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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).

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All Rights RemovedAll Rights Removed
Import
Karisma Records 2011
Audio CD$15.99
$38.32 (used)
Greatest Show on EarthGreatest Show on Earth
Import
Karisma Records 2013
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IdentityIdentity
Import
Karisma Records 2009
Audio CD$12.48
LibertadLibertad
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Imports 2013
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VoragineVoragine
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AirbagAirbag
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Maddog
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AIRBAG shows & tickets


  • Cruise To The Edge 2015 on 15 Nov 2015

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)

3.71 | 152 ratings
Identity
2009
3.99 | 340 ratings
All Rights Removed
2011
3.89 | 278 ratings
The Greatest Show on Earth
2013

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)

3.05 | 14 ratings
Come On In
2004
4.70 | 10 ratings
Sounds That I Hear
2005
4.13 | 15 ratings
Safetree
2007

AIRBAG Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Greatest Show on Earth by AIRBAG album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.89 | 278 ratings

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The Greatest Show on Earth
Airbag Neo-Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Norwegian band AIRBAG started out sometime back in the 1990's, and while they released some material in earlier days, they didn't officially release a debut album proper until 2009. Since then two more full length productions have followed. "The Greatest Show on Earth" is the most recent of their albums, and was issued through the Norwegian label Karisma Records in the fall of 2013.

When dealing with a band with a past history as The Pink Floyd Experience, it won't come as much of a shock to see them recommended to fans of that band either, I hope. This is very much the case for Airbag and "The Greatest Show on Earth", where fans of late 70's Pink Floyd in particular should take notice of this album, especially those amongst them who also tend to enjoy bands such as Porcupine Tree.

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 The Greatest Show on Earth by AIRBAG album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.89 | 278 ratings

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The Greatest Show on Earth
Airbag Neo-Prog

Review by Second Life Syndrome
Collaborator Post/Math Rock Team

4 stars One of the most recommended albums from 2013, Airbag's "The Greatest Show on Earth" alluded me for most of the year. I finally got the chance to hear it, and I have to admit it isn't quite what I expected. Airbag is hugely influenced by Pink Floyd, and I hear Porcupine Tree in there, too. However, they don't really sound like either of those bands. They definitely have their own identity.

That identity is one of atmosphere, strong guitar work, and detailed keys. The album itself is thick with ambiance from beginning to end. This is due in part to the keyboard work offered by multiple members. They range from spacey to piano to soaring, but they are almost always there, haunting and speaking softly. On top of this foundation, the guitar lets its voice be heard. Bjorn Riis is extremely talented with the guitar, and his steeled tone gives us awesome licks and hardened solos that pierce the music to its core.

The entire band is extremely unified, that's for certain. They unite with almost post-rock dexterity, creating beautiful texture and interesting melodies. The vocalist, Asle Tostrup, has a very mellow, almost weak, tone to his delivery. He has a good voice, though I feel a truly spectacular singer could carry this band to new heights.

The album is about society and surveillance. I think it's about more than that, though. Feelings of desperation and misery are definitely felt throughout this album, as a call for privacy and grace is first and foremost. However, I will say that the scope of this surveillance is probably global. I ultimately think Airbag is making a religious statement here, but I won't get into that now.

Creeping, dark, and foggy; "The Greatest Show on Earth" feels laid bare and exposed. These feelings are expressed so very well here. In the thick atmosphere of keys and piercing guitar, one can feel the desperate attempts at reclaiming life. "Call Me Back" (my favorite), for instance, features amazing lyrics and melodies, but I do feel that the rest of the album feels a bit samey. It's one long melancholy trip, but it does hold interest.

While I like the two part "Surveillance" track, I would definitely say that the strongest tracks are the ones in the middle, especially "Call Me Back", "Silence Grows", and title track. Though the music is a bit one note at times, it does end up featuring personality and somber mood. That idea is pretty representative of the whole album, then, as the album is clearly meant to be atmospheric and very personal. I believe it succeeds in most of what it aims to do, as it delivers a mood and a foundation for guitar theatrics. To call it a masterpiece would be an overreach, but I will say that this fantastic album is outstanding in many ways and needs to be heard by any prog fan.

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 All Rights Removed by AIRBAG album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.99 | 340 ratings

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All Rights Removed
Airbag Neo-Prog

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

3 stars I got interested of this Norwegian band after reading a positive review in which Airbag was said to sound a lot like PINK FLOYD (mainly Animals-era). Well, the comparison is very true, Pink Floyd is clearly the main influence. Unfortunately it is also true that PF is the central influence to dozens of modern bands and often those bands turn out to sound quite unoriginal, and on the long run also rather boring, if the songwriting isn't notably strong and varied. Airbag falls somewhere in-between.

