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DWELLERS OF THE DEEP

Wobbler

Symphonic Prog


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Wobbler Dwellers of the Deep album cover
4.40 | 203 ratings | 15 reviews | 51% 5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of
progressive rock music

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Studio Album, released in 2020

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. By the Banks (13:49)
2. Five Rooms (8:28)
3. Naiad Dreams (4:24)
4. Merry Macabre (19:00)

Total Time 45:41

Line-up / Musicians

- Andreas Wettergreen Strømman Prestmo / vocals, guitars
- Marius Halleland / guitars, backing vocals
- Lars Fredrik Frøislie / keyboards
- Kristian Karl Hultgren / bass
- Martin Nordrum Kneppen / drums

Releases information

Release date: October 23, 2020

Label: Karisma Records
Formats:
- Digital,
- Vinyl (Color - 300 copies, Marble - 750 copies, Transparent - 750 copies, Black),
- CD (Digipack - limited edition, Jewel Case)

Thanks to dougmcauliffe for the addition
and to NotAProghead for the last updates
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WOBBLER Dwellers of the Deep ratings distribution


4.40
(203 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(51%)
51%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(26%)
26%
Good, but non-essential (14%)
14%
Collectors/fans only (7%)
7%
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)
1%

WOBBLER Dwellers of the Deep reviews


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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
4 stars It was only a mere four years ago that the Norwegian band WOBBLER really stepped things up and usurped the throne as kings of retro prog with its fourth album "From Silence To Somewhere," an album so authentically steeped in vintage everything that you could really capture the zeitgeist of 1972 with Vietnam War protest fatigue, the Munich Olympics terrorist attacks, Watergate scandals and Coca Cola preaching how they'd like to teach the world to sing. The album was carefully planned and dripping with classic prog-isms that made you wish you could go back and time and trip out at a Yes concert. The world was stunned since the band's previous three efforts were decent but paled in comparison to the mighty roar of the sounds of "Silence."

When a band rockets into superstardom, even in underground musical terms, many things can happen. A given band can repeat the formula ad nauseam and milk it for all its worth, a given band can totally go off the rail and unleash their unrestrained avant-garde fantasies and alienate the fanbase or a given band can gracefully move on but not deviating too far from the album that put them on the map and eschew the temptation of making a carbon copy. The latter is exactly how WOBBLER has decided to proceed with its newfound glory in the prog spotlight and three years later makes a triumphant return with its eagerly anticipated followup and fifth album DWELLERS OF THE DEEP.

Once agin WOBBLER goes for the 70s retro jugular with the quintet of Andreas Wettergreen Strømman Prestmo (vocals, guitars), Marius Halleland (guitars, backing vocals), Lars Fredrik Frøislie (keyboards), Kristian Karl Hultgren (bass) and Martin Nordrum Kneppen (drums) forging that perfect middle ground somewhere in a parallel universe where classic bands like Yes, Genesis, Camel and a dash of Gentle Giant were all fused together for a moment and cranked out a bunch of albums. While some whippersnappers call this stuff vintage dad rock, others are called to evoke the sacred spirit of classic prog and remember how the wizards of yore constructed some of the most grandiose constructs tucked in the paradigm of rock music and celebrate its timelessness.

Graced with gorgeous eye-catching cover art, it's immediately apparent before even pushing play that DWELLERS OF THE DEEP finds WOBBLER staunchly positioned with its hand on the pulse of the retro prog loving public and fears are set aside of a botched comeback attempt once the wobbling keyboards, Christ Squire inspired bass lines and vocal nods to Jon Anderson come roaring through as the opening track "By The Banks" wends and winds through its proggy soundscape for a whopping playing time of nearly 14 minutes. WOBBLER is back and all fears are extinguished as this album of four tracks continues the magnanimity of its predecessor without skipping a beat! The album's four songs are divided into two lengthy prog behemoths, "By The Banks" at 13:49 and the album's highlight, the closing 19 minute sprawler "Merry Macabre" with two shorter tracks "Five Rooms" and "Naiad Dreams" tucked in between.

