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Änglagård - Viljans Öga CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.26 | 1172 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars Review Nº 219

'Viljans Oga' is the third studio album of the Swedish symphonic progressive rock band Anglagard and was released in 2012. As happened with 'Epilog', 'Viljans Oga' is a completely instrumental work influenced by the progressive music of the 70's, of Genesis and King Crimson. But, it's also deeply inspired in the classical music. Still, Anglagard's music is also strongly influenced by the Swedish folklore music with its recognizable Scandinavian melancholy.

Anglagard is part of a whole breed of young progressive rockers. Like some other Sweden bands, like Anekdoten or Par Lindh Project, they write lengthy symphonic pieces and they sound like many of the big 70's acts but they always play with a very tough and own sound. Anglagard got itself noticed in the small international circles of progressive rock in the 90's, when they were formed. In twenty years they only released three studio albums and two live albums, until now.

In relation to the line up on the album, it has some changes in relation to the last line up presented on their previous album, their debut live album 'Buried Alive', in 1996. The guitarist Tord Lindman left the band and wasn't substituted. The bassist Joahn Hogberg also left the band but was substituted by the new bassist Joahn Brand. So, the line up on the album is Jonas Engdegard (guitars), Thomas Johnson (piano, mellotron and synthesizers), Anna Holmgren (flute and saxophone), Johan Brand (bass and taurus pedals) and Mattias Olsson (drums, percussion and noises).

'Viljans Oga' has four tracks. All music was written and arranged by Anglagard. The first track 'Ur Vilande' has an acoustic pastoral introduction lead by Anna Holmgren's flute and Mattias Olson's vibraphone, assisted by the cello and the piano. The theme develops in a suggestive status of the classical music. Then, the track develops gradually and naturally, very peaceful and masterfully supported by Olsson's magnificent drumming and Endegard's guitar. It has also some occasional mellotron eruptions in the early King Crimson's vein. This is an excellent way to reinterpret the classic progressive rock. The second track 'Sorgmantel' with about twelve minutes long is, imagine, the shortest track on the album. It contains a few upbeat musical moments and it's probably the most melodic number on the all album. Curiously, the music flows smoothly and continuously in spite of the very often tempo changes. The second part on the track ups in terms of intensity, with a very powerful organ work and some dramatic flute parts. The striking contrast between the mellotron and the distorted guitar is magnificent. Once more we are in presence of the classic rock at its best. The third track 'Snardom' which opens the theme with a dramatic and energetic way propelled by Olsson's drums and some spiced synthesizer sounds is a song dominated by Anna Holmgren's flute and Johan Brand's bass line that take the centre of the musical stage. Some of the quieter moments of the song have some more fluid melodic sections, featuring a very lovely guitar performance. This is a more energetic song than the two previous tracks. But it's perfectly in the same vein of those tracks, contributing to the perfect music balance of the all album. The fourth track 'Langtans Klocka' brings to the album an autumnal tone with an extremely elegant and almost classical style. This is a track with excellent guitar riffs twined by some beautiful bass lines and a great drum performance. The guitar and flute works provide occasionally solo spots on the song very well supported on the back by the keyboards. The track's rhythm, stop and start, so common and typical on Anglagard's music, are even more evident than in other previous numbers. This song continues the general mood of the all album and represents a perfect and natural way to close the album.

Conclusion: My first contact with Anglagard's music was more than ten years ago, here on Progarchives. And, again, I'm deeply thankful to this music site. Till those years the band had only released 'Hybris', 'Epilog' and 'Buried Alive'. So, as many of we know, in those years we were convinced that 'Buried Alive' would have been the swan's song of Anglagard. Fortunately, the future would prove this wasn't true. Against all expectations, Anglagard would come to release their third studio album, 'Viljans Oga'. So, after have heard 'Viljans Oga' for several times, I remain, again, deeply impressed by another album of this band. In my humble opinion, 'Viljans Oga' takes up where 'Epilog' left off way back in 1994, but with even more maturity, both in the composition and in the performance. This time the major influences are, in my perspective, King Crimson and the classical music. But, to complete entirely the all picture, the usual familiar and typical Scandinavian very dark and pastoral mood tinged by a very special touch of Scandinavian folk coupled magnificently with the prog music of the 70's and the classical music, and added with a very cohesiveness in the writing, which gives to Anglagard's music a very unique, intricate and beautiful sound. With this fantastic album, I would dare to say that Anglagard rose from the ashes just like a reborn phoenix. I sincerely hope that they can keep on shining at their highest and still illuminate us for many years. It's always a pleasure to know that prog is still alive.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 5/5 |


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