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ÄNGLAGÅRD

Symphonic Prog • Sweden


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Änglagård picture
Änglagård biography
Founded in 1991 in Stockholm, Sweden - Disbanded in 1994 - Reformed briefly in 2002/03 - Active since 2008

Änglagård were a short-lived band who nonetheless generated critical acclaim and a loyal following in the early nineties with their brooding Mellotron and synth heavy sound that also featured virtuoso percussionist Mattias Olsson and classically trained flautist Anna Holmgren.

The band was formed in the summer of 1991 by guitarist and lead vocalist Tord Lindman and bassist Johan Högberg. The pair placed ads to form a band in the vein of the seventies progressive bands such as Yes and King Crimson, which were successfully answered by keyboardist Thomas Johnson and guitarist Jonas Engdegård. Drummer Olsson and flautist Holmgren were soon added and by the following spring the band were touring and logging studio sessions that would yield the well-received album Hybris. The release was followed by an American tour which included an appearance at the 1993 Progfest in Los Angeles. By 1994 the band had released their second and final album Epilog, followed again by an appearance at Progfest. This would prove to be the band's final performance. The Progfest recordings were engineered and released in 1996 as the live requiem Buried Alive.

⭐ Collaborators Top Prog Album of 2012 ⭐

Founding member Lindman went on to a career in the film business after the demise of the band, while the remaining members reformed briefly to tour in 2003, but are currently on indefinite hiatus. Olsson has since had a hand in the formation of Nanook of the North and has played in Pineforest Crunch and the Par Lindh Project, among others. Johnson has also appeared on studio released for the post-rock project Reminder.

Änglagård's sound is rich in mellotron, Hammond and piano, and a brooding wash of guitars and bass/bass pedal accented by Holmgren's moody and precise flute. The band's compositions are characterized by long, often instrumental tracks with significant tempo shifts and sometimes intense guitar flourishes. The Epilog album is instrumental in its entirety, and many of the tracks are distinguished by striking passages from Johnson's grand piano. Early Porcupine Tree also comes to mind, particularly when listening to Epilog.

Änglagård deserves a place in the Archives for their admirable effort in carrying the banner of lar...
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ÄNGLAGÅRD discography


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

4.38 | 1644 ratings
Hybris
1992
4.09 | 633 ratings
Epilog
1994
4.27 | 1046 ratings
Viljans Öga
2012

ÄNGLAGÅRD Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.62 | 151 ratings
Buried Alive
1996
4.62 | 79 ratings
Prog På Svenska - Live In Japan
2014

ÄNGLAGÅRD Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.83 | 30 ratings
Made In Norway
2017

ÄNGLAGÅRD Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.86 | 7 ratings
23 Years Of Hybris
2015

ÄNGLAGÅRD Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

ÄNGLAGÅRD Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Viljans Öga by ÄNGLAGÅRD album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.27 | 1046 ratings

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Viljans Öga
Änglagård Symphonic Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Review Nº 219

'Viljans Oga' is the third studio album of the Swedish symphonic progressive rock band Anglagard and was released in 2012. As happened with 'Epilog', 'Viljans Oga' is a completely instrumental work influenced by the progressive music of the 70's, of Genesis and King Crimson. But, it's also deeply inspired in the classical music. Still, Anglagard's music is also strongly influenced by the Swedish folklore music with its recognizable Scandinavian melancholy.

Anglagard is part of a whole breed of young progressive rockers. Like some other Sweden bands, like Anekdoten or Par Lindh Project, they write lengthy symphonic pieces and they sound like many of the big 70's acts but they always play with a very tough and own sound. Anglagard got itself noticed in the small international circles of progressive rock in the 90's, when they were formed. In twenty years they only released three studio albums and two live albums, until now.

In relation to the line up on the album, it has some changes in relation to the last line up presented on their previous album, their debut live album 'Buried Alive', in 1996. The guitarist Tord Lindman left the band and wasn't substituted. The bassist Joahn Hogberg also left the band but was substituted by the new bassist Joahn Brand. So, the line up on the album is Jonas Engdegard (guitars), Thomas Johnson (piano, mellotron and synthesizers), Anna Holmgren (flute and saxophone), Johan Brand (bass and taurus pedals) and Mattias Olsson (drums, percussion and noises).

