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Autumn Breeze - Höstbris CD (album) cover


Autumn Breeze


Symphonic Prog

3.53 | 22 ratings

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4 stars Each time I listen the words Sweden and Progressive Rock together, I expect quality music, and AUTUMN BREEZE is not the exception, even though not as complex as their peers of the 70's, the musical conception is quite interesting.

A few months ago I received a PM from the band's keyboardist Jan Warnqvist, informing me about the release of two new albums and just recently he sent me a copy of the three AUTUMN BREEZE releases, that I been listening carefully in the past days So will start in order with their first official release "Höstbris":

The album starts with the title song, a dramatic instrumental with an excellent guitar and keyboards work, even though the structure is clearly Symphonic, there are evident touches of Psychedelia, something unusual for the late 70's. Some of the changes are quite radical, but by general rule the music flows gently from start to the frenetic end.

"Ugglans Nattvisir" is different, almost like a middle point between Progressive and Proto Prog, thanks God avoiding the temptation of playing AOR, a sound that was so popular in 1978. As in the opener, the Psyche elements remind me of the excellent Peruvian band "LAGHONIA".

This is the first track in which "Briggitta Nilsson" sings, and her style is very peculiar, she adds some dissonances that may seem like she's singing a bit out of tone, but without reaching excessive limits that reach incoherence, good song.

"Suite" is a short song structured as a multi part epic, in which the flute takes the lead, jumping from frenetic passages to soft sections "a la Focus", the guitar style is absolutely delightful, I don't know if it's just me, but reminds me a bit of German New Wave, until the fantastic flute brings us back to Prog territory.

"Falsk Ouverture" is one of the higher points in the album, the bass - guitar interplay sounds like a controlled version of URIAH HEEP, even the main melody maintains that mysterious sound of the famous Hard Prog band, but with a touch of SANTANA, very good combo.

Again the band returns to the dramatic sound of the opener with "Finalen", the keyboards enhanced with the flute are simply brilliant, there's a strong melancholy and drama in the music that I love so much, but again the distorted and sentimental guitar takes the lead while the keyboards add that oneiric sound, beautiful melody and great performance.

When I read the title "Um Mani Pad Me Um" I expected an oriental, almost religious song, being that this is the most basic mantras of Tibetan Buddhism, but the song is fast and fluid, with a clear late 60's sound, this time with radical changes, brilliant drumming and again beautiful flute. Only around the middle, the prayer is repeated in the classic Tibetan way and the keyboards take the lead role, another high point.

"Jordnara" is a weird ballad with a certain influence of PINK FLOYD, "Briggitta Nilsson" adds her peculiar style to a song that flows perfectly from start to end with an excellent guitar (somehow reminiscent of Gilmour) and keyboards work, absolutely trippy.

Now is the turn for "UPA", an unusual song for the band, starts jazzy and strong but as the song advances keeps loosing strength and turning more into some sort of light Jazz in the vein of Herp Albert............But hey wait, around the end changes into some tort of Electronic Prog with some influences from KRAFTWERK (even when lighter), interesting combination.

"Den Stora Visionen" follows in the line of the previous song (at least at the start), soft and fluid, but after some seconds Jan-Anders Warnqvist marks a total change with a frenetic and wonderful organ solo that immediately leads to Briggita's voice who sings a of Cabaret Jazz, an effect that is enhanced by the language.

"Varen" is a soft and charming melodic song with violins and Jan-Anders Warnqvist's piano at it's best. If there's something that impresses me of AUTUMN BREEZE is their ability to move from one style and mood to a radically different one, which shows an unusual versatility. Now they play a fascinating melody that I enjoyed from the start.

The album is closed with "Medly", what I guess could mean Medley, being that fragments of previous songs of the album can be listened, but strangely sopund very coherent, as if written to be played exclusively in this way...Great closer.

I read in ProgArchives and other sites, some reviewers find AUTUMN BREEZE'S music extremely light and borderline with mainstream, by the contrary I found "Höstbris" very versatile and elaborate, lets remember that by the end of the 70's, most of the iconic bands were doing some sort of Pop Prog but this Swedish guys were creating different but still fully Prog music.

I won't say it's an essential masterpiece, but without doubt is an excellent addition for any Prog Rock Collection, so 4 stars is my rating.

Ivan_Melgar_M | 4/5 |


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