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Änglagård - Viljans Öga CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.27 | 1066 ratings

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5 stars No, it's not Hybris, but it's still ÄNGLAGÅRD

When a band enters into a long sabbatical after two excellent albums, their early releases become some sort of legend that nobody believes can be re-created, but when that same band announces a reunion after almost two decades, the fans expect more of the same...Well as I said before, Viljans Öga is not Hybris, doesn't sound similar or will take the audience by surprise as the unexpected debut did, but the quality and the beauty that made of ÄNGLAGÅRD the icon of the 90's is still there, surely less naive and daring (the musicians have matured) but the most important thing to take in consideration is that the magic is still there.

It's obvious for me that the lack of vocals affected my initial appreciation, despite the critics, the voice of Tord Lindman brought something especial and unique...but hey, we can't have everything they are back after 18 years, and also that mystic blend of dissonances, complex melodies and display of virtuosity makes of Viljans Öga the perfect complement for their already fantastic discography.

In the 90's ÄNGLAGÅRD was a daring band, they took all the existing risks, they jumped in the pool before checking if there was water in it because they were in their teen years or early twenties, today they are in their mid-thirties and seem to think more what their next move will be, but the style is the same, the KING CRIMSON inspired dissonances still surprised me and their melodies still reminded me of the dark and cold afternoons in Scandinavia, they are the same band but they have grown, and that is good.

What haven't changed at all is their rejection for mainstream, the shortest track has 12:06 minutes and the complexity is everywhere, ÄNGLAGÅRD sounds as well as any 70's iconic band, but with the advantage that they don't depend on the limits of the vinyl format, so they were able to release a 57 minutes album with the material they had originally created, no need to add fillers in order to reach the 90 minutes of a double Long Play or delete good sections to fit in a 45 minutes limit, so every second of Viljans Öga expresses the full talent of the band.

The band members have developed and their skills are more evident, but the greatest surprise for me was Anna Holmgren, who left that sweet innocent and melodic flute in the 90's to take more risks, surprisingly she doesn't provide the soft folksy relax anymore, she's part of the delightful aggression to the senses that the band wants to transmit us, now ÄNGLAGÅRD doesn't let us rest, they attack us from start to end with radical changes and elaborate passages that any Progressive Rock fan loves.

I won't talk about the tracks individually, it would be futile, because Viljans Öga has to be heard as a complete work, but if you ask me for my favorite one I would dare to mention the epic Snårdom and the closer Langtans Klocka, both are simply amazing and left me speechless.

As usual when reviewing an ÄNGLAGÅRD album, I have no problem with the ratings, as somebody said before Viljans Öga is full of "sudden stops, non-fluid transitions and chaotic feel", and that's why I love it, so in my opinion deserves no less than 5 solid stars. I only hope they don't make us wait another 18 years for a new album.

Along with Felicité Thosz by MAGMA and Genesis Revisited II by STEVE HACKETT, the best release of this fertile 2012.

Ivan_Melgar_M | 5/5 |


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