So I'm finding it hard to decide whether I enjoy this album worth of four stars or would three stars be more appropriate. The sounds are very enjoyable to any PF fan, lots of lush melodies for electric guitar and keyboards, the addition of acoustic guitar, all played in mostly slow tempo and melancholic, slightly depressed atmosphere. I certainly like that kind of prog, and have liked since the age of fifteen. (BTW, DSotM is one of my albums that have suffered hugely of having heard it too much over the decades.) On the 9-minute title track I sensed some interesting Animals ('Dogs, 'Sheep') resemblance. But perhaps the 17-minute final track 'Homesick' is the clear winner as a composition.

Now the negative sides. The vocals are a bit weak, like a poor Chris Martin copy (COLDPLAY). Musically Airbag resembles not only a lot like Pink Floyd, also a lot like PORCUPINE TREE at their most middle-of-the-road Pink Floydish, ie. not at their heaviest or the most psychedelic. Nor is Pinepple Thief very far. Or even that Coldplay (which I can also listen to without pain, no problem!). The album as a whole is rather predictable, the songs differ from each other much less than on any Pink Floyd album for example. In fact emotionally they are terribly the same. I partly listened also to their third album The Greatest Show On Earth (2013) from YouTube, and judged on this rather thin evidence I believe that it unfortunately doesn't improve things, its songs were duller and less proggy than on this album.

3½ stars. I think I'll settle with three stars this time, but anyway Airbag are easily recommended to those who enjoy the slightly overheard Pink Floyd influence on modern (Neo)Prog. Prog puritans, don't bother.

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 The Greatest Show on Earth by AIRBAG album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.89 | 278 ratings

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The Greatest Show on Earth
Airbag Neo-Prog

Review by Progrussia

3 stars I was suspicious when I saw not just one, but three guys credited with keyboards and programming here. What did they program, a Richard Wright clone? If I were asked to list their number one influence, I would say - Pink Floyd. If asked for influence number two, the answer would be - Pink Floyd. And so it would go down to number ten, when I'd say - something similar to Pink Floyd, with a more modern sound.

Now, I have nothing against clones. Of Scarlett Johansson, for example. The good news is that the bittersweet melodies are catchy and themes - "the little man" in today's society - certainly topical. Guitarist serves plenty material for air guitar wannabes. But to me it lacks variety and drama. Just mellow verses followed by a barrage of Dave Gilmour and Richard Wright impersonations - shoegazing followed by powerful celestial build-ups.

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 All Rights Removed by AIRBAG album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.99 | 340 ratings

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All Rights Removed
Airbag Neo-Prog

Review by Progrussia

3 stars Airbag on All Rights Removed sounds as if a melancholic Brit-pop band like Coldplay quit screwing around with girl fans, amped up the guitars and indulged in their Pink Floyd obsession. Enjoyable perhaps, but not as varied in source material that made Pink Floyds so great. They basically retained only two characteristics of Pink Floydian sound - the melancholic passages with slow organ underpinnings and the loud stratospheric solos. The middle pack of songs blend into one another. Vocals and playing is smooth enough, but the end result is prone to sounding same-y and sometimes approaches the dangerous levels of muzak. These Norwegians are certainly not bad, but for my Pink Floyd nostalgia I go for Arena circa The Visitor or RPWL.

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 The Greatest Show on Earth by AIRBAG album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.89 | 278 ratings

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The Greatest Show on Earth
Airbag Neo-Prog

Review by yarno

1 stars What happened to progrock these days. As I listen to the latest effort of Airbag from Norway, I feel rather disappointed. I bought the album because of the raving reviews I read all over the www. But what did I buy? As I listen to the music that's offered on the album, a Porcupine Tree single comes to mind: Four Chords That Made A Million. Most of the songs on the album are build on three or four chords and are utterly boring to my ears. No tempo shifts, all of the songs are more or less the same. No hooks whatsoever, just straight on all across the album. What I do hear are some Pink Floyd bits (especially the guitar solo's or at least the first few notes of them) and they all must be huge fans of Marillion, Hogarth era. The lyrics only state the obvious and there really is nothing to get excited about. Even the cover art is no feast for the eye. But take a look at the rating... Lots of people calling themselves prog lovers hail about this album like it's the best that happened to them in a long time. So I have to conclude it must be me. I shouldn't expect craftsmanship, creativity or music of a high standard in a prog album anymore. Or maybe I shouldn't buy an album just because other 'prog lovers' hail about it. Just my mistake...

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 The Greatest Show on Earth by AIRBAG album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.89 | 278 ratings

BUY
The Greatest Show on Earth
Airbag Neo-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Airbag started life as a Pink Floyd tribute band, and they've always worn that influence on their sleeve, but after the very strong All Rights Removed they seem to be making a bid for widespread success with The Greatest Show On Earth. On paper, it's a good mixture - topical subject matter (namely, the issue of surveillance within society), along with incoming influences from Porcupine Tree's indie rock-influenced period (Stupid Dream/Lightbulb Sun) - should in principle be enough to push the album over the bar.

As it is, though, it feels a bit too cold and calculated, with the charm and variety of All Rights Removed absent. (In particular, the reduction of neo-prog influences from the likes of Marillion makes the sound of the album feel a bit less rich than its predecessor). It's competent enough stuff, but it feels a little bland to me.

