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BEARDFISH

Eclectic Prog • Sweden


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Beardfish biography
Beardfish were formed in 2000 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 recomended.



Why this artist must be listed in www.progarchives.com :
strong modern Art Rock group from Sweden. Unquestionably prog.. the 'star' the of ProgDay06 show. Two great prog albums released so far at time of addtion.



Discography:
Från En Plats Du Ej Kan Se...(2003 - Studio)
The Sane Day ( 2005 - Studio)
Sleeping In Traffic Part 1 (2007)
Sleeping In Traffic Part 2 (2008)

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VoidVoid
Inside Out U.S. 2012
Audio CD$10.65
$9.21 (used)
Sleeping In Traffic: Part OneSleeping In Traffic: Part One
Inside Out / SPV 2007
Audio CD$10.98
$9.68 (used)
Sleeping In Traffic: Part TwoSleeping In Traffic: Part Two
Inside Out / SPV 2008
Audio CD$9.40
$10.45 (used)
Destined SolitaireDestined Solitaire
Inside Out Music 2009
Audio CD$8.98
$1.09 (used)
MammothMammoth
Inside Out U.S. 2011
Audio CD$10.13
$17.27 (used)
Void: LimitedVoid: Limited
Import
101 DISTRIBUTION 2012
Audio CD$11.88
$10.88 (used)
Mammoth: LimitedMammoth: Limited
Import
101 DISTRIBUTION 2011
Audio CD$28.29
$27.30 (used)
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BEARDFISH shows & tickets


  • Sweden Prog Fest 2014 on 8 Nov 2014

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 | 117 ratings
Från En Plats Du Ej Kan Se
2003
3.99 | 183 ratings
The Sane Day
2006
4.05 | 347 ratings
Sleeping In Traffic: Part One
2007
4.19 | 520 ratings
Sleeping In Traffic: Part Two
2008
3.95 | 341 ratings
Destined Solitaire
2009
3.96 | 462 ratings
Mammoth
2011
3.86 | 316 ratings
The Void
2012

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

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BEARDFISH Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Void by BEARDFISH album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.86 | 316 ratings

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The Void
Beardfish Eclectic Prog

Review by Gatot
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars I've just realized that I have not reviewed The Void even though I already listened to it since it was released sometime in August 2012 by InsiodeOut. My initial reaction even before I spun the music of any Beardfish album is only simple words: it must be excellent. I am sure most of you agree with me that Sweden has become the land of progressive rock in this era as so many great prog bands coming out from Sweden. Of course they are heaviliy influenced by legendary bands like King Crimson, Yes, Gentle Giant or eve Genesis. But the music of Beardfish is quite unique in nature and it's hard for me to identify major influence as the band s truly an eclectic prog band - they always try something different with new albums they release. The 2011 release Mammoth revealed a band restless to step outside the their boundaries--or at least anxious to add a little poundage. The Void push the envelope in fact harder than before, I think.

It was just couple of weeks ago I had a lengthy prog discussion with my friend who owns a coffee shop that does not play music but PROG. It's located far away from my hometown at capital city of Indonesia, and he lives and builds his PROG cafe at east Java, Jombang to be exact - it's roughly about 900 KM at east side of Jakarta. Of course I came at his coffee shop for not only this purpose but altogether with my work as Culture Change Consultant at Surabaya and I extended my days of stay to be able to have a lengthy prog discussion at the most progressive environment cafe: Apple Prog Cafe. He, Edi Santoso, is a humble person with havy loaded prog in his mind so everything comes out from his mouth has always been about prog. He even dares to spin only prog for his cafe eventhough his customers not prog lovers at all. So .. he is very pushy to make people get acquainted with prog music.

