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AIRBAG

Neo-Prog • Norway


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Airbag biography
Norwegian outfit AIRBAG refer to 2005 as being their formative year. These high school friends have been playing together under this moniker before that as well - they were actually formed in 1994, and the current line-up has ben in place since 1999 - but for the band 2005 heralds the start, or perhaps fresh start, as a band.

They released their first EP the same year, Sounds That I Hear. Blending influences from acts such as a-ha, Porcupine Tree and Pink Floyd, they managed to create a sonic expression defying normal genre convencions - and allowing the release to be freely downloadable from their website was a smart move: In the first few months more than 10.000 people got the EP, and Airbag established a good-sized, international fanbase.

In 2007 a second EP was issued, Safetree. Like the previous production this one too was freely downloadable, and further extended their popularity among a internet-savvy fanbase. 2007 also saw Airbag's debut as a live outfit, opening for acts like Pineapple Thief, Gazpacho and Riverside.

In 2009 they were signed by Karisma Records, and their debut album Identity was issued. This time as a regular commercial production. The release of their debut effort saw the band withdraw their previous EPs, as many of the tracks on those efforts found their way onto their first full length venture - albeit in more or less refined versions.

The current line-up is Asle Tostrup (vocals) Bjørn Riis (guitars, vocals), Jørgen Hagen (keyboards), Anders Hovdan (bass) and Joachim Slikker (drums).

Airbag official website

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Buy AIRBAG Music


DisconnectedDisconnected
Karisma 2016
Audio CD$7.99
$7.89 (used)
IdentityIdentity
Karisma Records 2016
Audio CD$8.19
$10.38 (used)
All Rights RemovedAll Rights Removed
Karisma 2016
Audio CD$8.06
$8.50 (used)
Greatest Show on EarthGreatest Show on Earth
Import
Karisma Records 2013
Audio CD$10.01
$10.00 (used)
DisconnectedDisconnected
Karisma 2016
Vinyl$23.62
VoragineVoragine
Import
Sony 2011
Audio CD$27.83
LibertadLibertad
Import
Imports 2013
Audio CD$21.11
Samsara VivoSamsara Vivo
Import
Sony Import 2012
Audio CD$19.83
$19.84 (used)
AirbagAirbag
Import
Wea UK Generic 2004
Audio CD$6.98
$6.08 (used)
The Greatest Show On Earth (LTD. ED. DIGIPAK) by AirbagThe Greatest Show On Earth (LTD. ED. DIGIPAK) by Airbag
Karisma
Audio CD$85.61
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AIRBAG discography


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

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

3.78 | 194 ratings
Identity
2009
4.02 | 408 ratings
All Rights Removed
2011
3.90 | 335 ratings
The Greatest Show on Earth
2013
3.86 | 134 ratings
Disconnected
2016

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

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

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

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

3.20 | 18 ratings
Come On In
2004
4.73 | 15 ratings
Sounds That I Hear
2005
4.30 | 20 ratings
Safetree
2007

AIRBAG Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Disconnected by AIRBAG album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.86 | 134 ratings

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Disconnected
Airbag Neo-Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Norwegian band AIRBAG can trace its history back to sometime in the '90s, but didn't actually release an official debut album until 2009. Since then they have released new material at a fairly steady pace, and have become one of the better known of the contemporary progressive rock bands in the process. "Disconnected" is their most recent studio recording, and was released by the Norwegian label Karisma Records in the early summer of 2016.

Those who have a strong affection for the David Gilmour era of Pink Floyd should find Airbag's latest studio album to be warmly appealing, and then especially those most fond of Gilmour's guitar solo passages and the gentler parts of the Gilmour-era compositions. In addition I rather suspect that many fans of bands like Porcupine Tree, Sylvan and RPWL might find this recording to have a strong appeal.

