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GUNGFLY

Crossover Prog • Sweden


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Gungfly biography
Rikard Sjöblom - Born 23 February 1982 (Gävle, Sweden)

Swedish artist GUNGFLY will be better know by many as Rikard SJÖBLOM, who has been getting quite a lot of attention as the vocalist and keyboard player in Swedish act BEARDFISH. Gungfly is his first effort as a true solo artist, his solo effort released under his own name a few years earlier was first and foremost a special side project rather than a true solo CD as such.

Gungfly is planned as an endeavour with more longevity to it, and Sjöblom is already sketching out the compositions for a second full length effort to be issued under this moniker.

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GUNGFLY discography


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

3.94 | 79 ratings
Please Be Quiet
2009
3.59 | 79 ratings
Lamentations
2011
3.98 | 181 ratings
On Her Journey To The Sun
2017
3.86 | 116 ratings
Friendship
2018
3.71 | 91 ratings
Alone Together
2020

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

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

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

3.41 | 17 ratings
Rumbling Box (2006-2016)
2018

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

0.00 | 0 ratings
Old Demons Die Hard
2017
0.00 | 0 ratings
On Her Journey to the Sun
2017

GUNGFLY Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Alone Together by GUNGFLY album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.71 | 91 ratings

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Alone Together
Gungfly Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

3 stars Although the earlier albums were released as Gungfly, this is the second to be released with the longer band name, and as on 'Friendship' Rikard Sjöblom (Beardfish, Big Big Train) has been joined by bassist Rasmus Diamant and his brother Petter Diamant on drums (although last time there were plenty of others involved as well). Sjöblom provides vocals, guitars, and keyboards on this album, and working with a stripped-down line-up of just three people, the recording went quickly, albeit it being initially delayed to him touring with BBT and then opening for The Flower Kings as a solo performer. As one would expect given his background, this is a crossover progressive rock album which contains many commercial elements and is incredibly easy to listen to on the first time of playing. At times he uses some nicely dated keyboard sounds and distorted guitars, but the vocals are always clear and clean.

The two longest songs bookend the album, with "Traveler" opening proceedings at 13 minutes in length, and "On The Shoulders of Giants" closing it at 15. This last contains some interesting lyrics, where Rickard sings about his love for Zappa, and there are definitely some Zappa-style guitars in the introduction. He touches on psychedelia during this song in particular, and while still simplistic in many ways, it is compelling and takes the listener on an interesting journey while never really delivering any significant width or breadth. Overall, this is a pleasant album, and one which those interested in his other bands will certainly enjoy. The arrangements are such that the move from guitar to piano is flawless, and his vocals are such that one can easily enjoy the lyrics.

 Alone Together by GUNGFLY album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.71 | 91 ratings

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Alone Together
Gungfly Crossover Prog

Review by prog_traveller!!

4 stars Gunfly is a project from former Beardfish vocalist and keyboard player Rikard Sjöblom and he released five studio albums so far. With On Her Journey To The Sun from 2017 and Friendship from 2018 he really delivered great prog rock. Alone Together is the latest release from Gunfly and it's a great album. Traveler is a first song and it represents the continuance of great over 10 minute prog epics written by Rikard Sjöblom. This song delivers a great modern sounding progressive rock which is mostly dominated by great Hammond and keyboard, great melodic bass and guitars, end of the song brings us a really great instrumental session with elements of blues and classic sound of heavy prog. Happy Somewhere in Between is a really happy sounding song with a fantastic opening riff and if this was a normal world it would be a radio hit all over. Alone Together starts with a fantastic melodic guitar solo and it takes us to a really great prog rocker if you missed Beardfish you will feel the presence of their trademark sound but with a little twist. On the Shoulders of Giants is a grand almost 15 minute song and it sums up the album fantastically with all of the elements that make Rikard Sjöblom's song writing awesome. If you love Beardfish, classic sounding but filled with modern takes prog with great hard rock organ and guitar you are in the right place.
 Alone Together by GUNGFLY album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.71 | 91 ratings

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Alone Together
Gungfly Crossover Prog

Review by javajeff

5 stars Alone Together is an excellent release from Gungfly, the solo project from Rikard Sjöblom Every project that he touches from Beardfish to Big Big Train is always great, and Gungfly is no different. Alone Together continues more excellent music as a natural evolution from the previous two records On Her Journey To The Sun and Friendship. It features excellent songwriting and compositions, and does not deviate from a sound that has been established over the years. Two of the best tracks on the album are Traveler and the title track Alone Together, and there are no fillers. On the Shoulders of Giants may be the best track as it borders on Close to the Edge magestic territory. Start to finish Alone Together really feels more like a Beardfish release with longer tracks, and that is something that should really excite the progressive rock community. I give Rikard a ton of credit for keeping the Gungfly catalog at such a high level.

