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5 stars Superb debut album. Strong, high-powered and dark progressive sounds, updating the style of mid-70's King Crimson. Lots of Mellotrons, cellos and reverse guitars in an acurate tapestry of sounds. The arc of the last 3 tracks "Longin", "Wheel" and "Sad Rain" must be the most impressive sequence in contemporary progressive music. A classic album of the 90's
Report this review (#650)
Posted Wednesday, January 21, 2004 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
5 stars Anekdoten's Vemod is probably the most impressive (and heaviest) debut album from the last two decades along with Anglagard's Hybris, and they have little chance at being dethroned, Paatos' Timeloss included. This quartet seems to have come out of Sweden's Boreal Forest or even more north the Polar Tundra, with their incredibly somber but beautiful melancholy that one our Scandinavian brothers can express so forcefully. Not least helped by the ironic pagan artwork (notice the ironing encircling the high priestess Anna-Sofi, the voodoo doll and its throne), the group manages to find its own sound right from the first mellotron and cello lines, even if it is obvious that their main influence is Crimson.

Right from the haunting intro of Kartelia (this is the province stuck between Russia and Sweden spread partly over Finland, and has been the theatre of constant conquest for much of the second millennium) to the superb Old Man (based on a Scandinavian myth) where Liljestöm's voice is ghastly and breathtaking, the album takes us from surprises to unusual spell-binding moments. After another great Liljeström-sung track, where Niklas Berg pulls a great guitar solo, the album takes a bit of a rest with the quiet Thoughts In Absences (Berg is singing this), and it takes quite a mastery of ambiances to get the album started again after such a slowing down. Fortunately The Flow is one of the album's strongest number starting purposely erratically and managing a stunning cello solo and immediately succeeded by a tremendous and jaw-dropping guitar solo, the two joining forces for the last minute. The second instrumental of the album, Longing doesn't have the power of Karelia, but it certainly has a soothing, healing and thirst-quenching quality that fits the album's melancholy. Dahlberg's cello is simply stunning. Could they have finished the album without nodding to Crimson with Wheel's opening lines? This track is maybe the most difficult of the album, but one that gains repeated listens to unravel its beauties such as Erkström's flugelhorn solo is reminding us a bit of Rodriguo's Aranjuez's solemnity.

A truly spellbinding debut album, it remained for over two years on a heavy rotation with Anglagard's debut and Landberk's debut, and it still manages to draw chills down my spine some almost 15 years after its release. Highly recommended, this is one of the seminal album that started prog's second coming of age, and few 90's album have its aura.

Report this review (#651)
Posted Monday, February 2, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars "Vermod" was one of albums that re-ignited the Swedish progressive rock revival. Without a question ANEKDOTEN have been heavily influenced by early 70's KING CRIMSON with their tailored and yet controlled FRIPP-like guitar playing (Nicklas Berg) & loads of mellotron (actually is 2 different mellotron going at some places!) ANEKDOTEN understands the Crimsonic use of contrast, and Vemod is centered on contrasting tempos and dynamics. Guitarist Nicklas Berg turns in a gritty performance on both guitar and mellotron reminding the listener at many points of why one likes this type of music in the first place. The combination of pump organ, Mellotron, and a deeply bowed cello creates a rich dark sound of brooding intensity. Emotionally charged melodic lines and powerful rhythms abound. The percussion on this album is killer with some great deep chops and complex percussion. Filling in the mix is cellist/keyboardist Anna Sofi Dahlberg who works with the mellotrons to really bring forth some warm tones.
Report this review (#652)
Posted Saturday, March 20, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Sweden has a lot to do with the resurgence of progressive music all over the globe...many great bands have appear over the past decade and Anekdoten is no exception. This is heavy progressive on the vein of KC (say mid-period), with loads of mellotron (actually they used two!!!) and frippian guitar with a good dose of bass-drums interplay; being said that still the album has a dark/melancholic touch (not as much as Landberk) on the shorter tracks. Now, this is my cup of tea when it comes to nonsense!! guitar riffs in an attempt to make a feel of heaviness. Very much progressive and an excellent debut album.
Report this review (#654)
Posted Sunday, April 11, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars Sorry but I can't understand what's all the fuss about it once again!! Another clone of King Crimson, still coming from Scandinavia, with hints (actually a few ones) of such an acoustic chamber orchestra (in the manner of Hungarian After Crying), played by means of an interesting cello and nothing else innovative (Anglagard for example, a diverse Swedish ensemble, is in another world or also the remarkable band "Isildurs Bane", because all these latter are much better than Anekdoten)... apart from my tastes, honestly I can find too many dark music passages emulating those ones (the most harsh) by King Crimson,regarding of the album "Starless and Bible Black" or "Lark's Tongue in Aspic": so at the end I'm a bit tired already after my second listening!! However I don't like to compare them to any original European band (actually a few ones), because groups like that one of After Crying are much more versatile and innovative than Anekdoten, even though I think of an improving background in their music as long as they learn the the moment I'm not stimulated and I don't want to buy the other titles of this Scandinavian band: nowadays I'm more concentrated into the inventive stuff by Isildurs Bane and of course After Crying as well, despite of recognizing some interesting music features inside this "Vemod"!!