'Viljans Oga' has four tracks. All music was written and arranged by Anglagard. The first track 'Ur Vilande' has an acoustic pastoral introduction lead by Anna Holmgren's flute and Mattias Olson's vibraphone, assisted by the cello and the piano. The theme develops in a suggestive status of the classical music. Then, the track develops gradually and naturally, very peaceful and masterfully supported by Olsson's magnificent drumming and Endegard's guitar. It has also some occasional mellotron eruptions in the early King Crimson's vein. This is an excellent way to reinterpret the classic progressive rock. The second track 'Sorgmantel' with about twelve minutes long is, imagine, the shortest track on the album. It contains a few upbeat musical moments and it's probably the most melodic number on the all album. Curiously, the music flows smoothly and continuously in spite of the very often tempo changes. The second part on the track ups in terms of intensity, with a very powerful organ work and some dramatic flute parts. The striking contrast between the mellotron and the distorted guitar is magnificent. Once more we are in presence of the classic rock at its best. The third track 'Snardom' which opens the theme with a dramatic and energetic way propelled by Olsson's drums and some spiced synthesizer sounds is a song dominated by Anna Holmgren's flute and Johan Brand's bass line that take the centre of the musical stage. Some of the quieter moments of the song have some more fluid melodic sections, featuring a very lovely guitar performance. This is a more energetic song than the two previous tracks. But it's perfectly in the same vein of those tracks, contributing to the perfect music balance of the all album. The fourth track 'Langtans Klocka' brings to the album an autumnal tone with an extremely elegant and almost classical style. This is a track with excellent guitar riffs twined by some beautiful bass lines and a great drum performance. The guitar and flute works provide occasionally solo spots on the song very well supported on the back by the keyboards. The track's rhythm, stop and start, so common and typical on Anglagard's music, are even more evident than in other previous numbers. This song continues the general mood of the all album and represents a perfect and natural way to close the album.

Conclusion: My first contact with Anglagard's music was more than ten years ago, here on Progarchives. And, again, I'm deeply thankful to this music site. Till those years the band had only released 'Hybris', 'Epilog' and 'Buried Alive'. So, as many of we know, in those years we were convinced that 'Buried Alive' would have been the swan's song of Anglagard. Fortunately, the future would prove this wasn't true. Against all expectations, Anglagard would come to release their third studio album, 'Viljans Oga'. So, after have heard 'Viljans Oga' for several times, I remain, again, deeply impressed by another album of this band. In my humble opinion, 'Viljans Oga' takes up where 'Epilog' left off way back in 1994, but with even more maturity, both in the composition and in the performance. This time the major influences are, in my perspective, King Crimson and the classical music. But, to complete entirely the all picture, the usual familiar and typical Scandinavian very dark and pastoral mood tinged by a very special touch of Scandinavian folk coupled magnificently with the prog music of the 70's and the classical music, and added with a very cohesiveness in the writing, which gives to Anglagard's music a very unique, intricate and beautiful sound. With this fantastic album, I would dare to say that Anglagard rose from the ashes just like a reborn phoenix. I sincerely hope that they can keep on shining at their highest and still illuminate us for many years. It's always a pleasure to know that prog is still alive.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Epilog by ÄNGLAGÅRD album cover Studio Album, 1994
4.09 | 633 ratings

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Epilog
Änglagård Symphonic Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Review Nº 218

"Epilog" is the second studio album of the Swedish symphonic progressive rock band Anglagard and was released in 1994. In relation to their debut studio work "Hybris", which had lyrics written in their original mother tongue Swedish, "Epilog" is a completely instrumental work. It's a very dark album, and despite be also influenced by the progressive rock music of the 70's, it's a musical work much more inspired in the classical music. And, I also think that it's a more personal work of Anglagard. Curiously, the name of the album almost was fatal to the band. For many years we thought that it would be their last studio work. Fortunately they would return in 2012 with another studio album, "Viljans Oga".

The line up on the album is Tord Lindman (guitar), Jonas Engdegard (guitar), Thomas Johnson (Hammond organ, mellotron and keyboards), Anna Holmgren (flute), Johan Hogberg (bass) and Mattias Olsson (drums, cymbals and percussion). Beyond the band's members, "Epilog" had also the performance by a handful of guest musicians: Asa Eklund (voice), Martin Olofsson (violin), Karin Hansson (viola) and Jan C. Norlander (flute).

