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HIMMELLEGEME

Psychedelic/Space Rock • Norway


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Himmellegeme biography
Comprised of five musicians HIMMELLEGEME are a psychedelic rock band from Bergen, Norway. Their bittersweet flavoured debut album 'Myth Of Earth' was released on Karisma Records in 2017. Occasionally similar to Airbag, Gazpacho the music is atmospheric prog rock with heavy-hitting riffs, chilling melodies and melancholic lyrics, written both in Norwegian and English.

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HIMMELLEGEME top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.83 | 31 ratings
Myth of Earth
2017
3.79 | 26 ratings
Variola Vera
2021

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HIMMELLEGEME Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Variola Vera by HIMMELLEGEME album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.79 | 26 ratings

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Variola Vera
Himmellegeme Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by lukretio

3 stars Back in 2017 Norwegian quintet Himmellegeme released a dark beauty of an album (Myth of Earth), suspended between post-rock, prog rock and psychedelia, and filled with morose melancholia, fuzzy guitars and gorgeous melodies. It made quite a splash in progressive circles, collecting raving reviews in the specialized press that praised the band's dark atmospheres and nuanced performances. Fast forward to 2021, and the Norwegians are back with their sophomore album Variola Vera, released via Karisma Records in October. The new LP originates from similar pastures as the debut album, but also incorporates a considerable range of new influences into the band's sound, to the point that, at first listen, one may be forgiven for thinking that there are two different bands behind the two albums.

The biggest difference is that Variola Vera is much more upbeat and sonically warm than its predecessor. The eight songs of the album are built around groovy bass lines that immediately transmit a distinctive art rock/pop vibe to the music, halfway between Tame Impala and the most recent incarnations of Mr Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree). Guitars and keyboards are used tastefully to add swathes of color to the music, while Aleksander Vormestrand's understated vocals weave mellow, hypnotic melodies that hark back to the dark melancholia of the debut LP (albeit his heart-wrenching falsetto is used much less on the new material). Hein Alexander Olson's slide guitar surfaces more than once throughout the album, adding a touch of blues to some of the songs, while Lauritz Isaksen's keyboards add subtle electronica vibes in the background. The overall sound is immersive and engrossing, particularly thanks to the warm tones of guitars and keyboards (kudos to producer Anders Bjelland for achieving such a beautiful balance).

Himmellegeme's new course is particularly evident on single "Blowing Raspberries" and on "Caligula", the two most overtly pop episodes of the LP. These are good, catchy tracks that might even gather some mainstream airplay, but they are by far my least favourite moments of the record. Variola Vera truly speaks to me in its most subdued passages, where Himmellegeme manage to strike a better balance between the rainy melancholia of their hometown (Bergen) and the warm and sunny tones of their new influences. Opener "Shaping Mirrors like Smoke" is probably the most accomplished song of the whole record, in this respect. Gorgeous vocal melodies are intertwined with twinkling piano flourishes and a dark, propulsive beast of a riff that will make you nod your head and stomp your feet for the duration. The record continues strong with follow-up track "Heart Listening", a slower, more meditative piece that reminds me of Porcupine Tree's Lightbulb Sun album. It may not possess the immediately arresting beauty of the opening track, but grows on repeated listens. "Blowing Raspberries" comes next and its upbeat disco-pop undercurrents ruin a bit the mellow, introspective mood that the album had put me in up to that point. Unfortunately, I struggle to get back to that mood after this track, although there are a couple of strong tracks in the second half of the record too, like "Let the Mother Burn", which comes close to repeating the magic formula of "Shaping Mirrors like Smoke", and "Agafia" (sung in Norwegian), which harks back to the morose Sigur Ros-like sound of Himmellegeme's debut LP.

Despite some hits and misses, Variola Vera is a strong sophomore album, confirming that Himmellegeme are a talented bunch to watch out for. Their drive to push forward the boundaries of their music is remarkable, especially considering how the sound they had conjured up on their debut album had received so much praise back in 2017. It would have been easy to stay put with that sound instead of exploring new avenues. Himmellegeme have instead followed their muse and broadened their sonic palette considerably, producing an album that may not be as arrestingly beautiful as Myth of Earth, but that nevertheless offers plenty of listening pleasures and should appeal to fans of progressive rock, post-rock and post-metal alike.