If you are not disturbed by the derivative bands in the vein of experimental King Crimson choose this issue, otherwise you can also check other experimental stuff out (also regarding of the American music scene: listen for example to the last stunning album by A Triggering Myth)

To me the present debut album by Anekdoten is good but not essential!!

Report this review (#655)
Posted Tuesday, April 20, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars Heavily influenced by In the Court/Larks-era of King Crimson. Lots of mellotron and Fripp- like guitar work. This band doesn't deliver original and fresh music by any means, however I must admit that the songwriting is very strong and, along with the performances, is the high point of this record, specially on the tracks "Where Solitude remains" and "Sad Rain". All in all this is a nice album, I hope that on later works this band begins to deliver their own sound.
Report this review (#659)
Posted Monday, December 27, 2004 | Review Permalink
Eetu Pellonpaa
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I have little mixed-up feelings about the debut album of this band which is very dear to me. The songs are good as compositions, but many of them work much better on their forthcoming live recordings. For example "Karelia" is far more better on their "Live-EP", and versions of "The Old Man & The Sea" and "Wheel" are also dramatically much better on their 90's live double discs from Japan. "Thoughts in Absence" is a very neat recording on this though, having Vangelis resembling long ending sequence.

Somehow the overall sound of this album feels a little sterile to me. Few sound patterns are also perhaps too similar to their original innovators from the 70's. But the band and it's players were young when "Vemod" was produced, and one cannot underestimate Anekdoten's influence upon the Swedish and global scene of progressive art rock. "Vemod" after all, was their first album which diffused their musical vision to the listeners and other musicians. Beautiful album covers resembling the sleeve of first Black Sabbath's record also make the vinyl version of "Vemod" as a nice collectors artifact.

Report this review (#661)
Posted Thursday, March 31, 2005 | Review Permalink
erik neuteboom
5 stars In the early Nineties many Skandinavian progrock bands flooded the scene, Anekdoten was one of the first. I got their debut-CD as a promo when I had just joined the Dutch progrock paper SI Magazine. The music blew me away, what a compelling and captivating compositions en what a mindblowing Mellotron sound! The first track "Karellia" starts with one of the most beautiful Mellotron-drenched intro's, goose bumps!! The strong point in the music from Anekdoten is the hugh tension between the mellow, often melancholical climates and the dynamic parts delivering Fripp-inspired howing electric guitar, an agressive bass and splendid drumwork, this man is the driving force behind Anekdoten. Last year I witnessed them near my hometown The Hague and bought the re-issue that contains the extra track "Sad Rain", it sound in the vein of the early King Crimson featuring wonderful Mellotron. A CLASSIC ALBUM!!!!
Report this review (#36313)
Posted Sunday, June 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars AN EXCELLENT DARK MUSIC (with great composition!)

How dark? Observe this lyric .

"My mind's falling down endless tunnels. Until I find myself in the void. Somewhere down there I could hear them calling me. Through walls of silence I heard them weep."

This album has been the missing piece for me as I have already enjoyed the other two excellent albums "Nucleus" and "From Within" until last week when my prog mate Anto Sulistianto loaned me this CD. I had no difficulty in digesting this album as I've been familiar with the band's music. What surprised me when I spun the CD the first time was the excellent music quality despite it's a debut album. Historically, Anekdoten was previously King Edward - a band that was formed in the vein of King Crimson. The arrival of keyboardist / cellist Anna Sofi Dahlberg remarked the change of band's name to Anekdoten. Guitarist Nicklas Berg and drummer Peter Nordins were previously members of the Manson Family Band - a band with roots in psychedelic vein; influenced by Cream and Jimi Hendrix. Not much we knew the music of King Edward. It seemed only one song "Sad Rain" that appeared on the Japanese version of Vemod., the band's debut album (1993). Vemod is a Sweden word that means "melancholy" and basically represented the band's music.

The album opener "Karelia" (7:20) is an instrumental outfit started out with a long sustain and ambient mellotron sound that sets a very dark nuance that characterizes the entire album. The full-blown music enters beautifully a combination of guitar work in the vein of King Crimson, mellotron, inventive bass lines and drumming style that reminds me to Bill Bruford's, especially on the unique snare sounds. The music flows mellow in a floating style and giving mellotron, cello and guitar a fair chance to deliver their simple solo. Yes, most of Anekdoten's solos are performed in simple and less to medium complexities. At the end of this track I can sense an influence of King Crimson, i.e. when the riffs are similar with "Easy Money" intro of the "Lark's Tongue in Aspic". I don't think it's a rip-off as the similarity only in nuance.