"Epilog" has six tracks. All music was written and arranged by Anglagard. The first track "Prolog (Prologue)" is very short and as its name indicates, is the musical introduction on the album. This is a very beautiful way to open the album. It's a very calm classical piece of music, very delightful with a sad and melancholic Baroque atmosphere. Despite be short is absolutely brilliant. The second track "Hostsejd (Rites Of Fall)" is, on the contrary, the lengthiest track on the album. It's a song with pure moments of energy, very mellow moments with abrupt transition musical passages between calm and mellow parts and loud and wild parts. This is a song absolutely fantastic and one of the highlights on the album. The third track "Rosten (The Voice)" is a short song with about 3 minutes and 30 seconds. But, first of all, I must explain that my CD version of "Epilog" is the most recent, and this version has an extra CD with only one track, "Rosten". So, my review has also this new extra track. As the band explained, when "Rosten" was written for "Epilog" in 1993 was in its original version composed merely to mellotron. Before recording the album they decided to also use acoustic strings and flute. However, because some difficulties, lack of time and different perceptions of the music, they decided to not record it. Anyway, that decision was taken very late, because the cover of the album had already been printed including the title of the song. So, they developed an alternative solution which consisted of a mysterious sound stage. In 2003 when the printing editions of "Hybris" and "Epilog", the group had plans to record the song completely acoustic with strings, but that wasn't possible once more due to lack of time. So, only on this version it was possible. The final version of the song grew up and has several instruments with grandiose arrangements. "Rosten" is a magnificent piece of music, very grandiose, graceful and extremely beautiful with lots of mellotron. It's one of the most beautiful moments on the album, which is truly amazing, within its spirit and that adds even more quality to the album. The fourth track "Skogsranden (Eaves Of The Forest)" is another very complex piece of music. Again they show to us their roots in the classical music, starting the song in a very quiet way with flute and piano. But after a couple of minutes the song explodes with aggressive and abrupt musical passages. That happens through all the song and that reminds us that we are in presence of a band with a very complex progressive music. The fifth track "Sista Somrar (The Last Summer)" is another very complex progressive music. Like the previous track it starts very calm and soft until the song changes with a very strong and aggressive passage, and that will continue throughout the entire theme. Here, we can clearly see the perfect marriage and harmony between the classical and rock music, that Anglagard is perfectly skilled in doing. This is one of my favourite songs of them. The sixth track "Saknadens Fullhet (The Fullness Of Longing)" is a very short song composed and performed only for piano in a very classical music style. It's a very sad and melancholic song in the Scandinavian style and is a simple and beautiful way to finish this album.

Conclusion: "Epilog" is another incredible and beautiful album of this astonishing Swedish progressive rock band. Its music is less simple and naïve but more mature, complex and sophisticated than the music on "Hybris". If on "Hybris" the main influences were the progressive bands rock from the 70's like Genesis and King Crimson, here we have the classical music as the main domain. However, and as I said before when I reviewed "Depois Do Fim" of the Brazilian band Bacamarte, there are some similarities between these two great bands, because of some guitar sounds and especially due to the sound of the flute of Anna Holmgren. Perhaps "Epilog" isn't better than "Hybris" is, but it's surely a progression inside their music, I think. So, I highly recommend Anglagard for all fans of the classic progressive rock music with an open mind. Their albums are bright and represent some of the best music ever made in our prog world.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Hybris by ÄNGLAGÅRD album cover Studio Album, 1992
4.38 | 1644 ratings

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Hybris
Änglagård Symphonic Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Review Nº 217

"Hybris" is the debut studio album of the Swedish symphonic progressive rock band Anglagard and was released in 1992. It became as one of the most influential progressive rock albums in the 90's, when many new bands, some of them Scandinavian bands especially Swedish, began to revive the style of progressive rock called the third prog wave.

Anglagard got itself noticed in the small international community of prog fans due to the quality, originality and complexity of their music. Both of their two studio albums which were released in the 90's, this one and "Epilog" released two years latter in 1994, were voted albums of the year on the internet progressive newsgroups, and that put Anglagard as a cult band. This is one of those rare cases of obscurity combined with reverence. Many like to compare Anglagard with the American progressive rock band of Detroit, Discipline. Both are two bands that become legendary.

Anglagard's music is quite similar to the sound of the progressive rock bands from the 70's, because their music was strongly influenced by bands like Genesis, Yes, King Crimson, Gentle Giant and Van Der Graaf Generator. However, Anglagard's music is much more than that. Their music is also deeply influenced by the Swedish folklore music. The final result was the creation of a style with a well defined personality, within the recognizable Scandinavian melancholy.