 All Rights Removed by AIRBAG album cover Studio Album, 2011
4.02 | 408 ratings

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All Rights Removed
Airbag Neo-Prog

Review by AVD

5 stars Brilliant album. All the reviewers on her comparing them to Pink Floyd have lost the plot completely. God bless them there is life after Pink Floyd. Maybe I am stupid I just don't see it the comparison. For a start, no sax whatsoever, or the gentle jazz blues like sounds of Wish you were here. Pink Floyd is slow and sometimes ponderous in comparison to Airbag. Anyone who thinks this sounds anything like Wish you were here needs to have their ears tested. They are seriously confused.

The pace that PF's music is played at allows for easier precision and timing. It is time that the prog world ceased its infatuation with PF and moved on and Airbag is a good place to start. I remember reading the sleeve notes to Brave where it said turn down the lights lie on the floor and turn up the music. The same advice applies to this album. Assume the position and listen to The Bridge, the layering of the guitar is stupendous and makes all the beeps, farts and whistles on PF sound positively amateurish.

This is how rock is meant to sound. Yes there could be more memorable hooks and melodies but music that is too accessible is boring you might as well listen to Katy Perry, God forbid.

Airbag play their music from the soul and the more you listen to it the more it grows on you. My only complaint would be, and this is a common theme through all of their music, that the vocals endure for the intro to the songs and then never reappear, the only other group that I am aware of that followed this pattern were the Railway Children. There are very few low points on the album and the fact that the group is so young bodes well for the future. I have no doubt that they will continue to grow, mature and get even better and I for one cannot wait.

 Disconnected by AIRBAG album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.86 | 134 ratings

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Disconnected
Airbag Neo-Prog

Review by Progrussia

3 stars Norway's Airbag play Pink Floyd-inspired melancholic rock thematically centered around modern technological dystopia, with a guitar that is often more upfront in the mix than usual for such styled bands, Well, Disconnected is not a bad album, but I think if you're new to AIrbag, you'll be better off with All Rights Removed or Greatest Show on Earth, since Disconnected is a carbon copy. It's almost as if the writing process went along the lines of, let's see, we've got to start with a slightly less lethargic track with a groove. Then slow things down with a ballad with a mournful acoustic opening. And then we must have a 10-plus song that features a Pink Floydian crescendo.
 Disconnected by AIRBAG album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.86 | 134 ratings

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Disconnected
Airbag Neo-Prog

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator PSIKE Team & Band Submissions

3 stars Since 2009 AIRBAG from Norway are periodically arriving with a new album nearly every second year. Hereby their approach has not essentially changed over the course. They are providing highly melodic neo prog songs in a rather mellow outfit. This is garnered with psychedelic leanings, first and foremost Pink Floyd comes into mind here of course. Besides the keys I would say guitarist Bjørn Riis, also known for his acclaimed solo album 'Lullabies In A Car Crash', is predominantly responsible for that, while radiating some gilmouresqe references over and over.

That said they don't define something blatantly new every time, no, but AIRBAG again are offering a skilled song-writing and production level with 'Disconnected', that's for sure. Also including the keyboard respectively synthesizer additions this is multi-layered, well-balanced, not overproduced. The excellent album title track proves this as no other. Who is keen on nice atmospheric songs in the vein of Believe, Satellite, the mid-70s Floyd, is in good hands here - 3.5 stars.

 Disconnected by AIRBAG album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.86 | 134 ratings

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Disconnected
Airbag Neo-Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Jazz-Rock / Fusion / Canterbury Team

4 stars I appreciate the incredible sound engineering of Airbag albums. I appreciate the dextrous facility Asle, Bjørn and the other band members have with all of the Pink Floyd 'tricks,' and I am one who (usually) loves long, spacious, slow building musical passages and songs, but the way songs 2-4, "Broken" (7:08) (8/10), "Slave" (8:39) (8/10) and "Sleepwalker" (7:05) (8/10) seem to find the band on cruise control as if they were driving 45 mph through the Nebraska cornfields is only disappointing. The opener, "Killer" (9:18) (9/10) is above this melancholic malaise because it has some power and emotion to its music and its message, and the title song, 5. (13:10) (9/10), also rises above because of its non-Pink Floyd, somewhat Steven WILSON feel and its variety of sounds, pacing, and structure. And the sparse and simplistic 6."Returned" (5:11) (7/10), feels like a slightly Post Rock epilogue, after-thought, or space filler. Too bad, guys. After you had reached the top with 2013's Greatest Show on Earth I thought you had figured out the keys to perpetual perfection.

