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Bjørn Riis - Forever Comes To An End CD (album) cover


Bjørn Riis


Crossover Prog

3.77 | 89 ratings

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4 stars Edgy, jagged, disturbed, swirling in emotional confusion and clearly overwrought and despondent, the dark music of Bjorn Riis never fails to conjure up images of anguish. The lyrics paint vivid pictures that heed no mercy and provide little resolution. Airbag may be on hold for the time being but Bjorn continues following his muse to great effect, a highly stimulating opus that incorporates classic blues licks with distinctive misery and a definite rock delirium. Ably assisted by some Airbag pals, namely Henrik Fossum on drums and Asle Torstrup on programming but also infusing massive amounts of mournful piano from Oak's Simen Johannessen fingers, the man reeks inspiration and the end result is certainly powerful and moody.

The title track takes no prisoners, effectively evoking the more psychedelic tendencies of other luminaries such as Porcupine Tree, as Bjorn's patented soft guitars show a much harder side, thrashing, convulsing and screeching agonizingly. Propulsive, tectonic and strident, the fire rages mercilessly, fueled by words that plead forgiveness and respond to the deepest sorrow. The booming bass rolls majestically below a storm of angry riffs and occasional sweeter expanses. Then, a rippling guitar solo is peeled off with apparent exuberance, deeply poignant and very a propos. A total shock device.

'Absence' is a soporific whirlpool of sound mostly emanating from Johannessen's echoing piano chords, serving as a perfect intro for the downcast pleading of 'The Waves' , searching for some salvation in the grand scheme of things, a soundscape of desolation that oozes like the incessant yet gentle pounding of aquatic sprays, relentless and yet imbued with infinite supremacy. Riis' demolition guitar riffs add throbbing angst and concussing paranoia to the floating crest, his voice aching acutely and convincingly. Spectacular!

A subtle and repetitive electric piano motif introduces 'Getaway', a jazzier style that fits nicely, especially when grooving along, like some race car music blaring down the highway. The intensity evolves progressively into near unbearable heights, urgent, breathless and exhausting. The final stretch becomes quite the aggression fest, gloomy and clamorous, tainted with some psychedelic/psychotic sections that veer close to some kind of internal whirlwind. The bewitching 'Calm' is another shimmering respite, with soft piano ripples that transcend time and space, forever insistent and adventurous and funneled by purpose. Dense symphonics crown the affair with divine gleam. A slow hand guitar phrasing only adds to the pleasure.

A whopping 10 minute behemoth, 'Winter' does the prog duet deal just perfectly, with guest Sichelle Aksum paralleling Bjorn's voice to perfection, as the sublime lead guitar explodes brightly. There are some lovely wailing female notes that elevate the melody into the realms of the sublime, cresting, arching and detonating into a myriad of sparkling emotions. At times, it does get quite raunchy and angry, which only preps the soft afterglow to follow. The jazzy electric guitar-fueled lilt is simply mind-numbing, ultra-cool and sizzling in its trajectory, aiming into the deepest recesses of one's inner being. A masterpiece.

The tragic 'Where Are they Now' pulls the velvet curtain down on another masterful performance by one of prog's surest luminaries , taking the psychedelic vibe further into the inner cosmos of modern day art. Hushed moments of reflection are quickly escorted by soaring exhilaration that knows no boundaries, strong yet fragile, courageous yet tired. Emotional minds will not only understand but even find solace and comfort in this style of evocative music.

As with his debut 'Lullabies in a Car Crash', this is most definitely late night music, deeply evocative, profoundly disturbing and yet massively passionate and honest. The piano provides a myriad of options for the melodies to shine brightly on their own, devoid of useless bombast that might take away from the sonic simplicity. More personal and ethereal than any of the Airbag releases, this is quite a revelation.

4.5 grand finales

tszirmay | 4/5 |


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