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Kebnekajse - Kebnekaise II CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

3.95 | 82 ratings

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Queen By-Tor
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Beautiful folk music from Sweden!

Yes, Sweden, that wonderful country that has brought us so many excellent prog, rock and heavy metal bands at one point brought us this excellent group. Using everything that they had at their disposal, Kebnekaise, in their short career, managed to make some truly beautiful music. This album is an amazing showcase of how much talent and potential the band had. 5 rather long compositions (only one dips below 5 minutes) of instrumental wonder, ripe with a variety of well used instruments and a little bit of voicing without words that simply adds to the experience of the album.

In terms of what the album sounds like (for those unfamiliar) it's kind of tough to explain. The band uses folk melodies exclusively (as one could expect) through their guitars, rhythm sections and violins to create winding music that does not lose attention. There's nothing ambient about these compositions as they all seem to tell a tale simply through their ups and downs (in tone and tempo) as well as almost set verse and chorus despite not having any lyrics. The music is up beat and plays rather smoothly with only a few ''darker'' moments which are far and few between the very pleasant other songs.

For those of us who only speak English the songs titles are nonsensical (our penalty for not learning other languages I suppose) except for the final opus, the 16-minute Comanche Spring. As for the others such as Rättvikarnas gånglåt or Skänklåt från rättvik it's probably better that you just think to yourself, ''I liked song three a lot!''. That's okay though because for those of us who don't speak the language it adds just another element to the music, likely not dissimilar to those who listen to too much Magma. One thing that does suck if you're not savvy with Swedish is that you won't be able to read the story of the band (or the album, I don't know!) that's in the liner notes!

As for the previously mentioned Comanche Spring, this is a track to have your eye on. Likely attractive to the prog fan thanks to it's sheer length, but the playing and wonderfully driving rhythms and melodies of the song make for an excellent tour de force of folk music as the song just picks up faster and faster throughout the course of the song making it seem a lot shorter than it is (and that's a good thing!). Secondary melodies that act as a kind of bridge make the song all the more wonderful as they come in to press the track along.

Other tracks of note include the only song with vocals, Rättvikarnas gånglåt which has a very pleasant female voice serenade the song along without any lyrics and the excellent Barkbrödlåten with it's pseudo-dark melody that's just oh so pleasing to the ear.

All in all an amazing album. I hesitate to give this one a solid 5 because it's hard to recommend to everyone - a lot of people may simply not like the idea of Swedish folk songs. However, if the idea appeals to you at all this nine-piece band is sure to steal your heart. 4.5 stars! Highly recommended!

Queen By-Tor | 4/5 |


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