[Originally written for The Metal Observer]

 Variola Vera by HIMMELLEGEME album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.79 | 26 ratings

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Variola Vera
Himmellegeme Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

3 stars HIMMELLEGEME means "Sky Community" in Norwegian and is actually the perfect name for a modern psychedelic space rock styled band as its music really does take you into a cloudy congregation and offers a modern take on atmospheric spacey prog which DOESN'T sound like Pink Floyd! This is a fairly new band having formed only in 2015 in Bergen, Norway. This quintet consists of Aleksander Vormestrand (guitar, vocals), Hein Alexander Olson (lead guitar), Lauritz Isaksen (keyboards), Erik Alfredsen (bass) and Thord Nordli (drums) and has released two albums thus far. "Myth Of Earth" came out in 2017 and now in 2021 its sophomore release VARIOLA VERA has pierced the veil and made itself known to those of us who are willing to listen!

Something about Norway and Scandinavia in general. When bands are not engaged in full-on misanthropic black metal and extreme noise outbursts, they can be quite seductive in their unique approach to other mellower styles of music. HIMMELLEGEME mostly reminds me of Sigur Ros on its quieter subdued tracks while sounding a bit more like a non-metal Leprous on the upbeat scores. There that glacial fjord feeling that doesn't really come from any geographical area of the world and HIMMELLEGEME nails it perfectly. This is mostly an album on the mellower side with a few tracks like "Blowing Raspberries" generating a rougher rock approach but the track "Brother" really does sound like it could've been on one of the more guitar oriented Sigur Ros albums.

While many of the spacier prog acts are crafting expansive sprawling albums that exceed an hour's length, VARIOLA VERA is traditional LP's playing time of only about 39 minutes. The tracks are on the shorter side fo the equation with none exceeding six minutes and all exhibiting vocals. Aleksander Vormestrand does sound very much like Sigur Ros' Jónsi in the vocal department but also captures the melodic phrasing of fellow Norwegians Leprous on their newer less metal oriented albums. This is somewhat of a damper for my enjoyment of the album since it often strays too close to the aforementioned influences without really putting any distance between them. In fact i never really consider Sigur Ros and Leprous in the same musical family but when i hear this it makes sense how Leprous is really going in the same direction as Sigur Ros only eschewing the post-rock constructs.

Tracks like "Caligula" are a bit more bluesy but offer the off-kilter stop/start chord choppiness of Leprous. Unfortunately i just can't get past the blatant Sigur Ros worship on this one. It's a competent album with excellent production and interesting composiitons albeit a bit poppy for true space rock escapism but nevertheless a pleasant journey into the glacial fjords of the frozen northlands. Existing somewhere between space rock, post-rock and prog, HIMMELLEGEME is definitely a band to look out for but as far as this sophomore album is concerned i find it a decent listen but nothing to get overly excited about either. It's just missing that extra something that makes it stand out.

 Variola Vera by HIMMELLEGEME album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.79 | 26 ratings

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Variola Vera
Himmellegeme Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by alainPP

5 stars HIMMELLEGEME is this Norwegian psychedelic rock band releasing their 2nd album in an atmospheric space rock genre; extraordinary progressive music that touches the soul as I read it?. And this is it! Riffs, aerial and crystalline solo on brilliant melodies bordering on melancholy, perfection; a little AIRBAG, GAZPACHO, SIGUR ROS, a lot of blues and above all a nod to the atmospheric new-wave of SIMPLE MINDS; songs in Norwegian and English on the disastrous imprint left by Man on Gaia, bordering on the concept album coming from another celestial world; an enjoyable guitar, a captivating voice, a sound also flirting on the lands of synthetic PORCUPINE TREE. A trace of RADIOHEAD and Jeff BUCKLEY for a dark climate.

"Shaping Mirrors Like Smoke" opens the debate with an intro that SIMPLE MINDS of the era of "Streets Fighting Years" would not deny; here it's stronger, psychedelic rock emotion and you will have to get used to a slide guitar used to perfection, soaring and thundering like a supercharged PORCUPINE TREE, like a crazy MAN OR ASTROMAN. "Heart Listening" shifts to basic WILSON, Alexander's soft voice, bucolic 'Paris, Texas' slide guitar pulling towards DIRE STRAITS; it then goes up to a folk rhythm, a softer atmosphere than the magnificent SUBURBAN SAVAGES from the same country, final on the divine guitar.

