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Anekdoten - Vemod CD (album) cover

VEMOD

Anekdoten

 

Heavy Prog

4.05 | 410 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Ivan_Melgar_M
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Prog Specialist
4 stars I can still remember a cold afternoon in 1995 when a friend came to my house with a bunch of Scandinavian albums of bands with names I could hardly pronounce, he was so exited with the music that we spent several hours listening them, but I wasn't ready for this change.

The late 70's and the end of the first golden era of Prog had been terrible for me, during the 80's got many album of Neo Prog bands, but I wasn't able to capture the greatness I could find in albums like "Foxtrot", "Close to the Edge" or "Trilogy", so I stayed the whole decade searching for the early gems released before I started listening Progressive Rock around 1976.

So when this guy came with this albums that were described as a return to the roots, I had a bit of hope, but being that I used to like pristine Symphonic almost exclusively, this complex releases with King Crimson influence sounded too cacophonic for my taste.

But time passes and tastes change, with the birth of INTERNET and the incredible amount of information available discovered a new universe and learned to accept many Neo Prog albums and to appreciate the greatness of this new bread of Swedish musicians who dared to write great Symphonic Prog with a new complexity, ÄNGLAGÅRD became my new GENESIS and PAR LIND PROJECT replaced EL&P in my list of preferences but still there was a lot more to discover, and VEMOD was one of the best debuts I ever listened.

Even when ANEKDOTEN is not properly a Symphonic band, "Vemod" has that nostalgic sound of the 70's with a fresh atmosphere that was like a breeze of fresh air for ears not ready to totally abandon the classic sound of Prog but willing to appreciate bands that will play my favourite music with a new approach, so here I am re-discovering the excellent music from the Scandinavian Symphonic Renaissance of the 90's.

"Vemod" starts with "Karelia" and it's sober introduction, the dense atmosphere surrounds the listener with that obscure and mysterious sound until the whole band explodes into a powerful mixture of instruments and musical elements with evident KING CRIMSON influence, but at the same time a strong sense of melody that even now I'm not able to find in "Fripp and company".

The guitar performance by Nicklas Berg and it's interplay with all the different key instruments is perfect, and if we add he solid percussion, we have the exact mix of Rock and Classical - Avant influences, it's obvious hat the 90's marked a revolution in the genre. Unlike the previous track, "The Old Man and the Sea" starts without any introduction, from the beginning everything is pure power, but when the excellent vocals enter, a radical change occurs, the song turns absolutely melancholic, the melody enhanced by the Mellotron is totally reminiscent of "In the Court of the Crimson King".

From this point the song goes "in crescendo" with a delightful fantasy of keyboards and guitars, and even when the track is not too radical, the constant and subtle changes keep the interest of the listener.

"Where Solitude Remains" proves the versatility of the band, the Heavy music is absolutely aggressive and shocking, but again they manage to add calmed vocal passages in which they demonstrate their respect for a good melody, but the highest point of this song is in the dissonant passages that demonstrate that we are in front of a new form of Prog.

"Thoughts in Absence" is the shorter and probably the less attractive song, not bad, but a simple and gentle ballad that flows delicate from the first to the last note, good but a bit out of place in such an elaborate release.

Now, for the lovers of weird and contradictory music, "The Flow" must be a delight, hey, even for a guy like me, raised in a universe where melodic Prog was king, this aggression to the senses is absolutely pleasant, the dissonant vocals in the vein of GENTLE GIANT and the almost Heavy music, make a perfect combination, specially when the organ and Mellotron add so fantastic performances.

"Longing" is another short track, and as in the case of "Thoughts in Absence" is pretty soft and calmed, but in this case we are not before a simple ballad, ANEKDOTEN presents us an amazing combination of acoustic guitar and dark obscure organ.

The album is closed with "Wheel" (My Japanese copy has an extra song, but as usual I will review the album as the author released it originally), another mysterious and melancholic rack in which the male chorus combine in a splendid way with the sweet voice of Anna Sofi Dahlberg.

Even when it starts soft and melodic, you can expect anything from the second minute until the end, will only say that this is what I imagine when people talk about Progressive Rock.

I must say that "Vemod" is an excellent album that I enjoyed from start to end, and would deserve 5 stars if it wasn't for "Thoughts in Absence" that in my opinion takes it a bit down, so I will rate ANEKDOTEN'S debut with 4 solid stars.

Ivan_Melgar_M | 4/5 |

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