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BEARDFISH

Eclectic Prog • Sweden


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Beardfish picture
Beardfish biography
Formed in 2001 in Gävle, Sweden - Disbanded in 2016

Beardfish were formed by guitarist David Zackrisson and singer, guitarist, keyboardist Rikard SJÖBLOM. The group includes bassist Robert Hansen and drummer Magnus Östgren. The first album was recorded as a quintet with Stefan Aronsson on keyboards and flute. Their primary influences are a diverse range of Zappa, King Crimson, and Gentle Giant.

To date they have released two albums, both are highly recommended. The first 'Från En Plats Du Ej Kan Se...' runs the gammet from great epics, brash hard prog, with some tasty flute and mellotron thrown in. Their second album The Sane Day is a more ambitious outing.. this time down to a four piece with Rikard taking keyboard duties. A 'double' album released 2005 that might be seen a conceptual, though they deny it. The growth in the group musically is apparent, and is a good album

The group should be checked out by anyone looking for a good solid modern Art Rock group. If you have the chance.. see this group live. Ask anyone in attendance in Chapel Hill on ProgDay06, they stole the show. They will grab you and not let go. Strongly recommended.

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BEARDFISH discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

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

3.60 | 194 ratings
Från En Plats Du Ej Kan Se
2003
3.93 | 295 ratings
The Sane Day
2005
4.07 | 541 ratings
Sleeping in Traffic - Part One
2007
4.20 | 760 ratings
Sleeping in Traffic - Part Two
2008
3.97 | 484 ratings
Destined Solitaire
2009
3.96 | 646 ratings
Mammoth
2011
3.86 | 451 ratings
The Void
2012
4.03 | 515 ratings
+4626 - Comfortzone
2015

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

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

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

4.64 | 11 ratings
Original Album Collection
2016

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

BEARDFISH Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Mammoth by BEARDFISH album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.96 | 646 ratings

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Mammoth
Beardfish Eclectic Prog

Review by Dapper~Blueberries

4 stars I have been really interested in checking out more of the works of Beardfish. So far I have been pretty impressed with their work, especially with the two part concept album 'Sleeping In Traffic'. I wanted to give another one of their albums a spin, but I did not know which one. That is until I looked at this album's cover a bit closer. A mammoth covered in bloody snow with blue, fish-like silhouettes near its eyes, with dirty husks and crackly fur. It looks strange and nothing like any of the band's album covers. It wasn't dark and creepy, or depressing looking, but very surreal. So I decided to check it out.

The album starts with The Platform. Already the album starts off with a very heavy song that showcases a clear inspiration to metal bands of old. I have always appreciated the band's call to action when trying out different styles, and this song definitely delivers that in spades. They clearly progressed forward to new heights with this one in their own Beardfishy way. This also gets pretty epic through the second half, heck almost going near extreme metal at a point before wrapping back to a signature start that evolves into more heavy playing. A great start for this album.

The next song is And The Stone Said: If I Could Speak. It is a 15 minute epic that continues the momentum The Platform gave us and expands upon it to a more proggy and almost a Yes level of bizarre. You can also hear a bit of their European roots in this song, especially near the beginning with a quiet keyboard playing a more Swedish sounding melody. It flows very nicely and feels very consistent with its melodies and progressions to where the song feels long but also very enjoyable in how they operate. It drips and pours with talent that this band seems to always master, and that goes hand in hand with how grand this song feels without it feeling overly pretentious.

After that we got Tightrope, and this song goes less of a hard rock point of view and more baroque. Not saying it doesn't continue the feelings the last two songs delivered, but this tune is clearly a bit more inspired by folk tunes from bands like Jethro Tull or heck even a little bit of Gryphon. It's super fun sounding and delivers some great riffs. That is another thing this band does well and that is their riffs. They are all so consistently great that they never become boring when I hear them. However I failed to mention this when talking about the last songs, but when I heard this song I paid a bit more attention to the lyrics. In most cases I really love the song writing in a ton of Beardfish songs due to how weird, wacky, and funny they are, while also delivering a sense of seriousness much like lyrics from Frank Zappa or Devin Townsend. Here on this album though, it's pretty weak on the humor and is generally more serious. Normally I wouldn't mind this, but the songs never really deliver that Beardfish writing feel. The instrumentation is still incredible but they really are lacking in quality in terms of lyrics. They feel a bit too mellow down and a bit too serious, and never once do I feel they go hand in hand with the more quirky sounding songs. It definitely gives this album its own flavor, but think of it as eating two similar sandwiches with both having a different meat. One has ham on it and the other has thick roast beef. The ham one is fun and enjoyable, and so is the roast beef sandwich, but that one is less tasty than the ham sandwich. Now imagine the ham sandwich as, let's say, Sleeping In Traffic Part One, and the beef sandwich as this album. It's less fun due to the lyrics being a bit too serious for my liking in terms of talking about Beardfish. It's a little disappointing, but at least the album makes up for it with some great instrument playing, so I gotta commend it for that.