The line up of the album is Tord Lindman (vocals, Gibson 335, nylon and steel acoustic guitars), Jonas Engdegard (Stratocaster, Gibson 335, nylon and steel acoustic guitars), Thomas Johnson (mellotron, Hannond organ B-3 & L- 100, solina, clavinet, pianet, Korg mono/poly, piano & church organ on electronic version), Anna Holmgren (flute), Johan Hogberg (Rickenbacker bass, bass pedals and mellotron effects) and Mattias Olsson (Sonor drumset, concert bass drum, Zildjian Cymbals, tambourines, vibraslap, po-chung, gong, castanets, line bells, cow bell, wood block, tubular bells, glockenspiel, bongos, bells, ice-bell, finger cymbals, waterfall, A-gogo bells, cabasa, claves, French cowbell, African drum and Effect-flute).

"Hybris" has four tracks. All music was written and arranged by Anglagard and all lyrics were written by Tord Lindman. The first track "Jordrok (Earth Smoke)" is a dark and melancholic instrumental song that reminds me the long and cold winter season in Sweden. It's a very complex and a totally progressive track with constant musical changes and where all the musical instruments have its function and where no one dominates. This is an incredible track to open this fantastic and unique album from a very special and unique band. The second track "Vadringar I Vilsenhet (Wonderings In Confusion)" is another extremely complex progressive track with great rhythm changes. It's the first track with lyrics in Swedish. However, unfortunately, it's impossible to me to understand what is said on the track. Tord Lindman's voice is nice and delicate and, for me, it improves the song. There are on this song some amazing individual performances by all band's members. This is another brilliant track. The third track "Ifran Klarhet Till Klarhet (From Clarity To Clarity)" has a surrealist begin with a kind of a carnival circus music sound. The music on this track sounds relatively complex, combining the great versatility of Anna Holmgren on flute, good guitar work, great mellotron sound, nice bass line and powerful drumming. This is another excellent catchy track. The fourth track "Kung Bore (King Winter)" is the highest musical moment on the album and is, in my opinion, one of the best songs composed by them, and it's also, probably, my favourite Anglagard's track. It's also a very complex song very nostalgic, with great vocals, some classical parts, good keyboards and an interesting rhythm section. This is a perfect way to close this very special and unique album.

My remastered CD version has a fifth bonus track, "Ganglat Fran Knapptibble (Marching Tune From Knapptibble)", which was recorded in 1993 for the English magazine Ptolemaic Terrascope who wanted to release a single to come with the magazine. This track features some music parts which also appear on "Epilog". As usual, I don't review bonus tracks. But, I must confess this is also a great song that doesn't compromise the high quality level of the entire album.

Conclusion: In my humble opinion, "Hybris" is one of the most innovative, surprising and original progressive rock albums ever made. Its music is completely progressive with a lengthy format, very complex and creative, and with abrupt passages and constant change of rhythms. However, it's at the same time very melodic. All of this makes of it a perfectly unforgettable work. As I said before, on "Hybris" we can discover so many varied and diversified influences on its music. They pass by influences from several progressive rock bands from the 70's such as Genesis, Yes, King Crimson, Gentle Giant and Van Der Graaf Generator, for instance. However, in my humble opinion, the main musical influences are clearly Genesis and King Crimson. Those influences are perfectly married with the influences of the Swedish folklore and the traditional Scandinavian melancholy. That makes of it a unique, original and surprising album.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Made In Norway by ÄNGLAGÅRD album cover DVD/Video, 2017
4.83 | 30 ratings

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Made In Norway
Änglagård Symphonic Prog

Review by arschiparschi

5 stars I was really excited when I read about the release of this Blu Ray/ DVD set. It was released by Änglagård's Fan club in the US so it may not be too easy to get hold of outside the US but it's no doubt worth any extra hassle. As stated before, the venue is small and the atmosphere is very intimate. No fancy lighting, no fast cuts or special effects, it's all about the music. With a lovely set that spans across all three albums (basically the same set as on the Live in Japan album with slight changes in arrangements and song length plus Vandringar I Vilsenhet, the drum solo El Ímpetu Del Bosque and Sista Somrar) there is a great representation of what makes their music so unique. I don't think I need to comment on the music too much, I've already watched and listened through it multiple times and there are still new things to discover and pay attention to. The performance is absolutely flawless, the two new members Linus Kåse on keys, soprano saxophone and vocals and Erik Hammarström on drums (unlike stated in the desciption above, Thomas Johnson and Mattias Olsson are not actually featured here) do a superb job and blend seamlessly into the overall sound. Despite the small size of the venue they actually employ all the analog instruments (two Mellotrons, Hammond B3, Fender Rhodes, a moog synth and even a piano), which adds to the great overall sound. Featured on two discs (one Blu Ray and one DVD with identical content) is the full two-hour concert as well as a Picture Gallery. Four cameras or so, mostly slow cuts, many close shots and a crisp sound make for pleasant listening and watching without distractions. There is a short teaser on youtube with a clip of Jordrök, in which you can see the basic setup and get an idea of what to expect. If you're a fan of Änglagård's music and haven't picked this gem up yet, I'd strongly recommend you do so. To me, this is one of the best music DVDs in recent years and a great addition to Änglagård's flawless discography.
 Made In Norway by ÄNGLAGÅRD album cover DVD/Video, 2017
4.83 | 30 ratings

