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ZELLO

Crossover Prog • Sweden


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ZELLO is excellent prog from Sweden. The violin plays a prominent role. The musicianship is excellent and the solos fiery. This band creates elaborated themes with rich arrangements and sophistical orchestrations. Their instrumental music is delicate and includes some tense part. The elaboration of their arrangements reminds of OUTER LIMITS and has strong influences from KANSAS. "Quodlibet" is an excellent album, modern prog without any discernable neo influence, and above all, great material.

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First Chapter Second VerseFirst Chapter Second Verse
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Lion Music Finland 2009
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QuodlibetQuodlibet
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Musea 1999
Audio CD$15.59
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ZelloZello
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Ad Perpetuam Memoriam
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ZELLO discography


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

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

3.63 | 13 ratings
Zello
1996
3.37 | 26 ratings
Quodlibet
1999
2.53 | 6 ratings
First Chapter, Second Verse
2004

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ZELLO Reviews


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 Zello by ZELLO album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.63 | 13 ratings

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Zello
Zello Crossover Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars Swedish band from the mid-90's,based in Karlshamn.Their singer P.O. Saether was a member of various small Hard Rock/Rock bands since 1975,other members were keyboardist Anders Altzarfeld, Lennart Glenberg Eriksson on violin,bass player Danne Lindell and drummer Svetlan Raket.Their self-titled debut from 1996 was released on the Swedish label APM.

Six mid- to short-length tracks with six very short intros between them is the type the band chose to present their musicianship in a short album of 40 minutes.With heavy use of keyboards and violin and played in a rather groovy style,Zello draws influences from the dynamic Hard Prog style of KANSAS,the vintage feeling of BLACK BONZO and the catchy Art Rock approach of fellow natives A.C.T. with a singer delivering a very Hard Rock/AOR type of singing (and some cheesy performances as well): Driving powerful violins,smooth mellotrons,swirling Hammond organ and a steady tight rhythm section guarantee a fine music experience.And while the album sounds very fresh and modern,the presence of organs and the mellotron still add a retro-aesthetic to ''Zello''.However the band is a level lower than the depth of KANSAS' arrangements,the beauty of A.C.T.'s songwriting and the composition skills of BLACK BONZO.

''Zello'' is an album written with much joy, energy and respect to the band's influences and will be a more than pleasant experience for anyone seeking for highly energetic still quite accesible Prog/Art Rock.Recommended.

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 Quodlibet by ZELLO album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.37 | 26 ratings

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Quodlibet
Zello Crossover Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

3 stars Zello is a certainly a strange line-up whenever the violin is the lead instrument and you never really know what you're going to get. Like a box a chocolates, I guess. This Swedish group has some positives and negatives that leap out of the speakers right away. The keyboards are Hammond heavy, placed way up front near the Mellotron, which is a very novel concept. Bassist Danne Lindell keeps nice fat time while Svetlan Raket (Par Lindh's new drummer, by the way) excels on the kit. The opening onslaught "I Will be the Wind" is just too close to the Kansas approach (why the overt title?) and it all comes across as a bit misleading. Lead vocalist P.O. Saether sounds at times like Steve Walsh or even Journey's Steve Perry (God help us) and is therefore assuredly an acquired taste, trying so hard to sound like a Yank. Not at all my kind of wedding singer, at least not for prog, as he is way too overwrought, verging almost into a Heavy Metal howler parody. Their line-up is better suited for a more subtle approach as on the 10 minute "Flag of Convenience" which has not only style but also substance, nice piano blending with the grieving Hammond, Lennart's searing violin blazing away furiously but again the forced vocals are almost unbearable. Then something weird happens, unexpectedly laying down a 25 minute monster, as "Zwecia" has the hallmarks of a true prog epic with loads of shifting moods, subtlety and inspiration. Both lead instruments (the violin and the organ) take pleasure in foraging deep into explorative territories with resounding synchronicity, playfully raging when needed and coy the rest of the time. As soon as Saether (allegedly a dentist in real life) approaches the mike, the drilling starts but the instrumental intervals are long, so its goes easier. There is some fanfare like bombast sprinkled throughout (usually thanks to the mighty 'Tron), courtesy of Anders Altzarfeldt, who is certainly no slouch and gives this piece some well deserved applause. Fans of Hammond (and they are plentiful) will surely find much to enjoy. "Anthem." just keeps flowing in the same direction without really offering anything sonically different, except that Saether now is trying to emulate Bruce Dickinson, of all people. Oh well! I cannot help being puzzled by such a narrow concept though and find it hard to envisage any kind of prolific career within such parameters and Zello will have a hard time "progressing" in my opinion. They are certainly deserving of a place in a collection but more out of uniqueness than actual material. It's amazing how a good vocalist that actually fits the style can make such an immense difference. In my years of analyzing progressive music, I have come to the conclusion that the front (lead vocals) and the back (drums) are vital components and often make or break a band's intrinsic value. I guess that explains why I never liked the Rolling Stones! 3 krones