"The Old Man & The Sea" (&:50) is a song-oriented composition featuring relatively flat vocal line. The song revolves around chords progression driven by guitar work and mellotron in relatively medium tempo. As the song builds up into crescendo the music turns into a more complex one and this segment represents the song interlude. At the end part of the interlude, the guitar style is reminiscent of Robert Fripp. Really nice.

The third track "Where Solitude Remains" (7:20) moves the album to a faster tempo music (during opening part) combining heavy bass lines, drum work and mellotron. It's a powerful opening until it turns into quieter passage when vocal lines enter the scene. During lyrical verse, mellotron with its long sustain note accompanies the singing augmented with Bruford like drumming. Wow! It's really wonderful man! What later surprises me is the guitar solo where this time is performed in jazzy style accentuated with mellotron sound and dynamic drumming. It's an excellent composition!

"Thoughts in Absence" (4:10) starts off with guitar fills followed with slow beat drum work and bass guitar that accompanies vocal line. This track is different than the other first three where it's performed mellow and nice with vocal quality that reminds me to Peter Hammil. The song also has a killing melody. Guitar fills (played soft) and mellotron characterize this song. It's a cool and nice composition that serves as a break after hearing more complex first three tracks.

Fifth track "The Flow" (6:58) moves the music back into more complex composition combining Crimsonisque guitar work, mellotron and solid bass lines. Right after the middle of the track, the arrangement turns into a very complex one combining multi instruments: cello, mellotron, guitar, bass and drum. I really like this ending part. Yes, it's dark in nuance but the music is so uplifting. There is a kind of avant-garde music here. It's a masterpiece track!

"Longing" (4:50) is a beautiful instrumental track that combines acoustic guitar solo and cello in a nice melody. Mellotron sometime provides its sound at the back to accentuate the song. The combination of acoustic and cello works is awesome. Performed unplugged, this is a different style of Anekdoten music even though it's still maintaining the dark nuance.

The concluding track "Wheel" (7:50) brings the album back to a faster tempo music with mellotron-based composition. The music turns slow when it gives a chnace to choirs enter the music. Guitar work brings the music into more complex arrangements. The interlude part explores flugelhorn work by Par Ekstrom. An excellent composition.

Overall, how can I sum up my views about this album? It's not a tough job at all for me because I love this album from start to end. If you can tolerate dark music, you may find this album rewarding. It's an excellent addition to any prog music collection. The best listening time is during late night, play it loud, with no disturbance from your surroundings. Keep on proggin' ..!

Progressively yours,


Report this review (#39039)
Posted Sunday, July 10, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Hey all you prog specialists ! I don't have anything much interesting to say about all those overwhelming reviews but it's been a longtime i have a question for you : everyone knows that the end of "Karelia" is shamelessly similar to KC's "Easy Money" but does anyone has ever noticed that Anekdoten's "The Flow" (on 1:46) has exactly the same melodic line, the same bassplay and the same chord progression that enlightened the fantastic "Röster fran minus still plus" (on 1:04) from Trettioariga Kriget's first album ? It's not a gimmick line as it is very often repeated through the track. It is so obvious that the only word for this is plagiarism. But Anekdoten having a cult status among the progheads it's almost taboo to talk about it. I hope someday you'll figure it out...
Report this review (#51237)
Posted Tuesday, October 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Yep the swedish ANEKDOTEN started off as a King Crimson tribute band until the celloist Anna sofi Dahlberg made contact with them and they decided to make an album. Although good it would still sound very much like an King Crimson tribute band...

First of all i would just like to add that i myself do not have the 8th track on the album and that it concists of only seven tracks...i do not know if the 8th track album is a special editon or what but anyway here goes...As said before ANEKDOTEN has surely listened to the King Crimson album RED alot and thus lending ALOT of ideas from this darker period of Crimson...perhaps a bit much i would say as it some parts of the songs sound quite frankly as pure rip-offs from the RED album and there seem to be a bit of a lacking for some original ideas of their own...the album itself has a quite dark mood to it which is underlined by the quite excellent cello-playing by Ms. Dahlberg also there is alot of Mellotron use on this one and it makes the album sound somwhat like the good old 70's prog albums...the guitars themselves are non-distorted and throws out some quite nice jazzy licks however the heavily distorted bass is what often drives the songs and it is quite evident on songs like Wheel, Where solitude remains and Karelia although it really just sounds as if he is using variatons of the same bass riff and it soon sound too similar all the same...For some more downbeat moments there are cool and jazzy track Thoughts in absence and the nice accoustic instrumental Longing...but in all respect i have to hounestly say that i this is way to similar to the dark prog of the 70's and they most distinctive sound is defiently the heavy bass but that get used up pretty fast...So if you are a big fan of the King Crimson album RED then you will probably love this but dont expect something new.

