023 | Review Permanlink

2 stars A Swedish band that stayed under my radar for at least 40 years. And rightly so. Except for some really beautiful delicate parts in the very long 18" first song, the style of this album is pompous and replete with platitudes. Plenty of female vocals in the "Lord of the Rings" variety, plenty of ... (read more)

Report this review (#2895495) | Posted by telefunk | Wednesday, March 1, 2023 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Alright, deciding to rewrite this review too, but I'm not changing my overall thoughts on the album. I still believe that this album is fairly lazy of the bassist of Anglagärd to not change much about the style of either band he is in. I also think that Anglagärd did this style of music better, but ... (read more)

Report this review (#2377542) | Posted by Zoltanxvamos | Wednesday, May 6, 2020 | Review Permanlink

5 stars After several several spins of this beautiful album, I'm ready to say it's a 5 star masterpiece. There's a nearly unmatched attention to detail as well as many layers of vast, varying instrumentation throughout every song. Pair this with flawless production and you got a great recipe. I love that th ... (read more)

Report this review (#2234158) | Posted by dougmcauliffe | Sunday, June 30, 2019 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Devastating, powerful, driven and full of beautiful moments. These days I rarely have time to write reviews but for this record I had to make an exception. I purchased the it almost as soon as it came out and listened to it a couple of times. My initial thought was; this is intense. It had all ... (read more)

Report this review (#2150149) | Posted by spleenache | Wednesday, February 27, 2019 | Review Permanlink

5 stars "Rare Masterpiece Alert", everyone. This one took a little time to digest. Anglagard fans like me were drawn to this album, almost by instinct. Over time you learn to realize just how brilliant this album really is. Painstaking attentio to detail. Amazing ear for pure analog sound. Outstanding ... (read more)

Report this review (#2138633) | Posted by uribreitman | Friday, February 22, 2019 | Review Permanlink

4 stars "Great but quirky" Website info: "All Traps on Earth is the name chosen by Anglagard's founding member and bassist Johan Brand for this project of his, involving keyboard player Thomas Johnson and drummer ... (read more)

Report this review (#2132609) | Posted by TenYearsAfter | Wednesday, January 30, 2019 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I usually don't review music, but after listening to this album for a couple of weeks, I feel that I have to write a few lines. For this is really amazingly good! My expectations were quite high when I two years ago heard that Änglagårds bassist Johan Brand was writing music for a solo project. ... (read more)

Report this review (#2121568) | Posted by Progressive Woman | Saturday, January 26, 2019 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Arrangements well though out albeit a bit unsophisticated and stark in certain cliche ways. In many ways this music is a parody of itself with its machine-like wandering and familiar voicings and textures. If you love this kind of stuff you will find it highly enjoyable because it is very well d ... (read more)

Report this review (#2118912) | Posted by ZappaBowie | Wednesday, January 16, 2019 | Review Permanlink

1 stars The main qualm I have with this album is that it adds nothing to what has already been done. There's nothing innovative about this album. It's not very progressive in that way. This album is very classically-driven and can get quite boring in places. Nothing sticks with me after listening to this ... (read more)

Report this review (#2113464) | Posted by rooteen | Tuesday, January 1, 2019 | Review Permanlink

5 stars From my review at Sonic Perspectives, dated November 17, 2018: As a reviewer, it pains me to compare this album to Änglagård, as it deserves to live and breathe in its own space and have its own identity. But let's face it, most people curious about this album are probably already familiar with ... (read more)

Report this review (#2111437) | Posted by PapaFelix | Wednesday, December 26, 2018 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Amazing album. Tough experience, to be honest. The band explores quite a lot of different areas, with wide and deep range of dynamics. From beautiful quiet symphonic melancholy to some screaming loud overdriven schizophrenia. Back and forth. Frequently. And it's rather gloomy all the time. Atmospher ... (read more)

Report this review (#2111402) | Posted by Littleironic | Wednesday, December 26, 2018 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Absolutely stunning! I've enjoyed Änglagård in the past, but this spin-off is something completely different! The complexity of the compositions and their brilliant execution by master musicians has me nearly in tears as I listen to this unfolding masterpiece. If you haven't heard it, imagine a g ... (read more)

Report this review (#2111384) | Posted by wiz_d_kidd | Wednesday, December 26, 2018 | Review Permanlink

5 stars It's truly a masterwork. Symphonic prog at it's best and beyond. It takes you to a whole different world. It's great to see some people responsible for those really legendary achievments years ago still developing, pushing the boundaries and making it all fresh and alive. I'am grateful to see that k ... (read more)

Report this review (#2110871) | Posted by konrid22 | Monday, December 24, 2018 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Prog lovers, let's unite to thank Sweden! Indeed, we owe a debt of gratitude to the musicians of this country. The northernity of a population of only ten million people generously fuelled the gradual renewal of the 1990s and continues to this day. Examples include LANDBERK, GALLEON, ANEKDOTEN, ... (read more)

Report this review (#2107811) | Posted by ProgSerge | Monday, December 17, 2018 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I guess I also have to put my two words about this wonderful album. I will tell you the truth, I didn't know what to expect. I am a huge Anglagard's fan and was hoping to find similarities but yet differences. When I listened to it the first time around, I automatically felt in love with the soun ... (read more)

Report this review (#2097562) | Posted by Fredsimoneau | Sunday, December 16, 2018 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is it, I guess. One of the most unique and mythical bands out of Sweden, Änglagård, transforms into All Traps on Earth. Well, not completely. Änglagård founding member and guitarist Johan Brand formed All Traps on Earth in a different line-up with Thomas Johnson (keyboards) and Erik Hammarst ... (read more)

Report this review (#2097228) | Posted by Raphaell Gerrez | Saturday, December 15, 2018 | Review Permanlink

5 stars *I rarely review albums I purchase, as I'm no writer. But being a Progressive Rock fan since Vanilla Fudge, & earliest King Crimson, I know what I'm saying here, although I may fail to say it with elegance. Of all the Prog albums I have purchased this year, (25 +) for me, beyond question, this ... (read more)

Report this review (#2087036) | Posted by Bobby Neal | Friday, December 14, 2018 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I first wanted to say that I never review albums that I buy but this album and this band is some of the greatest progressive rock that I have heard since the 1970s! A Drop Of Light is not only the album of the year but it is one of the greatest prog albums I ever heard. I am a huge Anglagard fan and ... (read more)

Report this review (#2087025) | Posted by ELPPFM | Friday, December 14, 2018 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The year 2018 was in general a musically poor year. There are (at least in my subjective terms) only two 2018 prog releases which might be considered really essential and rated as instant masterpieces. One of them, Heureux! by Ange, solemnly opened the year. Another one, A Drop Of Light by All T ... (read more)

Report this review (#2084169) | Posted by proghaven | Friday, December 7, 2018 | Review Permanlink

Post a review of ALL TRAPS ON EARTH "A Drop of Light"

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.