UPDATE: After several additional listens, I am really blown away. 4.5 stars!

 Friendship by GUNGFLY album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.86 | 116 ratings

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Friendship
Gungfly Crossover Prog

Review by Kingsnake

5 stars Excellent follow-up to "On Her Journey to the Sun" from last year (2017).

The new album features again Rikard Sj'blom on almost all the instruments except the drums and some bass and guitar on some tracks, but most of the instruments are played by Rikard (aswell as of course the vocals).

The music is eclectic, quirky and playful (like Gentle Giant, Yes, Zappa, Queen, etc.) but the lyrics are far more serious. The album is very instrumental oriented, with groovy and progressive interplay. I love the piano-parts and the Steve Howe-esque guitarparts.

All the songs are of high standard but especially the titlesong is a progressive masterpiece, with countless melodies, riffs, hooks and tempochanges.

I rated On Her Journey to the Sun very high and played it almost every day last year. But this new album is almost of the same quality. I must say that it rivals the Beardfish-material, although it has nothing to do with Big Big Train.

 Friendship by GUNGFLY album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.86 | 116 ratings

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Friendship
Gungfly Crossover Prog

Review by javajeff

4 stars Rikard Sjöblom has written some masterful songs on this new Gungfly release. Track "They Fade" provides some lyrical genius like something you would hear from Simon and Garfunkel, while song Stone Cold just rocks the house. "If You Fall, Pt. 2" and "Friendship" are tracks more like the Beardfish days, and the entire album still has the style, and songwriting that you would expect from all of his previous albums to date. Friendship is 13:41 or the while If You Fall, Pt. 2 is 12:51, so there is no focus on commercialization. It feels like Rikard is writing music from true passion and a love for music. Overall, it is an eclectic release, with a bunch of songs that will suck you in. I have been listening to it nonstop since I bought it, and that is usually an indicator of the quality of any release. On Her Journey To The Sun felt more like a complete Beardfish album while Friendship shows many different styles and influences. While it does not sound like a Big Big Train album, the musical diversity continues to prevail in Friendship. I have Friendship with the Bonus tracks, and Slow Dancer and Past Generation are stellar additions. The album ends with a radio edit, a 6:30 version of Friendship. This was placed as the last track so people have an option to skip it. Any fan of Rikard or Beardfish should love Friendship, and progressive music fans have a lot to enjoy on this release. The more I listen to it, the more I feel every single note is just perfect.
 On Her Journey To The Sun by GUNGFLY album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.98 | 181 ratings

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On Her Journey To The Sun
Gungfly Crossover Prog

Review by Kingsnake

5 stars This is a surprise. Thanks to Spotify, wich displays similar albums when you play a certain album, I came across this album.

The music is quite organic, wich means it sounds like it was produced in the seventies. Lots of influences from 70's acts: Camel, Genesis, Yes, Gentle Giant and the likes.

The band has some stoner/psych influences but mostly this is symphonic progressive rock wich sounds adventurous and spacey. The guitars and keyboards (organ, piano, mellotron and the occasional synth) are well mixed and the vocals are okayish. But for this kind of symphonic rock, vocals are of the least importance, but they are good nevertheless.

I'm not familiar with the other albums of Gungly nor the albums of Beardfish, so I guess I have a lot of researching to do.

 On Her Journey To The Sun by GUNGFLY album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.98 | 181 ratings

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On Her Journey To The Sun
Gungfly Crossover Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Rikard Sjoblom is of course the singer, composer and multi-instrumentalist from the Swedish band BEARDFISH. So naturally BEARDFISH is going to come to mind with Rikard's vocals being on here. I did find this lighter sounding than BEARDFISH overall and unfortunately this album just hasn't clicked with me. Maybe I was expecting to much but man I was looking forward to this record. It' a concept album and I like the cover art. We even get a guest appearance from BIG BIG TRAIN's Rachel Hall playing violin on one track.

