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HIDDEN LANDS

Neo-Prog • Sweden


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Hidden Lands biography
Swedish band HIDDEN LANDS was formed in 2012, and comes across as a direct continuation or successor unit of Swedish band Violent Silence, as four out of five members have a joint past in that band. "In Our Nature" is their debut album and was released by Swedish label Progress Records in November 2012.

Hidden Lands official website

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Lycksalighetens ÍLycksalighetens Í
Import
Progress Records
Audio CD$19.89
In Our NatureIn Our Nature
Import
Progress Records
Audio CD$20.59
$17.00 (used)
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HIDDEN LANDS discography


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

3.65 | 23 ratings
In Our Nature
2012
3.49 | 12 ratings
Lycksalighetens ÷
2014

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HIDDEN LANDS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Lycksalighetens ÷ by HIDDEN LANDS album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.49 | 12 ratings

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Lycksalighetens ÷
Hidden Lands Neo-Prog

Review by progpositivity
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Followers of Swedish prog band A Violent Silence are to be excused if they are at least a little confused. Didn't drummer Johan Hedman just release a new Violent Silence album last year named A Broken Truce featuring Martin Ahlquist on vocals as well as Hannes Ljunghall and Bj÷rn WestÚn on Keyboards? How in the world did Martin, Hannes and Bj÷rn manage to find the time and energy to comprise the core of an entirely different prog band named Hidden Lands also releasing a new album titled Lycksalighetens? Is one of these groups a side project or perhaps a studio-only 'band'?

Well, it turns out that composer/keyboardist Hannes Ljunghall took some time away to spend with family and hasn't been actively working with A Violent Silence for over half a decade now. (His continued presence lingers with that band via the modern wonders of Cubase software.) For different reasons, over the course of time other members dropped out of VS here and there as prog musicians tend to do from time to time and then gradually coalesced back together to try their collective hands at yet another new musical adventure.

Meanwhile, Hedman faithfully soldiered on in pursuit of his uniquely percussive and occasionally obliquely metallic vision of guitar-less prog. If you've never heard VS, I recommend you check it out. Hedman is certainly to be commended as one who gives credit where credit is due. Hence the source of my confusion. Let's just say that despite having assembled new band members for A Violent Silence, as long as Hedman gains inspiration from or otherwise uses snippets of old bandmates' performances, we may continue seeing Ljunghall and Wesen listed as contributors on future Violent Silence albums. Fair enough.

Now on to Hidden Lands, our new place to discover the most recent compositions and performances from Hannes and Bjorn featuring vocals by Bruno Edling. It's a real joy to hear what these guys have been up to lately. On one hand, the output of this 'new' band full of familiar names and faces naturally bears more than a few similarities to that of their previous incarnation. But it is the ways in which their music is branching out that I find most interesting. A few tastefully performed six-string solos expand the sonic palette, while also serving to free them from their 'no guitars' novelty. This album will live or die on the songs and performances alone.

With that out of the way, Lycksalighetens is, of course, still a very keyboard-centric affair. The band is fully capable of picking up the tempo to rock a bit here and there, but Hidden Lands' greatest moments happen when bass guitar and keyboard lines playfully yet subtly interact with one another even as catchy vocal lines and competent drumming bind everything together into a cohesive whole.

Some moments of this album call to my mind the 1980's fusion pop band Level 42. That is a very imprecise point of reference, however. Hidden Lands' music is much more varied and complex than Level 42.

During calm stretches, many bands seek to approximate the sense of pastoral bliss through providing extended, droning, uneventful soundscapes. Hidden Lands knows better. Softer passages need harmonic points of interest every bit as much as, perhaps even more than, the uptempo driving sequences. And they deliver the goods! This is true synergy and a wonderful treat to anyone who appreciates classic fusiony symphonic prog with a bright shimmery, yet also mellow and relaxed hue. This is content, happy music that doesn't require you to unplug your mind.. Perhaps more of us should take a few years off to be with family! It sure seems to have worked out well for Hannes Ljunghall

Highly recommended!

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 In Our Nature by HIDDEN LANDS album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.65 | 23 ratings

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In Our Nature
Hidden Lands Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars Swedish band from Uppsala, no wonder, because Hidden Lands are an offshoot project of Violent Silence, keyboardist/guitarist Hannes Ljunghall, keyboardist Bjorn Westen, singer Bruno Edling and bassist Phillip Bastin are all members of Violent Silence and the only change comes behind the drum kit, where Gustav Nyber is responsible for the drumming.The band announced its formation in 2012 and later in the year they released their debut ''In our nature'', distributed via Progress Records.