Alternative "Blowing Raspberries", we think of Gary NUMAN, a cheerful cold wave sound; title with the characteristic synth, like a bit of the burlesque tunes of BOWIE; to see at the end of the SF film with a cohort of policemen from the future; the guitar solo pulls out well. "Brother" literally changes course, melancholy air with the voice of Thom YORKE from RADIOHEAD, acoustic guitar; the SIMPLE MINDS slide seems to be reborn, Asian piano in the background then it starts gently, the sidereal beauty very present on an obvious crescendo and Hein Alexander who plays it in a Dantesque, dreamlike, aerial way.

"Let the Mother Burn" continues on a basic monolithic title until the chorus soars where the air literally explodes; the guitar is eyeing the PINK FLOYDs and Charlie Burchill's from the SIMPLE MINDS; hovering break then return for an end in dreamlike trance, in psychedelic mantra without the need for pills. "Caligula" follows, the most atypical piece, heavier, darker, obvious fat, pleasurable stoner; a bit of MONKEY 3, MOTORPSYCHO in the background all in 4 minutes and an apoplectic rhythm wrapped in a still crystalline solo, hammering air until the end.

"Agafia" for this 80's tune taken again, at the time when I said to myself that the prog would go through the synth and the new wave; luminous tune for THE PIECE from the album: extraordinary musical adventure; the voice, the drums, the synth and the bass are well organized to magnify this spleen guitar melting the notes; dark melody like the day which falls more and more quickly in Autumn, air oozing the beauty of the blackness and the finale possessing the instrumental progression that everyone dreams of hearing still today. "Variola Vera" for the acoustic instrumental where the monochord guitar walks and merges with the ambient sounds.

In short, the new HIMMELLEGEME material offers eight themes lasting between three and six minutes. The highlight is the solo guitar which draws attention to all tracks. A sound that stands out, singular, inventive, thunderous, renewed; a sound that is listened to in an absent-minded way, a sound that is listened to in a religious way, an extraordinary sound, an extraordinary sound that literally explodes and that fits directly into my top potential 2021 in view of its intense progressive drifts. The future of prog of the 2020s and 2030s surely lies there. Nothing else to write, listen to it quickly before acquiring it.

 Variola Vera by HIMMELLEGEME album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.79 | 26 ratings

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Variola Vera
Himmellegeme Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars From Bergen, Norway, this is a band that only debuted in late 2017--to some very favoriable reviews (including one of my own) with vocalist Aleksander Vormestrand earning great praise. The coronavirus pandemic obviously put an obstacle into the path of the band's plans but I for one am glad to see that they made it through and have decided to persist as a band.

1. "Shaping Mirrors Like Smoke" (5:47) (8.75/10) 2. "Heart Listening" (5:21) (9/10) 3. "Blowing Raspberries" (3:43) almost disco-techno pop. (7.75/10) 4. "Brother" (5:02) this one could be an attempt to make a song like MIDLAKE or MICE ON STILTS or even Justin Vernon's BON IVER. (8/10) 5. "Let the Mother Burn" (4:56) My favorite (9.25/10) 6. "Caligula" (4:17) (8.5/10) 7. "Agafia" (5:55) rich sound (8.75/10) 8. "Variola Vera" (3:54) picked acoustic guitar with subtle, spacious keyboard support opens this instrumental. Very pretty in a Pink Floyd or LUNATIC SOUL way. (8.75/10)

Total Time 38:55

The band has certainly grown and changed in their approach and stylistic expression since Myth of Earth. There seems to be a lot more use of simpler, more pop-oriented folk music on this album. After Myths I have to admit to feeling quite some disappointment at the lack of presence or development of Aleksander's voice: his voice is much less prominent or attention-drawing. I feel much more as if I'm listening to other bands--or covers of other bands' music/songs here than I was prepared for.

B-/four stars; an album worthy of checking out in order to create your own determination.

 Variola Vera by HIMMELLEGEME album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.79 | 26 ratings

BUY
Variola Vera
Himmellegeme Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Deadwing

5 stars Thanks to prog_traveller's review, I decided to check this album and I was really surprised with what I got!