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 Quodlibet by ZELLO album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.37 | 26 ratings

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Quodlibet
Zello Crossover Prog

Review by Paul de Graaf

3 stars ZELLO is a Swedish band from the nineties, who sound very much like KANSAS in their best (seventies) period, though their compositions also sometimes remind me of CAIRO (with a dominant violin instead of the Keith Emerson-like keyboards of that particular band), and the clear and bombastic style of production reminds me of EUROPE (who were also Swedish!). But don't be misguided by this last comparison: nevertheless this certainly is progressive music - though I certainly would have believed you if you'd have toldl me that this was the best KANSAS album ever... The music is dominated by keyboards and bombastic singing, but most of all by Lennart Glenberg-Eriksson, who really is one of the best violin players in prog I ever heard. Especially in the great second part of 'Anthem Of The Long Forgotten Loss', he knows how to work up to a climax without being repetative by putting subtile little differences in every seeming resembling line. 'Quodlibet' contains four epic songs, who despite the same characteristics sound very different, so the danger of repetition is very well avoided. Between these main songs of the album, three short pieces in a classical vain of about one minute are included to prove once more that Glenberg-Eriksson is not just a guy from the street. Those who love violin in prog as much as I do, will certainly love this cd, and will be stunned by Glenberg-Eriksson's playing. For them, this cd is certainly recommended as an excellent addition to their collection. However, I think the rating system of ProgArchives forces me to give it no more than three stars, because this KANSAS clone lacks to much originality in their style.

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 First Chapter, Second Verse  by ZELLO album cover Studio Album, 2004
2.53 | 6 ratings

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First Chapter, Second Verse
Zello Crossover Prog

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This is a strange recording. I really like their two previous studio efforts. The Kansas sound of the early days is of course the main reason for this. It was really impressive to hear how close Zello was from this great US band. What is rather difficult to understand here is that Zello decided to remix almost all of their debut album (released eight years before this one) and deliver a harder but very similar job.

The information from the band is very scarce : their web-site is no big deal in terms of news etc. and no info is to be found to explain their approach. The same and useless short interludes are here for their majority, which could have been avoided. Most of the musicians were present on the first recording (except the drummer who has changed and one keyboardist who has been added, probably to be even closer of the legendary Kansas line-up with Livgren and Walsh).

Most of the numbers are good of course (since their debut was very good actually) but one of the best songs was the fantastic opener "Overture" which is omitted now. Still, we'll have some good violin parts which is Zello TM of course.

"The Children Are Crying" and "Traffic Jam" highlight this brilliantly. "Through the Clouds of Virgin Angels" was not present on the original album. Is is not a brilliant track, I'm afraid. Pure hard-rock, almost heavy. This instrumental number is repetitive and does not add anything to the quality of their debut album. There will be two versions for "Hold On". I admit that the live one is not bad (although the sound could have been better).

This album could have been a good one if it was not a repetition of an earlier recording. Was the original out of print ? Again no information circulates about this one, and I really wonder why this has been released. Three stars.

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 Quodlibet by ZELLO album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.37 | 26 ratings

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Quodlibet
Zello Crossover Prog

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I was completely blown out with the first album of this Swedish band. I had the impression to listen to a Kansas ghost. I still do not understand that they are listed in the "Art Rock category though. So, I only hope that their second album will not disappoint me.

The opener "I Will Be The Wind" is a savage rock song. At times weird, at others brilliant. There will be extremely violent sections as well as very delicate violin ones (you know like...). The lead singer is still sounding as Walsh. A very good start.

During this effort, there will be three transitional tracks, each lasting for about one minute. None of them will sound interesting as such.

