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ALL TRAPS ON EARTH

Symphonic Prog • Sweden


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All Traps On Earth biography
Founded in Stockholm, Sweden in 2013

The band is a Swedish quartet led by ANGLAGARD Johan BRAND including 2 other members of the same band, Thomas JOHNSON and Erik HAMMARSTRÖM, and JOHAN'S daughter Miranda. It's a simple bass note written on a Fender Rhodes piano that started everything. Thomas played a big role in the songwriting and the production and with his playing skills. The album "A Drop of Light" also received the help of 5 musicians playing sax, flute, and trumpet. The release of the album is the result of 5 years of work. You can hear apart from the obvious influence of ANGLAGARD some Canterbury prog and some Jazz tones.

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4.61 | 206 ratings
A Drop Of Light
2018

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ALL TRAPS ON EARTH Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 A Drop Of Light by ALL TRAPS ON EARTH album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.61 | 206 ratings

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A Drop Of Light
All Traps On Earth Symphonic Prog

Review by ZappaBowie

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 done. But it is mining old ground and such herky-jerky asymmetrical play is soon intellectually boring unless the arrangement does something dramatic, especially in terms of density and texture. Its really a form of what I call Progzak, doing all the sort of instrumental proggy things without much sense of overall structure other than certain head banging jaunt thru whatever-feels-good-changes.

The quiet sections are by far the most interesting and I'd like to hear whole pieces developed out of these. There is definitely a gift here. Some nice sounds at times and overall a clear moodiness that makes one think of cold northern landscapes. But then when the drums and big textures return I feel a bit slapped around.

Well recorded and easy to listen to if you can dig it. Some of the quiet sections deserve 4 stars.

 A Drop Of Light by ALL TRAPS ON EARTH album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.61 | 206 ratings

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A Drop Of Light
All Traps On Earth Symphonic Prog

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator 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.
 A Drop Of Light by ALL TRAPS ON EARTH album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.61 | 206 ratings

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A Drop Of Light
All Traps On Earth Symphonic Prog

Review by Nogbad_The_Bad
Special Collaborator 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.

 A Drop Of Light by ALL TRAPS ON EARTH album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.61 | 206 ratings

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A Drop Of Light
All Traps On Earth Symphonic Prog

Review by DamoXt7942
Forum & Site Admin Group Avant, Crossover & Neo 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.

 A Drop Of Light by ALL TRAPS ON EARTH album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.61 | 206 ratings

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A Drop Of Light
All Traps On Earth Symphonic Prog

Review by PapaFelix

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 the musicians who play on it, and want to know how it stacks up against the "day job" band of its creators. That said, any fan of Änglagård needs to buy this album. It's not exactly the same thing, but it will scratch the itch left by the six years between this writing and when the last proper Änglagård album was released. But if someone is not familiar with any of the music discussed here, it could work in reverse? start here, and see what you think, and if you enjoy it, then you have a great back-catalog adventure ahead of you. But, ultimately, the bottom line here is this was a monumental work taken on by Johan Brand and it is musical, beautiful, and almost akin to romantic composers of yesterday in its scope. In a 2018 full of insane amounts of top-notch releases in the genre, this one might fly under the radar a bit but is no less important than the big names selling out Royal Albert Hall. It deserves to be heard, pondered, and shared.

"A Drop of Light" is admittedly gloomy at times, but it's full of dark beauty, as well. The amount of music happening on this record is almost too much to be contained within two channels, but it's excellent from start to finish. It might be a bit too thick to wade through for fans of more crossover prog or neo-prog, like someone used to drinking Bud Light attempting a Guinness, but the destination is worth the journey, for those bold enough to try. Highly recommended, and I would give the album a 4.5 out of 5, which I'll round up to 5 here.

 A Drop Of Light by ALL TRAPS ON EARTH album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.61 | 206 ratings

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A Drop Of Light
All Traps On Earth Symphonic Prog

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

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!

 A Drop Of Light by ALL TRAPS ON EARTH album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.61 | 206 ratings

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A Drop Of Light
All Traps On Earth Symphonic Prog

Review by Littleironic

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. Atmosphere of the album might be a little overwhelming. But the content itself is no less than amazing. It's actually a serious modern composition. There are many, many instruments, all used on purpose. There are all kinds of keyboards: Mellotrons (tons of them!), organs, pianos, synths... There is an entire wind section, all basic rock instruments and vocals and some orchestral percussion. All of these tools are used wisely, and it sounds so much bigger than just a band. There are so many textures, odd time grooves, breathtaking melodies, unexpected turns of events. Complexity is just outstanding. Pieces are very coherent. It's also produced extremely well. Sounds like years of hard work obviously. But most of all, there is some magic to it. It's a soulful, passionate, rich beautiful music. A fable from one of the darkest countries on earth. It's a five stars album, out of the question.
 A Drop Of Light by ALL TRAPS ON EARTH album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.61 | 206 ratings

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A Drop Of Light
All Traps On Earth Symphonic Prog

Review by wiz_d_kidd

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 grand orchestra composed of the King Crimson lineup on Lizard, with all the brass and wind instruments, the King Crimson lineup of Red, with the angular movement and thick mellotron and bass lines, and the La Nouba soundtrack from Cirque du Soleil with its operatic, often wordless vocals and you'll start to imagine what this album sounds like. I'm floored. Five stars only because I can't give it six!
 A Drop Of Light by ALL TRAPS ON EARTH album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.61 | 206 ratings

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A Drop Of Light
All Traps On Earth Symphonic Prog

Review by konrid22

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 kind of approach. It's a lifetime devotion that makes this music possible to happen. A first song, a self-titled one (or the band was song-titled? ;) ) sets the standard for the entire album. Starts with some anxious ostinato on keyboards, and overdubbed vocals of Miranda. Mellotron joins in and you get to Epilog territory. Soon entire rhythm section gets in and provides some classic prog kick ass. It's basically nuts. Very intense playing. Some unique sounds come up along with all the well known prog instruments. Very rich sound, a lot of themes, extremely wide instrumental palette. Few different horns, each one well introduced in an appropriate section. But for most of the time music is really close to �nglagård. Which is not that obvious when it's gets to another tune. Magmatic Warning provides some distinct vibes. Extended trumpet solo and gentle Miranda's vocals make it a little different. Guess there was some Magma influence to it. Beautiful! Omen also features very nice themes, that remind of some cinematic composers. Short but amazing instrumental piece First Step driven by piano and Mellotrons leads to a final piece which appears to be a song. Bortglöma Gårdar takes you through the whole spectrum of different moods once again, and ends gently. And makes you want to comeback. I really recommend this amazing piece of art to any music fan. And every progressive rock lover must get one without a doubt!
 A Drop Of Light by ALL TRAPS ON EARTH album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.61 | 206 ratings

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A Drop Of Light
All Traps On Earth Symphonic Prog

Review by poslednijat_colobar
Prog Reviewer

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!

Thanks to rdtprog for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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