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Made In Norway
Änglagård Symphonic Prog

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator Heavy / RPI / Symphonic Prog Team

5 stars This is the first official video of the band in filmed in Sandvika, Norway February 21, 2015. The venue is very small probably not more that one hundred people there. So the cameras were very close capturing some really close shots of the musicians. The visuals are restricted to the basic lighting of any small clubs. But the best is the music and the discrete surround sound makes this video a very pleasant experience. I must say that the discovery of their "Hybris" album in 1993 was something special for me and I continued to follow the band even thought they made only 3 albums. In this 2 hours of music, we have a good representation of those albums, all epic songs of vintage 70's prog rock with their own style of symphonic based around the flute, guitars, and keyboards developing the melody with a solid rhythm section. The dark and melancholic atmosphere of their music must have been inspired by their long winter nights in Sweden and explain why bands coming out that country have a similar sound. So, the music here is great as we could expect and seeing this band played in front of a small crowd was like seeing a great band at their debut, but here, the band contrary to some bands that have become more popular and playing in front of larger crowd, are still living out their music of passion only.
 Hybris by ÄNGLAGÅRD album cover Studio Album, 1992
4.38 | 1644 ratings

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Hybris
Änglagård Symphonic Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Debut album by this much praised swedish band. Hybris show taht the band is deeply rooted to the classic symphonic prog music of the 70´s. Obviously their biggest influence is King Crimson (around the time of Starless and Bible Black to be preciser), but there are also echoes of Yes, Gentle Giant and Genesis in several parts. This is mostly a instrumental album with a few vocals thrown in (all in their native language). Hybris is regarded as a classic by many ProgArchives colleagues, but I really don´t agree much with them. Maybe because I only recently heard it and it did not have the same impact on me as it may had if I had it in 1992. Who knows?

It is clear that the band has excellent musicians and their mix of retro and (then) modern sounds is quite refreshing. However, composition wise, they did not come up with very strong tunes. Ok, several parts are excellent, but unlike their heroes, rarely the melodies stick and most of the tunes seem like several pieces and bits put together without much care for a coherent whole or even flowing. The second part of King Bore is specially good, but again they failed to produce an epic stuff that is really convincing from start to finish. Which is really a shame, since it is clear they had all the chops and the right influences. The excellent production should have helped too. Vocals are only average, but fitting anyway, on the few occasions they do appear.

All in all I felt that Hybris is a pleasant album, but I can not rate it as high as several others did. To me is good album overall with very good parts on it, but that´s it. I´m going to listen to their latter material to see if they did fulfill the promise Hybris surely is.

Rating: something between 3 and 3.5 stars.

 Hybris by ÄNGLAGÅRD album cover Studio Album, 1992
4.38 | 1644 ratings

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Hybris
Änglagård Symphonic Prog

Review by Quinino
Special Collaborator Errors & Omissions Team

4 stars This one has really grown on me recently, and I felt the need to correct my former rating to the new confident 4 stars. Have to say only discovered the band and this album here on PA just a couple of years ago and didn't imediately overcome the initial strangeness the arrangements caused on me. After some auditions I came to enjoy the adventurous side of the whole project, completely original and surely taking paths never walked before. In spite of the massive use of Mellotron and plenty of analogic and acoustic instruments, even today they sound modern and avant-garde, imagine twenty five years ago the impact this music had then on the lucky early listeners.
 Prog På Svenska - Live In Japan by ÄNGLAGÅRD album cover Live, 2014
4.62 | 79 ratings

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Prog På Svenska - Live In Japan
Änglagård Symphonic Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

5 stars So we finally get a live ANGLAGARD album that the band is actually happy with. The "Buried Alive" recording was one the band didn't want released as they felt their performance wasn't up to par, as well as not being overly happy with the sound quality. Well I thought it was excellent but I have to admit they have stepped up their game here and the sound quality is simply perfect. The music was recorded from three shows they did at Club Citta in Japan back in March of 2013. If I was trying to describe this band to someone who hadn't heard them i'd say their mellow bits were like GENESIS, very beautiful, while the heavier sections bring a muscular KING CRIMSON to mind, especially with the mellotron dominating the sound at times. I love how upfront the bass is as well.

