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HASSE FRÖBERG MUSICAL COMPANION

Crossover Prog • Sweden


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Hasse Fröberg Musical Companion biography
Hasse Froberg and Musical Companion is a band formed by its namesake, Hasse Froberg. Hasse is most famous for his work as a vocalist and occasional guitarist of symph-prog titans The Flower Kings. After TFK went on hiatus around 2008, Hasse decided to form a new band in order to present 'songs that [he has] written through the years that don?t fit the T.F.K formula.'

The group's debut album, 'Future Past', was released in 2010. The music on the album features certain elements that are similar to TFK's symphonic style, but with a distinct hard-rock/classic-rock twist. Hasse's warm vocals are the main focus of the album, along with classic keyboard-laden prog-rock instrumentation.

Biography by Anthony Hagen.

Hasse Fröberg Musical Companion official website

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3.87 | 40 ratings
Future Past
2010
3.74 | 42 ratings
Powerplay
2012

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HASSE FRÖBERG MUSICAL COMPANION Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Powerplay by FRÖBERG MUSICAL COMPANION, HASSE album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.74 | 42 ratings

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Powerplay
Hasse Fröberg Musical Companion Crossover Prog

Review by Progulator
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Hasse Froberg has been lending his powerful voice and guitar skills to Swedish proggers The Flower Kings for many years now. That's where I had my first introduction to him and I'd imagine the same goes for most of you out there. I've always loved the work he did with TFK, delivering many unforgettable vocals album after album. Naturally, I was excited to hear what Hasse would bring to the table on a solo album.

Once I popped in my copy of Powerplay it didn't take long at all to sell me. This is a monster of a record! Hasse states that he wrote all the melodies with his voice and acoustic guitar, in order to avoid the possibility of hiding a weak line behind a really cool sound. Regardless of his methods, he sure did something right, because the vocal lines are marvelously memorable. With just one listen to the album I felt like I could easily identify vocal lines, choruses, and even instrumental parts, which is something that does not happen every time you throw on a new disc.

I would divide this album into two halves: the prog half and the rock half, kicking it off with "My River to Cross," which ends up being the perfect way to open up this album. Huge sound, soaring melodies that get stuck in your head, and lots of proggy goodness categorize this fine piece. I was pleasantly surprised with the number of headbanging riffs that this tune provides, making fantastic use of unison guitars, bass, and drums, with the Hammond filling in the background nicely. Kjell Haraldsson executes dazzling synth and Hammond solos, after which Mr. Froberg wraps it up with a nice, big chorus. As the next track came on I instantly knew this wouldn't be a boring or repetitive album. "The World keeps turning adds an accessible appeal with catchy hooks, something that usually scares me away, but not in this case. Once again, Hasse shows us what a fine band he has put together, with gorgeous virtuoso soloing on from Kjell and Anton. As "The Final Hour" gears up, we enter prog mode full on with fantastic arpeggiator and some really musical vocal harmonies and techniques, creating some moments that I would like to say are very distinctively Hasse Froberg. On the other hand, this song has some of the most Flower Kings' moments on the album, especial the guitar solo section, which made me think a bit of Mr. Stolt mixed with some Steve Vai-like phrasing. If you aren't sold yet, just wait 'til you hit the eight minute mark where you'll hear some gorgeous piano and Mellotron flute. Yup, that's it, "The Final Hour" is a progalicious piece, landing the spot of my favorite track of the album.