Standout tracks: Where solitude remains, Karelia, Longing

If you like this then try:King Crimson-Red, Van Der Graaf Generator-Pawn hearts

Report this review (#54600)
Posted Friday, November 4, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars WOW. That just about sums it up. I'm a big fan of early King Crimson, especially the sound of the melotrons, odd time signatures, jazzy drumming, and melodic dissonance. They definitely show their roots as a King Crimson cover band, which some might hold against them. However, I also noticed a lot of Nothingface era Voivod in their music, especially the bass playing. The drumming is excellent and really fits the music well. The vocals are nothing special, but considerably better than the vocals on the King Crimson albums Red and Starless and Bible Black.

If you're an early Crimson fan, I can't see how you wouldn't love this album. It is just about a perfect extension of that vein of music. My first listening to this album had me hooked and each subsequent listening only makes me want to listen to it again! Highly recommend, if not utterly essentially in any KC fan's collection.

Report this review (#63306)
Posted Thursday, January 5, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Some weeks ago I asked a friend of mine, who is from Sweden by the way, to suggest me an interesting Swedish band to listen to: thankfully, he passed me this album and having myself appreciated Anglagard, reckoning them as one of the most amazing bands I've ever come across, I couldn't have been more fascinated by Vemod by Anekdoten. Now, to make myself clear from the very beginning, this is the only album I own of this band, though I'm longing to buy more and more, so I'm not aware of the other fatigues of these four guys. I hope to not overestimate them with such a sudden appreciation, but I do doubt I will. Anyway, they sound as progressive (symphonic perhaps) rock should, at least to me: not being an expert of the Swedish music scenario, I wonder if there's ever been a collaboration between Anekdoten and Anglagard. If so never occured, then I must give credit to the former of being as original as the latter. The overal sound reminds me of the first and more symphonic King Crimson, especially in the atmospheres Lake was able to create with his moody voice. Yet, though these reminiscences are evident and apparent, and they are not either hidden or faked, their music sounds inspiring and full of what I call melancholic aggression. My favourite track of this album is by far "Karelia", and not surprisingly it's the openup song of Vemod: what I really enjoy in this track is the pompous and King Crimson-like chord sequence in the background, the syncopatic drums, full of accents, open rides and intriguing fill-ins, the mellotron of course is the climatic and perhaps the most recognizable sound all over not only this specific song but almost the entire album. By the time I'm writing down this review, I've been listening for the third time in a row to this album, and I'm pretty sure it will accompany me for the entire day. So, I give four stars as a starting point, looking forward to raising up the stars in the future for the next albums
Report this review (#81267)
Posted Friday, June 16, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars One of my favouritest albums ever ,"VEMOD", starts with mystic "Karelia"(the ending part just blos me away!),thoughtlessly pushes you into heavy rumble of "The Old Man and The Sea"/"Where Solitude Remains" and gives some time to rest in "Thoughts in Absence" calm.Then "Flow" begins; "Longing" gives a short lyrical break,but "The Wheel" throws you to the very core of it all - if you don't like it,you'll miss the whole Scandinavian Prog,believe me!!!Now get it and listen to it at least twwice a month,untill you become a real ANEKDOTEN freak!Happy madnessing!!! $*&$%&7-)
Report this review (#83305)
Posted Monday, July 10, 2006 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
5 stars On their website the question is asked "Are Swede's unusually gloomy people ?" They reply "Yes, but Finns are even gloomier". Haha ! The title of ANEKDOTEN's debut album is "Vemod" which is Swedish for melancholy or sadness, so let the mellotron begin. I am so impressed with the way these guys play, I can't really just single one of them out, they all shine brightly on this record. It's interesting that Jan-Erik does all the vocals on "Vemod". Nicklas will take over that role, more and more on future albums. Jan-Erik also wrote all the lyrics except for "Thoughts In Absence" and the bonus track "Sad Rain". The band thanks Mattias Olsson and Par Lindh, as well as ANGLAGARD and LANDBERK among others.

"Karelia" was a bold song to start their first record (an instrumental), but it has become a fan favourite, and it turned out to be a perfect way to begin. It starts solemnly followed by a mellotron down-pour before a minute. It kicks into gear after 1 1/2 minutes with a chunky bass, pounding drums and angular guitar onslaught. A calm with cello after 4 minutes as tons of bottom end comes in as it builds. It's utterly fantastic as the mellotron joins in. The mellotron turns into a storm after 6 minutes. Very heavy sound to end it. "The Old Man And Sea" sounds like a machine to open. Killer bass ! It settles 1 1/2 minutes in as vocals come in. Love these guys ! Cello plays under the vocals as piano and fat bass lines join in.This is so good. It kicks back in and I just want to shout. Angular guitar cuts through the heaviness.The mellotron 4 1/2 minutes in is beyond words as it's quite haunting and not subtle at all. Crushing soundscape 6 minutes in. It then settles as the guitar grinds away. Vocals and piano before 7 minutes. Cello ends it. "Where Solitude Remains" begins with deep bass lines and mellotron, then vocals and light drums come in. Nice contrast between the heavy and light sections throughout this song. Fantastic drumming in this song. Great guitar solo 6 1/2 minutes in to end it. "Thought in Absence" is a beautiful laid back tune with fragile vocals. Very reflective and I like the vocals.