Next song is Green Waves, and this goes very hard. Back to more hard rock roots, this song tiptoes on the line in the sand from just standard Prog rock to Prog metal, which I just love. The best part is, this song is 8 minutes, so it gives you a nice amount of some heavy progressive music. This is also where the singing really shines most. While the lyrics are still a little muddy, I think Rikard Sjöblom is at his peak with this song. They just sound so intense and awesome that it goes hand in hand with the instrumentation to where every strain in his voice just feels so much more powerful, which is always appreciated with these more heavy songs.

The next song is this piano melody named Outside / Inside. This definitely feels more like a prelude of sorts, but it is pretty and gets the job done as a nice sweet break from the heavy songs that persisted up until this point, so it's pretty appreciated.

Next up is Akakabotu, an instrumental piece showcasing a more jazzy side to the music of Beardfish, very much inspired by those jazzy songs of Gentle Giant and King Crimson. I really dig this, the horns go so well with the keys and guitars that everything just works so well together, though I don't really like the extremely loud sax in the middle, that was kinda ear grating to say the least, but it only was more a few seconds so it didn't really bother me too much. Overall it is a great song that just breathes more life into this album.

Lastly is Without Saying Anything, where it also features another musician named Ventriloquist. This song feels much more in line with Beardfish's older stuff while also giving a more poetic stance on the lyrics. This is a great closing track with a bunch of great riffs and progressions, though this song feels a bit weak in terms of how it uses those riffs and progressions since they were handled much better in songs before this one since it feels like it was intended to be more at the start of the album, rather than at the end. However it does end with a beautiful piano segment that allows the album to end at a high note.

So this is a very interesting album. It has that Beardfish charm but only in terms of instrumentation, but despite that it is still very solid and has a ton of great moments to make up for its shortcomings. I see this as Beardfish's black sheep album, it's pretty interesting and delivers on all fronts, while also having its very own identity separate from other albums. I definitely recommend checking it out for a good Beardfish experience that is a little different from the rest.

 Sleeping in Traffic - Part Two by BEARDFISH album cover Studio Album, 2008
4.20 | 760 ratings

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Sleeping in Traffic - Part Two
Beardfish Eclectic Prog

Review by Dapper~Blueberries

4 stars The second part of a two part concept album, Sleeping In Traffic. After listening to the first part, I was absolutely hooked on what Beardfish could do and was by all means, very impressed. I wondered then what this second part would be since the first part ended on somewhat of a cliff hanger and I was very intrigued to see how this band can pull off another section of the life of a depressed man, with the added fact of the gloomy album cover, and the fact this may be taking place at night, I wondered what might come of it and how the story will continue. So after hearing it, I just fell in love with it, but in a different way than that of part one, it felt different yet familiar, and took me a bit too fully to appreciate what the album achieves with its sound.

So when getting into the album, I tried to think of this in the same vein as the last part but also tried to think of it as its own standalone album, but after hearing it I say you should get into this album as if it'll be its own thing, cause while story wise it feels like a logical continuation, instrumentally it has its own energy and flow, making it way more different than the first part. So going into this, what songs are here and how good or bad are they?

The first song, like part one, is a prelude called As The Sun Sets. Right off the bat you can hear something a little different. Instead of beforehand where it was an accordion, it's a weird and wobbly electronic piano sound similar in vain to stuff you'd hear from Tangerine Dream. I love how instantly it expresses the album's difference of feelings with its sound and shows a sorta spunk to this album that is very unlike the sound on the first part, inciting a bit more of a colder and maybe even a flex and flow sorta sound.

After that we head straight Into the Night. I really love this track. It holds up really well and delivers on all fronts. Gotta say I love how lively everything feels at the beginning but then starts to get a bit more intense and robust in the middle, and then back to a song that is very alive near the end. It showcases Beardfish's way of change in their songs and how they can switch on a dime. I have to say the singing in tandem with the instrumentation goes such a long way because it's super good on this song with how it flows from point a to point b almost flawlessly. The song also continues where the last song on part 1 ended, and it shows the man still bitter and depressed, deciding to find his own path in his life cause the town he is living in is only for his self loathing, so he decides to try and go somewhere else. I really like this, it makes the listener feel hopeful for the man, hoping he'll get out of the hole he buried himself in and get better because of it.

The next song is The Hunter. It carries the same torch that Into The Night has, but a lot more bassy and sometimes heavier. The bass work here is very excellent and something that I appreciate the band for pulling off so successfully. It gives this song a sort of heavy aura around it that dang good through and through. It shows the band's technical capabilities and their work ethic. It's honestly super cool. Lyrically, I think this song shines a ton. At first I thought the lyrics were about the man in a abusive relationship with his wife, singing from her perspective, but the more I thought about it, it wouldn't seem to make sense, but then I thought of it as maybe the figurative hunter is actually the man's therapist or doctor, poking at the man, trying to let out his deepest secrets and shaming him for being depressed all disguised as a form of therapy. It sorta makes this song pretty creepy in retrospect, and probably the darkest song on the album, heck maybe the darkest song the band has ever created, and I am all for it.

