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Airbag - All Rights Removed CD (album) cover





4.00 | 525 ratings

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3 stars After enjoying a modicum of international success with 2009's debut release 'Identity', Norwegian outfit Airbag returned in 2011 with this highly-successful follow-up, an album that garnered a crescendo of kudos across the progressive rock world, featured in many an end-of-year 'best of' poll and marked out the Scandanavian five- piece as one of the new shining lights of the genre. A bold, modernistic and highly-emotive effort, 'All Rights Removed' is a very interesting album indeed, one that forgoes the usual prog intricacies in favour of a strong alternative-rock streak, a moody, Radiohead-inspired atmospheric feel and Asle Torstrup's yearning vocals which finds the group experimenting with a kind of alternative pop-prog sound characterised much more by emotion than instrumentation. However, there is still much on 'All Rights Removed' that should appeal to fans of modern progressive rock, especially on the album's lengthy 'Homesick', a lengthy seventeen-minute piece which closes the album in a suitably epic style. 'Homesick' features all the major hallmarks of the anthemic Airbag sound, with crisply-strummed acoustic guitars, misty synthesizers and angular guitar solo's all poured into a slow-burning formula that starts slowly before eventually bursting into a grand instrumental finale topped of by Torstrup's powerful vocals. It's a stirring finale, though one that doesn't really come as any surprise considering that all six of this album's carefully-composed tunes sound remarkably similar, making 'All Rights Removed' the less impressive the more it moves along. Both the opening title-track and the album highlight 'White Walls' seem peeled from the same musical fruit, with slow acoustic beginnings making way for grand, rocked-up denouements, all the while accompanied by the same brooding ambience that permeates the entire album. Taken on their own, the individual tracks from 'All Rights Removed' are never less than impressive; however, in their refusal to budge stylistically from the anthemic formula, Airbag have seriously constricted themselves, producing a slick, maudlin yet ultimately rather repetitive twist on the modern prog sound. The addition of modern pop, metal and grunge elements makes for an intriguing listen, and there's no doubting that Airbag are an exciting proposition with a promising future. It will be extremely interesting to see what shape their next album take, with the commercial appeal of 'All Rights Removed' hinting towards a future less influenced by progressive rock than say grunge or alternative rock. Whatever path they choose, Airbag have at least shown a deft hand for emotive song-writing, a style which dominates an ambitious, darkly-hued but ultimately rather repetitive second album. We await their next move with genuine interest.


stefro | 3/5 |


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