"Flag Of Convenience" opens like a madrigal. Almost Tull oriented. But after ninety second, we'll enter again into a wild rock song. Extremely powerful bass and drumming during this instrumental part. The vocal effort is very pleasant. This singer really knows how to please Kansas fans...The last instrumental borrows some Yes sounds as well, but the violin at the end will inevitably bring Zello to their roots...A very good and complex song.

With "Zwecia", we'll have a very long epic song. Over twenty-five minutes ! The long instrumental intro is just wonderful. A fantastic rhythm and a great violin play. Even if one has the impression to listen to a cover band, Zello is doing it with such a maestria that I just love it. The first vocal part is not really convincing for once. Too mellowish really. But the band will be great enough to erase this aspect. Again brilliant, diabolically powerful. It will switch though from violent to extremely sweet thanks again to the wonderful violin play like ...

P-O Saether will sounds a lot better during his second and brief incursion into this almost instrumental track so far. I really can't help : I just love this music even if this track sounds a bit lenghty. Some weaker moments here and there, but not too much to be honest. There will be some hard-rocking moments during "Zwecia" as well as very strong organ combinations. But, inevitably, we'll be brought to very melodic intrumental as well as vocal sections.

A portion of the last part reminds me of J-M Jarre. All in all, this number is quite pleasant to listen to. Not a masterpiece by all means of course, but very interesting. I was expecting though a great finale, but I won't get it.

"Anthem Of The Long Forgotten Loss" is another mighty song. All bombastic. This band sounds really incredible. I can't say anything else. The finale is fantastic : the superb violin transports me to heaven (well, almost). An excellent number. Probably my fave of this excellent album.

If, like me, most of you have suffered with some Kansas poor releases, Zello is an excellent alternative to compensate this. If you are not reluctant to bands sounding too much to some of the great names on PA, Zello definitely requires your attention.

If you belong to some purists like they are a lot here, just avoid it.

Since I belong to the former category of listeners, and I am probably more tolerant towards less original bands, I can only be pleased with the music displayed by Zello. Do not look for originality but just to good musical moments. Some hard-rocking ones and some very melodic ones as well.

And for the last time, if you just listen to this album without knowing it is Zello, you will definitely name the early Kansas as being the band playing here. If clone bands do not irritate you, Zello will only please you with his melodic and powerful music.

Four stars.

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 Zello by ZELLO album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.63 | 13 ratings

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Zello
Zello Crossover Prog

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

4 stars To have Zello is the Art Rock genre sounds very strange to me. The first time I had listened to this album I was stunned with the similarities with Kansas. And the best Kansas you can imagine. As this great band, they will feature a full-time violonist. You will be brought back to the mid-seventies. The best Kansas period, IMO.

The opener will investigate almost each aspect of their inspirators. This instrumental piece, features truely amazing moments. Absolutely incredible. "Fairy Queen" confirms the impression : we are confronted to a great Kansas clone. This song sounds a bit too much AOR-ish, but rhythm is great, keys are powerful, and of course the violin... The finale is as crazy as Kansas could be during their most creative period, really. Outstanding.

An almost classic intro for "The Children Are Crying" willl lead to another brilliant song. If no one would have told you about Zello, you might think that you are listening to a lost Kansas jewel. Even the vocals try to match Walsh's voice. I really like this song. Very much "Song Of America" oriented.

There will be several very short numbers, sort of interludes which I do not really understand the need for. "The Humming" is somewhat spacey and "Shades Of The Crying Children" is the poorest one with its medieval mood. "Kelpie" is a folkish oriented number. "Fragments of 5 & 6" is a church oriented keyboard number. Each clocking at less than one minute. None is interesting. Press skip all the way through these poor but short moments.

We'll get back with the best of the music we love with "Traffic Jam". It is really impossible to describe this album without making reference to their masters. But the trainee is damned good. Great composition, fabulous rhythm, superb violin, again a crazy instrumental part. We are definitely in the rocking atmosphere of "Down The Road" and its fabulous and wild tempo.

"The Angels Have Fallen" is a good rocking number. Very strong keys and vocals. Lennart is just great in his violin role. Very catchy song. Almost poppish. "Voyager" is on the harder side. Not the best number here, but hey ! One weak number is not a big deal, right ?

The closing number "Hold On" (nothing to do with the Kansas original one) is the longest one of this album, it is very powerful. Completely disjointed as Kansas could be in their early days. Fantastic and rocking like hell, but subtle at the same time. A great closing number for this rather nostalgic album. Very strong backing band (bass mainly) and sublime violin.

