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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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⭐ Collaborators Top Prog Album of 2018 ⭐

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4.32 | 542 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
4.32 | 542 ratings

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A Drop of Light
All Traps On Earth Symphonic Prog

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.

 A Drop of Light by ALL TRAPS ON EARTH album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.32 | 542 ratings

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A Drop of Light
All Traps On Earth Symphonic Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

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*)

 A Drop of Light by ALL TRAPS ON EARTH album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.32 | 542 ratings

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A Drop of Light
All Traps On Earth Symphonic Prog

Review by Menswear
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Return to the Haunted Woods.

Attention all seekers of sonic goodies, we have a solid contender here. Anglagard....er...sorry, 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.

 A Drop of Light by ALL TRAPS ON EARTH album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.32 | 542 ratings

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A Drop of Light
All Traps On Earth Symphonic Prog

Review by Zoltanxvamos

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 am I going to give those two opinions as my review? After further consideration, I decided to listen to it over again and was still not compelled. This album is good for those prog fans.who do enjoy Anglagärd but for me, I would like to see something a bit more fresh, something the bassist can do with his skills without trying to sound too much like the other band. I can understand why people see this review as lazy but try to see where I am coming from. As a musician, I am not going to write similar material in all the bands I am in, I'm going to want to try something different for each band. That's why in my mind, this isn't much different than Anglagärd, therefore I cannot give this a higher rating. I tried to enjoy album since the day I got it, but it seemed that the vocals and the overall sound of the album just didn't work for me nearly as well as something like Hybris.

Hopefully this new review gives you some food for thought, and maybe you will see my side. You don't have to agree with me, but I cannot give this album anything higher than 3 stars, because that simply would be lying about my actual thoughts and i would rather be honest about this album. There are some decent moments every here and there but it's an inconsistent album with some mindless instrumentation, nothing emotional, and the singing to me is probably the worst thing about this album. I'm not trying to insult anyone, but I think this album could've been a lot better.

 A Drop of Light by ALL TRAPS ON EARTH album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.32 | 542 ratings

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A Drop of Light
All Traps On Earth Symphonic Prog

Review by dougmcauliffe

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 the songs aren't afraid to strip down and get very quiet developing into these very flowing, somewhat rustic feeling sections. This album sort of takes what Anglagard has done in the past (worth noting 3/4ths of the members of this band are from Anglagard), and adds several elements of Avant Garde and Zeuhl, as well as a much greater emphasis on symphonic instrumentation. Specifically in the very abundant use of woodwinds throughout. A lot of the music is just straight up menacing and carries this heavy feeling of doom. If you're looking for something happy and cheerful, this ain't it. But if you're looking for some dark, heavy, mindbending, mellotron soaked symphonic somewhat retro prog, this is simply the cream of the crop. I purchased the $40 double LP on a bit of a whim, and initially it was a lot to take in. However, the more I came back to it the more I realized that each listen revealed so much new stuff to pick up on. My favorite track is the opening title track, but this isn't to discredit the rest, as I believe all that tracks are nearly equally as great as one another. The opening minutes of buildup just gets my heart racing, and when it finally pays off its like getting smacked in the face by a brick.

5 stars

 A Drop of Light by ALL TRAPS ON EARTH album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.32 | 542 ratings

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A Drop of Light
All Traps On Earth Symphonic Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

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.

 A Drop of Light by ALL TRAPS ON EARTH album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.32 | 542 ratings

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A Drop of Light
All Traps On Earth Symphonic Prog

Review by spleenache

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 the elements that makes a music great for me. It took additional concentrated listening sessions to familiarize myself with all the melody lines and the intricate structure of the compositions. Now I reached a point where this record is firmly in my ALL TIME top 5 best records list.

Last time I was this excited about a piece of music was in 2009 when Barbaro (Ma Non Troppo) was released by Present. Since then there has been several notable releases but nothing has reached to the top 5, "all time" level for me.

Musical structure is complex; although it incorporates many musical styles, they are unified into seamless compositions. Transitions between musical styles are exceptionally smooth. I think this is so because the transitions between various instruments are so flawless that everything fits together in absolute perfect harmony with the musical structure.

Musicianship is superb. Erik Hammarström's drumming is especially outstanding. At times bass woodwind instruments are so uncommonly aggressive, it gives you goose pimples. Base guitar is the tent pole where everything else hangs from. I love its fuzzy, distorted, in your face sound. Even the supporting guest musicians are all masters of their instruments. It is a pleasure to put the headphones on and take the music apart instrument by instrument and appreciate the skilful communication between players throughout intricate and complex compositions.

Due to the musicians' origins, it is hard to not discuss Anglagard in this context. Anglagard is one of my favorite bands and I am very familiar with their sparse discography. Yes there are moments where you can recognize the Anglagard sound and its style but All Traps On Earth is much more complex, aggressive, dynamic and incorporates a huge variety of musical styles and influences into a single organic sound. I listened A Drop of Light and then immediately switched to Viljans öga. When I compared these two masterpieces back to back a few things stood out for me: Anglagard was way too melodic, it had many pastoral passages which went on much longer than anything in A Drop of light and it had, excessive amount of flute. I think A Drop of Light could not possibly be the next step from Viljans öga. It is more like a bifurcation occurring at Anglagard before Viljans öga was released and now Viljans öga and A Drop of Light are in a parallel but completely separate musical paths.