So we get two tracks from each of their three studio albums plus a new one that they opened the shows with each night called "Introvertus Fugu Part 1". In describing the opening number i'm going to let their own description in the liner notes do the talking. "This little rascal that we simply call "Introvertus Fugu Part 1" came about when a Rickenbacker bass line collided with a short atonal vibraphone sequence one day at a rehearsal. The bass line developed into the full-band main section, and together with a flute melody the vibraphone formed a counterpoint. Then the stone was rolling. Distant sparse piano, eerie guitar notes and tubular bells were initially heard. A hell- break-loose rhythm section banging next to squiggly guitar, mellotron and nasty organ followed. For the last section we brought in uproaring saxaphones and...Yes, part of the live experience as a whole, but it also became a natural and important starting point for us a group in the art of crafting". "Hostsejd" is from "Epilog" and is classic stuff. Organ and mellotron can be heard before these massive bass lines arrive followed by a full sound. We will continue to get the contrasts between the loud and mellow. Amazing song. "Langtans Klocka" from "Viljans Oga" is fairly relaxed until the guitar arrives 2 1/2 minutes in and it all starts to come alive. Great instrumental display here before a calm arrives before 4 minutes. Killer bass at times as the contrasts of laid back and full speed ahead continue. Love the guitar in this one and it ends in an insane manner.

"Jordok" from "Hybris" is simply brilliant. Before the song begins one of the members of ANGLAGARD tells the audience that they've been wanting to get to Japan for 20 years. Again the contrasts between the beautiful and the powerful sections is breathtaking. Flute, mellotron and guitar create wonder then the muscular bass kicks in with storming mellotron and frantic drum work. Just a killer track and the final minute is gorgeous. "Sorgmantel" from their latest album "Viljans Oga" begins disc two. This stays mellow with flute, piano, bass and more until it becomes fuller before 2 minutes then even fuller a minute after that. The bass is ground-shaking after 4 minutes then the guitar leads briefly. A GENESIS soundscape follows as themes are repeated. Again the contrasts the rest of the way are so inspiring to me. "Kung Bore" from "Hybris" opens with piano as it builds rather quickly. A beautiful calm before 3 minutes with flute, strings and more as fragile vocals arrive. Again we get some killer moments when it turns heavy then when the mellow pieces float in i'm in awe once again. Big finish to this one as the crowd roars it's approval. The final song is "Sista Somrar" from "Epilog" and it was actually recorded during a sound check before their final concert. Melancholy to start before it turns haunting before 5 minutes. Then it kicks into gear as contrasts once again continue. It's haunting again after 8 minutes as themes are repeated. This song is just an incredible way to end this recording.

When it comes to live albums this one is going to be right near the top of my all-time favourite live recordings. Crystal clear sound and band who would intimidate many other bands out there with how well they play these complex and emotional compositions. I'm not worthy!

 Hybris by ÄNGLAGÅRD album cover Studio Album, 1992
4.38 | 1644 ratings

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Hybris
Änglagård Symphonic Prog

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

5 stars When I first began my voyage across the prog continent two years ago, Anglagard was one of the names that soon attracted my attention. The CDs were expensive to order (like $40 expensive) and I was bothered by the fact that such highly rated music would be so costly to acquire. But then I listened to some samples and I experienced the "Emperor's New Clothes" feeling for the first time. This is the term I have given to music that many progheads rave about as being extraordinary and masterpieces which to me sound like musicians trying too hard to do something "different". "Where is the music?" I ask myself. I have felt this many times when first listening to Van Der Graaf Generator, King Crimson, The Soft Machine, and even old Pink Floyd. It seems to me that sometimes a deliberate attempt to eschew all formality of melody and harmony results in a cacophonous juxtaposition of sounds which may or may not be created by musical instruments. Of course, over time I have come to understand and even enjoy most of these artists' attempts at being avant guard, progressive, or "different". And what I first thought was a band trying to do everything possible in a single song now strikes me as a genius effort in writing complex music that can be enjoyed given time to appreciate it.

Anglagard, however, would have eluded my collection entirely were it not for Wobbler, whose first and second albums are equally complex and require time to digest little by little. It was Wobbler's third album "Rites at Dawn" that was such a magical concoction of complex retro-symphonic prog that brought me to their previous releases, and ultimately back to Anglagard, this time with an expanded mind for music. Sometimes, in order to climb one mountain you are better off having experienced climbing another first.

