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Anekdoten - Vemod CD (album) cover

VEMOD

Anekdoten

 

Heavy Prog

4.05 | 414 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
5 stars Anekdoten's Vemod is probably the most impressive (and heaviest) debut album from the last two decades along with Anglagard's Hybris, and they have little chance at being dethroned, Paatos' Timeloss included. This quartet seems to have come out of Sweden's Boreal Forest or even more north the Polar Tundra, with their incredibly somber but beautiful melancholy that one our Scandinavian brothers can express so forcefully. Not least helped by the ironic pagan artwork (notice the ironing encircling the high priestess Anna-Sofi, the voodoo doll and its throne), the group manages to find its own sound right from the first mellotron and cello lines, even if it is obvious that their main influence is Crimson.

Right from the haunting intro of Kartelia (this is the province stuck between Russia and Sweden spread partly over Finland, and has been the theatre of constant conquest for much of the second millennium) to the superb Old Man (based on a Scandinavian myth) where Liljestöm's voice is ghastly and breathtaking, the album takes us from surprises to unusual spell-binding moments. After another great Liljeström-sung track, where Niklas Berg pulls a great guitar solo, the album takes a bit of a rest with the quiet Thoughts In Absences (Berg is singing this), and it takes quite a mastery of ambiances to get the album started again after such a slowing down. Fortunately The Flow is one of the album's strongest number starting purposely erratically and managing a stunning cello solo and immediately succeeded by a tremendous and jaw-dropping guitar solo, the two joining forces for the last minute. The second instrumental of the album, Longing doesn't have the power of Karelia, but it certainly has a soothing, healing and thirst-quenching quality that fits the album's melancholy. Dahlberg's cello is simply stunning. Could they have finished the album without nodding to Crimson with Wheel's opening lines? This track is maybe the most difficult of the album, but one that gains repeated listens to unravel its beauties such as Erkström's flugelhorn solo is reminding us a bit of Rodriguo's Aranjuez's solemnity.

A truly spellbinding debut album, it remained for over two years on a heavy rotation with Anglagard's debut and Landberk's debut, and it still manages to draw chills down my spine some almost 15 years after its release. Highly recommended, this is one of the seminal album that started prog's second coming of age, and few 90's album have its aura.

Sean Trane | 5/5 |

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