After that South Of The Border, and this song is practically like a metal song mixed with a bunch of different genres. Sometimes baroque pop, swing, jazz, and that good ol' symphonic Prog. To be honest, I really like this. It feels very varied, and they flow together super naturally that it's a treat that keeps on giving. Everything just goes around and comes around to every point and perspective. No minute is wasted, and I highly appreciate the band for successfully pulling this off. Now lyrically, this song showcases a sorta Zappa flair with the song writing with a lot more funny phrases and names to make this song super bizarre. My guess is about a guy the man sees at the bar, who just wants to pick up some ladies, showing a contrast with the man and everyone around him, and how he realizes he was wasting his life and then becomes determined to fix it. It gives more hope to the listener that maybe the man will make it out of this 24 hour experience in a good shape and a good life.

The next song is an instrumental called Cashflow. It showcases more of the band's rich and great instrumentation, making every second count with some fun, albeit a bit goofy sounding music playing, although this is the weakest song on the album. It doesn't feel like the band is putting out all their might and are just stalling for time. Storywise, at least this song feels a lot better than The Ungodly Slob because I can at least see it sorta fitting in, maybe it's about the man collecting some cash from the bank to possibly find a new purpose in life with what he receives. Just an interesting thought though.

That out of the way we have The Downward Spiral/Chimay. This is a dang good song, super proggy and super interesting at times. It even gets a little folky near the middle, and like a sorta Ommadawn kinda folk. Very English sounding for a band that came from Sweden. While I do like it, I feel like it overstays its welcome a bit, to where the ending feels a bit more tedious than rewarding. The lyrics are still very good, and the songwriting never seems to waiver. It's the man, now sober, about to get on a bus from the bar to leave his crummy town behind. It gives this album a feeling of happiness despite its dark undertones, and I feel like this makes it all a worthwhile time.

And now for the song that must've gotten this album into the spotlight in many Prog fans' eyes, the title track, Sleeping In Traffic. A 35 minute suite of music that shows this band's amazing sound to the fullest and most extreme, proudly showing their inspirations more than ever and giving your ears a wonderful time. What I love about it too is how it flows super well, starting with this cool bass riff to some great genre fusions of more European sounds, to some heavy stuff, to even a little bit of funk, especially with the use of a part in Stayin' Alive by Bee Gees. It's super cheesy and funny but, I cannot help but just love it all the way. Nothing feels too long but nothing feels too short. Every minute counts for this song, and it never fails to deliver. Also the last 5 minutes is very great, not the best finale to a suite I've heard but dang it delivers and makes the long trek even better. The song is also the weirdest on the album storywise. It seems to be the man lamenting on his day so far but also seeing weird stuff like fire breathers and pirate captains, but it gives the listener a sense of wonder and excitement just like what the man experiences. With him leaving his town, he can finally see the wonders life has to offer. It may be a bit crazy, but now the man is a lot more accepting, and at the end, he realizes that he is his own worst enemy and this journey was him realizing that all of this was his own fault, not his ex wife, not the alcoholic drinks and smoked out cigarettes, but his own self. This adds a layer of complexity in the main character, that while a bit cliche, makes this whole journey so much stronger, and I love it. My only problem with this song is that it's a bit too long making it a bit hard to get into fully, and it's sort of a chore to fully get through in one sitting, but either way this song is amazing.

And the last song, Sunrise Again. It's very similar in vain to As The Sun Sets, however I feel like it's more worthwhile and just flat out beautiful. The journey is over and now the man, while still having a hard life, is now happier than ever, which is very hopeful. It's honestly a great ending, no need for a big crescendo, no need for a giant burst of sound, just something small to really make this an experience worth remembering.

So this is an excellent album, but in it's own way than part 1. While part 1 was a more lyrically masterful album, part 2 is more instrumentally complex but still keeping that impressive songwriting torch that part 1 had. Now would I say it's better than part 1? No, probably not. I say they are both equally good but something about part 1 really just hooks me into the story, not so much for part 2. Either way it's still a great experience that I recommend to anyone looking for some great Prog music.

 Sleeping in Traffic - Part One by BEARDFISH album cover Studio Album, 2007
4.07 | 541 ratings

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Sleeping in Traffic - Part One
Beardfish Eclectic Prog

Review by Dapper~Blueberries

4 stars There are a lot of bands in the modern progressive rock world that carry the torch that bands like Yes or Gentle Giant carried several years ago. These bands take that torch and throw it into the goblet of the modern age, celebrating the style from yesteryear while also shaping it into their own limelight that embodies what Prog rock is all about, moving forward while celebrating what came before. Bands like The Flower Kings and Big Big Train are some of my favorites of this style of Prog with their clear appreciation of the genre and their refreshing sound that makes them so crisp and enjoyable. However one band seems to take these ideas and runs with them, yet I never really gotten fully into their work until now.

