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Anekdoten - Vemod CD (album) cover

VEMOD

Anekdoten

 

Heavy Prog

4.05 | 414 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Swedish quartet Anekdoten was one of those Scandinavian ensembles that reinvigorated the prog scene in the 90s, with "Vemod" being the debt statement. Not unlike Anglagård and Landberk, the Crimsonnian element was a strong component in the forge of the band's sound, but in the particular case of Anekdoten, the Prog King's heritage is recreated in a more visceral fashion, with a more liberal use of heavy sonorities and a major predominance of teh psychedelic factor. You can also notice hints to early Univers Zero, teh standard of Goth rock and contemporary psyche-rock, which results in the achievement of a pretty dark marriage of aggressiveness and oppressiveness. The amounts of skill and energy that each individual member states in the overall amalgam are undeniably impressive, and that's the reason why the sonic aggression work so well - it's a perfectly joint effort, a joint challenge to the Crimson-loyal prog fan who isn't afraid to explore and look at their own demons while listening to prog rock. Berg's guitar can deliver ultra-hard riffs and subtle chord progressions with equal sensibility; the beautiful cellist Anna Sofi Dahlberg can adapt the instrument's inherent solemnity to the tracks' respective moods and developments. Both members share mellotron duties: the presence of this iconic instrument, of course, helps to reinforce the band's connection to the prog genre's roots. The rhythm duo supports the overall sonic journeys, being particularly featured in the mix (especially regading Liljesröm's obsession for the fuzzed bass).After an ethereal intro of mellotron an cello, 'Karelia' erupts with pompous flames that burn everything along the way using its rough sonorities as weapons. Things remains as strong in 'The Old Man & the Sea' and 'Where Solitude Remains', although both tracks include additional nuances through the themes' developments, which in turn creates a somewhat bigger diversity within the well-defined framework. Melancholy expressed with an anger that aims to make the frustration clearly explicit - this seems to be the resolute leitmotif. 'Thoughts in Absence' changes things quite a bit when that melancholy is delivered in a more languid manner, developing a dense semi-ballad where at times things seem to be actually whispering... A nice mood wrapped in an autumnal reflectiveness. The sense of urgent anger returns with a vengeance in 'The Flow', which really flows in an electrifying fashion: all in all, it doesn't bear the same sense of sophistication that had made the best of the first 3 pieces, but it is indeed a very good track. 'Longing' is an oasis of lyrical meditation among the overall emotional tension: it is a beautiful instrumental based on the interaction between classical guitar arpeggios and cello lines, a chamber-friendly serenade nurtured with added pastoral moods. After this moment of spiritual solace comes the amazing closing song, arguably the best Anekdoten composition ever - I'm referring to 'Wheel'. Its management of contrasts and the liberal use of mellotron (strings, woodwind, brass), sustained on the robust rhythm section bring out the band's essence at its most epic. Perhaps one could feel that the energy prevalent in tracks 1-3 and the dynamics of track 5 were anticipations of the final splendor delivered in the last track. A great closure for a great album, "Vemod" is a reminder of the sort of progressive greatness that Anekdoten were capable of creating even from their "cradle days".
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |

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