Why do I need to elaborate a paragraph long about my friend Edi? One simple reason: he is very very Birdfish or so called die hard fan of Beardfish. Even when I was picked by him at the bus station from my journey to Jombang, he palyed The Void inside the car - so here we were altogether in the car enjoying The Void. ANd not only that, he posted a giant poster of Beardfish Robert Hansen at one corner of his prog cafe! So, my meeting with him that day of 19-20 September 2014 was really heavy loaded with PROG and also Baerdfish. By that time I did not realize that I have not reviewed The Void yet. That's why now is my time to give my personal views about this album.

First off, this is definitely an excellent addition to any progressive music album that actually I wanted to review when I wrote The Tangent album - especially when it was said that Beardfish gave narration of the album in exchange of Andy Tillison providesnarration to The Void. But I forgot to review it. I consider this as a concept album as I always play it in its entirety. The music os quite eclectic in nature even though at first spin I though was a prog metal album as there is a growling part at the second track right after introduction: Voluntary Slavery (6:33). The track is quite heavy in nature but not forgetting the eclectic part: you can not predict the song will go to until you experience it. The combined clean vocal and growling part is really nice. It continues wonderfully with the next track Turn To Gravel (5:30) where the heavy side of prog still dominate the song. The next song provides some break as the music has tuned down nto a slower style with They Whisper (6:06).

I do not intend to give a track by track detailed review but one thing for sure that I want to share with you is listening to this album in its entirety. And I think that's my only suggestion: don't get the joy of good music from The Void get interrupted or cut off in the middle of the album - you have to listen to it in its entirety and I guarantee full satisfaction with its music. For some reason now I feel like I find the Gentle Giant reformed into the kind of Beardfish music. I am not saying that Bearfish is a copy cat from Gentle Giant - and of course not as the music is totally different. But ... how eclectic Beardfish is ...that reminds me to Gentle Giant. At that time I also considered Gentle Giant music is very different compared to others. But now I find Beardfish doing similar thing. Of course you will get confused judging the band from progressive metal view points. And also you will be surprised if you judge this using the spectacle of regular prog music because there are many surprises you experience throughout the album.

The epic part Note (15:50) comprises four movements: I. Note, II. Descending, III. The Void, IV. Note (reprise) which typically the track that is sought after by many prog heads. Bearfish has composed the epic beautifully so that you get full enjoyment of the music through the four movements. Not only that, the concluding track Where The Lights Are Low (5:41) provides different style as compared to previous ones especially on raw guitar work.

By the way ... I am completing this review while spinning the album with my iPod Touch connected to bluetooth speaker Divoom Voombox Travel which I just recently purchased and happy with its sound. One thing I wanted to purchase the bluetooth speaker: to get prog music around me all the time , in fact when I ride bicyle. And I am happy with the recent bluetooth technology tah makes it possible for me to enjoy prog anywhere; when I ride my lovely bicycle, I can put the speaker right at the bar while the iPod unit I put at pannier in the back side of the bike. So .. I am writing this review remotely. As the music of The Void comes out clearly with this speaker, I can write representative review about the album ...and yeah ... this is an excellent album, really! Keep on proggin' ...!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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 Från En Plats Du Ej Kan Se by BEARDFISH album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.60 | 117 ratings

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Från En Plats Du Ej Kan Se
Beardfish Eclectic Prog

Review by DrömmarenAdrian

5 stars The Swedish prog rock band "Beardfish" was formed in the year 2000 and "Från en plats du ej kan se" from 2003 was their debut record. I have listened to it several times now and have hard to let it go, it is so good and rich of great music. The musicians were Rikard Sjöblom (vocals, guitar and keyboards), David Zackrisson(guitar), Stefan Aronsson(keyboards, flute), Robert Hansen(bass) and Magnus Östgren(drums) and the cover has a picture taken from high up on a sky scraper, perhaps in New York or in another modern environment. These listenings were very interesting in many ways.