"The Flow" is an incredible song. It takes a while to get going, then look out ! Nicklas is just killer on his guitar. Mellotron, vocals and a calm follow the chaos before 2 minutes. More great drumming and chunky bass as the majestic mellotron flows. Amazing guitar 6 minutes in and a ton of bottom end to finish it. "Longing" is an instrumental with cello and accoustic guitar. Sad song. "Wheel" is one of my favourites. It opens powerfully before settling down before a minute with dual vocals from Jan-Erik and Anna which sound awesome ! It kicks back in after 2 minutes with huge bass, angular guitar and powerful drums. The contrast continues. Very intense sound 6 minutes in. "Sad Rain" is a bonus track which was recorded during the "Nucleus" sessions. This is a mellotron drenched epic. This is the kind of song that can never be too long. My favourite ! Everytime I hear the majestic mellotron in the intro i'm moved. Beautiful vocals and a calm follow. An absolute storm before 2 minutes.This contrast continues. Check out the chunky bass after 3 minutes as mellotron comes in. I can't put into words how meaningful this song is to me.

This is one of the greatest debut records I have ever heard ! This is where I fell for these gloomy Swedes. It's perfect.

Report this review (#92641)
Posted Friday, September 29, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars My favourite of their albums. Maybe because of the sound which resembles Red-era KC. But the obvious comparison is misleading here, because Anekdoten have developed a lot since the time of being a cover band and started to unfold their true potential.

The mood of Vemod is generally negative and reflects the literal meaning of its title. It has some of their dark and disturbing sound (especially in Wheel, which has a soloing guest trumpet) and slow and touching ballads (Thought in Absence is my all-time favourite in this category of songs).

Overally, an excellent album. Anekdoten was lucky enough to make their way to the artrock pantheon with its debut recording.

Report this review (#97329)
Posted Monday, November 6, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is one of the very first progressive albums I've ever heard. It was so different from all I had ever heard before since I really never was into this prog music and the fact is I really liked it a lot. This album features a very dark atmosphere combined with the hard noisy bass and excellent drum plays. Even though the album is really short with only seven songs for me it offers one of the very best prog music (at least for me) out of all I've heard. Also it has the very first instrumental song I ever heard, Karelia. When I first heard it I was totally blown away by it's melodic intro. Besides this song, the rest of them resemble a very same mood with heavy melodies and some soft ones. I don't have the eight song version album so I can't say if it makes it better with the song or not, but overall even though it's short it's one of the best prog albums out there.
Report this review (#108131)
Posted Saturday, January 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Did you say you like mellotron? I thought you did.

Get ready for some great Prog as well. This album is dark and moody. It has somber and aggressive moments. I recommend playing this album loudly on big speakers too. Submerge yourself into the sound, full, rich, and did I mention the wonderful sound of mellotron?

Make not mistake about this band or album. There are strong old King Crimson overtones that are welcome to any discerning Progressive Rock fan. One song surely to grab any drummers attention is "The Flow". Some excellent work by Nordins. And the keyboards work is a highlight throughout. Did I fail to mention the presence of mellotron?

Anyway, if you own no Anekdoten, get this album. You will not be disappointed.

Report this review (#124770)
Posted Tuesday, June 5, 2007 | Review Permalink

This album means way more than just an excellent record. It really means the beginning of a definitive act in the modern era of Prog Rock that I'm sure will be reminded in the future as one of the most important representatives of these times. The next decade we will think of the 90's/00's because of bands like Porcupine Tree and Anekdoten as we think now of Rush and King Crimson for example.

This release is not perfect (almost) but shows the band's potential and quality that would be improved in later recordings and also would find more authenticity, because as we know they started as a KC cover act and in this album they can't hide that fact. Anyway, I don't consider this cd as a clone or a rip-off of the British band and actually it has incredible original moments, dark but bright because of the complexity.

I can say that is a perfectly balanced album, with a smart combination of the dissonant and melodic parts, the heavy and the mellow, the dark and the symphonic, the retro and the modern, the simple and the complex. The use of the instruments is quite equitable too, with the mellotron being the main ingredient but never breaking the equilibrium with the strong and already classic rhythmic section, Nicklas great guitar work and the use of other instruments like cello and grand piano (by Per Wiberg, now of Opeth).

Another distinctive element is the vocal part, sometimes roaring, sometimes melancholic but always deep and emotional. Both Nicklas and Jan Erik maybe won´t be recognized as the best singers, but their voices work excellently with the moodiness of the music, and especially when Anna Sofi is participating too.