Beardfish was a Swedish band formed in the early 2000s. Unlike the bands I talked about before, they have a more focus on less of a symphonic type sound and more a focus on experimentation with sound, giving them a more interesting feel all around. Despite this I never really got an attachment to them up until this point, but yet I was always intrigued by their sound and their abilities, and I sorta wanted to hear them again after a few months, so I decided to start fresh with this album that I have heard was really good, and after hearing it, all the love for it makes all the more sense.

From what I have heard, this is a concept album about someone's day throughout 24 hours, with this first part being about the day. This album also seems to deal with depression with the lyrics, we'll get to those in a little bit when discussing the songs.

The album starts with a prelude called ?On The Verge Of Sanity. It's a small tune being played on the accordion, and I say it definitely segways into this album pretty well. While I particularly not fond of these small doses of music, having the album start with this tune ain't that bad, in fact it hooked me in more than anything.

But as the song ends the sun rises with Sunrise. The song starts up with this glorious sound of soulful organs, guitars, and drums. It really punches you with amazing sounds. It's an amazing hook to say the least. As it fades, we get a more acoustic part that builds more up to stronger progressions and stronger changes that hits it right on the nail. This is also where the lyrics start and while it's short and brief, it gives highlight to the main character of this album, a depressed man who seems to be in a failed relationship and who is so down in life that the sun is less good and more bad. It gives the album a gloomy feeling despite its more upbeat sorta sound.

The next song is Afternoon Conversation. It's a lot shorter and more minimal with instrumentation, with only a guitar and small beats of the drums. I honestly really like this break of momentum after the amazing spectral of sound, now sitting back a bit in favor of a more vocal song that gives more away with the story and the really great song writing. This seems like a flashback to when the man and his girlfriend were still in a good relationship, however they took things a bit too fast too where they both seemed to hold each other back, especially with the line "In a pot where I can't grow". It's a sad tune, but one bursting with a charm that is just nice to listen to. It is very much one of those songs you hear on a rainy day with some hot coco, at night, just chilling out and playing some games on the television.

We pick up speed a bit with And Never Know, going for a more proggy sound. This song definitely is a lot heavier, reminding me of songs on THRAK or The ConstruKction Of Light, but with its own flavors and spices, making it a more rewarding and exciting experience. This also showcases the creativity the band can pull off with their instrumentation, going from more proggy songs to minimal songs to another proggy tune on a dime without them feeling like a conundrum of consistency, especially how they flow into each other perfectly. I really like the added heaviness this song has, a lot bigger and intense that makes me feel the weight of the lyrics, with it showing the man now, drinking and smoking his sorrows away, retelling his relationship with his ex wife, probably to a friend or a bartender, and it seems he leaves the place he is in at the last few seconds of the song, meaning this man is outside now most likely.

Now we have Roulette, the longest song on the album being over 12 minutes. It goes back to a similar, less heavy Prog sound on Sunrise, but it progresses to new adventurous sounds, some darker, lighter, weirder, or just crazier. It's like a roulette wheel, you do not know what you'll get in this song, and it adds a beauty to this album that shouldn't be overlooked, though I feel like this is the one of the more weak song on this album, the singing is a little less than stellar unlike the last songs, and it feels a bit too slow with how it can change, not that it should be fast pace, but maybe it should've used it's length to more of its advantage with multiple sections than stuff that seems to take longer than it needs to. The lyrics are also not the best, the whole political war aspect kinda comes out of nowhere and I cannot see it fitting into the story all that well. My guess it's about the man trying to not follow any trend and remembering their past in the army, but other than that it feels a bit of a crux to try to reflect the whole album's themes of depression and breakup. I know I am racking on this song a bit, but I know this band could do better, I heard them do better so it feels a little off putting hearing them not be their best both lyrically, vocally, and pacing wise, but that's just what I think.

With that out of the way we got Dark Poet, similar in vain to Afternoon Conversation but on piano instead. This goes back to a feeling of the past that Afternoon Conversation but with a different type of past, this time being more in line with a relationship breaking apart where it's not fun anymore for both parties. The lyrics reflect this well with the lady just wanting to dance and fade away while the man just doesn't want to be there anymore cause it isn't happy, and this is honestly a very real and very beautiful song that feels very natural in it's themes and symbolism and I love this about the album. It feels so real and mature to where it feels like anyone has at least gone through something similar with what the man has gone through. A dead loved one, a long lost pet, a friend who you haven't seen in a long time, the feeling of loss whether of death or love is what everyone goes through in their lives, making the whole album feel a lot closer to the heart and soul than that of A Lamb Lies Down On Broadway or The Wall. Not bashing on those albums mind you, but I feel less likely to care for the characters or themes on those albums because they don't feel relatable to mine or anyone's experience with life, either that or they are too weird and zany to capture what life is like. This hits those marks perfectly and this song and the songs before, heck even a little bit of Roulette, has made me feel a sense of relatability with the man and his story, even if mine plays out differently.

