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GUNGFLY

Crossover Prog • Sweden


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Gungfly biography
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.

Gungfly official website

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LamentationsLamentations
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GUNGFLY discography


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

3.99 | 57 ratings
Please Be Quiet
2009
3.63 | 57 ratings
Lamentations
2011
3.93 | 118 ratings
On Her Journey To The Sun
2017

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GUNGFLY Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 On Her Journey To The Sun by GUNGFLY album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.93 | 118 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
3.93 | 118 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
3.93 | 118 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
3.99 | 57 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.

 Lamentations by GUNGFLY album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.63 | 57 ratings

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Lamentations
Gungfly Crossover Prog

Review by Epignosis
Special Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

3 stars The most impressive aspect of Gungfly's second album is without a doubt the electric guitar work. Many of the songs are agreeable; other's aren't. Gritty fried rock is the string that holds this sequence of jewels and rhinestones together. It is recommended to fans of Peter Frampton and The Dear Hunter.

"Bringing Down the Walls" A loose rocker blends elements of modern Peter Frampton and Echolyn together for a strong start. Off-kilter guitar lines are juxtaposed with more conventional rock and roll. The second half is more intense, with abrasive screams and crunchy guitar.

"White Light" A fast rock song with an Ozzy Osbourne tinge and peppered with some blistering guitar riffs, this tune includes an acoustic interlude. While some parts are catchy, the piece as a whole remains disorderly and tricky to follow.

"Lamentations" The fanciful melodies here bridge quirky Gentle Giant nods with Jethro Tull's bluesy folk music, making this a fun adventure of a song.

"Peace at Mind" Keeping pace with the blues, the fourth track's main riff has a slight "falling down the stairs" quality to it before rocking out in the refrain. Again, the modern-day Peter Frampton sound is very much there, only with traces of Alice in Chains from time to time and a touch of Mellotron.

"The Game" Gritty guitar and Spanish horn offer a fusion of indie, surf, and Latin rock. The vocals have a dull inflection and an aged tone.

"Sleight of Hand" Edging back into hard rock, this song suddenly changes shape altogether, becoming a laidback R&B number. Regardless of these stylistic changes, the composition remains shaky throughout, lacking the integrity of solid transitions or memorable melodies.

"In This House" The most forgettable song on the album is a nondescript rocker with boisterous vocals. While I can see how this tune might appeal to others, for me it fails to move or impress me the way some of the other tracks do.

"And She Drives Me..." In stark contrast to the previous song (and the album as a whole), this song offers an easygoing piano with a very nice chord progression and light, pleasant singing.

"We Will Never Leave" The longest track mixes moody Mellotron lines with progressive metal leanings and cantankerous lyrics. Offering variety and a morose transition, the wailing of a synthesizer lead escorts the listener into an atmospheric middle passage of dim thunder and gloomy piano. It quite expectedly returns to the hard rock of before. While the vocal melody is enjoyable, the lyrics tend toward 1980s power metal cheese at best or adolescent poetry at worst. Overall, I think this is a respectable composition, even if it is not the best the album has to offer.

"Shape of Days to Come" A moderate rocker with pensive and hopeful lyrics that contrast with the somewhat pessimistic music, the final song puts drearily good melodies next to a bit of unexpected jazz country at the end.

 Please Be Quiet by GUNGFLY album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.99 | 57 ratings

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Please Be Quiet
Gungfly Crossover Prog

Review by praj912

3 stars A bunch of quality singer/songwriter type songs, coming across a bit like Lennon and certainly sounding 70s. Progressive by association only really, being Beardfish's vocalist and keyboard player, so it doesn't really warrant a higher mark than 3, maybe 3.5 stars because it is more adventurous than simple radio music. At first I thought this was a contemporary American band as it really sounds like it was written in America, but if you give it the time it is quite a nice eclectic mix of songs. Keyboard driven, a bit jazzy, but sometimes sounds a bit like it is a theme song to an American sitcom.
 Lamentations by GUNGFLY album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.63 | 57 ratings

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Lamentations
Gungfly Crossover Prog

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 'Lamentations' - Gungfly (7/10)

With an album from his flagship project coming out earlier in the year, Rikard Sjöblom has been a busy man lately. Beardfish's 'Mammoth' however, only managed to moderately impress me, with most of my potential appreciation being lost on what I perceived to be the fairly recycled musical direction and lack of emotion. Gungfly is Sjöblom's solo project, and while similar to the music that Beardfish makes, this appears to be where he directs his more personal material. Although not ultimately different from the music that Beardfish makes, Gungfly's 'Lamentations' is a more moving observation from Sjöblom, and demonstrates his well-roundedness as a prog musician.

It would be safe to say that Gungfly and 'Lamentations' takes a more singer-songwriter approach to music than did Beardfish, albeit only slightly. Sjöblom does all of the instruments here, but there is the feeling that it is a full band playing; there are only a few moments where it is just taken to the man's voice and his guitar. However, Rikard Sjöblom's voice is the main attraction here, and he takes measures to ensure the listener that they are listening to a solo project rather than a lost Beardfish record. All the same, the sound and style here is not unexpected. There is a decent variety of sounds here, mostly rooted in the 70's sound of rock music, but constantly branching out with new angles. The instrumentation never falls into a solo artist's rut; all instruments played here are done quite well, and the guitars have some solos that are quite amazing.