Very hard to make individual song reviews after all the great comments about them by many members so I'll just mention my favorites which are "Karelia"(already a classic), "Where Solitude Remains"(Powerful, atmospheric and complex), "The Flow" (Dark tune with excellent bass line), "Longing"(Great Instrumental mellow track with acoustic guitar and cello) and "Sad Rain" (Bonus, amazing mellotron loaded track with beautiful cello).

Excellent debut album that falls just a little bit short from perfection but sets the scenario for wide admiration and recognition for this magnificent band.

4.5 stars

Viva el Prog!

Report this review (#137672)
Posted Monday, September 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars After being somewhat disillusioned from my introduction to Anekdoten (their next album, Nucleus), I took my time in finding Vemod. That's unfortunate, because this is a fascinating collection of noisy, anxious, and melancholy tunes. I have to admit, I only really get into this album at certain times, such as during a rainstorm or late at night. But during those times, when I'm in a apathetic or irritated state, this kind of music is the best prescription (along with Crimson's Red, of course!). Though a bit inconsistent and with little variation, there is plenty of good prog on here to make it worthwhile.

Karelia, The Old Man and the Sea, Where Solitude Remains. What a way to introduce yourself to the prog world! This excellent trifecta begins with Karelia, which features a haunting mellotron intro, only to be interrupted by an anxious, noisy, thundering bass (a signature sound of this album), and Anekdoten are on their way. Bonus points for the raw and majestic (in Anekdoten's unique way) finale. The Old Man and the Sea is probably my favorite track, with a good melody and absolutely raucus and bombastic groove in the middle. Where Solitude Remains is perhaps a bit repetitive and exposes the vocals a bit much, but it redeems itself completely at the end with a raw guitar solo over mellotron and thundering bass. Awesome trio of songs!

Thoughts in Absence, Longing. Anekdoten do experiment a bit with these two, to mixed effect. The former is an average melody with subpar vocals--completely skippable. The latter, however, is a lovely dirge featuring strings and acoustic guitar--great change-up.

The Flow, Wheel. These two bring back the noisiness. The Flow really offers little above the first three songs, but the freakout at the end is definitely something to listen for. Wheel is a fine conclusion, with nice mellotron swells and a memorable trumpet/bass "duet" in the middle.

I like this album, and it's obvious that Anekdoten had potential. My personal opinion is that they put their best material first, and that the lack of variability tends to give the sound a "samey" feel if you listen straight through. Definitely worth owning for a change-up to what you normally have in the changer.

Report this review (#138863)
Posted Monday, September 17, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Initially named after ''King Edward'',ANEKDOTEN started in 1990,at a time when progressive rock was on a rise in Scandinavia.After two critically-acclaimed demo tapes they released their first album ''Vemod'' in 1993.This splendid effort was a beautiful vintage journey through the 70's,especially Red-era KING CRIMSON sounds dominate the album.''Vemod'' is an alternating effort of cello work,mellotron-based strings and heavy guitar passages,resulting a fantastic yet obscure and dark atmosphere,which only KING CRIMSON could create.The vocals are clean and nice,the rhythm section is brilliantly tight and the vintage sounds really thrill me.Listed among the best modern prog bands,ANEKDOTEN deserve your fully attention at any cost.Highly recommended!
Report this review (#144607)
Posted Sunday, October 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Unlike any of those other guys on this site who are quick to find comparisons to their precious King Crimson, I am not. I understand that after listening to the album, King Crimson makes for a good comparison if you're trying to desribe the music to someone, but I've always been frustrated with the countless listeners who pigeonhole bands that take direct influence from the major 70s bands. They can't seem to accept the fact that progressive music is better than it's ever been. I'll save more of my thoughts on the subject for other albums...

So, when I listened to this album for the first time, I did not immediately say "King Crimson!!!" in my head or out loud, because this is not King Crimson and they deserve to be treated like a band that is not King Crimson, in other words, their own entity. What I hear is a very interesting combination of heavy, heavy rock music (not metal, but it is dark and heavy) with mellotron and cello. The vocals are melodic but they somtimes seem a bit distant and/or empty on this particular album. They ebb and flow between that heavy style which also incorporates disonant riffs in the vein of Robert Fripp. Oh man, even I can't escape the comparison here! Truthfully, you can hear the Fripp in those riffs almost right away, but that's the only time during the album I pointed a comparison out, I swear. But now that I'm at it, it does sound a bit like Wetton-era King Crimson.

The compositions are pretty solid, but they can be a bit redundant. The production is pretty poor as well. This is certainly the band's most derivative album, and it is pretty derivative (musically speaking), but I trust that your demand for quality supercedes your demand for originality so you can enjoy highlights like "Karelia" and "Where Solitude Remains."

Of course I would rather have a band that plays great music that is original, but if the influences are present but not obstructive, it's A-OK with me. Unfortunately the album is a bit shaky: it is too inconsistent and probably one song too long.

Good news from the future! The band started correcting these issues as soon as their next album.