Like many prog albums, DWELLERS OF THE DEEP attempts to craft a nebulous concept about the roller coaster of human emotions crafted in a matrix of sonic tapestries that are designed to unite the present and the past. "By The Banks" bursts into your consciousness by breaking out the big guns of prog, namely gnarled keyboard attacks, time signature freedom and even a bit of nostalgic venturing into classic rock tracks like Boston's "Foreplay / Long Time" for a wee little moment which is WOBBLER's signature star power namely the ability to evoke many moments of the past without actually copying them! If retro prog is your calling then you've come to the right prog album here as the carefully designed constructs instantly transport you to the rickety basement studio where a bunch of hippies with greater musical ambitions spend their days mining riffs and polishing notes until they all shine with a sensual sheen!

Once the established mood is set on the 14 minute opener designed to pacify any lingering doubts that WOBBLER would "de-prog," the yellow brick road of "By The Banks" finds the band in good form as they traverse the 70s soundscapes effortlessly with one melodic groove transmogrifying into another existing somewhere between the hard rocking world of Yes' early 70s albums like "Close To The Edge" to medieval folk splendor in the form of band like Gryphon and early Genesis and if you hadn't picked up on the Yes-isms yet, the thundering roar of "Five Rooms" will leave you no way of denying it. This "short" track of only 8 1/2 minutes will evoke a taste of "Roundabout," "Close To The Edge" and other rhythmic complexities a la Squire, Howe, Bruford and Wakeman and like the Yes album title, skirts too close for comfort at times but never stays too close to the sun lest it burst into flames. No way, WOBBLER is too clever in how they flirt with greatness but then take the seas of rhythmic and melody into their own.

"Naiad Dreams," a track of only 4 1/2 minutes begins with a nice classical guitar intro and maintains a nice chilled Renaissance fair vibe that serves as a nice intermission before the album's best and most daring track "Merry Macabre" prances on for exactly 19 minutes with a series of classic prog gymnastics that finds a merry-go-round of prog workouts and psychedelic meanderings that culminate in a climactic conclusion of one of the most anticipated prog albums of the year. In conclusion, WOBBLER have hit another home run for sure with DWELLERS OF THE DEEP however the wow factor seems to be missing from this one. Something about "From Somewhere To Silence" had that touched by God feel whereas this one doesn't quite measure up to the perfection of its predecessor.

Despite what i deem as a slightly inferior album as a whole to "Silence," make no doubt about it - WOBBLER is back and back with a bang. Had this album really emerged in 1972 it would have indeed become one of the classics of the era but in reality there is only so much retro prog i'm willing to engage in on a profound level and unless it reaches the height of perfection as did "Silence," then i can only get excitied at the level of declaring this an EXCELLENT album and not whipping out the masterpiece designation. For those more enthralled with this style of prog then they will not be disappointed one little bit. Commence the dwelling! The deep beckons!

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I've been an avid follower and champion of these Norwegians for over ten years, however I think they may have overstayed their their adherence to the choice of YES imitation. As skilled as they are, as remarkable are the "new Yes songs" that they produce, I think it has gone too far. I want to hear more original sounds and more original ideas. Though Rick Wakeman, Chris Squire, and Jon Anderson (and to a lesser degree, Steve Howe and Alan White) should feel flattered, I'm afraid that no one will ever hear of Andreas Wettergreen Strømman Prestmo, Marius Halleland, Lars Fredrik Frøislie, Kristian Karl Hultgren, or Martin Nordrum Kneppen because everyone who hears a Wobbler album will only be hearing and comparing them to Yes.