I have a lot of fond memories of listening to early BEARDFISH back in the day, especially the "Sleeping In Traffic" albums and "The Sane Day" recording where we get so much humour and a strong Zappa vibe. They were all so entertaining though which is what is missing here in my opinion, well something's missing. This clocks in at around 75 minutes.

"Of The Orb" opens with spoken words saying "Maybe this was all a dream" which is also quoted to end the recording. I can't get over the GENESIS vibe on this opener with the intricate guitar and Rikard mentioning the "Cinema show" and then later with the synths. A full sound kicks in after 1 1/2 minutes including more passionate vocals. The tempo picks up a minute later. This is good. Some nice guitar and drum work after 5 minutes followed by organ after 6 1/2 minutes. There's that GENESIS vibe again before 8 minutes. A top three.

"On Her Journey To The Sun" has this urgent soundscape but the vocals are relaxed. I thought I'd like this more being it's the title track. The focus is on the vocals really, not surprising I suppose given it's a concept album. I like the final minute best without vocals as we get some energetic instrumental work. "He Held An Axe" opens with acoustic guitar as reserved vocals join in. It's fuller before a minute but this is still relaxed. More passion 2 minutes in but it's brief.

"My Hero" is a top three tune for me. This one's more powerful including the organ, lots of depth to the sound. A GENESIS reminder here too. Love the bass though, and the vocals don't arrive until after 2 minutes as powerful and intricate sounds continue. Check out the bass before 5 minutes and the synths that follow. Nice. I like the long scream from Rikard before 7 minutes. "If You Fall" has relaxed piano to start as harpsichord-like sounds arrive. A full sound takes over quickly. Piano and drums 2 1/2 minutes in to the end.

"Polymixia" is my favourite song on here. This one is all about the clavinet, in fact it might be the best clavinet driven tune I've ever heard. This is complex and powerful and I wish there was more of this. Piano leads the way 3 minutes in but after 5 1/2 minutes it's all about the clavinet. Some female vocal melodies as well which I appreciate. A heavier sound follows with organ and more. The clavinet does return though. "Over My Eyes" features Rachel on violin giving this tune a different shade for sure. It's mellow with relaxed vocals to start out then the violin joins in. It picks up after 2 minutes, drums too. Plenty of vocals and violin in this one.

"Old Demons Die Hard" is led by the drums and vocals at first but it turns fuller quickly. Sounds like BEARDFISH before 3 minutes as he sings in a more ambitious way. The guitar and bass impress after 4 minutes. "Keith(The Son Of Sun)" is pleasant as the organ gives way to intricate guitar and a beat.

"The River Of Sadness" is uptempo with piano, drums and guitar standing out, vocals too. This is catchy and I like how themes are repeated. We even get some accordion on this one around 4 minutes in. Cool sound after 5 minutes as they slow it down with vocals. Synths will replace the vocals then the reserved vocals come back and it will kick back in after 8 minutes.

"All A Dream" ends it and I really like the dark atmosphere at first as sparse piano leads then spoken words as the atmosphere disappears. He ends it with the same words this all started with then the powerful atmosphere returns to end it.

Man I'm sure I'm in the minority with my rating here. I just prefer the band BEARDFISH to this. I was surprised to see that this is Rikard's third studio album though. I have a feeling many will have this on their final 2017 album list though.

 On Her Journey To The Sun by GUNGFLY album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.98 | 181 ratings

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On Her Journey To The Sun
Gungfly Crossover Prog

Review by spatter9999

5 stars [Review originally posted on RockAtNight.com on May 22, 2017]

Rikard Sjöblom's Gungfly ? On Her Journey to the Sun: Eclectic prog's most underappreciated songwriter delivers another stunning success By Kris McCoy, Rock At Night Contributor

Never fear, Beardfish fans.  All is not lost.