Three of the songs are sung in Swedish and that is fantastic. A band should sing in their mother's tongue. But also the songs with English lyrics are fantastic. Actually the whole record is so fantastic. "Från en plats du ej kan se" the title track, is a mixture of folk rock and intelligent progressiv rock with a lot of power, some parts are really heavy. The singer has a very unique voice and every instrument do their things. "Today" has a lovely sweaping melody and "Poison Ivy and the full monty" is truely symphonic and lovely. "Brother" is softer and very fine and "Spegeldans" is a very interesting track just as "Om en utväg fanns" with funny lyrics. "A psychic amplifier" has organs that very much reminds me of great prog of the seventies and that is a musical journey I recommend every proger to experience. Totally, the whole record has so much interesting features and I was early amazed and surprised that the band was so good so early in their career. I think I am right when I say that Beardfish is one of the very best prog bands in modern days. My favourite songs here are "Från en plats du ej kan se", "Today", "Poison ivy and full monty" and "A Psychic Amplifier".

Beardfish makes modern progressiv music with a unique style even though it appeals to me, a listener who prefer the seventies' prog before modern versions. This is a beautiful record I recommend warmly!

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 Sleeping In Traffic: Part One by BEARDFISH album cover Studio Album, 2007
4.05 | 347 ratings

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Sleeping In Traffic: Part One
Beardfish Eclectic Prog

Review by Progrussia

4 stars I meant to make review of Sleeping in Traffic Prt 2 to encompass the entire story, but since Part 1 is nominally a separate entry... What I like about Beardfish is they don't just copy the usual British suspects - Genesis, Pink Floyd, Gentle Giant, - but base their music also on more traditional sources - American (bluesy hard rock, soul, country) and European (use of accordion, waltz- and tango-like melodies). I've said that Beardfish for prog is not complicated, a pleasant and accessible band (maybe not on first, but easily on second or third listens). While that is true, their guitars may sound surprisingly dirty and bass - pulsating. Keyboards are vintage-sounding.

Beardfish is classified here as eclectic prog. Compared to part 2, the "day" part of Sleeping in Traffic is more eclectic than prog. For listeners reaction to go from "hey, that's cool" to "wow" factor, it needs to have the Part 2. For that reason, I'll rate Part 1 slightly lower - but only slightly.

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 Destined Solitaire by BEARDFISH album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.95 | 341 ratings

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Destined Solitaire
Beardfish Eclectic Prog

Review by Progrussia

4 stars It must have been a lot of pressure for eclectic retro-rockers Beardfish to follow-up to the critically successful Sleeping in Traffic saga. That they managed to come up with nearly 80 minutes of music only a year after is proof of melodic talents. Whereas Traffic was musically centered on hard rock, blues, funk, fusion and everything in between (tango, accordion), Destined Solitaire is at the same time heavier and more instrumentally challenging (title track, Awaken the Sleeping), and has a more relaxed, bar lounge-y vibe (most other songs).

In hindsight, however, Beardfish would have been better served by refining their songs a bit more. In an industry with often many years between albums, who would have blamed them? All songs have interesting ideas, but some parts wouldn't pass quality control. There is a line between quirky, surprising inserts in songs and them being plain annoying.

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 The Sane Day by BEARDFISH album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.99 | 183 ratings

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The Sane Day
Beardfish Eclectic Prog

Review by Progrussia

3 stars Impressive for a band so young (age-wise, too) to make their second record already a double album. Since, I believe, that their songwriting craft was not yet fully honed, there is a lot of filler. But it's basically anything goes approach for Beardfish who clearly wanted to put to use the many ideas popping up in their young minds. About half of songs can be described as pleasant psychedelic pop-rock, with bluesy influences, sense of humor and a keen knowledge of provincial American pop culture (learned probably thru Frank Zappa). Production here is clear and bright, but on later albums would get significantly grittier. The second disk unexpectedly ends with a series of quite progressive instrumental or almost-instrumentals. The band said King Crimson was a big influence, but I see here the Crimsons' more lighter side.

This record clearly shows a band with great potential, which they realized later on, but still I can't overlook the amount of filler here.

