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Trettioåriga Kriget - Trettioåriga Kriget CD (album) cover

TRETTIOÅRIGA KRIGET

Trettioåriga Kriget

 

Crossover Prog

3.83 | 87 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

siLLy puPPy
4 stars Considered one of the most influential Swedish hard rock bands of the 70s, TRETTIOÅRIGA KRIGET which means Thirty Years War was conceived in 1970 by high school buddies Stefan Fredin and Olle Thörnvall after reading about the religious and geopolitical event in a history class. In the beginning the band formed with six members but was reduced down to four by the time this self-titled debut album was released in 1974. This is one of those bands that straddled the spectrum of influences and offered stark transitions between heavy rock with progressive elements in the vein of the most fiery King Crimson to more standard hard rock in the vein of Led Zeppelin, UFO or Uriah Heep but also the band could shift without warning into mellotron soaked acoustic space rock as well as exercise some of the knottiest time signature bombast in contrast to the otherwise highly melodic display of musicianship.

While never famous outside of their homeland, this band that began in the town of Saltsjöbaden near Stockholm was limited in their audience size mostly due to the Swedish only vocals performed exquisitely by Robert Zima one of the last members to join before the band released this debut album. This first album offered a rampaging display of heavy rock with a jazz-infused quirkiness laced with progressive outbursts that decorated the soundscape. Sounding unique even by today's standards, TRETTIOÅRIGA KRIGET's debut has been cited as a major influence on band's like Ånglagard and Anekdoten and is a primo example of how sophisticated Swedish prog was in it the golden years while the rest of Europe was capturing the world's attention. The band was also famous for changing its style dramatically from album to album and therefore this heavy rock debut was followed by a more pastoral acoustic sophomore release.

After forming the band was lucky enough to catch the attention of Epic Records which signed them up to release this eponymously titled debut. The original release consisted of six tracks that added up to the standard running time of an album, in this case just over 38 minutes long however newer releases offer three bonus tracks which are every bit as good as the original six and even offer an English vocal track with "I've Got No Time" unlike on the original. The album belies its hard rock leanings with the opening "Kaledoniska Orogenesen" which could even be considered heavy metal since it's heavier than anything either Led Zeppelin or Black Sabbath had released. The track begins in classic rock form but then shifts into knotty prog territory with a barrage of time signature changes, dynamic shifts and hairpin turns. After an abrupt ending the following "Röster från minus till plus" jumps right into knotty prog territory but less frenzied in the world of psychedelic space rock with some jazzy overtones. At nearly eight minutes long it's also the second longest track and features some excellent prog workouts.

"Fjärilsattityder" showcases a jazzier guitar presence and a dominant choppy bass line. While the lyrics are in Swedish, lead vocalist Robert Zima sings like the Italian singers of the same era however this track is all about letting the guitar riffs and soloing rip. Jimi Hendrix is also a clear influence in the guitar presence however with two guitarists there is a beefier overall sound. This track in particularly reminds me of Osanna. "Mina löjen" just ramps it all up with the perfect mix of frenetic hard rock and prog. At an 8:09 running time also the longest track which allows it to explore much terrain. Another series of straight forward proto-metal moments and knottier jazz-rock prog which features softer vocal driven passages that alternate with angst ridden guitar fueled frenzies that are a mix of King Crimson and Led Zeppelin with a bit more Lucifer's Friend energetic discharge. "Ur djupen," the shortest track under four minutes is a more immediate mix of heavy rock and slower jazzy rock. The closing "Handlingens skugga" features a dramatic build up with military march drumming but then alternates between jazzy spaced out passages and frenetic heavy metal fury. The guitar solos are particularly unhinged.

TRETTIOÅRIGA KRIGET was quite successful in its native Sweden but unlike most rock oriented bands of this era, refused to use English and therefore stunted any international appeal however over time the band has been recognized for its significant talent beyond the local Swedish scene. The band would tone things down a bit on the following album "Krigssång" by jettisoning the heavier rock freneticism and focusing on the spacier prog aspects making this self-titled debut a unique slice of the band's lengthy history (they are still cranking out albums with the latest "Till Horisonten" coming out just this year in 2021.) As far as i'm concerned this debut is the one that works best for me. The contrast between caffeinated rock parts and the spacier slower jazz-rock segments is well worth the price of admission. While there could be a bit more variety especially as the albums reaches the final tracks, there's no mystery in how this band could've been considered Sweden's top hard rock band of the era because even by today's standards it is of very high quality. And to think that this album was released the same year ABBA won the Eurovision Contest and forever put Sweden on the map for exporting its musical talent!

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |

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