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Moon Safari

Symphonic Prog

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Moon Safari Himlabacken Vol. 2 album cover
4.01 | 105 ratings | 9 reviews | 48% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2023

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. 198X (Heaven Hill) (3:55)
2. Between the Devil and Me (10:38)
3. Emma, Come On (3:19)
4. A Lifetime to Learn How to Love (8:28)
5. Beyond the Blue (2:12)
6. Blood Moon (5:44)
7. Teen Angel Meets the Apocalypse (21:04)
8. Forever, for You (10:09)
9. Epilog (3:22)

Total Time 68:51

Line-up / Musicians

- Petter Sandström / lead & backing vocals, acoustic guitar
- Simon Åkesson / lead & backing vocals, grand piano, organ, Moog, choral & orchestral arrangements
- Pontus Åkesson / lead & backing vocals, electric & acoustic guitars
- Sebastian Åkesson / organ, percussion, backing vocals
- Johan Westerlund / lead vocals, bass
- Mikael Israelsson / drums & percussion, keyboards, backing vocals

- Jamison Smeltz / saxophone (8)

Releases information

Recorded at Kulturföreningen Mullberget in Skellefteå, Sweden
Mixed and mastered by Rich Mouser at the Mouse House Studio in Los Angeles, California

Label: Blomljud Records
Formats: CD, 2LP, Digital
December 8, 2023

Thanks to projeKct for the addition
and to Dark Ness & NotAProghead for the last updates
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Buy MOON SAFARI Himlabacken Vol. 2 Music

MOON SAFARI Himlabacken Vol. 2 ratings distribution

(105 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(48%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(26%)
Good, but non-essential (18%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

MOON SAFARI Himlabacken Vol. 2 reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars With each and every attempt to listen to this album I find myself so repelled by the overly familiar, overly saccharine, overly non-progressive foundational aspects of the music (every song!) that I have to abort. I try again and the same response. The thought of having to listen to 70 minutes of this drivel leaves me depressed and angry: "How will I be able to reclaim my wasted time?" And this is even before trying to pull together words for a respectable review. In the end I have decided that I cannot do it; I am not willing to subject myself to the abuse. The rating and 100 words of contempt will have to suffice. To summarize: This is Moon Safari sounding exactly like Moon Safari: stuck inside some kind of time and dimensional warp in which they think this is best product that they can produce. Sorry to disagree. They are very respectable musicians, but their music feels to me like that of the Beach Boys and I've never liked/enjoyed the Beach Boys; I respect them, but I listening to their music is an unnecessary and unwanted exercise in exposure therapy.
Review by kev rowland
4 stars I have no idea what has been happening in the Moon Safari camp, but it has been ten years between albums, which is quite some wait given I gave 'Himlabacken Vol. 1' maximum marks. I note there has been a slight change in the line-up in that while Petter Sandström (lead and backing vocals, acoustic guitar), Simon Åkesson (lead and backing vocals, piano, organ, Moog), Pontus Åkesson (lead and backing vocals, electric and acoustic guitar), Sebastian Åkesson (backing vocals, assorted keys, percussion) and Johan Westerlund (lead and backing vocals, bass guitar) are still there, drummer Tobias Lundgren, who has been on all the other albums, is no longer involved and instead there is Mikael Israelsson (backing vocals, drums, percussion, keyboards, piano). Mind you, Mikael joined the band in 2015 so there is a still a long time between drinks, for whatever reason.

The band has two lead singers in Simon Åkesson and Petter Sandström, but one of the really important aspects of Moon Safari is the important use of vocal harmonies throughout. When I first heard them, I described them as The Carpenters in a prog setting, and while they have moved somewhat from there, those harmonies are still incredibly important in a sound which has much in common with the pomp and circumstance of classic Styx, Starz and other American bands from the late Seventies. That they are Swedish and performing in the 21st century does not matter as the material and musical performances are very strong indeed, and somehow, they manage to cut through the sugar levels so it does not leave a bad taste in the mouth. The album is not as over polished and over produced as one might expect given the musical style, and this manages to keep it rooted, and once again credit must be given to Rich Mouser who mixed and mastered this at the Mouse House Studio, bringing all his experience with the likes of Spock's Beard to keep this fresh and interesting as they mix pop, pomp and prog to create something which is very enjoyable on first play and only gets better. We can only hope it is not 10 years until the next one as Moon Safari continue to operate in their own style of prog, and long may it continue.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Oh dear there are some miserable people out there. "Drivel" is very "destructive" as opposed to "constructive" and quite offensive. This IS progressive pop/rock (in Aor circles is called "Pomp") and quite similar at times to Styx circa Grand illusion, who are in the prog-related category, which ... (read more)

Report this review (#2989863) | Posted by CallowEngine | Friday, February 9, 2024 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Before I concluded the list of my favorite albums for 2023, I was waiting for only this one to come out. A very nice comeback album for these guys. The vocals, 80s-styled production, Musicianship songwriting...everything is fine. The overall sound is brighter than on their previous albums, The melod ... (read more)

Report this review (#2979029) | Posted by Lesanderd | Wednesday, January 3, 2024 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This long-awaited 5th album from Swedish progressive pop-rock band Moon Safari comes ten long years since their last album, Himlabaken vol. 1 (2013), but it is just as wonderful as their previous albums, and in some ways even better. Known for their multi-part vocal harmonies, bright effervescent so ... (read more)

Report this review (#2977033) | Posted by BBKron | Monday, December 25, 2023 | Review Permanlink

1 stars Ehm.... Could someone explain to me what is progressive about this album? Giving it a spin, it throws me back to the '70s and '80s. But not to the greats of progressive music. Heck, not even the mediocre artists of these times. I find the musical themes cheesy and the lyrics corny. This is re ... (read more)

Report this review (#2973810) | Posted by WJA-K | Wednesday, December 13, 2023 | Review Permanlink

5 stars OMG! What an amazing album. Every minute of it is a joy to listen to. With songs and movements ranging from somber melodies to triumphant outbursts and every beautiful sound in between, Moon Safari has created one of the century's greatest musical masterpieces. Not a note misplaced, not a song ... (read more)

Report this review (#2972766) | Posted by Four Corners Guy | Saturday, December 9, 2023 | Review Permanlink

5 stars MOON SAFARI ten years to have the sequel to 'Himlabacken' they released their 5th opus with Moog, angry guitars and heavy rhythm from the 80s of the prog metal movement. "198X (Heaven Hill)" what the intro of 'Jump'... well almost, nevertheless an energetic intro which surprises and you need ... (read more)

Report this review (#2972255) | Posted by alainPP | Friday, December 8, 2023 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Yes!! I've been waiting for this album all this year, and all these years. I remember Moon Safari was one of the first prog bands I discovered and instantly became one of my favorites. Himlabacken Vol. 2, 10 years after Vol. 1, the wait was worth it. What a great record, the first 3 tracks are ... (read more)

Report this review (#2972230) | Posted by progrockeveryday | Friday, December 8, 2023 | Review Permanlink

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