If you are a fan of finely shaped progressive rock, with strong vintage 70s sounds, you should be familiar with Rikard Sjöblom. As the multi-instrumentalist madman behind the microphone of the now-legendary Beardfish, he sang about everything from personal loss to dreams of sneaking into the backstreets of some sleazy '70s disco club. Wielding his keyboard like an 88-key progressive rock machine gun and a shoulder-slung guitar much in the same manner, Sjöblom truly was the face of the band. During his run with Beardfish, Rikard also produced two albums under the name Gungfly.  The Gungfly side project served as Rikard's outlet for his less proggy, singer-songwriter soul rock ideas that didn't fit the Beardfish catalog.

"Gungfly was born out of necessity," Sjöblom comments. "The songs came to life whenever there was downtime with Beardfish or if a song didn't quite fit within Beardfish's (otherwise quite broad and eclectic) frame of styles. I basically started recording songs, mainly pop-oriented material, but being the type of songwriter and musician I am some prog slipped through under the radar as well. The name Gungfly is a Swedish word meaning 'Unsecure ground', it came from a novel I read where it was used to describe that someone didn't have grounds to back up their statements, so I liked it and chose to call the project that."

In 2016, Beardfish sadly called its quits.  In the wake of this announcement, Rikard embarked on a short North American tour in support of his remarkable solo album "The Unbendable Sleep".  His band consisted of brothers Petter and Rasmus Diamant, who had also performed on prior Gungfly material. During these shows, four new compositions were presented along with the announcement that an album was forthcoming.  These new songs were performed in a 3-piece, straightforward rock arrangement.  Did this mean the new album would also be a simplified guitar/bass/drum rock album?

Well, that new album is finally here, and, no, it's far from straightforward arrangements.  This album brings an abundance of progressive rock complexity in the form of an emotional an often inspiring musical collage.  Some could argue that it fits nicely within the Beardfish catalog as a follow-up to 2015's "+4626-COMFORTZONE".

"On Her Journey to the Sun" features 11 tracks.  The Diamant brothers return on bass and drums but are joined by David Zackrisson (Beardfish guitarist).   Sverker Magnusson and Martin Borgh round out the line-up by providing additional keyboard support.  Rachel Hall (Big Big Train) offers a beautiful guest violin spot in "Over My Eyes". The main attraction, however, remains Rikard Sjöblom's soulful vocals, gripping guitars, mischievous organ work, and well-balanced songwriting.

The album offers everything that we've come to love and expect from his ever-evolving musical mind.  While I'm not certain that it should be labeled a concept album, lyrical themes surface throughout.  The vocal performance extends from confident, aggressive lower/mid ranges to a vulnerable and sincere upper register.  Meanwhile, his signature sense of complex-yet-catchy keyboard melodies and guitar work that spans the spectrum of folksy to downright face melting are all over the tracks.

Musically, we are again treated to a full array of styles.  The 10 minutes long opener "Of the Orb" grabs your attention with its delicious synth and guitar harmonies topped off by Sjöblom's unique falsetto begging 'Stay with me, care for me, I will be yours.'  Further down "If You Fall, Pt. 1" is a short, somber offering based around a singular organ melody, offering a heavy contrast to the previous track, the upbeat, high-energy, bass-heavy rocker "My Hero".

Gungfly is, however, most intriguing in the Gentle Giant-inspired instrumental breakdowns that overflow with imaginative, Seussian whimsy.  If that's what draws you to Rikard's work, you will immediately fall in love with the effervescent melodies in the nearly 12-minute instrumental "Polymixia". Also, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the other instrumental "Keith".  The smooth, chill vibe on this jazz tune tenders an astounding level of maturity and restraint reminiscent of guitar legend Eric Johnson.

The album production and mix is superb.  Each listen will reveal new layers you hadn't previously observed.  After casually running through about 10 times, I listened again through headphones on a quiet night and couldn't believe the nuances that lay beneath the surface.  I can't wait to see what I discover next.

Fans of playful yet intricately-crafted, thought-provoking guitar and organ-driven prog-rock should take note of this album immediately. Rikard and the gang should be proud. Though the distance to the sun is considerable, I highly recommend you to embark on this journey.

[About the special edition with bonus disc] The special edition also features a Best of Gungfly bonus disc containing tracks from Please Be Quiet (2009) and Lamentations (2011).  This material is a great addition for those unfamiliar with Gungfly's previous work, but serious Rikard/Beardfish fans will want to pick up the entire Gungfly catalog if they haven't already done so.