The songs here are really strong, and although the vocals lays a lot in the background, the melodies and chord progression are really accessibles and easy to listen, especially when the whole album lasts 38 minutes. (IMO a good thing) There's also a lot of great guitar work, with great and emotional solos, something that isn't much more common nowadays. The mixing is also great and powerful, oscilating between spacy guitars and keyboard with some great punchy and even heavy moments, as for example in "Let the mother Burn".

One of my favorite releases of this year. I recommend checking especially if you love 70's spacey guitars and melancholic soundscapes mixed with modern indie elements.

 Myth of Earth by HIMMELLEGEME album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.83 | 31 ratings

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Myth of Earth
Himmellegeme Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Here is a band that is new to me--from Norway--whose mundane blues-rock sound is uplifted throughout by nuanced performances of all instrumentalists, great sound engineering, and, most of all, by the tremendous talent and instincts of lead vocalist Aleksander Vormstrand. Definitely in the running for newcomers of the year, Aleksander may be deserving of vocalist of the year!

1. "Natteravn" (4:55) grungy, dirty, dark, dank, and haunting in a Post Rock/ULVER kind of way. The singer here sings not unlike Ulver's Kristoffer "Garm" Rygg. Powerful but could use more development and nuance (like the vocal screams in the final minute). (7.5/10)

2. "Hjertedød" (3:55) Wow! What a voice! Reminds me of the late Robby Wilson (AUTUMN CHORUS). To go from a haunting, almost folk/religious sound and feel into the stoner rock that it ends up in is remarkable. (8.5/10)

3. "Myth Of Earth" (5:21) lots of spacey background sounds droning away in support of the organ and slowly played drums in the opening 45 seconds leads to a spacious foundation over which that amazing voice of Alexsander Vormestrand sings (and then sits back whilc Hein Alexander Olson takes over and wails away his bluesy lead guitar tones.) Vocal and music here sounds a bit like countrymates SEVEN IMPALE or Finnish wunderkind Petri Walli, from KINGSTON WALL, slowed down by heroin. Simple enough song construction raised up by some great individual contributions! One of my favorite three songs on the album. (9/10)

4. "Breathe In The Air Like It's Fire" (5:26) simple, basic opening which builds into a pretty chord progression over which Aleksander issues forth another magical vocal performance. Both the verses and the chorus have some absolutely beautiful technical and melodic conveyances. A top three song for me. (9.5/10)

5. "Kyss Mine Blodige Hender" (3:53) with a bit of grungy, distorted edge to it, this song could fit well onto an album by DUNGEN or MOTORPSYCHO. Different vocal approach by Aleksander here, as he sings in a lower octave than previously and warbles his long notes in a way that is kind of reminiscent of early ELIZABETH FRASER (Cocteau Twins). Nice song. (8/10)

6. "Fish" (3:42) all blues, this one, with piano and echo-percussions and classic blues guitar sounds before Aleksander enters. Then, after his first verse, the band bursts out into a kind of ERIC CLAPTON/YARDBIRDS/LED ZEPPELIN chorus section. Organ joins in as Aleksander raises the bar of force and emotion ten notches. Aleksander definitely the power of a great blues rock singer like ERIC BURDON. (8.5/10)

7. "Fallvind" (10:15) in spite of its proggy length, this song happens to be the proggiest song on the album. Post Rock guitar, folk keyboard flute sounds, John Wayne sample at the opening, and folkie ROBBIE WILSON-like vocal, the song develops into a great prog epic--one of my favorites of the year! My final top three song. (9/10)

Four stars; a wonderful addition to any prog rocker's album collection--and a band (and individual) to keep your eyes and ears on. What potential!

 Myth of Earth by HIMMELLEGEME album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.83 | 31 ratings

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Myth of Earth
Himmellegeme Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Norwegian band HIMMELLEGEME was formed in 2015, and initially they focused on playing live and developing material for a planned first album. Following recording sessions in 2016 they signed to Karisma Records, and their debut album "Myth of Earth" is set to be released in early October 2017.

Those fond of accessible, emotionally laden progressive rock where dark undercurrents and melancholic atmospheres will be striking and defining characteristics of the music explored should have a field day with this debut album by Himmellegeme. Personally I'd suggest that fans of late 1970's Pink Floyd might want to check this band out, not because this is music directly of that kind, but due to certain similarities in terms of ingredients used and the general mood of the soundscapes explored.

Thanks to rivertree for the artist addition.

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