As with VIOLENT SILENCE, the music of Hidden Lands is fairly keyboard-dominated, but this time the approach is a bit more melodic, atmospheric and symphonic with stronger links to the 70's and yet another impressive palette of different keyboard colors.Same thing with the main band of the involved members, the music appears to be an original and melodic Symphonic Rock with occasional jazzy and electronic injections, but the result is pretty genuine and nothing like you have heard before.Actually the only comparison could be British veterans CITIZEN CAIN, the material has evident ties with Classic Prog, but there are more than enough twists and turns both in the arrangements and styles to easily classify the band.Six long tracks with some GENESIS influences in a more Symphonic/Fusion enviroment, retaining the smooth and romantic atmosphere of the legends, but also breaking into more emphatic territories with great vocals and complex keyboard instrumentals, characterized by the powerful bass lines and the lovely switches on analog and modern keyboards.They kind of remind me also of NATHAN MAHL and HOLDING PATTERN at times, good display of Classical interludes, laid-back symphonic soundscapes but also trickier keyboard leads, moreover when they come in double doses.In certain moments they sink also in a world of more experimental offerings with the loops and vibraphone coming in the forefront, but the dominant principles come definitely from the Classic Prog school and the mood for elaborate and lush keyboard-centered orchestrations.

Good debut by one of the most personal-sounding bands of the recent Prog era.Balanced Neo/Symphonic Prog with keyboards in evidence and spices from Electronic Music and Jazz Fusion.Warmly recommended.

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 Lycksalighetens ÷ by HIDDEN LANDS album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.49 | 12 ratings

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Lycksalighetens ÷
Hidden Lands Neo-Prog

Review by Dr÷mmarenAdrian

3 stars Hidden Lands is a Swedish symphonic rock band which is called Neo-prog here and that is certainly a good description. It is a two year old band which released their debut album 2012 "In our nature" which was a decent but harmless record. I think "Lycksalighetens ÷" is a little progression. It's a new record which unlike the last one's cover, has a lot of nice colours. "Lycksalighetens ÷" is a lovely and very romantic title and it's a big shame that the whole album isn't in Swedish. Then it could have been much more interesting. The line up is Bruno Edling who sings, Hannes Ljunghall who plays keyboards and guitars, Phillip Bastin who plays bass and the drummer Gustav Nyberg.

This record is a progression according to me and the biggest explanation is the song lengths. Long and epic sweaping songs could easier pass over the fealings the band want to share with us. The last track called "Hidden Lands", just like the band is the album's longest and best track(7/10). it features well played keyboards and original melodies and is nice to hear. I also hear that the band, and especially Ljunghall has potentials and could approach more perfection in the future. Still this feels incoherent and a bit lame from time to time. "Corsican Daydream" is another long and fine track(7/10) and the third longest "Dakkar" is also very pleasant(7/10). I also like and would recommend the more popular sounding "In the wind"(6/10).

Hidden Lands has big pretentions and that is awesome, and they should be honoured for that. I will give the record three prog stars and look forward to hear more from this band in the future. This album reveals a lot of happiness and I think that will reach the lsiteners too.

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 Lycksalighetens ÷ by HIDDEN LANDS album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.49 | 12 ratings

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Lycksalighetens ÷
Hidden Lands Neo-Prog

Review by Second Life Syndrome
Collaborator Post/Math Rock Team

3 stars I had really high hopes for this sophomore album from Sweden's Hidden Lands. I became an immense fan of their debut album "In Our Nature" with its playful, quirky melodies, vast variety of rhythms, and incredible synth solos (some of the best I've ever heard). Even the unconventional voice of Bruno Edling became a favorite of mine, as it fit perfectly with the organic, acoustic nature of the album.

Well, Hidden Lands has released their latest, "Lycksalighetens ÷", which translates to something like "The Blissful Island". I believe it is lyrically based on a story of the same name by Per Daniel Amadeus Atterbom about a king that leaves his country and discovers a beautiful island. After leaving because of a guilty conscience, he finds the world not as he had hoped. It's an interesting story, and the cover art is rather conducive to it.

Yet, I don't find myself sinking my teeth as deeply into this new album. Hidden Lands has kept the same formula, adding only some guitar here and there. Each musician performs wonderfully: Bruno Edling excels on vocals again, Hannes Ljunghall on keyboards and guitars provides most of the music, Phillip Bastin on bass is excellent, and Gustav Nyberg on drums is brilliant as usual. There is, however, something missing. The music is played well, has a great foundation and theme, but the composition just isn't there. Nothing draws me in or makes me want to sing. In fact, I feel that Bruno is criminally underutilized on this album, as seemingly pointless stretches of keyboard rabbit trails take his place.