If ever you do not like bands sounding as legendary ones, you might appreciate "Zello" moderately. If, like me, you do not have these metaphysical questions, you'll definitely be very enthusiast about this album.

If early Kansas is your cup of tea, you will only be amazed with this album. It does not feature long and epic songs but it is a so pleasant one that I really recommend it to all of you. I just hope that you will find it as intersting as I do. Four stars only because it lacks of personality.

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 First Chapter, Second Verse  by ZELLO album cover Studio Album, 2004
2.53 | 6 ratings

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First Chapter, Second Verse
Zello Crossover Prog

Review by Rudy

1 stars After the 2 fantastic albums: zello and quodlibet we can find here a remix of many songs from the first album with an electric guitar added, why? The special sound of this band was the combination between the violin and the analog keyboards, hammond organ and moog synthesizers. This was unique because there aren't many bands today using this special sound of the 70's. I can't image hearing the old elp songs with an electric guitar. I think that zello made a big mistake doing this album. I hope they will do someday a new or a live record with the same line up as the first 2 records. Also many of the songs are cut at the end. They could have done a fade out at least

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 Quodlibet by ZELLO album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.37 | 26 ratings

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Quodlibet
Zello Crossover Prog

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

2 stars I will rate purely on mathematical scale instead of the words used by our great site to describe the point of acquiring the cd : 2 out of 5 or 40% . This is mostly because I must say that I did not get into this album or the sound of it. i generally give a good ear to groups coming out of Sweden (as this country is emotionally charged for me - musically speaking but at one time also woman-wise) except for pure neo groups like Galleon and Twin Age.

This group has nothing it can offer me like alot of the bands that put out a cd in those years and sounded a bit like Zello and did not have that typical melancholy that we all love from ANGLANDOTENKADUSBERLAGARD (are you sure you're following me?) . This comes from a definitely harder edged that you can see in Valinor's Tree, Book Of Hours and so. But what this makes me think of the most is Kansas , most likely and unsurprisingly because of the violin and the way it is used and the powerfull huge sounding rythm section and powerchords from the guitar. It is too bad because I would have loved to hear a Swedish group with a violin (outside the folk realm) , maybe it would sound tooooooo melancholic but it should be tried.

To come back to the stars awarded , I can fully admit missing the point of this album (and if you like Kansas this could be enjoyable for you) but I did rate 40 % and not for collectors only.

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 Quodlibet by ZELLO album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.37 | 26 ratings

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Quodlibet
Zello Crossover Prog

Review by Greger
Prog Reviewer

4 stars ZELLO released their debut CD in 1996 on the Swedish APM label who has released a lot of great albums through the years. For example re-releases of AKASHA, ATLAS, BLAKULLA, ESKATON, IN THE LABYRINTH, MYRBEIN, TÖMERCLAUS and ZARAGON and new releases with bands such as CATWEAZLE, DEATH ORGAN, EVIDENCE, HÖYRY KONE, SIMON STEENSLAND and ZELLO. I think that this second album was planned for a release through the APM label too. It was recorded in November -97 but hasn't been released until now through the French label Musea. I don't know what has happened with the APM label or what will happen. APM was one of my two favourite labels together with Mellotronen and they had planned a lot of exciting forthcoming releases (ESKATON, MYRBEIN live etc.), but now they haven't released anything in years. I hope they will be back sometime in the future. Well, now ZELLO's follow up to their great debut has finally been released on Musea, and IN THE LABYRINTH that once was on the APM label has released a new album on the Record Heaven label. ZELLO's debut CD simply called "Zello" gave them the reputation of being Sweden's answer to KANSAS. It was very well received and this second album follows the same musical direction as their first. The fabulous Svetlan Råket has replaced the drummer on the debut CD, Jamil Batal. The comparisons to KANSAS are very much because of the violin. Lennart Glenberg-Eriksson's violin playing is very similar to David Ragsdale of KANSAS. The different between KANSAS and ZELLO are the Nordic influences. ZELLO have in their music. The three short tracks "Spaken", "Prästpolskan" and "Ekelundapolskan" that are in-between the longer tracks are Swedish traditional songs played on Violin. ZELLO's inspirations besides KANSAS are JETHRO TULL, KAIPA, UK and YES. I think that this is a great follow-up and if you liked their first album you won't be disappointed. It's also highly recommended to all fans of KANSAS.

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