A solid four star album recommended to prog lovers--especially Neo Progheads and lovers of the Pink Floyd sound.

 Disconnected by AIRBAG album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.86 | 134 ratings

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Disconnected
Airbag Neo-Prog

Review by maialaia

5 stars Norwegian progressive rock band Airbag has released their fourth album 'Disconnected'. The first thing that stands out is the richness of the compositions. The six tracks have great songwriting and fantastic playing which results in a rich, vibrant and modern music. The band blends influences from acts such as Pink Floyd, Radiohead, latter-day Marillion, and glimpses of Anathema. There are no filler tracks, all 6 tracks are at the same superior level. In the end, Disconnected is a great album by Airbag, which I've been listening to it over and over recently and I can't get enough of it, this is one of those albums whose music grow on you.
 Disconnected by AIRBAG album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.86 | 134 ratings

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Disconnected
Airbag Neo-Prog

Review by guillermo68

5 stars Airbag has released their fourth studio album Disconnected. To quote the band directly, 'Disconnected' "features six songs reflecting on the theme of alienation between the individual and society, what society expects from us as individuals, and our resultant failure to live up to those expectations. Each of the six compositions depicts the state of feeling on 'the outside' and out of touch with oneself and those around us." The music in this album is modern, rich and vibrant. It's definitely one of the best albums of 2016 so far and maybe a front runner for best album of the year. This really is a wonderful album and I love it.
 All Rights Removed by AIRBAG album cover Studio Album, 2011
4.02 | 408 ratings

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All Rights Removed
Airbag Neo-Prog

Review by Quinino
Collaborator Errors & Omissions Team

5 stars My ALL-TIME Greatest #10

I really love the music, what can I add? It's as simple as that, and this plainness applies just the same to the manner this band does its trade: uncomplicated, straightforward, melodic rock. Ah, yes, rock full of guitar riffs, remember? What a pleasant surprise in this day and age!

Global Appraisal

Sure, there is plenty of keys and programming going around, but the way the guitars take the center stage delivers for once a refreshing and stimulating breeze to a genre that sometimes stales in a suffocating profusion of electronics and effects.

No filler, all 6 tracks at the same superior level, ending with an epic in 3 movements that leaves you full but inevitably sends you back again to the beginning in search for more.

Goodies

The mentioned guitars rhythm and lead, mainly by Bjorn, also with arranger and lyricist duties. The voice, great voice, of this fellow Asle. Discreet and tender yet so warm and up close.

The way the musical themes evolve and unwind beginning with presentation, developing to climax with solo and ending with final pacification give them, even the shorter ones, a cinematic dimension of fruitful effect, even more accentuated by the clever odd use of spoken voice and taped sounds.

The violin solo on "Light them all up" albeit short is unforgettable.

 Identity by AIRBAG album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.78 | 194 ratings

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Identity
Airbag Neo-Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars Airbag's 2009 debut came to my attention only once I properly enjoyed their second and third offerings, namely the rather brilliant 'All Rights Removed' (2011) and the more recent 'The Greatest Show on Earth' and both getting high marks in my critical reviews. Guitarist Bjorn Riis also has a solo album, 2014's 'Lullaby in a Car Crash' which provided another more 'floating' chapter to their cause and certified this Norwegian outfit with a determined and flourishing output of quality material. Yes, they are clearly inspired by Pink Floyd, as many prog bands are and have been, just like the zillions of pop bands that have a Beatles influence, proving once again that the Floyd did have a colossal impact on contemporary music, whether one likes it or not! So it really is quite indicative of their artistic intelligence to name their first effort 'Identity', both highlighting the 'meddling' inspiration as well as the slight differences, the most obvious being lead vocalist Asle Torstrup's aching voice which is closer to The Cure's Robert Smith than Roger Waters. Also, their material , while there are occasional drifting episodes that highlight the dense melancholia, the sounds are quite upbeat and aggressive, especially with Riis' ability to blend the classic Gilmourian influences with some harsher rhythm guitar work that is quite prevalent.

