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AIRBAG

Neo-Prog • Norway


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Airbag picture
Airbag biography
Formed in 2004 (Oslo, Norway)

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 2004 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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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)

3.82 | 260 ratings
Identity
2009
4.00 | 513 ratings
All Rights Removed
2011
3.91 | 411 ratings
The Greatest Show On Earth
2013
3.76 | 222 ratings
Disconnected
2016
3.87 | 156 ratings
A Day at the Beach
2020

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)

3.29 | 27 ratings
Come On In
2004
4.54 | 24 ratings
Sounds That I Hear
2005
4.37 | 27 ratings
Safetree
2007

AIRBAG Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 A Day at the Beach by AIRBAG album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.87 | 156 ratings

BUY
A Day at the Beach
Airbag Neo-Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

3 stars Norwegian band Airbag are still very much based around Asle Tostrup (lead vocals, keyboards, programming) and Bj'rn Riis (guitars, keyboards, backing vocals), while drummer Henrik Fossum has been there since the second album, but there has been change in bassist with Anders Hovdan not involved in an Airbag album for the first time, and he has been replaced by guest Kristian Karl Hultgren. For some reason I have not heard any of Airbag's most recent albums, and in fact the last album I reviewed was the debut 'Identity' which was released all the way back in 2009, but here we have a band who have been carving out a reputation for solid and consistent albums, and the same is true of this one.

If ever an album was grower then it is this, as after the first two or three plays I really was not at all convinced as their modern take on Pink Floyd, soundscapes, Radiohead, Kraftwerk, recent Marillion et al just did not do it for me. I knew the guys were trying to build an emotional connection, with laid back music which often contained high separation of instruments and loads of space, but somehow it still just felt too clinical. But the more I played it, the more I started to fall into the world, and it all seemed to make sense. Once one gets past the rather disturbing cover photo of teddy bears having their heads buried in the sand, there is progressive crossover electronic art rock music which is cinematic and has real breadth. This is music which does really need to be listened to as otherwise it will fall into the background, but for those who are prepared to spend the time and effort they will get something out of this. The vocals are front and centre, but there are also long passages when the band play purely instrumentally, often veering into electronic and ambient territory. Personally, I would have liked to have heard more guitars, as the electronica is too much for my personal taste, but all in all this is an interesting album. But it does need time to drop into the brain.

 A Day at the Beach by AIRBAG album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.87 | 156 ratings

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A Day at the Beach
Airbag Neo-Prog

Review by thesimilitudeofprog

4 stars One thing I've got to say about Airbag is they are very consistent in their sound. Airbag is a great band from Norway. The band consists of Asle Tostrup on lead vocals keyboards and programming. Bjørn Riis on guitars keyboards and backing vocals and rounding out the group on drums is Henrik Fossum. Also, of interest playing bass on this album is Wobbler's Kristian Hultgren. Airbag offer atmospheric and expressive progressive rock. They often get compared to Porcupine Tree and Pink Floyd. There's know really escaping that. Another big reason I really Airbag is because the band doesn't weigh us down with technique. Instead they bring emotional and sonic bliss to our ears. With a day at the beach the band has moved away ever so slightly from the guitar driven style of their past works. On this album Bjørn is present certainly but he's not the driving force musically I think the electronica element is probably the most present on this album than on any of their previous works and you will even notice that this is the very first thing you hear on the very first song Machines and Men. Throughout the album many of the melodies involve electronic loops as well so this often feels like it has a dozen musical layers making it feel lavish and very full. The album only has six songs but still reaches a bit over 47 minutes in length. for me personally that is the sweet spot for a length of an album. The band have released two singles / videos for the song's Machines and Men and Sunsets. Machines and Men is the opener and it takes a few seconds to get started. It is a great way to start the album and it is a definite favorite of mine. Sunsets is also wonderful having a little more gallop in its stride and I love the keys in the middle of the song. The album technically only has three more songs. the title track has two parts both of which sound great, but the second part is much more active sonically but at the same time is quite irritating I find. Into the unknown while a good song is interesting this song runs on for about 10 minutes but could have been shaved down to a four and a half minutes song. Megalomaniac ends the album I find this to be the track where Bjorn really shines and is most active and his vibrant guitars really steal the show. A day at the beach is another rich offering from Airbag. It has layers and layers of goodness and wholesomeness and maybe you could have predicted that from the little teddy bears with their heads in the sand. Obviously, the band seems to be rather politically motivated here and I bet you can guess their perspective just from the song titles.

Rating-82%

Recommended Tracks: Machines and Men & Sunsets

 A Day at the Beach by AIRBAG album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.87 | 156 ratings

BUY
A Day at the Beach
Airbag Neo-Prog

Review by Hector Enrique

4 stars Airbag´s compositions are often long and energetic. A Day at the Beach, their fifth album, is no exception: without haste, time elapses accordingly to the songs´ constant melancholy that allows the listeners to enjoy a world of profound and aching new wave atmospheres.