The band formed in the early 90's with the purpose of creating highly complex and complicated music in the vein of the 70's prog masters. Their debut in 1992, "Hybris" includes just four tracks (the reissue which was mercifully cheaper but still expensive includes a bonus track) running between 8 and 13 minutes. I find it difficult to describe each song individually without writing a novella; however, the basic ingredients are guitars (clean electric, distorted electric, and acoustic), keyboards (organ, synthesizer, piano, and Mellotrone), flute, bass, drums and percussion, and perhaps some additional string instruments. Vocals are featured on some of the tracks but sparsely and in Swedish. The choice of language is by no means detrimental to the music but the quality of the vocals is wanting. Like many prog bands, there is no gifted vocalist, only gifted musicians.

Each track is unique though on any of them you can expect to hear aggressive music in odd meter, subtle parts and melancholic beauty, building suspense and abrupt stops, and generally a wondrous interplay of sounds. Some parts are truly sublime while others are transitions in between. I only wonder how the band members can remember what to play when during each song. In the Rush documentary, "Beyond the Lighted Stage", Terry Brown, former producer for Rush, said that "La Villa Strangiatto" was so complex that you'd need a computer to keep track of where you were in the song. Anglagard's music goes beyond that in complexity. As such, it is not everyone's cup of prog. If you enjoy songs with more focus on melody then you'll likely be disappointed. Some prog bands take a slow scenic drive through the countryside with their songs. Anglagard is more like a express train at times, with musical motifs almost flying by the window in comparison.

It's taken time to get a feel for the music and identify my favourite parts but I'd say at least three of the tracks are now familiar to me and I quite enjoy them. It's remarkable that a band put this kind of album together while the grunge movement was in bloom. It would seem it was almost a direct backlash to the end of the 80's and grunge.

 Prog På Svenska - Live In Japan by ÄNGLAGÅRD album cover Live, 2014
4.62 | 79 ratings

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Prog På Svenska - Live In Japan
Änglagård Symphonic Prog

Review by Progulator
Prog Reviewer

5 stars May 14th of this year saw the release of a new Änglagård live album: Prog på Svenska? Live in Japan. Some of you may have been lucky enough to have been following Änglagård from the very beginning, but if you're anything like me, you came into the game when Änglagård's small catalog of music was either out of print or near impossible to find without spending a fortune; that is, with the exception of one little disc which somehow was available when snagging a copy of albums like Epilogue seemed to be a Herculean feat. That album was Buried Alive, the live recording of Änglagård's last show prior to their 1994 breakup. While the liner-notes of Buried Alive reveal a band that was not 100% satisfied, 20 years later with the release of Prog på Svenska?Live in Japan, Änglagård is back and going strong with a new live recording that is rich in dynamic and deep in maturity, a performance that I am confident that they are proud to immortalize for their fans.

Prog på Svenska represents the first of three consecutive nights that the masters of dark Swedish prog delivered at Club Città in Japan alongside The Crimson ProjeKCt (featuring the legendary Adrian Belew and Tony Levin). For me personally this is a special album that transports me back to when I witnessed their unbelievable performance only three weeks later at Baja Prog. Among a plethora of canonized acts at the festival (such as Hackett, New Trolls, and Three Friends), Änglagård's remarkable performance showed that they stand in no one's shadow. While there's nothing like being there in person, Prog på Svenska is about as good a live recording and performance as I've ever heard on disc. I certainly am jealous of the Japanese fans who got to see them three nights in a row last year.

The live-set on this album shows a balanced representation of the old and the new, featuring two tracks from each studio release along with an unreleased intro track which I assume (and hope) will be on Änglagård's next studio production. So that the anticipation doesn't kill anyone, I'll start right off with the new song: "Introvertus Fugu Part 1." Perhaps the first thing to know about this track is that it's our first look into the composition of the new band featuring Linus Kåse and Erik Hammarström alongside Anna, Johan, and Tord. I can happily say that "Introvertus" shows a band that knows how to move forward without abandoning the distinctive identity that they are known for, a fact that strongly hints at a powerful album to come in the future. The opening moments of the song show the band increasingly incorporating elements of modern classical and atonal music through the delicately dark chord changes on the piano before constructing a wave of tension with ambient bass noise, a distinctive guitar motif, and a descending melody on flute playing against tuned percussion. As the ambient textures continue to swell, a big percussive crash shockingly interjects, setting the stage for an ominous swelling of Mellotron chords, resulting in an eerily delightful sound. The intensity continues to build with a drum roll on snare and cymbals that transition the piece into an aggressive angular instrumental attack featuring howling Minimoog modulation; enter a fiercely dark melody which is doubled or harmonized on most instruments before the band takes the listener into their signature dose of woodsy folkiness. Johan and Linus continue pounding in the rhythm section before the eerie central motif returns to bring "Introvertus" towards its close with the full force of Anna and Linus' dueling woodwinds, one hanging on the melody while the other produces chaotic squeals before withering off the melody in a very unsettling (but cool) way.