After that, we got my favorite song on the album, Harmony. Super fun proggy stuff. I adore the organ, it gives me a ton of early Genesis vibes on stuff like Nursery Cryme and Foxtrot, while also giving us some nice slower and heavier stuff, giving us this nice feel of symphonic type melodies and hard rock sounds. It's super enjoyable and flows amazingly well to where every second doesn't feel wasted where the band reaches their full light and showcases their beauty. I love how the lyrics gives us some hope for the man with him seeing a woman who looks familiar to his girlfriend with similar eyes to the one he broke up with, but when he tries to go and meet her, he cannot see her, probably either due to traffic of people and cars or because that woman could've been a drunk and smoking filled illusion, which if it's the latter makes this story even more sad.

After all that we get The Ungodly Slob, an instrumental track. This is another weaker track like Roulette, however it's weaker in the fact that it feels extremely out of place in the narrative. With the lack of lyrics it makes it feel like an odd inclusion in this album that I felt like it was entirely unneeded. Not saying the song is bad though, the instrumentation is still great as ever, and it's not too long with it only being up to 6 minutes long, but yet it still feel out of touch with the album, like it was a song planned for another album but was added on to this album just because they wanted to use it. To be honest, this probably should've stayed on the cutting room floor.

With that out of the way, Year Of The Knife lurks its head in. This song has a very cool flow to it, and it reminds me of a ton of Gentle Giant songs, especially that sorta twang the beginning has with the guitars and organs. It gives it a sorta edgy and medieval flair to it that gives it its own strong sense of wonder and intensity and I love it so much, it makes me feel like discovering my love for those old bands so much more. The lyrics are also reflective of that familiar sound with the man walking through the town and remembering a time in his childhood where he went out at night and was attacked by a knifed maniac named Big Blade Bill, which gives the man a more thorough background as this man who has gone through so much that he drinks to forget, yet seems to always remember throughout his day.

And now we reached Without You, another acoustic track of the man talking about his ex wife and how sorry he is for not taking things slowly and rushing too much to where now that everything is quieter, it's a lot lonelier and much more depressing. I really like this a ton, though it feels a bit repetitive at this point to where I kinda wanna know more about the inner struggles of the man than the struggles he had with his love life. Still a good song but definitely a bit stale.

But then we get Same Old Song, also known as Sunset. I really think this is the best closing this album could have, giving a sense that this isn't closure, but rather an end of the day with a slower, and stronger sound that takes its time without such a long length of music, plus the music feels like it is played through a radio, making it have this echo like sound, almost like the man is hearing this tune on the radio and singing to it, making up his own lyrics along. The lyrics give closure to the man's journey with him now in the middle of the night, fully lamenting his ex wife and how he feels so cold and desolated to where he thinks that if he disappears his old lover would not care in the slightest. However with this being part 1, this doesn't mean the man's journey is over and maybe the night might allow him to try and change his path to a better direction without making everyday more lonely and bitter with the taste of cigarettes and bottles of beer, making this a grand spectacle of a song, closing out the first half of this man's fruitful day.

So if you haven't guessed it, I love this album. Sure it has it's hiccups, a bit too many to make me feel like this album is absolutely perfect and an essential listening experience, but it gives a human and honest experience that many concept albums doesn't seem to give, letting the listener sympathize the main character of he album much more, and the fact this is part 1 and it's already an amazing listen makes me super excited to check out what part 2 might have in store. I fully recommend checking it out cause it is a wonderful experience from one song to the next.

 +4626 - Comfortzone by BEARDFISH album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.03 | 515 ratings

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+4626 - Comfortzone
Beardfish Eclectic Prog

Review by ElChanclas

4 stars Confortzone is the eighth and last (to this date) studio album by the very interesting and unique Swedish #eclecticprog band #beardfish and arguably their most accesible of their catalog? Maybe, but if so then it has to be attributed to the desegregated beautiful melodic moments that seem to come and go throughout the whole album, because besides that it has all the ingredientes to be just that, an amazing Eclectic #progressiverock band.

The One Inside - Part 1: Noise in the Background opens with the lyrical narrative of the concept before the first melodic hook appears in the form of keyboards and strings (or more keyboards sounding like strings, with Rikard Sjöblom you never know!)?precious

Hold On kicks in with funky heavy bass lines and very catchy finger riffing that gently evolves into the mellow and modern symphonic structure. There are some references to Jethro Tull at points, and some of the other usual suspects, very smartly integrated into their unique proposal, playful and memorable music.

The title track Comfort Zone invades with the 2nd important hook of the album but this time through opaque and drowned guitar licks slowly covered by more keyboard layers, impressive rhythmic section and even some classic piano, all the ingredients present. Pop-like eclectic prog at its best. Death walks behind you?

Can You See Me Now is a cool song, with hints of #theflowerkings at times, maybe even more theatrical and uplifting but I can definitely feel some connection here.

King presents a different musical approach, more metallic and melodic, even angry at points but softened with the guitar harmonies and some falsettos here and there; Come where I've been chosen king, I will teach your tongue to sting! Voila!