The next half of the album is pretty straightforward; Hasse's mission is to provide solid rock 'n roll with beautiful prog influences and a great band that constantly reminds us that there's a team effort going on here, and it's a winning team, might I add. "Waves" brings a bit of a relaxing atmosphere to the album with its steady drumbeat, ballad-esque melodies, and nostalgic lyrics, backed by the gentle textures of guitar and Hammond. "Venice CA," on the other hand, is the party song on the album, a straightforward rocker with some pretty heavy 80's influences. At this point the album has taken a more straightforward edge, following up "Venice" with "Is it Ever Going to Happen," a heavy blues rocker (on the verse), with gritty vocals and a few surprises; after the really rocking parts it transitions smoothly into more jazz influenced territory with nice use of Rhodes, then pulls out the tron briefly before entering into a heavy section, and even a little bit of reggae style guitar and then brings the chorus back. All of a sudden it gets heavy again and we get a major shred guitar solo from Anton Lindsjö, full of tremolo picking, pinch harmonics and the works. Following "Is it Ever Going to Happen" we get "White Butterfly," a short acoustic guitar/vocal piece (that I wasn't too thrilled about) before moving on to "The Chosen Ones." Overall this is one of the weaker pieces, not really offering much that other tracks haven't already done for us up to this point, except some very high quality fusion solos on guitar and keyboard which help this piece finish off strong. Closing out the album is "Godsong," delivering first class on the positive lyrics, in The Flower Kings spirit, accompanied by uplifting and memorable melodies.

To sum it up, Powerplay is an album you won't want to miss. Honestly, I listened to this and Banks of Eden right next to each other as they came out, and I'm not going to lie, I was every bit as impressed with this album as I was with the then new Flower Kings; and that's saying a lot. Hasse Froberg, through this album, has thoroughly proven to me that he is a force to be reckoned with, not just a strong member of a first class band, but a true leader who has the compositional ability it takes to turn heads.

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 Powerplay by FRÖBERG MUSICAL COMPANION, HASSE album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.74 | 42 ratings

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Powerplay
Hasse Fröberg Musical Companion Crossover Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Hasse Froberg and Musical Companion is a prog rock band formed of course by Hasse Froberg, no one else then the vocalist and guitarist of The Flower Kings. So far they released two albums one in 2010 and second offer will coming two years later in 2012 named Powerplay. So, what we have here is pretty solid music, sometimes very close to what The Flower Kings done in past years and I mean symphonic prog but this time this style is melted with hard rock elements, giving in the end a heavy prog album quite spectacular in places. There are lots of melodic hooks, nice instrumental passages, and keyboard driven arrangements. Also the voice of Hasse is very strong, he has a warm vocal tone who is fiting perfectly into this type of music. The musicianship and songwritting is top toch, every musician involved here truly shining, specially on pieces like opening My River to Cross what a strong opener, some great duels between guitars and keyboards like in the old days of heavy prog, The World Keeps Turning and few more, in fact all pieces stands as great, not a weak moment here. I really like this combination of symphonic passages with hard rock elements, the result is quite more then generous to any prog listner. All in all a winner, this album is as good as debut, both are strong and quite recommended. One of the better bands around in last years for sure. From me easy 4 stars. The album comes in digipak format with nice silvery artwork and booklet. Very solid band IMO.

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 Future Past by FRÖBERG MUSICAL COMPANION, HASSE album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.87 | 40 ratings

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Future Past
Hasse Fröberg Musical Companion Crossover Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

4 stars Swedish guitarist/singer Hasse Fröberg was born in 1949 and started his professional journey in the world of music with the Hard Rock band Spellbound.After two albums Spellbound demised in 1988 and Fröberg formed Solid Blue at the beginning of the 90's.The group had little success, but meanwhile Fröberg participated on Roine Stolt's ''The flower king'' album, building with him a relationship, that ended up with the promotion of Hasse to a full-time member of The Flower Kings in 1995.When The Flower Kings took a short break in 2008, Hasse formed his so-called companion, teaming up with ex-Spellbound members Ola Strandberg (drums) and Thomas Thomsson (bass), hiring also keyboardist Kjell Haraldsson and guitarist Anton Lindsjö.In 2010 the first album of Hasse Fröberg & Musical Companion ''Future past'' came out on Reingold Records, issued also in the USA by ProgRock Records.