'Prelude' is the obligatory and atmospheric primer, a sweeping instrumental that sets the tone from the opening bar, as a clock ticks gently in the background. All the players are introduced so as to blend into a gentle anesthetic, ready to dim the lights, flickering candles and fine Pinot Noir in hand, sit back and relax. 'No Escape' is a tad too commercial to be flaunted about so early on but that is just my take. The following tracks are pure bliss.

On a piece like 'Safe Like You', a sense of comfort takes over immediately, the only surprise is the lingering thought that this is what the Floyd should/could have been doing during their long hiatus, with a bolder singer among the classic sounds and sweeping melodies. Tick-tock drum intro, rolling organ swells, crooning sustain-laden guitar lines and swooning bass, does this sound familiar? Asle sings with clarity and 'pain inside my head and my stomach aches'' that can hint at Radiohead or even recent Anathema, full of agonizing sentiment. A Sleeping Beauty of progressive bliss, a gentle bluesy caress and dream cloud splendor.

The highlight track remains the sublime 'Steal My Soul' which incorporates a gargantuan amount of skin-deep emotion, featuring a spectacular final guitar solo that will tetanize your speakers into abject respect. The minimalistic piano takes the initial lead here, amid a flurry of effects buried under Asle's soporific tone, ('I used to be the boy with the gun') and Bjorn lighting the wick on his sizzling guitar (a Manzanera influence indeed). The tune evolves into an audacious lilt, the vocals now closer to Gilmour and hence, very Floydian but really good Floyd! ('I am still the boy with the gun!'). An astonishing piece of music, period.

The excruciatingly attractive 'Feeling Less' is oddly reminiscent of Porcupine Tree's 'Even Less', as the plaintive vocals are quite close to Steven Wilson's especially if the brooding lyrics are taken to account, a litany of sad words, despondent howls, depressing convulsions and shattering conclusions. Bombastic and explosive, the numbing arrangement glows like a dying wildfire, orange embers and crackling snaps that disrupt the night air.

'Colours' is another ultimate cracker, the discouraging words sung are deeply wounding, his voice overwrought with passion, the lead electric guitar full of agony and sensitivity, a simply splendid jewel of melancholic genius. Lush symphonics kick in to add to the deepening emotion, a distressed organ enters the fray, liberating Riis to discharge another scintillating axe solo into the obscure by cloudy skies, exploding mightily like some fireworks display and all the colours of the universe having now a canvas to display their unique magnificence. Another stellar piece of music, period.

'How I Wanna Be' veers towards even more experimental zones, the mood even more atmospheric, painful and wretched in utter anguish, pretty much a continuing legacy of the previous pieces, definitely doom-laden and despondent. Clearly fans of Anathema will find their fix here. The keyboards are excellent here and throughout the entire album, Jorgen Hagen is a real master colorist that comes forward only if one listens intently.

This thrilling debut is put to rest with a lovely lullaby, Hagen putting his piano to calming sleep, encouraging Asle to 'give up'. 'The Sounds That I Hear' continues the plea to go on, as if acknowledging the past, the present and the future. Bjorn finally ends the torment with a tortured by optimistic solo. A truly interesting debut that begs for attention by fans of the bands mentioned throughout this review. If you pay attention to all the details this music has to offer, you will be rewarded in kind. The best is yet to come'..

4 Eye personalities

 All Rights Removed by AIRBAG album cover Studio Album, 2011
4.02 | 408 ratings

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All Rights Removed
Airbag Neo-Prog

Review by Thai Divone

4 stars Airbag was a nice little discovery- a Norwegian band that plays an amazing style of Neo-Prog, something that combines The Cure, Anathema and the Pink Floyd. Since I've discovered this album, it has been spinning in my stereo and in my ears, and I can't say that I had enough of this album. It is just a magnificent one.