The best thing here however is Rikard's voice itself, which passes me here as being similar to that of Mikael Akerfeldt's (of Opeth), but with a smoother quality to it, The biggest change I noticed from Beardfish to Gungfly are actually in the lyrics themselves; here, Rikard takes a much more personal approach to the music, drawing directly upon his life, rather than drawing out the kind of metaphors that some prog becomes infamous for. Take for instance the first track here, 'Bringing Down The Walls', a groovy number that revolves around the degradation of his family life when he was a kid, and even how it has shaped who he has grown into. Musically, this is not anything different from what I would expect on any Beardfish record, but the lyrics give it an extra push; it becomes much easier to relate to an artist's music when they are opening up their hearts, rather than solely their intellects.

Sjöblom's Gungfly is a solid outing from the Beardfish frontman, although it will still likely always be known as a side project, rather than something all its own. Despite the diversity in sound and style, this is nothing that Sjöblom is not already very used to, but his music here is driven by an added personal touch that I didn't always hear when listening to Beardfish.

 Lamentations by GUNGFLY album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.63 | 57 ratings

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Lamentations
Gungfly Crossover Prog

Review by CherylCez

5 stars "Lamentations" completely and immediately has touched me musically. It is definitely one of my "desert island" cd's.

Rikard Sjoblum, is a wonderfully talented artist, with the rare ability to make his voice/singing style an instrument in the music. The music displays what can only be the artists vast appreciation of musical styles; there are odes to jazz, pop, disco, classical, rock, heavy metal, and even tango - which I didn't even know I could like until I heard it woven into his music. Lest I forget blues, oh, blues, "Peace at Mind" is so rich with blues and Rikard sings that style so well, it actually makes my soul ache. "Bringing Down the Walls" showcases one thing that Rikard does so well, and that is to paint a picture of a moment, a feeling, a state of mind and pull you in with him emotionally. The whole cd does this to one degree or another, without ever feeling heavy and weighty.

A treasure for sure.

 Please Be Quiet by GUNGFLY album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.99 | 57 ratings

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Please Be Quiet
Gungfly Crossover Prog

Review by Nathaniel607

5 stars It's all good, it's understood - rumbling boxes of strings and wood

Gungfly (which means uneasy ground or a quaqmire in Swedish) is basically just the one bloke. Rikard Skjoblom. He plays all the instruments (minus, I think, one or two drum tracks) - which just serves to make this album even more astounding!

Gungfly has a decidedly poppier sound than Beardfish. However, don't immediatly dismiss this album because of this and the short song lengths - the compositions are still extremely interesting with great melodies and chord progressions noticably more exciting than your average chart-topper.

One of the first things you'll notice about this album is that it refuses to stick to the ordinary rock instrumentation, instead taking advantages of classic prog instruments such as organs and other strange instruments including an accordion. When the distorted guitar is used, it is often modified with a strange effect, such as the crazy guitar solo on "Fly Into the Sun".

I think the progressiveness (should be a word) is in the variation of the compositions - some are folky, some are "indie" sounding, some are snyth driven, guitar driven, spanish sounding, country sounding, accordian driven, minimalistic or complex. There are also many interesting solos, synth solos, guitar solos - all very different and very interesting.

Most of the songs on this album are brilliant, consice compositions. The stand-out track for me is "Rumbling Boxes" - the "proggiest" song, it contains a long-ish instrumental section with an acoustic piano solo - it's fantastic.

However, I have a problem rating this album. All the songs are great, but as they are mostly 3-5 minutes long, it's very different to rating a normal prog album. Sure, all the songs are great but simply don't contain the same compositional exploration as other, meatier prog albums. Yet, I cannot deny that I enjoy listening to all these songs - with there more subtle variations and fantastic vocals and lyrics from Rikard. So, I am going to rate this as five stars, but if you are a progressive elitest you may not enjoy this album as much.

 Please Be Quiet by GUNGFLY album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.99 | 57 ratings

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Please Be Quiet
Gungfly Crossover Prog

Review by Tuskarilla

5 stars My congratulations! Rikard has made an excellent album. The composer has shown the talent from absolutely unexpected side for me. The wonderful vocal, beautiful arrangements, melodious songs - does by all this an album very pleasant for listening. Certainly, in an album it is a lot of loans, but it does not do it worse, and to the contrary - owing to talent of the musician. For example, the song ' Before The Winter ' is very similar to a song ' Sultans Of Swing ' groups ' Dire Straits'.

It is a pity, that this album is poorly known, few assessments, are not enough voices. It deserves greater. I think, prospects at Рикарда as at solo-executor excellent. We wait for new successes!

Thanks to windhawk for the artist addition.

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