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 Sleeping In Traffic: Part Two by BEARDFISH album cover Studio Album, 2008
4.19 | 520 ratings

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Sleeping In Traffic: Part Two
Beardfish Eclectic Prog

Review by Progrussia

5 stars I've always thought of Beardfish as a primarily retro band, creating its quirky yet accessible prog from popular, rather than obscure, ingredients of the 70s. Of their albums, Sleeping in Traffic has the most 70s vibe to me. Two albums released a year apart, but basically a double concept CD, it has surprisingly little filler for a modern-era double album, with the second part being even better in that regard. Most songs are multi-part, and each part has a memorable foundation to it, be it hard-rocking boogie, blues, soul, funk, fusion, a bass/keyboard dominating melody, an intricate guitar duet, whiny alternative rock or even accordion and tango. The most-talked about song is naturally the 35-minute eponymous epic. It is surprisingly consistent for such a long song, but has a curious structure - after a scorching deep bass-Eastern-metal-tango book-end the song is very slow for the first 15 minutes, and for the next ten it is basically a non-stop romp, before returning to the original unsettling melody. In short, if you can afford to have only one Beardfish disk, all are good, but if you must, get Sleeping in Traffic part 2. Disregard the frontman Rikard Sjoblom saying that its more difficult to get into. Just give it a few spins, and it will fall into place.

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 The Void by BEARDFISH album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.86 | 316 ratings

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The Void
Beardfish Eclectic Prog

Review by Progrussia

3 stars Rikard Sjoblom, leader of the quirky eclectic retro-proggers Beardfish, who have been increasing in heaviness lately, has said he was a fan of metal. There was before the rare growl in Destined Solitaire (from eponymous album), and in the ...And the Stone Said. Now he indulges himself with several stabs at a sort of gritty proto-metal riffs. Problem is, while in Solitaire the metal was a send-up, and in the Stone it was appropriate to the segment, in the Void it comes across as strained and forced, although the riffs themselves are not half bad. The reaction is more of raised eyebrows rather than head-banging. It overstays the welcome. To me, their best stab at heaviness remains the metal/tango intro to Sleeping in Traffic.

Another half of this album is Beardfish at their usual pleasant self - a jazzy instrumental, a sad pop-rocker, an epic full of glorious melodies and vocals (the album also ends on an unexcepted but cool note with unrecognizable lo-fi country-blues). The problem is, however, that even those songs are prone to being somewhat repetitious (Seventeen Again and Ludvig and Sverker could have both be shaven by two minutes easily).

Well, kudos to Beardfish for trying on, with occasional success, new approaches, but to me The Void is their typically interesting, but least compelling album.

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 Mammoth by BEARDFISH album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.96 | 462 ratings

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Mammoth
Beardfish Eclectic Prog

Review by Progrussia

5 stars Beardfish can be described as often quirky, retro eclectic prog band, with ingredients of pop, heavy, psychedelic, jazz, soul, traditional music and plain old boogie. Lately they have habit of introducing dark metal elements, but still do it in a decidedly unmodern way, sounding most inspired by Black Sabbath. Like fellow Swedes Flower Kings, Moon Safari and others, Beardfish are prone to gigantomania. Mammoth is their most compact album, six proper songs, diverse ones, and with as little filler as possible, is my favorite. Two heavy tunes, a bombastic epic, an ethnic jazzy/heavy instrumental, a foray into a sort of psychedelic disco, and, to conclude, a sing-a-long-fest with a surprisingly somber ending.

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 The Sane Day by BEARDFISH album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.99 | 183 ratings

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The Sane Day
Beardfish Eclectic Prog

Review by bloodnarfer

5 stars This is Beardfish.

