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Hidden Lands - Lycksalighetens  CD (album) cover


Hidden Lands



3.53 | 23 ratings

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Second Life Syndrome
Prog Reviewer
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.

Second Life Syndrome | 3/5 |


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