1. "By the Banks" (13:49) My daughter's name is Persephone. I'm not sure yet whether this song is worthy of sending to her. The main rhythmic pattern and rising and falling chord progressions that the song returns to over an over throughout is memorable enough in a kind of Uriah Heep-approach-to-"South Side of the Sky"-kind of way-- and it is intra-dispersed with many divertissements and stylistic and instrument choice deviations to keep it interesting, but I'm not sure what element or aspect of the Goddess of the Spring and Queen of the Underworld they were going after, cuz I'm not feeling it. The most interesting part of the song, for me, is the unusual (and modern) instrumental bridge from 12:27 to 12:36. The end seems reverential but also quite final due to its abruptness--which, again, leaves me unsure as to what they were trying to express. The construction and instrumental performances are all top notch, it just lacks some (26.5/30)

2. "Five Rooms" (8:28) Wow, that was an odd opening: portentous organ preceding a racehorse start (a bit too wild and frenetic)--like Drama YES. things settle down in the YES-like third minute, and then feel solid YES until the frenzy continues--this time more controlled and smooth than the first time--at the end of the fourth minute. The first "new" (non-YES) idea comes in the middle of the fifth minute (though the drumming style may be non-Yes throughout). (17.5/20)

3. "Naiad Dreams" (4:24) opens with 90 seconds of solo classical guitar. The voice of Andreas Wettergreen Strømman Prestmo enters, singing a verse over the solo guitar before other instruments (bass, glockenspiel, pedal steel electric guitar) finally join in. Thank goodness for the fact that Andreas's voice is distinctive and different from Jon Anderson's, so that a song like this can take on it's own identity instead of being categorized as a "Yes imitation." The addition of the "female(?)" vocalist in the second half is awesome. (8.75/10)

4. "Merry Macabre" (19:00) opens with piano, which is then joined by cymbal play, glockenspiel, and bass before the full band breakout in the second minute. It almost sounds like an opening for a MAGMA Zeuhl song. But then the band launch into a full-forced heavy YES onslaught with Andreas singing over the top with the passion of PETER HAMMILL. I really like the STEPHEN STILLS lead electric guitar meandering around over and within the weave during the second and third minutes of this one--and then the 1980s rhythm guitar arpeggi in the instrumental fourth minute. The organ play is wonderful. A sparsely populated section in the fourth and fifth minutes provides a little respite before the next (jazzy) full band section at 6:25. There is an interesting bounce to the Hammond in the eighth minute. Then it gets a little jazzier (ANDY TILLISON-like) in the ninth and tenth minutes before softening into a gorgeous early-KC/ANEKDOTEN- like portentous weave at 9:30. Andreas joins in briefly to offer some simple words in the eleventh minute before an excellent (and wholly original) instrumental passage with psychedelic-treated voice mixed within ensues. It's almost REINE FISKE/PAATOS-like here. Awesome as the craziness builds and builds well into the fourteenth minute before a MiniMoog at 13:30 leads a shift toward a less-pleasing more rock section. At 14:30 everything drops out for piano and Andreas singing. This sounds like German band ANYONE'S DAUGHTER! The solo piano runs off into a very classical-sounding passage until an old synth joins in during the seventeenth minute and then the whole band jumps back in with an insistent pace reminding me of MOTORPSYCHO. Nice keyboard and cymbal work in this passage as the vocalist(s) try to wrap it up. Overall a pretty cool journey into the "darker" side of Wobbler (which really isn't very dark). (35.25/40)

Total Time 45:41

The mastery of composition and performance is still there. The sound production is superb. The YES-sound and - style patterns are still dominant, but there may be a little more variety on display here than on previous Wobbler releases. Though the multi-voice vocal harmonies are excellent (probably even better than those of YES), I feel too often that these guys are going too far to try to replicate the Yes weaves. Also, this album, for me, lacks the memorable melodic hooks of the two previous albums.

B+/4.5 stars; an excellent addition to any prog lover's music collection--especially if you adore 1970s Yes music.