The One Inside - Part 2: My Companion throughout Life serves its purpose of interluding the two metallic (and somehow off concept tracks) with a hooky acoustic reminder of the title track. Cool song

Daughter/Whore is maybe the song that got me less interested since the first listen, and is not actually until writing this review that I can say is not a band song, not a great one either, but would definitely feel much better within a different group of tracks, it has some high quality moments like the wonderful guitar harmonizing, but it just doesn't do it for me, It took me out the #comfortzone

If We Must Be Apart (A Love Story Continued) always brings my attention back to the album, I really like the symphonic first seconds, and how the fat bass kicks in, and the enchanting keyboards, from the narrated story with the acoustic guitars as primary atmosphere, to the angry and tempting #progressivemetal discharge, I cherish this song as one of the highlights from the album.

Ode to The Rock n' Roller shows the satiric and humorist side of the band, a pop-like complaint about everything surrounding the music industry, at least that's my interpretation.

And then The One Inside - Part 3: Relief. The closer for the album and its concept, with an immediate late grunge/Alternative rock frame but maintaining the epic ending to wrap up the trip. A highly recommended album.

 Mammoth by BEARDFISH album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.96 | 646 ratings

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Mammoth
Beardfish Eclectic Prog

Review by Mark-P

3 stars The sixth album by Beardfish, with the same line up as the previous Destined Solitaire (DS) album. Not to much changes in the musical style compared to DS, except it shifts a bit to be heavier. The compositions is in my opinion, not as strong as 'Sleeping in Traffic' (SIT). The rhythm section (bass and drums) is amazing and give a special feel to each of the tracks.

First track 'The Platform' opens with hard riffs and rhythm, that set up the overall mood of the album, as being heavier. Great guitar works from start to end.

Second track 'And the Stone Said: If I Could Speak' is the longest track (15:07) of the album. It has around 4 minutes great introduction section, with melodic theme and typical Beardfish conversation amongst instruments. This track is very rich in timbre, with many wonderful sound of keyboards (both modern and 70's mellotron and hammond sounds) and use of saxophone in the middle part. The end part has great guitar work.

'Tightrope' to me sounds the quintessential Beardfish, in terms of the influence of 90's alternative rock. It is blended nicely to have a softer but still powerful track. The rhythm section plays wonderfully to alter the moods several times in this quite short track. 'Green Waves' is a dark track, with heavy guitar riffs and a rather aggressive vocal. The interlude (somewhere in the last 2-3 minutes) has outstanding instrumental section with nice bass and drums works accompanying guitar solo with groovy rhythm that for me is the best part of this track. Some part of it (particularly bassline and syncopation) reminds me to the musical style of Rush (like 'YYZ').

'Outside / Inside' is a short (1:43) piano piece. 'Akakabotu' has a nice jazzy tune, with a lot of saxophone and keyboard works. The intro part resembles Camel's song 'Six Ate' (from their first album). 'Without Saying Anything (feat. Ventriloquist)' provides a cool down closure of the album. Not too much highlight in this long (8:10) track.

Considering their musical creativity in the SIT and DS, I would give this album 3 stars. I miss the musical wit that were abundantly showcased before. This album might be a transition of musical style towards heavier sound. However, 'Tightrope' and 'Green Waves' still stand out and I would list them among best works of Beardfish.

 Destined Solitaire by BEARDFISH album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.97 | 484 ratings

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Destined Solitaire
Beardfish Eclectic Prog

Review by Mark-P

4 stars This is the fifth album from Beardfish, with heavier and darker sound compared to previous great double concept album 'Sleeping in Traffic'. Some similarities like musical wit and Frank Zappa influence however are still there. In my opinion, Beardfish still successfully maintain their unique form of music, with many experimental crossover even within a single track. The rhythm section (both bass and drums) is outstanding (and in my opinion has more room for improvising and therefore more dominant).

'Awaken the Sleeping' is a glorious opening of the album with a nice quirky mixing of dark and witty notes. This track is very good instrumental track, with great bass and drum works accompanying melodic keyboards.

The album title track 'Destined Solitaire' has a heavier sounds, with some phrases are closer to metal prog. I love the instrument works in this track. The guitar work is awesome with the use of various scales from creepy phrygian, blues and nice major scales.

'Until You Comply (including Entropy)' is the longest track (15:21) in the album. Very nice composition with a lot of crossovers among genres and strong reference to classical 70's progressive music (including dominant mellotron sound). There is Pink Floyd influence in the middle part that reminds me to 'One of My Turns' (from 'The Wall').

'Coup de Grâce' is another instrumental track, with nice accordion playing for the theme, tranquil guitar solo, and frequent changes of paces. Very solid composition performed with great chemistry.

Other tracks, are equally great to showcase the band's musical prowess, but in my opinion, the compositions are not as strong as the above mentioned tracks. A few notes for the rest of the track : 'In Real Life There Is No Algebra' is a nice groovy track with great guitar work. 'Abigail's Questions (In an Infinite Universe)' has some reference to Zappa music (some phrases again remind me to 'Inca Roads'). Overall, this is a very good album for a band that has already established their sound and musical style.

