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All Traps On Earth - A Drop of Light CD (album) cover


All Traps On Earth


Symphonic Prog

4.29 | 564 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars Review Nš 516

One of the best things about this great big wide genre of music, usually known as progressive music, is that there are nearly as many sub-genres as there are listeners. It's not like in rock or metal, in general, where the differences are very insignificant. Rather, most of the progressive music fans take this stuff seriously enough that a sub-genre is usually not created without a good reason. And this genre has many sub-genres spread all over the world since the end of the 60's.

Sweden has been the home of some of the best prog bands in the several sub-genres through the late 20th Century, like Kaipa, The Flower Kings, Anglagard, Anekdoten, Opeth, Pain Of Salvation and Beardfish, only to name a few and some of the most known. However, lurking within the forests of the genre is something completely unexpected. Somewhere, lurking in the dank of a prog forest is a Swedish band called Anglagard. Anglagard has a strange story. While the band was extremely active and ambitious in the 90's, having released two studio albums "Hybris" in 1992 and "Epilog" in 1994 and also a live album "Buried Alive" in 1996, they lay dormant for nearly two decades, until that finally they emerged from where they hibernated so long, to release their 2012 album, and most recent until now, "Viljans Oga". They are quite possibly the modern masters of a sound inhabited by those bold enough to tread where few others dare.

In 2013 was founded another Swedish prog band named All Traps On Earth. All Traps On Earth is the new band of Anglagard's bassist Johan Brand, who is basically a kind of Anglagard Mk. II. Along with Brand, one of the strongest personalities among those bold adventurers, we have Thomas Johnson and Erik Hammarstrom, two other Anglagard's members, and Brand's daughter, Miranda. In addition we have trumpeters, flutists, saxophonists and horn players.

Despite the differences between Anglagard and All Traps On Earth, there is still a portion of Anglagard in it. In addition to powerful Mellotron cascades, clear King Crimson's reminiscences from their early phase, some moderate Magma impact, and a clear horror soundtrack touch in the style of the Italian Goblin, we have the dark and bulky music with reserved vocals. It has the tonal and compositional magic that takes a welcome journey through time to the prog of the 70's. This is how you can recognize the role models, but the material from All Traps On Earth breathes musical, quite imaginative free spirit, melancholy, sadness and the retro power and jazz-rock character in its own and very vital corset.

"A Drop Of Light" opens with "All Traps On Earth". It features Miranda's operatic voice, which along with keyboards, as the piece unfolds create an escalating and foreboding picture. Then everything breaks loose in a chaotic free- style, with an intensity which conflates King Crimson's "Lizard" era, the RIO movement, Steven Wilson and Gentle Giant. The track is awash with some intensive time signatures, always creating a big tension and power. "Magmatic Warning" has some references to Zeuhl. Still, I wouldn't say that this is a tribute to Magma. Brand employs distorted bass to add power before piano walks us into another setting for another gruesome scene. Trumpet, nightmarish synths, growling fuzz tone bass, and giant swell-like drums offer a suitable climax. It's left to Miranda's voice to bring tranquillity to the proceedings, although there's no chance of bringing peace here. "Omen" shows more appreciation for RIO movement. It has retro-prog, jazz-rock, bombastic, orchestral, experimental, Zappaesque, lots of blowers and clear references to King Crimson's "Starless And Bible Black" era, wild loud quiet changes with careful metal outbursts and quickly brought back to melodic, by flute tones and classical piano passages, aria and movement chants. "First Step" is an atonal composition introduced with piano and where flute and Mellotron emerge, providing a nice counterpoint to all the epic bombast with a Goblin's like arrangement that makes you feel something crawling up your spine. Sometimes, it also reminds me King Crimson, the delicate piece, "Peace" of "In The Wake Of Poseidon". "Bortglomda Gardar" ends the album with the only piece with clear vocals in Swedish. It's another additional timbre that ultimately not only leaves the progressive enthusiast, as promised on the album title, a sonorous drop of light, but flooded with the brightest rays of sunshine of progressive music passion and mastery. It's a nice conclusion to a fascinating and captivating album.

Conclusion: Any fan of Anglagard needs to buy this album. It's not exactly the same thing, but it will scratch the itch left by the six years between "A Drop Of Light" and when "Viljans Oga" was released. Thematically "A Drop Of Light" falls somewhere between Anglagard's first two albums, though it's not far removed from their latest either. "A Drop Of Light" is an absorbing, dark voyage, filled with disturbing twists and chilling dynamics. Not for the faint of heart, however this is an incredible journey that you will be compelled to take. This is a unique album full of dark, dense and complex music but, it's also an album with nice melodies and angelic vocals. If you like a blend of symphonic prog rock, like Anglagard, King Crimson, a variety of styles and a wide range of instruments, this is an album for you, surely.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 5/5 |


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