 On Her Journey To The Sun by GUNGFLY album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.98 | 181 ratings

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On Her Journey To The Sun
Gungfly Crossover Prog

Review by Garlop

5 stars Perfect Score, for an almost perfect album. Lets say is somewhere between 4.5 rounded up to give this cd the proper boost it deserves. With echoes of the last Beardfish album, "On Her Journey to the Sun" has a lot of good quality music that stands on its own and it separates itself in style/composition from the above mentioned band. If you notice David Zackrisson, lead guitar from Beardfish, contributes in this album.

Its the first time we see above 10min mark songs on a Gungfly record and thats a good sign. Theres more time to explore and develop ideas. Good example for this is the opener "Of the Orb" with some genesis hints its definitely a highlight here. I d like to separate this album into three parts. The first three songs flow together really well, "On her journey to the sun" has one of the best vocal performances i ve heard from Rikard Sjoblom, I cant help to sing along to the high pitched notes. "He held an axe" slow paced ballad with some kind of indie vibe, this is one of the things I ve meant previously regarding different style and composition from Beardfish.

The second part of the album its the craziest one. Well its no accident cause if I m not wrong "My Hero" and "Polymixia" were songs originally written for Beardfish. And "If you fall pt1" sounds like an instrumental remminiscent of The Sane Day sessions. "Polymixia" its the second longest song here, and its completely instrumental! Took a long time to finally dig this one, its really marvelous.

The Third and last part of the album its a bit weaker, but still great. Would have cut some song here as when "The river of sadness" arrives, the listener its a bit tired already. "Old demons die hard" its shockingly good, it sounds fresh and new. Smart and catchy lyrics. It was a good call releasing it as the first single. "Keith (The Son of Sun)" is the second instrumental, shorter than Polymixia but more relaxing and acoustic. "The River of Sadness" its the longest track here, it might have one of the best chorus, great instrumental section, some piano and bandoneon to give a more eclectic feeling and some funky lines. The album ends and goes full circle with the start of this spiritual journey "Maybe this is all a dream". One of the best records i ve heard from 2017.

 Please Be Quiet by GUNGFLY album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.94 | 79 ratings

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Please Be Quiet
Gungfly Crossover Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Yet another project of Beardfish'es Rikard Sjöblom, who tends to be the Fabio Zuffanti of Sweden, this time going solo.Sjöblom sings and plays all instruments on his first album from 2009 ''Please Be Quiet''.It contains tracks recorded between 2005 and 2008, most of them in Sjöblom's hometwon Gavle.He is only helped by Beardfish/Bootcut's drummer Peter Diamant in six tracks, Beardfish'es Robert Hansen in another four, while one composition features appearances by Rasmus Diamant (double bass), Peter Fredriksson (trombone) and Tobias Wiklund (trumpet).

It is really hard to believe that Sjöblom composed and performed all this diverse material all by himself.The album has an incredibly professional sound and perfect performances on every single instrument, mixed appropriately, while Gungfly is definitely Sjöblom's most unfocused project by far.It contains 15 tracks, covering all of his influences, and ''Please Be Quiet'' ends up to be the definition of an Art Rock album.The listener can find anything linked to Rock music in here.Power ballads with impressive and strong songwriting, Pop/Psych-influenced tunes of deep inspiraton, more folky pieces with a delicate atmosphere with even a bit of Country flavor, Soft Rock cuts with shining guitars ala DIRE STRAITS, modern rockers with fantastic vocals and catchy choruses and even full-blown Progressive Rock like in the long ''Rumbling Boxes''.The album flows nice and easy, having consistent changes between stronger and lighter tunes, while Sjöblom proves to be a fantastic singer as expected.Great guitar work, tight arrangements, flexible keyboard and piano themes with touches of some nostalgic accordion are there to highlight this musician as one of the most important talents of modern Progressive Rock.

I can see the traditional Prog listener having a weird taste for this release, but anyone willing to open his ears for a progressive album with its wider meaning should add this work in his collection.From marvelous songwriting to demanding compositions, ''Please Be Quiet'' contains it all in a very good level of quality.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

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

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