Both the influences of Pink Floyd and Porcupine Tree are present. There are some good examples of this in A Day at the Beach: the dynamic Machines and Men, a song that initiates the album with some alluring guitar riffs and synthesizers; the extremely somber Into the Unknown; the discouraged reverie about the daily life that is Sunset (in which the final guitar solo is nothing but a homage to David Gilmour); finally, the potent Megalomaniac, and ironic account of a megalomaniac shrouded by a sore guitar play.

The album finalizes with A Day at the Beach, divided into two parts. Both of them are short and instrumental. But even if they keep the same structure the rest of the album has, they are just not as good.

Yet being an easily recognizable group, the Norwegian band manages to not fall into repetition, something that A Day at the Beach is a proof of. This constitutes great merit because it means that the group has created its own style.

 A Day at the Beach by AIRBAG album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.87 | 156 ratings

BUY
A Day at the Beach
Airbag Neo-Prog

Review by SilverLight59

4 stars This could be the break through collection of songs that takes Airbag over the top. I have been following their work for awhile and have enjoyed all of their releases, but always felt that they fell just a bit short of greatness for one reason or another. Every album has had great tracks, and they are unquestionably very talented artists, but there was always a slow ambiance to a song or two, or a negative vibe that just wouldn't keep fully engaged for the whole work.

This collection of songs is definitely different. The band's website states that this new album is inspired of 1980's electronica, new wave, movie scores, ethereal soundscapes, and driving guitars. A pretty darn accurate description, and it may be what's tipping this into what I believe to be their best work to date. Airbag lyrics always tend to have serious, and at times dark themes, and one needs to be in the right frame of mind to absorb them. This work is no exception, but the blend of electronica and new wave influences really lift these songs up, and propels them forward. But be not worried, this is serious prog and not anything else.

As Airbag is known for, the tracks are highly atmospheric, sonic landscapes as it were. The collection of songs is six in number, four that are fairly lengthy, each having a nice build up with powerful closing intensity. The two shorter tracks are the 'Day at the Beach' title songs I and II. These are a nice soft respite between the big songs. Each time I play Beach II on my head phones I just think it is too trippy ' great little instrumental track starting with synths and ending in a nice guitar solo! The under current of the synths throughout the tracks - which eventually lead to the striking guitar solos - is a reoccurring theme in all the tracks, and yet each song is uniquely different, giving the music this time around a much fuller, more accessible, and ultimately more positive feel. Well done!

If you have not checked out Airbag as of yet, this is a great place to start. I expect this album will show well on the PA 2020 best of the year list. It should! Let's call this one 4.5 great days at the beach, rounded down to 4 because I am expecting the next work to be even better, so we have to leave room for that.

 A Day at the Beach by AIRBAG album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.87 | 156 ratings

BUY
A Day at the Beach
Airbag Neo-Prog

Review by Pastor of puppets

4 stars I didn't know this band before but I kept seeing the name these last days. As soon as I decided to search them on Spotify I was kind of amazed by their music. Airbag don't struggle to write music, it feels that it just comes naturally. The album flows like a river, naturally.Unlike other bands that try to prove things, Airbag know that their back catalogue is strong enough to just move on with their music, evolve and progress. The strongest point of the band is the serene vocals that are occasionally reminiscent of Anathema. The voice lacks dynamics but strangely enough this doesn't result in any loss of quality. Music seems simple at first listen but after you press the repeat button, you can understand that the clever orchestrations of the songs are the main advantage of the album. You won't find any bass line when it is not essential, nor a guitar solo when the music is already busy. The Norwegian label Karisma Records that released the album has a really interesting catalogue to begin with if someone is new to modern day prog music. Airbag is definitely in their top bands and I would suggest them to anyone for a rainy afternoon drive or an alternative to alcohol when the mind is full and wants to relax.
 A Day at the Beach by AIRBAG album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.87 | 156 ratings

BUY
A Day at the Beach
Airbag Neo-Prog

Review by steelyhead

4 stars

I didn't know this group of young people from Norway and know I am into the secret: They are good. Clearly They have been playing together for a time, the sound is cohesive and vibrant. There's a ton to like here:

"Machines and Men" is a great opener song with a solid bass line and a fantastic job on guitar.

"Into the Unknown" is a Chvrches song at the beginning, with no Lauren Mayberry to sing it but the song transforms with a guitar work resembling a David Gilmour circa Division Bell.

"Into the Unknown" is a song with a "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun" vibe but the guitar work is similar to a more mature David Gilmour.

"Sunsets" is the most honest work here the most true song to Airbag I feel. The guitar work, again, is amazing and the feeling is of pure jest.

