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Blakulla - Blåkulla CD (album) cover

BLÅKULLA

Blakulla

 

Symphonic Prog

3.60 | 54 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
3 stars 3.5 stars really!!!

Sole album from this Gothenburg (across the channel from Denmark's Copenhagen) quintet and a rather surprising lightweight one. Like most of its second-wave group Swedish peers, Blakulla chose to sing in their native tongue, but these guys were substantially lighter-hearted than say Trettioariga, Host and Kaipa but I would not call them pop either. Actually their brand of prog, despite poor production, has aged fairly well and could favourably compare with many of 90's bands, be they neo or retro or any other kind of prog. In terms of Swedis H rock, they sound most like Atlas and 70's Kaipa.

Musically the group hovers your mid-complex art rock (in the 70's US sense) with plenty of references to Yes (mostly Yes Album era) and to a lesser extent Kansas, but in great part still have their own sound (which saves the album) and tried a commercial edge. The main two musicians coming to mind is the bassist (doesn't sound like Squire, despite a Rickenbacker) and the guitarist (sometimes inspired by Howe), while the singer has a very average rock vocalist, well suited for later FM rock, but once the choirs come in, one thinks Italian prog. They develop rather shorter song( (if you'll except the closing 10-mins+ Erinran) that rock rather hard (harder than Yes, less than Kansas) where the guitarist certainly likes his histrionics and guitar-heroes moves, but he's well seconded by the keyboardist (organ mainly). Blakulla can be slightly irritating with heavily inspired passages like in most Solnedgangen, the classical-inspired Drotthing and the other short Varldens piece and I'm only mentioning these. Easily the album's highlight (can't call it centrepiece since it closes the album) is the afore-mentioned Erinran epic with a lengthy intro and all of the required features, including a folk passage.

There is an added three bonus tracks from a previous session (roughly one year before) with a slightly different line-up (the bass player is different) and the production is certainly not any better. The 7- mins+ instrumental Mars is the key track from this session and can be considered a second highlight of the Cd. The almost 6-mins Linnea is plenty good in terms of interplay, and although the vocals are perfectible (they were in the album proper as well), its not a problem either. The final Idolen is actually in the same league and has an excellent and heroic ending. On the whole the three bonus tracks are probably slightly superior to the album proper, if you can believe it.

Blakulla's sole album got a Cd reissue on the now-defunct APM label and like many albums of that label have been now long out-of-print. Nevertheless, despite a poor production and a sometimes too-light SOUND, this album sports enough positive points that a re-issue some day would be welcome as is with most of the APM catalogue.

Sean Trane | 3/5 |

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