I also very much enjoyed the sound of this recording. The closest I could come to explaining what the recording sound like is like is perhaps calling it "Dusty" as in ray of sun traversing a dusty room. I really like this sound quality instead of crystal clear recordings; it suits the music absolutely perfectly.

I cannot conclude my review without mentioning what a significant contribution Miranda Brand makes to this record. Her tone and immaculate delivery is significantly contributing to the success of this record.

 A Drop of Light by ALL TRAPS ON EARTH album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.32 | 542 ratings

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A Drop of Light
All Traps On Earth Symphonic Prog

Review by uribreitman

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 arrangements. Marvelous transitions and compositions. Super-complex musical thinking. A challange to every prog listener.

This album bites your soul away. The beauty of utter musical terror will blow your mind, if you mind is still alive. These Swedish masters are just as perfectionist, as pure, as inspiring and as melodic as Anglagard.

"A Drop of Light" is much more than another European art-rock project. It's a spellbinding exercise in musical philosophy. It's dark but full of depth and creativity. It posseses all the necessary elements for a thrilling listening experience.

You can spot the MAGMA influences pretty quickly, but this is no MAGMA clone. You can spot the Anglagard refrences pretty quickly but this one is an original work of art. Once you reach the last piece (Bortglömda Gårdar), your brain goes places far away, like a cinematic adventure. Sung in Swedish, once translated to English, you get caught up in the immortal lyrics and ultra-beautiful vocal work.

What can I say? albums like these don't come often. Maybe once in 3, 4, 5 years. Johan Brand and his pals have done it, and it sure wasn't easy for anyone of them. The painful work is clearly self-evident. I bow down to this amazing achievement, which came from nowhere. A perfect storm, it's everything you can ask for.

 A Drop of Light by ALL TRAPS ON EARTH album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.32 | 542 ratings

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A Drop of Light
All Traps On Earth Symphonic Prog

Review by TenYearsAfter

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 and percussionist Erik Hammarstrom from the same 'source band'. They are joined by Johan's talented daughter, Miranda Brand on vocals, as well as a plethora of guests from the Swedish scene. Almost five years of painstaking work and an obsessive care and attention even for the smallest details have led to the creation of an exceptional work."

Inspired by the cascades of euphoric reviews and praise from fellow progheads, today I have listened to this album. To be honest, with a healthy amount of scepsis. Because I am not very much into experimental and too varied music. Well, after a few listening sessions I have to conclude that this music evokes very mixed feellings. One hand I am blown away by the very compelling and dynamic symphonic rock parts, soaked with majestic Mellotron choirs. And the muscians are outstanding, with awesome interplay. But on the other hand I don't feel comfortable with the multiple turns into RIO, avant-garde and experimental, or pure jazz interludes. And I can't stand the high pitched opera-like female vocals. Listening to All Traps On Earth is also like listening to King Crimson their many faces, from 24-carat symphonic rock to strong avant-garde overtones, the hints are obvious, along others like Goblin, Zeuhl and Canterbury.

So if you are up to a blend of symphonic rock (like first Anglagard and King Crimson) and a variety of styles and wide range of instruments, this is a spectacular album to discover. Personally it's too quirky for me, and I don't like trumpet, flugelhorn and high pitched opera-like female vocals. But what an adventurous and daring music, like Italian prog sensation DAAL, prog is still alive anno 2019!

 A Drop of Light by ALL TRAPS ON EARTH album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.32 | 542 ratings

BUY
A Drop of Light
All Traps On Earth Symphonic Prog

Review by Progressive Woman

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. And the expectations have really been fulfilled!

All Traps On Earth consists of Johan Brand on bass, keyboards, vocals etc., Thomas Johnson on piano and various keyboards, Erik Hammarström on drums and various percussions, and Johan's daughter Miranda Brand on song. All of them are excellent musicians. In addition, there are several guest musicians.

Listening to A Drop Of Light is like stepping into a magical world where just about anything can happen. You are taken through a varied musical landscape with beautiful melodies, jazzy influences, sometimes almost slightly ghosty moods, alternating with more intense and "crazy" parts.

Sometimes the music sounds like sunlight that seals through the foliage in a forest glade, sometimes you can almost hear the outrageous troll stomp and tumble around, followed by something wonderfully jazzy, or something that could have been well suited as film music ... Yes, it is difficult to describe the music, and the experience is certainly different for each one.

The music is varied, complex and intricate, not least rhythmic. Themes are repeated, varied and developed, intensive parties move into quieter and more airy. You can hear influences from classical prog, jazz, RIO, Zeuhl, avant-prog, opera, film music and modern classical music. Maybe even a little Swedish folk tone. Of course one can also hear the kinship with Änglagård, but All Traps On Earth is not a "Änglagård clone", it is something completely different. Although the music spans such a large field, the work hangs together and it never feels sprawling. The instrumentation is rich with lots of wonderful mellotrons and other keyboards, various woodwind instruments, percussions etc.

Miranda Brand's rich alto voice gives an extra dimension to the music. The song is often wordless, ie the voice is used as an instrument among all others, which is very effective. There is only on one track - the beautiful "Bortglömda Gårdar" - with lyrics.

"A Drop Of Light" is a great album that should attract many more listeners than the traditional prog rock listeners. It may not be as easily accessible to the unaccustomed listener, but the album grows the more you listen, I promise!

The entire album is out for listening to Spotify, but I suggest that you should buy it. I am very grateful that there are still musicians who put their whole soul down in doing this ambitious and uncompromising music. Well composed and well produced. This is definitely the Album of the year (2018) for me!

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

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