Review by rdtprog
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Heavy / RPI / Symphonic Prog Team
5 stars The last album ''From Silence to Somewhere'' was a good comeback for the band to the greatness of their first demo songs released on their first album. Is the new album will continue on the same level? The first track ''By The Banks'' is a strong track of Retro Prog taking inspiration to Yes first period before Rick Wakeman joins the band. You can enjoy the Moog and Mellotron chords parts throughout the album. There a lot of singing on this album that reinforces the impression of the influence of Yes. ''Five Rooms'' brings a faster pace with some big rolling bass. The next song is a breather with some great arrangements with an acoustic guitar that reminds me of Steve Howe. We have a peaceful atmosphere the perfect song of that genre that keeps the melody flowing. ''Merry Macabre'' is another solid epic with some groovy and tripping parts reminiscent of Anekdoten. Often an album could be a bit too long but on this one, you crave for more after 40 minutes+. Fans of Yes, Gentle Giant, and serious Symphonic Prog lovers that enjoy the dark and light mood of big epics with a vintage sound will not miss this one.
Review by Progfan97402
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars To me Dwellers of the Deep is by far the best album they've ever done. I own all their previous releases so I got to see them evolve. This album contains some of their finest recordings ever with "By the Banks", "Five Rooms" and the 19 minute "Merry Macabre". Amazing music all around with Lars Fredrik Frøislie providing authentic vintage keyboard including Mellotron (and perhaps Chamberlin, he does own an M1). "Naiad Dreams" is calm and largely acoustic, serving as a breather from the intensity of "Five Rooms". I usually should refrain from believing this is as great as many of the classics from the '70s but this album very much is that! Five stars shouldn't be something you throw at but the music so amazed me it deserves that rating. I can't believe the heights Wobbler are soaring with. And I'm really amazed at the drumming of Martin Nordrum Kneppen here, he gives his best drumming here (I also own several Tusmørke albums where he's a member of too). No doubt a highlight for 2020 and some of the finest prog in recent years.
Review by DamoXt7942
FORUM & SITE ADMIN GROUP Avant/Cross/Neo/Post Teams
5 stars One of Symphonic Rock Emperors WOBBLER have come back to our world. Another surprising to me they could create such a fantastic album for only three or less years. Their previous work "From Silence To Somewhere" was much appreciated to get the award Collaborators Top Prog Album of 2017 and I guess the latest one would have such a brilliant power and authority to climb the top of the mountain of the progressive rock scene. This album "Dwellers Of The Deep" has got more compact and more condensed than the previous one, and all of the four tracks are highly created and produced. Consider this opus will never betray every single Symphonic Rock fan, let me say.

The opening track "By The Banks" has brilliant critical enthusiasm. The topnote of swift keyboard work and thrilling rhythmic basis will catch our mind strongly. Their chorus, not so powerful but sensitively harmonized, is going to drive us mad. The construction of this track can be called as an authentic symphonic rock. Beautiful keyboard texture in the middle part is quite tempting. Always wondering why they launch such a complex soundscape that we can listen to fully with relaxation and meditation. Maybe because their melodic / rhythmic formation is pretty elaborate, delicate, and perfect. "Five Rooms" has more complicated melody lines and drastic rhythms but sounds quite catchy. Suppose their intensive melody-making apparently inspired by YES (reminds me of something like 'early' YES actually) or some legendary symphonic prog pioneers would let us feel so ... heavy texture here and there is also of our comfort. This track is 8 minute short for their production but we cannot avoid feeling this stuff should consist of colourful sound variation. "Naiad Dreams" is sorta delicate but delightful ballad one. A only-four-minute song has potential to ease us up. Acoustic guitar-based safe and sound attachment can suit all tastes suffering from current coronavirus pandemic. The last magnificent suite "Merry Macabre" should be their masterpiece. Bright phases like sunlight, deep depressive nervous zones, light-flavoured (but never thin nor flat) cheerful lesions, theatrical dramatic melodic sound-scenic paradises ... dazzling kaleidoscopic musical collective strongly with artistic vibes and innovative movements will never end. The last phrase immerses the listeners in a complete manner. Obviously they addict every single fan via such a killa impressive ensemble. We should listen carefully to this epilogue without any breath nor any eye blink.

For me, sounds like this album should top our expectations. As they release albums, their integrity improves massively. Oh God.