Clearly A Day at the Beach is a four star album that keeps playing in my car for a long time. And I would love to see this guys play live.

 A Day at the Beach by AIRBAG album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.87 | 156 ratings

BUY
A Day at the Beach
Airbag Neo-Prog

Review by javajeff

5 stars Airbag never disappoints as they continue to show why they are the masters of atmosphere. Every album is an experience that just takes people to another place. This time it is the beach, and while it may be a metaphor, the tranquil electronica injected into this release creates a mellow, relaxing, work of art. The lyrics, phrasing, and compositions are classic as though I have listened to A Day at the Beach 1000 times before. This synergy is all Airbag, and more of the same good things they have been creating over the years. Disconnected was a solid release, but it may have been a slight step down from the previous two albums All Rights Removed and The Greatest Show On Earth. However, A Day at the Beach sets the bar higher and restores the highest quality of an Airbag release. The fantastic guitar solos on Into the Unknown are just amazing, and anyone into the mellow aspects of Pink Floyd will just love this release. Highly recommended 4.5 stars.
 A Day at the Beach by AIRBAG album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.87 | 156 ratings

BUY
A Day at the Beach
Airbag Neo-Prog

Review by pepezitos

4 stars Amazing! This is really a pretty good and pleasant record. Fully loaded with great melodies, nices atmospheres and impressing guitar playing by Bjorn. Machines and Men is really an incredible openning and the electronics effects fits very well, also the bass is very exciting here. Sunsets is the best track in the album and features some incredible vocals lines and very touching solos. And the great Megalomaniac is a majestic closure to this amazing album. Perhaps I could give it a higher rating if not for A Day at The Beach Part I and II. They are good songs, but somehow I feel they are way too long. In summary, this is a very special record, very well produced, composed and performed. I would recomend it for any lover of modern prog rock and admirers of Pink Floyd, Porcupine Tree, Riverside and The Pineapple Thief.

Best Tracks: Sunsets and Megalomaniac

 Disconnected by AIRBAG album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.76 | 222 ratings

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Disconnected
Airbag Neo-Prog

Review by Rune2000
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

3 stars I've been hearing a lot of great things about Airbag over the last few years and I've even given All Rights Removed and The Greatest Show On Earth a couple of spins. Unfortunately, their music hasn't really worked for me so far due to it's lack of originality and it still feels like the band are trying to find their own sound within the vast ocean of influences that make up the bulk of their music.

I was initially hesitant on giving Disconnected a try, based on my previous encounters with Airbag, but after seeing the album on quite a few best of 2016 lists I've finally given it a try. Turns out this album did manage to pull me in with it's charming opening track Killer. The composition has a very a atmospheric approach to it and I especially enjoy the percussion work throughout the track which feels hypnotic to my ears. The rest of the material is also pretty descent but never reaches the heights that were set by Killer. I feel like Airbag is trying to hard to mimic Pink Floyd while still sounding modern and incorporation a Steven Wilson-like sound to their compositions. The most vivid example of this is the 13 minute title track that reminds me a lot of Porcupine Tree's Anesthetize but ultimately lacks a punch to it in order to make the material stand out on it's own merits.

Disconnected is an enjoyable album that gives the listener just the right dose of prog in order to make things interesting but it's not the most daring or challenging album to dig into. Give it a spin if your in the mood for atmospheric prog music with just enough memorable moments in order to make it an enjoyable overall experience.

***** star songs: Killer (9:18)

**** star songs: Slave (8:39) Disconnected (13:09)

*** star songs: Broken (7:07) Sleepwalker (7:05) Returned (5:10)

 Disconnected by AIRBAG album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.76 | 222 ratings

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Disconnected
Airbag Neo-Prog

Review by aapatsos
Special Collaborator Prog Metal and Heavy Prog Teams

3 stars The opening "Killer" prepares the listener for a rich, full-layered Neo/Crossover output, embroided with influences by the greats of 70s-90s (melodic) progressive rock. Unfortunately, expectations fall short beyond the opening attention-catching song: "Disconnected", despite being a sound-captivating album, retreats to tried-and-tested patterns of low tempos, nearly hypnotic, and safe structures.

The quintet seem like they have studied sound production and produce a very warm feeling through detailed orchestration, melodic guitar solos and delicate-but-intricate drumming. They blend mostly secondary influences from "traditional" progressive rock i.e. "Slave" shows a keenness to Pink Floyd via recent Anathema works while the rest of the album borrows from Riverside-alike soundscapes, very reminiscent of (the less interesting second era of) Marillion. The title track raises the game again after the opening with richer sounds and a lounge-jazz mood at times. The vocals suit perfectly the music and trodd on low-octaves.

If Hogarth-era Marillion is your thing, then you will most likely appreciate "Disconnected". Avoid if you prefer more exciting up-tempo prog rock.

3-3.5 stars

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

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