 Sleeping in Traffic - Part Two by BEARDFISH album cover Studio Album, 2008
4.20 | 760 ratings

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Sleeping in Traffic - Part Two
Beardfish Eclectic Prog

Review by Mark-P

5 stars This is the second part of 'Sleeping in Traffic' concept albums, released a year after the first part. The music is very intense, fascinating and exceeds my expectation for a follow up album. I would agree on some reviews mentioning profound influences of Frank Zappa and Gentle Giant, but the way Beardfish integrates these into their music is awesome and somehow creates a new beautiful strange music of their own.

'Into the Night' is like a lively welcome to the night (this second part of the concept albums tells the character's story after sunset). The second half of this track is very peculiar, with a carnival-music like section. I love the guitar works in this track (both acoustic and electric). The keyboard work and sound are also great and are really what we expect from progressive music.

'South of the Border' has a lot of musically wit phrases and some Zappa-style spoken (or yelled ?) words. The composition is complex, with many key changes and odd time signatures. This is probably among tracks that showcase the virtuosity of the band member. The solo guitar in the middle of the song has a country mood, with the beginning part quickly reminds me to Steve Howe interlude in 'And You and I'.

'The Downward Spiral / Chimay' is another fascinating blend of musical style : alternative rock in the early part, Zappa- style fusion with irregular time signature (remind me to for instance 'Inca Road'), folk-prog acoustic guitar duet (with great percussion background) and ended by rather heavy melodic guitar.

'Sleeping in Traffic' has to be the main course of this album. It is a great track with almost 36 minutes of intensive music, with a lot of changes of both mood and musical style. I love the vibes in the first 4 minutes intro section : a captivating hi-hat sound followed by dark riff, a bit of to carnival-music and 90's hard rock. The vocal section begins with completely different mood and guitar tone (I like this kind of alternative-rock influence that is stronger in the SIT Part 1), start calmly but then increase the intensity into heavier rock. The guitar duet on around 11th minute is very nice. After several verses of vocal, the beat changes again on around 20th minute to more uplifting and here is one of the merriest part : a few bars of disco section, with a short piece from Bee Gees' 'Stayin' Alive'. The last 10 minutes are again a feast of musical styles similar to that in the intro : alternative-rock, hard rock, carnival music, calming acoustic guitar and then back to harder sublime instrumental closure.

The other tracks have their own unique features. 'The Hunter' is a groovy tune with nice bass line . 'Cashflow' is an amusing and witty instrumental track. Great keyboard work with strange but beautiful sound and syncopation, accompanied by meticulously complex rhythm section.

Overall, this album is stronger in composition than SIT Part 1. The composition writing ability of the band is really impressive. Beardfish makes a very unique, up to date sound and colourful progressive rock, which I think can attract the interest of younger audience to the progressive music. In the modern progressive rock era, I think they should be considered among high-ranked bands. Between 4 and 5 stars, I finally go for 5, to make this album stand out from other newer era of progressive music.

 Sleeping in Traffic - Part One by BEARDFISH album cover Studio Album, 2007
4.07 | 541 ratings

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Sleeping in Traffic - Part One
Beardfish Eclectic Prog

Review by Mark-P

4 stars This album is the first Beardfish album I listened to, and it was really an euphoric listening experience. The musical style is very rich and diverse, perhaps like an alternative rock in the hard rock scene (pretty much because of both style of riffs and sound of guitars) , but with the strong influence of classical progressive like Gentle Giant and Frank Zappa.

While all of the tracks are nice and almost has its own unique style (and good theme), some tracks are quite stand out. The fifth track 'Roulette' is a 12-minuite track that probably the best track in this album. It has strong symphonic prog feel and sound (and nice addition of accordion), with good theme and a unique singing style. 'Harmony' is another great track, with a nice mix between 70' hard rock feel in the and symphonic prog in each half of the songs.

'The Ungodly Slob' is an instrumental track that reminds me to the music of Gentle Giant. This composition has a lot of style changes. The second half has a jazzy segment with nice theme with style reminds me to that of Chick Corea (in particular ? 'My Spanish Heart' album).

'Year of the Knife' is also my favourite track. The guitar and bass duet in the intro is very nice. It has strong composition with nice, playful guitar riff and strange but tasty Zappa-style dissonant. 'Same Old Song' is a nice cooling-down closure. It has a bit of jazz feel, with great theme and drum work.

This is a real good album with a lot of creative ideas and great crossover, between progressive and either 70's hard rock or alternative rock (the later is probably stemmed from influence of grunge in Rikard Sjöblom's earlier musical period), but also jazz and groovy feel in some segments. Very enjoyable album with mild complexity but very nice blends of musical style.

 Mammoth by BEARDFISH album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.96 | 646 ratings

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Mammoth
Beardfish Eclectic Prog

Review by A Crimson Mellotron
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Beardfish released their sixth studio album 'Mammoth' in 2011, with the classic line-up of the band in line; a really solid album but a bit too safe, making it probably the last Beardfish album having this very common and recognizable for them classic prog edge, while remaining Beardfsh-y in every sense of the word.