Report this review (#150686)
Posted Wednesday, November 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars It is amazing how many interesting bands a country as Sweden has generated (considering their small population).

"Anekdoten" debut album is 200% Crimson inspired and I can understand that a reviewer compared them to a Crimson tribute band. I wouldn't go to this extend, but it is true that this filiation is rather invading.

They actually mix the melodic and heavy sides of the masters. The opening track "Karelia" combines these two elements : beautiful mellotron intro followed by heavy and repetitive guitar riffs like .

And that's a bit the problem. This album sounds a bit too much like.I guess that if IQ sounds derivative to Genesis, the same applies with "Anekdoten" vs "Crimson". Both "The Old Man and the Sea" and "Where Solitude Remains" sounding too much of the same to be really breathtaking.

One of my fave (probably because it's the most symphonic) is the short "Thoughts in Absence". It has all the subtlety of a song like "I Talk To The Wind" (flute excepted). A very sweet song which totally contrasts with the strengths of "The Flow". The annoying side of VDGG is very much present here as well.

The melancholic and sad mood of "Longing" is limit depressive, but I happen to like it very much. The combination cello / acoustic guitar is so poignant. This is another tranquil song from this album, and my second fave.

"Wheel" is also brilliant. Both facets of the band are again highlighted. Strong but melodic lines are such great ingredients! This song is also magnificently powerful, yet the déjà vu feeling is impossible to avoid.

Their debut album is a good one. I wouldn't say that it is a masterpiece. If I could, I would rate this album with seven out of ten, just shy of the fourth star rating. But you might like it better if Crimson is one of your absolute fave (which is not my case) and if obvious derivative work doesn't bother you too much.

Report this review (#158186)
Posted Wednesday, January 9, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Regardless!! if this band sounded too much like the Mighty King Crimson when this album was realised, it is worthed to check it out. if you are a big fan of the FRIPP, WETTTON, BRUFORD< CROSS line up!! then this album is a must. if this was tribute band paying crimson music I would never doubt of seen them live. I have the same feeling about Porcupine Tree few first albums. best of the Best of today's prog.
Report this review (#158774)
Posted Wednesday, January 16, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Anekdotens Vemod, the only album by this band that I like. At first I was really turned off to the serious King Crimson take offs, but after a little while, it began to grow on me, and now, I really have very little to complain about this band. Semi simple guitar playing, super chunky bass lines, and some excellent strings are what propel this group, along with an excellent drummer, who manages to find the median between, artistically talented, and pompous show off. Once again the vocals were also a turn off, choir like, and very ulverish, they don't seem to have a lot of feeling behind them, it's almost as if the singer is singing off of some sheet music given to him for the song, but once again over some time, it began to grow on me, and the strange vocals now seem to blend in almost perfectly with the very direct music.

The album starts with Koreilia, the best track on the album, showing that the mellotron is indeed still alive and breathing outside of classic prog. After this small passage were introduced to the entire band, and what immediately gets me is how frontal the bass is, it's practically the rhythm guitar, with a very trebley tone, and a bit of distortion when the lead is doing it's chromatic arpeggios, and I absolutely love it! So the song goes, as it flows from one climax to the next, leaving you exhausted. When the next song comes and introduces the vocals, you may be a bit taken back with how formal the guy is trying to sound. I don't know whether it's because he's classically trained, or he's just trying to mask some Swedish accent to sound a little more normal, wither way, along with the lyrics, it is a bit cheesy, and it's just something you have to get used to over time. The music pretty much stays the same over the rest of the album, occasionally crumbling down to some simple electric guitar, and mellotron, but the music hits a very emotional level when you get to the song longing, an all acoustic song, and I mean completely acoustic. With only Cello's and an acoustic/classical guitar, it's so soothing you could almost compare it to some post rock. Afterwards you hit the ten minueter sad rain, while it is an excellent song, a little too long, and loses interest around the fifth minute.

Like I said before, this is the only Anekdoten album I can get into. The next couple of albums are devoid of the chunky bass lines, and just seem to lose the energy that is in Vemod. I highly recommend this to people who like King Crimson, but if you're into hard core prog, this probably isn't for you. In reality the music really doesnt strike me as terribly progressive, just extremely experimental with KC influences. Good album, good band, good songs. 4 stars

Report this review (#162413)
Posted Saturday, February 23, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Vemod" is the debut full-length studio album by Swedish progressive rock act Anekdoten. The album was released through Virtalevy in September 1993. Along with artists like Landberk, Änglagård, and The Flower Kings, Anekdoten was one of the responsible parties for the early 90s resurgence of Swedish progressive rock.

The music style on the album is a very John Wetton-era King Crimson inspired affair. Dark and melancholic mellotron parts along side dissonant, atonal, and bass heavy dittos. Lead vocalist/bassist Jan Erik Liljeström has a rather distinct sounding voice and his vocal style is pretty surely an aquired taste. The atmosphere is bleak, and melodies and vocals are drenched in melancholy. Anekdoten are generally a very well playing band, and they deliver their music with great passion and conviction (and with a great organic touch).