Part of the tracks are leftovers from ''The sum of no evil'' recordings of THE FLOWER KINGS with additional material composed by Fröberg.The album is somewhat different from the music of THE FLOWER KINGS, although the more keyboard-oriented passages have definitely a symphonic feeling.''Future past'' moves primarly on the paths of Classic Rock and Hard Prog/AOR/Rock, having a strong retro aura throughout, based on the impressive duo of Fröberg and Lindsjö on guitars, offering striking solos and sharp electric riffs, often with a dual approach.Echoes of RAINBOW, LED ZEPPELIN, FOREIGNER and DEEP PURPLE are evident in these parts.However the music is not sterile or completely vintage in its deliveries.All the edgy guitar parts, deep bass grooves and solid drumming are accompanied by a very talented keyboard player, who's work on Hammond organ, piano and synthesizers not only fills the compositions with proggy vibes, but even leads them at moments towards a more Classic Prog approach, somewhat close to recent-day YES, with plenty of technical solos and huge, bombastic waves of flashy lines.The long tracks are full of surprises with passionate guitar moves meeting Classical-drenched keyboards meeting smoother and atmospheric lyrical parts, featuring excellent shifting moods.The short ones are also far from compatible and bland music.Either driven by hard guitar runs or elegant and even dynamic keyboard moves, they explore the whole Rock history, from the powerful Classic Rock of the 70's to the modern Progressive/Art Rock scene.

A really amazing debut for Hasse Fröberg and his company.Tremendous songwriting with tons of memorable material and catchy parts blended with grandiose and virtuosic instrumental textures.Highly recommended to all Prog and Classic Rock fans.

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 Powerplay by FRÖBERG MUSICAL COMPANION, HASSE album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.74 | 42 ratings

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Powerplay
Hasse Fröberg Musical Companion Crossover Prog

Review by ProgShine
Collaborator Errors & Omissions Team

4 stars It is easy to say who's Hasse Fröberg & Musical Companion if you know what's been going on the Prog world in the last 20 years. Hasse Fröberg is the vocalist and guitarist from the Swedish band The Flower Kings, one of the bands responsible for bringing the Prog back in the 90's.

Back in 2008 The Flower Kings froze their activities for undetermined time, while Roine Stolt founded Agents Of Mercy and released 3 albums. Hasse gathered some friends to form a new band and in 2010 they released their first album Future Past (2010). To tell you the truth I was completely unaware of his 'solo' work till their second album Powerplay (2012) was sent to me. The band is formed by Hasse Fröberg (vocals and guitars), Anton Lindsjö (guitars and vocals), Kjell Haraldsson (keyboards and vocals), Thomsson (bass and vocals) and Ola Strandberg (drums and vocals).

Powerplay (2012) was released in April last year by Reingold Records, owned by The Flower Kings bassist Jonas Reingold and the sound engineer and producer (with Hasse himself) on the album is Tomas Bodin, keyboard man from TFK. As you can see TFK is like a big family, record company, producers and etc.

It's very easy to see The Flower Kings influences on Powerplay (2012) and that wouldn't be different, Hasse is an important part of the band. The first track 'My River To Cross' has the amount of energy and style to easily been put on a TFK album if they were not on a break at that time. I would say that the difference between the two bands is that Musical Companion is a bit more Rock n' Roll, the old 70's Rock, sometimes. Like I said, it is very hard not to compare this album with what The Flower Kings does. Of course Hasse songs are not the same as Roine Stolt (the main writer in TFK) and you have many new nuances in Powerplay (2012) because of the other musicians involved, but many times it seems we're listening a very good cover band from the original.

The difference lies in tracks like 'The Final Hour', especially in the final part and because of the guitars from Anton Lindsjö. 'Waves' is also a very different track. I guess my favorite track is 'Venice CA' for its 'light' and good mix between the melodies and the catchy chorus. In 'Is It Ever Gonna Happen' we have a good amount of TFK again, the good part. In 'The Chosen Ones' we have the best moment of Kjell Haraldsson and his keyboards.