Not only this, but they decided to make it slightly 'shorter', if any of their albums could be described as short, clocking in at around 52 minutes. For this playtime, the listener gets 7 songs (practically six and one tiny instrumental interlude), some full of epic and grandiose sounds, great riffs, and playful tones, and some very forgettable ones that could have been dropped out? in my humble opinion.

A 'mysterious mood' levitates around this recording, giving an enticing aura that unfortunately is unable to save the poorer compositions from falling into the 'I could skip this next time' category. As usual, for better or for worse, this is an album that can be referred to as 'classic Beardfish', with the playful and adventurous instrumental sections, the melodic and sometimes peculiar phrasing of mastermind and vocalist Rikard Sjöblom, the jaw-dropping rhythm sections, and some very 70s-reminiscent arrangements.

The album kicks off with the mighty 'The Platform', a powerful heavier track, probably hinting at what sound the band was slowly gravitating towards (and fully embracing from their next album on). This transitions into the 15-minute epic 'And the Stone Said: "If I Could Speak", certainly one of the stronger epics, containing some of the band's most intriguing moments. The comes 'Tightrope', a really weird song from the point of view of its structure, and this seems to be the weakness of 'Mammoth' - it is very ambitious and artsy, the playing is gorgeous but the songwriting is really weak on some of the songs, and I cannot help but think that there are moments of unnecessary noodling.

'Green Waves' is another great song in the spirit of 'The Platform' but it lacks the adventurous nature of the latter, in a way. 'Outside/Inside' is a nearly two-minute interlude-like piece, leading to the instrumental 'Akakabotu', a very jazzy and playful number that could be easily mistaken for something made by a Canterbury Scene band; a guest saxophonist delivers some very mean playing that overall gives the album an originality that cannot remain unappreciated. Finally, 'Without Saying Anything' is certainly the song that I would have left out, I cannot enjoy it as much as the rest of the record, it is too messy.

On 'Mammoth' Beardfish present some fresh ideas, giving once again their own spin of the classic progressive rock sensibility to songwriting and composing music, but also deliver some of their more unimpressive moments on 'Tightrope' and 'Without Saying Anything'. A well-played album but not necessarily well-written, the band obviously has stronger material. But it has weaker, too.

 The Void by BEARDFISH album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.86 | 451 ratings

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The Void
Beardfish Eclectic Prog

Review by A Crimson Mellotron
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Beardfish's heaviest fantasies come to life on their mighty seventh album, 'The Void' - an exploration of existential dread and fear, cloaked in the romantic drapery of hopeless romanticism and wishful expectation.

The Swedes are certainly one of the trailblazers of 21st century progressive rock, handily but confusingly labeled symphonic/retro prog, they never stopped reinventing themselves, thus supplying the mythical creature that Beardfish has managed to become, with loads of dedicated fans, despite the lack of overly commercial success. This album is no exception to the typical Beardfish approach to music - ever-changing and gripping, full of memorable melodies and punchy instrumental passages, with intelligent and adventurous lyrics.

An album that sometimes gets neglected or overlooked due to the fact that their well-known keyboard-centered sound is put at the back seat, in favor of a much heavier, distorted and headbanging sonic body, it should not be left unmentioned that is an excellent symphonic prog album at its very core, it is just skillfully masked in the almighty riffs and gnarly bass sections.

A sore spoken word introduction by The Tangent's Andy Tillison serves as the entrance to 'The Void', a place that Rikard Sjöblom successfully paints as dark and uninviting, allowing the listener to embark on an emotive journey through his mind. From then on, the acrobatic main riff of 'Voluntary Slavery' crushes every expectation that one could have had for this album. The band is aggressive but certainly well-behaved, while Rikard throws in some guttural shrieks just to keep the listener alert. 'Turn to Gravel' is another heavy piece that seems to sounds nothing like your usual Beardfish, the lyrics are enduring and reflective, the tone is menacing and unsettling. 'They Whisper' is the piece that finally gives off the impression that the ambitious new direction of this band will come to a very satisfactory result, given the shockingly blissful mixture of heavy guitar riffs and memorable, resonating melodies. 'This Matter of Mine' might be a bit more laid back than the cannonade of heavy songs coming before it, yet it still finds Rikard screaming at the top of his lungs once!

'Seventeen Again' is a beautiful instrumental that begins with a very stripped-down piano progression, unfolding into a very Wakeman or Emerson-esque pastiche, craftily performed by the band's leader. Spiraling through the excellent love song 'Ludvig & Sverker' and the jazzier 'He Already Lives in You', the band reach the apex of the album with the nearly 16-minute epic 'Note', just to finish off on a high (or rather low) note on the cerebral 'Where the Lights Are Low'.

All in all, 'The Void' is a fantastic exercise in beautifully-ornamented and rich songwriting, penetrated by the bombastic nature of the riffs; something that hardly let the listener disregard this album as anything less than excellent. This album proves that no matter how many times the mighty Beardfish reinvents itself, it always remains one of modern progressive rock's finest exponents.

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

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