The best tracks here are "Corsican Daydream" and "Dakkar", the first two on the album. They are riveting and very lush in sound with some great choruses and especially brilliant keys. But I feel the album goes downhill from there. The songs begin to blur together. In fact, I still am not sure where some start and others end. Everything sounds very much the same when the primary driving force of the music is a single synth tone. After awhile, your brain has had enough. Sadly, the track named after the band, "Hidden Lands", is the worst track they've ever made, as its twenty minute length is way too long and features seemingly endless synth meandering.

Don't get me wrong. This is an enjoyable album, and the first half is beautiful. However, the composition simply comes apart at the seams in the second half. I wish they had stuck to the shorter song styles of the first album, as it made for bouncy, filler-free songs that were fun and full of ideas. This new album, however, seems like an attempt to be "proggier" somehow, and it has destroyed their sound. I can only hope for a return to the inspired, real sound of the first album soon.

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 In Our Nature by HIDDEN LANDS album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.65 | 23 ratings

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In Our Nature
Hidden Lands Neo-Prog

Review by Dr÷mmarenAdrian

3 stars Oh a modern symphonic progressive rock group from my own country has released their debut album last year. How interesting I thought; I must listen immediately. I did and here's my opinion. This was a nice listening over all. I was pleased, but not amazed. This is a five man group featuring Hannes Ljunghall, Bj÷rn WestÚn, Bruno Edling, Phillip Bastin and Gustav Nyber. The record has a cover with a nature theme in black and white. I was expecting exciting music with many referencies and maybe a hidden musically gem.

In out nature contains seven tracks and the total play time is enough to make a perfect prog record, not too little and not too much. The first piece "In my nature" begins with very modern sounds. You can almost hear a xylophone (or something similar). It develops when the keyboard gets higher. Already from the first track I had problem with the vocals, I don't think they are very good. This problem continues on the whole record. Perhaps it's too quiet or just not as special as I would covet. "L'Ancien RÚgime" is the records best track. The singing in the beginning is carefull and quits fast leading into a journey of nice keyboard work. This track is really symphonic. "The road to Hylach" contains good instrumental parts, a special drumming and almost a little Mike Oldfield feeling. But the vocals destroys the rest. "Incurable" begins interesting and I am still pleased to listen to it. "Stiletto runner" is the second best track with a very different rhytm, almost a pop feeling and symphonic ideas. The last track "The night garden" also contains interesting themes and nice listen material.

I will give this record a weak three star rating. It is nice to listen to, but the vocals are rather bad and this music don't really invite us to musical journeys of progressive soundscapes. This gave me fourty five minutes of music. Thank you very much, but It's enough. I don't think I will listen to Hiddens lands again ? sorry!

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 In Our Nature by HIDDEN LANDS album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.65 | 23 ratings

BUY
In Our Nature
Hidden Lands Neo-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Hidden Lands stand out on the pack on this debut album thanks to keyboardists Bj÷rn WestÚn and Hannes Ljunghall (who in addition to keyboard duties shifts over to guitar as well). From the start of opening number and not-quite-title track In My Nature, it's clear that WestÚn and Ljunghall are greatly inspired by the space-electronic stylings of the likes of Tangerine Dream, and this style adds an unusual and welcomely original spin to the neo-prog proceedings here.

Intriguingly, aside from drummer Gustav Nyber this album is essentially a reunion of the old Violent Silence lineup. Violent Silence themselves are, in fact, still a going concern - they've just unveiled the cover art for their new album on Facebook - although only WestÚn and Ljunghall are still in the lineup. The question of which is the original band and which is the side project is a puzzling one, but shouldn't distract you from the quality of music offered up here.

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 In Our Nature by HIDDEN LANDS album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.65 | 23 ratings

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In Our Nature
Hidden Lands Neo-Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

4 stars A new band Hidden Lands coming from the ashes of one of Sweden best kept secrets Vilonet Silence disbanded around 2006 manage to capture my attention big time in last month or so. With 4 out of 5 members coming from Violent Silence minus the drumer who is a new name, the rest are like they were on Kinetic from 2005. Even the sound is quite silmilat witht that album and musicianship aswell is top notch. Hidden Lands is a great new comer who manage to release their first album in novemeber 2012 named In our nature. This type o f prog rock is always a pleasure to listen, very demanding and the ideas are more then great. Only 6 pieces, but long eneough to show big potential in today prog field with original arrangements and excellent playing. This album sounds like a continuation of Kinetic in many parts, but maybe is little more melodic and busy in musical ideas. In My Nature, L'ancien R├ęgime wiht a UK touch (danger money era) with that typical Eddie Jobson atmophere on keyboards, very solid track and the instrumental one Stiletto Runner is adefinetly a winner like the rest. So, to me definetly one of the best albums of 2012, maybe in top 3 for last year. Very strong inventive and goes recommended sor sure, very nice cover art.

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