It's not that Powerplay (2012) is a bad album, it is not. In fact, it is a very good album. And it would be exceptional to have it in The Flower Kings time off, but as soon as this album was released The Flower Kings announced their return and it's a bit complicated to pay attention to Powerplay (2012) when you have the original band with a great album like Banks Of Eden (2012) is.

It's quite hard to review this album without the comparisons, especially to me, a fan of The Flower Kings. I realize that it's unfair, but it is what it is and Hasse Fröberg & Musical Companion drinks in all the fountains TFK drank too and it's impossible not to compare both.

Some might say that having two albums with members of your favorite band and with high quality being released in the same year is a very good thing. They're probably right! Stop thinking about it for a while and just enjoy Powerplay (2012) and you'll be just fine.

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 Powerplay by FRÖBERG MUSICAL COMPANION, HASSE album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.74 | 42 ratings

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Powerplay
Hasse Fröberg Musical Companion Crossover Prog

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 'Powerplay' - Hasse Fröberg Musical Companion (7/10)

The name of Mr. Hasse Fröberg is already well known in prog circles, specifically the ones prudent enough to look past the seventies. The Flower Kings are undeniably one of the most successful and revered bands in the modern progressive rock scene, and even had Fröberg decided to make a Top 40 pop hip-hop record, there would still be a degree of respect for this man and what he's contributed. With the Hasse Fröberg Musical Companion, there's no question that he is broadening his sights, so Flower Kings fans looking for 'more of the same' will find themselves disappointed. I can't quite say that the Musical Companion's music fits my taste too much, but I can't deny the tight precision and skill of these guys.

"Powerplay" is the sort of album that I may have dismissed, had I stopped at one listen. To tell the truth, by the end of the ten minute opener "My River To Cross", I felt confident in the fact that- despite Hasse's illustrious past- the Musical Companion was just another progressive-styled act playing a melodic brand of pomp rock that I could not get into at its best. It's reasonable to assume that I returned to "Powerplay", and with each listen, I was surprised to notice things I would have otherwise overlooked. Stylistically, "Powerplay" is a mesh of polished 'AOR' melodic hard rock, filtered through a progger's ambition. It's easy to take melodies for granted in this sort of music, but Fröberg's skill with catchy hooks really shines here.

Hasse Fröberg and his company give an incredible performance here. Although few riffs here impress on their own, the band's chemistry gives "Powerplay" a vibrance I rarely hear in melodic rock. Much of the songwriting here is fairly straightforward, but each of the musicians flesh it out a bit with plenty of details that reward the persistent listener. Not to mention, Hasse's voice is great as well, with but a touch of gravel to give character to his otherwise entirely clean voice. With the possible exception of the energetic "The World Keeps Turning" and uplifting "The Chosen Ones", I wouldn't say that the songwriting is excellent overall, in spite of some powerful melodic writing. Paired with a near-mechanical sense of overproduction, "Powerplay" often lacks the organic lustre I hear much of in The Flower Kings, and would have probably lacked it entirely, were it not for the excellent cast of musicians. "Powerplay" might not go beyond what has already been done in rock music for many years, but fans of Hasse Fröberg and tight melodic hard rock won't find themselves disappointed with this one.

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 Future Past by FRÖBERG MUSICAL COMPANION, HASSE album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.87 | 40 ratings

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Future Past
Hasse Fröberg Musical Companion Crossover Prog

Review by sussexbowler

3 stars Swedish big-hair music, I'd say. If you look at Hasse in the Flower King's 'Paradise Hotel' DVD, and in particular, in 'Stardust we are', then maybe you'll appreciate what I mean. This haircuts rocks!

Full-bodied, big-hearted music from The Flower Kings' lead singer, and certainly not the same as them, but likeable nonetheless. Alternative avenues are explored within its realm, but it never strays enough (for me at least) from the path that it's trying to follow. It all ends up (not surprisingly) with the last track trying to replicate a Flower Kings finale.

It won't cure your Flower Kings withdrawal symptoms, but equally it IS a likeable effort.

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Thanks to chris s for the artist addition.

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