After kicking it off with an exciting intro the band takes us back 20 years with "Hostsejd." The rich dynamics, especially the meticulously controlled Mellotron swells, really shine on this one while some small differences in instrumentation (such as the sax on the first main melody instead of flute) really keep the piece fresh and exciting. Although I was craving the intro on the follow up track, "Längtans Klocka," the supreme level of interplay between all instruments that starts off the piece is fantastic. Furthermore, the guitar/Mellotron duet at about 6:30 that leads into a memorable theme is quite the highlight. Finally, the circus-y melody towards the end of the song somehow becomes even more diabolic in this slightly stripped down version as Tord's demented waltzy riff serves as a perfect backdrop for the drunken saxes. Speaking of Tord, it certainly is nice to see him back in the band, and I must add that his guitar playing and sense of emotion is perfect for the band and has improved over the years. This is perhaps most clearly demonstrated on "Jordrök," a quintessential song in Änglagård's catalog. The reality of the matter is that despite the fact that the band was quite mature at the time of Hybris' release, their capacity to bring out all the nuances in pieces like this shows that they are musicians who have truly refined their craft over the years. "Jordrök" sounds more alive than ever; the Mellotron flute section in the middle, one of the band's absolute trademark melodies, is to die for, and Linus' superb use of phrasing and pacing in the piano intro certainly takes this classic piece up several notches.

Moving deeper into the performance we see "Sorgmantel," one of my personal favorites from Viljans Öga. The first thing I noticed about this particular performance is that the intro sounds much more raw due to differences in instrumentation, this version starting out with a guitar and bass call and response. While I absolutely adore the studio version, this new arrangement and performance was also wonderful and brought its own set of advantages to the table. First, the bass/guitar duet at the beginning really exposes the melody and shows you that its not just about fancy instrumentation, it's a gorgeous melody through and through. Second, the band is not concerned in the least bit with rushing through the performance of this piece; the pacing is delicate, precise, and emotional with plenty of space for ritard and sway as the intro melody gets passed around from guitar to bass and flute and is then countered by the piano, making the fugue-nature of this piece even more evident. The playing is incredibly tight but busting with dynamic throughout as "Sorgmantel" takes its many twists and turns before working its way to a quiet ending; graceful? even breathtaking.

To wrap up the night, Änglagård once again goes back to the early 90′s, this time with "Kung Bore" and "Sista Somrar." Although the former leans more on the folky side of the band, as does much of their first album, the highlight of the piece actually ended up being the mysterious and ambient middle section where the band shows that they have mastered perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of music: playing quietly with vibrant emotion. Between the light swells of guitar, weird effects on bass, a steady organ pattern in the upper register, and a lightly beating drum, this section goes beyond merely doing justice to the original. Finally, the depth and emotion of "Sista Somrar's" slow, dark intro is, quite frankly, deadly, and goes miles deeper than the original studio recording (which was in and of itself very impressive) as an ominous sax melody flanked by stormy percussion and effects guides us to the unleashing of an uncanny tron female solo voice that will haunt your nightmares for weeks to come.

In my opinion, Prog på Svenska?Live in Japan is an essential live album that you don't want to miss out on. Quite honestly, I am a person who rarely enjoys live albums because oftentimes the performances and production are either significantly worse than the studio recording, or the live version ends up being stripped down to the point where there's just something missing, or the band simply doesn't offer an experience which is significant enough to enjoy the live version deeply; in most cases you sort of 'had to have been there' to get what's so great about it. Such is not the case with Änglagård's latest live documentation. From the performances to the production and the differences in detail from the originals, Prog på Svenska is a stellar capturing of live art through and through. And of course, I might add that if you ever get the chance to see Änglagård perform, take the opportunity; if your significant other isn't a prog fan, take them anyways. Änglagård's extreme level of delicacy in phrasing and dynamic is a tough match to beat in progressive music and should hold up even in the face of the snootiest of music connoisseurs.

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

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