While it may not be their most consistant or mature album, The Sane Day is Beardfish in full style. I was not initially impressed with The Sane Day as I was with Sleeping in Traffic pt 2 and Destined Solitaire, but as I became more familiar with Beardfish, this album started to shine as my favorite. This is full, unrestrained Beardfish. This ambitious double LP comes right after their debut, early enough that they still have an "anything goes" attitude. Rikard and gang simply had too many good ideas ready for a single disc and therefore opted for the double album. The playing here is not as refined or skilled as in later albums but the song writing and ideas are most unique here. A few highlights:

Beginning with A Love Story, the album kicks off with a story about a chump who is left by his girlfriend and simply cannot continue to live. He will even DO THE DISHES if it meant he could have her back. This song is exactly the kind of song beardfish is known for. Great use of hammond organ, jam sections, non-repetition, and of course not taking themselves too seriously. It really plays out like a story. And it seems so unabashedly honest it might just be a true story.

Gooberville Ballroom Dancer is unmistankenly Beardfish-esque. This is an early example in the vein of the South of the Border joke song with heavy influence from Zappa. "Dwight was a filthy mother ..%*(*. " It is an overtop ludacris song full of narrative and oddball characters. The crunchy guitar riffs and interesting (sometimes goofy) vocal melodies keep it interesting after many plays. The instrumental portion of this song is undeniably excellent.

The second side contains many shorter, mellodic songs toward the beginning, and instrumentals toward the end. Every one of these are pretty great. For instance, Now starts out very meloncholy with long organ chords as the guitar slides in and out of tones. Halfway through the song it welcomes something different as a Tangerine Dream type arpeggiator and a lighter guitar riff transfers the song into a much more optimistic mood. Ask Someone Who Knows is a great instrumental piece. There are so many textures of keys and guitar work interweaving throughout this piece. Rikard is a master of melodies on the keys, and it really stands out here. The song transitions from thought to thought in interesting and powerful ways. The end is particularly haunting as the organ plays a dilapidated carnival theme and the evil clown returns from 'Easy Money' to laugh at you again (basically).

This may not be the best introduction to Beardfish (see Sleeping in Traffic pt. 2) but this is certainly the most Beardfish-sounding album and probably their best work. This is the album I return to the most. I think it touches on every facet of the character of the band and strong melodies and songwriting can outweigh bombastic playing anyday (See Mammoth). I am hesitant to give the masterpiece rating but I will round up from 4.5. It is well-deserved. Essential work of modern progressive rock.

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 Destined Solitaire by BEARDFISH album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.95 | 341 ratings

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Destined Solitaire
Beardfish Eclectic Prog

Review by aapatsos
Special Collaborator Prog Metal and Heavy Prog Teams

3 stars 'Till you comply with their madness

I have spinned and enjoyed this album a few times now but it always leaves me with the same feeling: that of confusion.

Beardfish are a very talented and educated (from what I can hear in their music) band. They have a pretty unique, absolutely eclectic style, borrowing from the past, yet being ridiculously modern. Throughout this album I see so many ups and downs, get overly excited and disappointed within the same track a few times, and end up unsure of whether what I listened to was a masterpiece or a bunch of well-educated jazz/prog passages put together on an ad-hoc manner. The answer lies somewhere in the middle.

From the first track the effect that Gentle Giant and Zappa have had on Beardfish's music is evident. Flirting with, but never utterly reaching avant-garde, they seem to borrow from the symphonic elements of ELP and take their music forward with a very modern approach. There are several intentional "atonal" passages that simultaneously put me off and create some curiosity. Their lyrics are full of irony, utterly interesting and have a social/political tone - see "Until you Comply", one of the best tracks in here and with similarities to The Tangent. Quirkiness, quirkiness, quirkiness... is everywhere. From the accordion-led instrumental "Coup de Grace" to the VDGG-influenced "Abigail's Questions", the album surprises in all fronts. Especially dominant is the use of organ that provides a retro- and epic feeling at the same time (see the end of the closing track...).

"In real life there is no algebra" they claim, but in this album the maths are for the experienced solvers. For those that love quirky prog, this is probably a must, for the rest this could be a love-or-hate album. 3+ stars.

Highlights: Until you Comply, Coup de Grace, the irony in the lyrics

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

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