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Autumn Breeze - Demo Tapes CD (album) cover

DEMO TAPES

Autumn Breeze

 

Symphonic Prog

3.45 | 8 ratings

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Ivan_Melgar_M
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Prog Specialist
4 stars After three decades a lost gem was found

The words "Demo Tapes" or "Official Bootleg" are normally an indication for me to avoid an album, because I'm interested in final and complete versions of songs released professionally. So when Jan Warnqvist sent me this album released in 2009 with mostly 1977 material, I almost decided to avoid it.

But being that Jan was so kind to send it to me from Sweden, I thought that the least I had to do was to listen "The Demo Tapes" and review it even if I had to give a low rating, so placed it in the car while going to work (My daily journey to my office in downtown is of about one hour, and being summer I can listen the album peacefully with the windows closed and the AC on with nobody to bother me).

The surprise was great even when some versions are less developed than in "Höstbris", their sound is natural, and closer to their Hard Rock roots, in comparison with the elaborate debut album, "Demo Tapes" is brutal, aggressive but even the well known tracks sound more adequate to the band.

"Demo Tapes" is opened with "Falsk Ouverture", it's true that the recording is not so good but the music itself is much more powerful, the guitar work is simply impressive and the keyboards have a sound closer to early URIAH HEEP with a touch of MOUNTAIN,.to be honest liked this demo much more than the final version because of the Blues essence.

."Höstbris" is lso improved, specially in the keyboards being that "Warnqvist" creates some sort of painful howl that combined with the guitar creates a tortured sound so characteristic of early Prog.

"Dialog" is a new track that blends early JETHRO TULL (This Was era) with Blues, absolutely frenetic from start to end, all the band members give their best, specially Gert Magnusson with his impressive flute sections.

The vocals by Leif Forsberg require a special mention, the guy doesn't have a perfect range , but his style is simply perfect for a Blues Rock song as this one.

"Jordnara" is basically similar to the "Höstbris" version, at least until the drum section starts there I feel the band sounds much more vital and strong, reminds me of a FOCUS video Masters from the Vault, where while the other members of the band and some local artists eat giant slices of Dutch Cheese (In the kitchen of a castle, Thijs Van Leer and Jan Akkerman jam a local folk song with unusual happiness,. in the same way AUTIMN BREEZE members seem to really enjoy what they are doing.

"Secret Space Agency" sends us into PINK FLOYD territory, with a dense atmosphere and the band playing some sort of hard space Rock, the song starts soft, almost hard to listen (the recording doesn't help) and the music goes "in crescendo" until they explode in a burst of power.

"Vintern" is a return to the late 60's, the band plays some Psyche - Proto Prog variation with elaborate structures and incredibly a garage rock feeling, it's so natural and unforced that it's a pleasure to listen them, really enjoyable. Please pay special attention to Gert Magnusson and his frenetic flute, I just can't understand why this guy is not a legend today, being that he had the skills.

Now is the turn of "Nr 646", one of my favourite tracks, it's like a time machine to 1967, pure Psychedelia in the late 70's, if I didn't knew this guys recorded this song in 1977, I would be asking their inclusion to Proto Prog, because the atmosphere they create is absolutely convincing,

The album is closed with "Hammal Man", a track that starts soft and gentle but turns somehow funky with some Jazz sections that make it interesting, the sound again is clearly oriented towards the late 60's, good guitar work plus interesting melody and choirs.

Only as a curiosity, "Hammal Man" sounds like an embryonic version of "UPA" from ."Höstbris" .

It's true that most listeners of Progressive Rock search for complex structures and elaborate songs, this is not the case of "Demo Tapes", but the simplicity and strength makes me miss nothing, sometimes less arrangements allow the band to show what they are capable of, and in this case AUTUMN BREEZE proves that they deserved better luck, because as a band they were capable of great things.

Like in the debut album, my rating is 4 solid stars, that should be 4.5 because the simpler but vigorous approach of "Demo Tapes" convinced me even more than the intricate arrangements of "Höstbris".

Ivan_Melgar_M | 4/5 |

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