The title track opens almost like a Cure song, with some nice guitar riffs. 33 seconds in and the lyrics join in, Torstrup sounding almost like Robert Smith. The keyboards join in not much later, reminding me a bit of the Floyd. The rest of the band joins around 1:30, and a nice guitar solo ensues. The music is very atmospheric, very dark and gloomy, but with a slice of added optimism on top. The music is not complicated, but by flowing gently around the main riff it clears the stage for the emotions and for some beautiful guitar lines. Some Porcupine influences can be felt as well during those moments.

White Walls comes next, making me imagine a meeting between Anathema and the Floyd- midway between their styles. The bass lines in here are great, and the drumming is slow and almost basic but with an added spark of genius. A quiet passage begins at 2:50, with an added emphasis on the bass following not much later before the song goes boom, driving home all the emotional impact that it gathered in a great guitar solo that just pierces the sky in pain.

White Walls flows gently into The Bridge. In a very Floyd-ian way the tracks combine to create a long album- length suite. The Bridge adds a little bit of Radiohead into the mix, making the genre combination sound even more impressive yet not losing the emotional charm.

Never Coming Home begins with a soft, ethereal, almost church-y organ sound. 55 seconds in and the vocals enter, sounding even lonelier over the keyboards, before the guitar starts to join in, slowly but surely. The sounds are slow and their getting their time to reverb, to ring. The entire band joins not much later, with a nice Floyd-ian guitar riff. The guitar solo at 2:49 is short but I can't give it enough compliments. The emotional punch of Torstrup's singing is the only thing that can answer it and do it justice. 4:24 and the keyboards return to take the lead, with a very elegant synth solo, and then the band comes back to complement it. 5:20 and the guitar finally answers the synths, and each sound gets so much respect, and all one can do is listen, feel, and listen again this time with awe.

Light Them All Up follows, a short and instrumental l track, gloomy and so? when the just makes me cry again and again, with each new listen. Some SFX-es can be heard in the background but they don't detract from the violin, neither do they detract from the sounds that surround the violin.

And after that comes Homesick, an epic suite of 17 amazing minutes. Acoustic guitars and a soft voice take us first, until we switch trains at 1:20 and get to a more electrified sound with the entire band present. Layers are added, things are changing, and yet it feels so damn right, so true. It all flows gently. 2:57 and we get to a soft and almost silent passage, with the bass taking the lead. 3:40 and the guitars come back, and we're advancing again, getting to a simple but effective and evocative keyboards solo, later answered by a muted-guitar solo. 6 minutes and the keyboards guide us next, with some added effects from all around, but kept to a bare minimum. Everything is so right. 6:50 and it starts to remind a bit of Shine On You Crazy Diamond, but then a bass line enters and takes us to a new place, taking us to a new journey, all while still keeping close to the Shine On feel. So original yet so known. The drums join next, and one can almost imagine the members of the band returning from their coffee break, one after the other. The rhythm is a bit repetitive, but in a good way, mesmerizing and hypnotizing all those who listen. The guitar takes the lead at around the 9 minute mark, sounding a bit like Empty Spaces from the Wall, and the pace builds itself, going faster and faster, quicker and quicker. 10:50 and we're slowing again, coming back to the Shine On-y sound of earlier. A soft guitar solo can be heard at around the 12th minute mark, then we get all rock-y without losing the soft touch of only moments earlier, and we're back to the suspense building segments before starting something new. The piece starts to wrap itself, slowing more and more, clearing the stage for the soft, long, almost lonely keyboards of earlier times. And there's a nice guitar that accompanies it, fading out.

And the album ends with such magnificence. I think that by now I gave this album 20, maybe even 30 listens, and still I feel like I haven't finished with it, like it still has some secrets, or emotions, to pass to me. And although that it is not an essential album, and even though this is not an album that tries to say something new, it does achieve what it tries to achieve- making us feel. And that's an amazing thing to do, and an excellent addition to one's collection.

Thanks to windhawk for the artist addition.

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