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 The Greatest Show on Earth by AIRBAG album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.89 | 278 ratings

BUY
The Greatest Show on Earth
Airbag Neo-Prog

Review by DrömmarenAdrian

3 stars A lot of great music has flown out over us this year, and even if it's not near the magic of the seventies it's still enjoyable. Airbag's record is one of them which has got much appreciation, that is not unusual when a record is new. I can hear what is attractive on this record even if I'm not as amused as others. Airbag is a Norwegian band with three records in their collection: "Identity" from 2009, "All rights removed" from 2011 and now "The greatest show on earth" from 2013. That is, must I say, a fay title already and the listeneds get high expectations. In Airbag, Asle Tostrup sings and plays keyboards, Björn Riis plays guitar, keyboard and bass, Henrik Fossum drums and Anders Hovdam plays bass. The cover is a little odd but not very "proggy", it's melancholic and cold. One detail is that the record is released at Karisma Records - a name that is not unfamiliar to prog fans all over the world. I will begin will telling you what I think is this records advantages.

What I like most is the vocals. Asle Tostrup has a beautiful voice which could have been used more on this record. It would have been interesting if he sung in Norwegian but we can't get everything we want. The vocals are atmospheric and distinct and I like the English accent. Airbag shows much guitar. That instrument is well played over the whole record but I miss a more characteristic sound, this is in some way too ordinar. The music is partially heavy and artistic but it's too bland for me. I lack the prog sound here, perhaps it sounds a bit like Pink Floyd, the sound is quite atmospheric but it don't get me all way. The vocal parts works well and they are what I like most here. I think "Redemption" is the best track(8/10), I suppose it has some form of magic and three more tracks are rather sophisticated - I understand why people consider it more than "good": "Silence Grows"(7/10), "The greatest show on earth" and "Surveillance(Pt.s 2-3)" has a lot of qualities even if I find them uninteresting. "Call me back" (5/10) is boring in my ears.

I will give this record three stars of five. I understand why people like it. The group does nothing wrong and the spaced sound is honest but I can't collect any deep feelings for this. I am also confused with the classification; this is not what I think is "Neo-Prog". Of course it's new, but I though neo-prog used to be more symphonic oriented. Three stars!

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 The Greatest Show on Earth by AIRBAG album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.89 | 278 ratings

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The Greatest Show on Earth
Airbag Neo-Prog

Review by HAL

5 stars Having spent a fantastic night attending Airbag's release concert in Oslo, I decide now it's the time to publish my very first review here on Progarchives. "The Greatest How on Earth" is indeed a most ambitious title, and I dare say Airbag lives up their ambition with this, their third full-length album.

This is just an amazing album from start to finish! The Pink Floyd influence is still dominant. Add to it a few touches of mid 90'ies Porcupine Tree, you pretty much know what to expect. Main guitarist Bjørn Riis sends shivers down your spine with his soloing, like David Gilmour never left the stage. His guitar skills are absolutely magnificent. Airbag never seeks to hide their main musical inspirations. Add to it the slightly melancholic, easily vulnerable voice of Asle Tostrup, and the tight and precise drumming of Henrik Fossum, and you get a powerhouse of bluesy, keyboard- and guitar-based prog.

Having followed their musical output since the "The Sounds That I Hear" EP, the band has taken som giant leaps. While their previous efforts have shown great promise, and delivered some fantastic songs (Like "Homesick" from the "All Rights Removed" album), this album is 5-star from start to finish. The title track and "Redemption" stands out after first few listens, but both "Call me back" and the three part "Surveillance" really grows on you.

Every fan of Pink Floyd should buy this album. I mean it! Every single one of you! Add to it fans of Porcupine Tree and lovers of bluesy, dreamy, and melodic progressive rock, this album has the potential of a future classic.

"The Greatest Show on Earth" will soon be playing in your living room !

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 The Greatest Show on Earth by AIRBAG album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.89 | 278 ratings

BUY
The Greatest Show on Earth
Airbag Neo-Prog

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator Psych/Space Team & Band Submissions

3 stars 'The Greatest Show On Earth' is a nice psychedelic drenched new album from this Norwegian band AIRBAG. Six atmospheric songs are given, where the title track is divided in two partitions though. Heavy outbursts are rare, the production mirrors a relaxed flow overall. While the musicianship is flawless and Asle Tostrup provides a rather perfect singing voice, they are using a proven formula - consisting of dominant Pink Floyd and Porcupine Tree ingredients, plus a proper pinch of melancholy. Hence they can't make it wrong, not really.

Although there are a lot of keyboard skills around when exploring the line-up, Bjørn Riis' guitar plays a very important role, often presented in a multi-tracked mode - he's partially sending greetings to Mr. Gilmour in any case. The (nearly) instrumental Call Me Back comes as the highlight here, Part 2 and 3 from the title track leave room for some jamming. Fans of RPWL and fellow countrymen Gazpacho might also like this album. There's some variety and uniqueness missing to make it big really - an enjoyable production this is nevertheless.

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