Review by poslednijat_colobar
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Continued polyphonic saturation mastery with modern implementation

Dwellers of the Deep is the next part of this exceptional journey that Norwegians Wobbler have had for these 20 years or something. This further exploration of the deepest recesses of symphonic progressive rock flourishes with the completion of another accomplished masterpiece after From Silence to Somewhere , which in itself is amazing. This work builds on several aspects of its predecessor, especially the hints to the modernization of the sound, slightly higher concentration to the musicianship and improvisation rather than the songwriting process and third but not last - even lusher saturation with atypical but brilliant moments. The self-confidence of the band members lead to great solo performances, with special note to keyboards and bass. Another symphonic prog brilliance from Wobbler, with different angle of sharper challenger to the predecessor. Do not miss!

Another top notch threat to the tops of different lists!

Latest members reviews

5 stars I've been a fan of Wobbler since they recorded their first album Hinterland, their introduction to the prog world with a self titled epic made a statment that they are here to take the crown. Second album was even better and songs Imperial Winter White and In taverna delivered a true sym ... (read more)

Report this review (#2478801) | Posted by prog_traveller!! | Sunday, November 22, 2020 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Looks like I'm going against the grain. Wobbler's 2017 album From Silence to Somewhere was quite rightly heralded as a masterpiece, so they had something to live up to here, and its not always easy to follow up. That said, there's two thing I can't get past with this album. One, I can't help thin ... (read more)

Report this review (#2477199) | Posted by bartymj | Wednesday, November 18, 2020 | Review Permanlink

5 stars So, is this band going supernova? Just maybe. Coming off the highest rated album of 2017 on Progarchives, it is hoped, but not necessarily expected that the next effort will be as good. Except in this case, it is quite arguably better, and is in fact on pace to take highest rated album of 2020 ... (read more)

Report this review (#2476225) | Posted by SilverLight59 | Sunday, November 15, 2020 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Wobbler returns from 4 years of touring and writing, teasing and otherwise with a starstriking 9 minute single entitled "Five Rooms" in which they explore the Yes sounds of albums resembling "Close To The Edge" and "Relayer". Of course I find this album very derivative, copying what Yes did, but I d ... (read more)

Report this review (#2474773) | Posted by ComaEcliptic | Wednesday, November 11, 2020 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Gorgeous ! Since I discovered Interland and Afterglow, I have become a huge fan of Wobbler's music. With Inhabitants of the Deep, this group offers us an ideal balance between their past and present compositions. We therefore find with joy the influences of Anglagard, Gentle Giant and Yes in comp ... (read more)

Report this review (#2462944) | Posted by Muskrat | Thursday, November 5, 2020 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Wobbler - Dwellers of the Deep I remember several several months ago posting on the PA forums that Wobbler had begun the recording of their new album and one commenter say: "I'm scared, can they possibly make a worthy follow up?" While I had no doubt in my mind Wobbler was going to deliver a ... (read more)

Report this review (#2462562) | Posted by dougmcauliffe | Tuesday, November 3, 2020 | Review Permanlink

3 stars If you like 70's prog with mellotron, tinkling Hammond, multiple vocal harmonies, and the full body sound of the Rickenbacker bass, this is the album for you. The audio quality on this CD is very good, proof that CD's can have sonic properties as good as vinyl. I'm going to mention right ... (read more)

Report this review (#2460424) | Posted by Grumpyprogfan | Tuesday, October 27, 2020 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Finally, the new album by Wobbler is out. The revival of the Symphonic prog rock started in the 90s in Scandinavia wih Landberk, Anglagard, Par Lindh and Anekdoten, presenting a style that combined the most English/Italian vein of 70s symphonic prog rock with somber/desolated and folk passages, and ... (read more)

Report this review (#2458414) | Posted by Soul2Create | Thursday, October 22, 2020 | Review Permanlink

5 stars WOBBLER comes with this 5th album to throw yet another pavement in the prog puddle! 2 sides like in the days of the LP's, 4 songs including two of more than 10 minutes which have their eye on the creation dear to YES, a little KING CRIMSON, GENTLE GIANT or GENESIS, rock dynamism and symphonic d ... (read more)

Report this review (#2450112) | Posted by alainPP | Tuesday, September 22, 2020 | Review Permanlink

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