The 7 tracks (8 on the Japanese version of the album) on the 46:20 minutes long album are all well written, and vary between epic melancholic parts (featuring lots of mellotron and occasional use of cello), heavy and more energetic (slightly fusion influenced) parts, and mellow parts too. It´s certainly dynamic music, and the band use the light/dark effect with great success. Tracks like "Thoughts In Absence" and "Longing" represent the mellow part of the album, while tracks like "The Old Man & The Sea", and "The Flow", both represent the heavy side of the album. It´s not static though, and as mentioned above the album is quite dynamic both between tracks and within tracks.

The professional, organic, and well sounding sound production is a great asset and suits the music well. So upon conclusion "Vemod" is a strong debut album by Anekdoten. The band may wear their influences a bit too much on their sleeves on this particular release, but it´s not done in a ripp-off type of fashion, or in a way that makes the music sound like a tribute to King Crimson. Thankfully Anekdoten are real artists with a mission to create original sounding music, and they do manage to put their own spin on what might initially not sound that unique. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

Report this review (#167140)
Posted Tuesday, April 15, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars What is noticeable about this record is not that it was influenced by King Crimson's 'Red', but the impact it had on other artists, many of which would be part of the prog rebirth during the cusp of the millennium. In fact on the whole, Anekdoten's 'Vemod' sounds little like Fripp and company, reminding more of a very gifted club band ready to conquer the world but still just out of reach. And that's often a group's best period. Closer in spirit to NeBeLNeST or even early Pink Floyd, frostbitten but ready to warm things up with their fresh and spirited approach to hard prog, these four Swedes delivered an impressive first outing and except for some amateurish singing, it is a hugely satisfying collection that seems to grow a little bit deeper with each spin. The dual 'trons of Nicklas Berg and Anna Dahlberg lure us with some strangeness before the band pounds in for 'Karelia', Jan Erik Liljestrom's dominant bass taking Berg's guitar through a give and take of power and melody, Peter Nordin's astounding drums the lead instrument here. More loudness for 'The Old Man & the Sea', the quartet's use of mellotron a revelation of diversity and playful artistry, atonalities up against solid rock rhythms, guitars and drums dancing through a storm of Nordic proportions. Dramatic 'Where Solitude Remains' weaves balladry with angry punk, crushingly heavy 'The Flow' features Dahlberg's gutter cello, moving lament 'Longing' grieves for friends lost in the night, and symphonics of 'Wheel' finish a thoroughly great little album.

Report this review (#173316)
Posted Monday, June 9, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars 1993 was the year prog rock clawed its way out of its grave and set about haunting old proggers, largely thanks to Scandinavia, with ANEKDOTEN's debut 'Vemod' one of the vanguards of the new/old sound. The fact that this effort, and that of ANGLAGARD and a few others, was able eventually to revive an entire genre, ought to tell you enough about the quality of the music to encourage you to give it a listen.

The debate around exactly how much this band resembles KING CRIMSON is irrelevant. (I actually think there's plenty of YES in there myself, but so what?) The primary piece of information you need to know is that this band is bass-driven. That means it's brimming with wonderful rhythms.

Now there are plenty of reviewers out there ready to give ANEKDOTEN a good spanking for sounding derivative. To them Progressive Rock either died in the late 1970s or is still alive, but quite different to what we enjoyed in the so-called 'golden age'. I don't buy it, myself. What other category would you place this music in? And why does it matter who it sounds like? Who says 'I'm not using this photocopier because it works just like a Xerox?' To my mind there ought to be NO points for originality in the world. All the points should be awarded for excellence. Consider this on its merits.

And there are plenty of merits. JAN LILJESTROM's bass is spectacular, capturing the CHRIS SQUIRE sound almost perfectly. Less jazzy, but it still sounds like he pinched SQUIRE's old Rickenbacker and gives it a good thrashing. Allied with the FRIPP-like guitar and enormous lashings of mellotron, the band surely evokes the 1970s. None of which would be relevant if their material was sub-par. Happily, it isn't. They write very good material indeed. The addition of the cello does add a unique dimension to their sound - and, luckily, they know not to overuse it.

'Vemod' is ANEKDOTEN's first album and it shows, but it's still a great debut. The greatest hindrance here is the vocals, a little fragile and over-precise for such muscular music. The mix has been carefully engineered so LILJESTROM's voice isn't lost entirely. It would have helped if he'd been given some memorable melodies, but the rest of the band stole those. Added to this are the cliched lyrics, which spoil the dark mood generated by the music. He'll get better on subsequent releases.

ANEKDOTEN are a band all proggers ought to check out. While not their best, this is an excellent place to start. Laden with dark atmospherics, strong melodies, wonderful mellotron climaxes and emotional reveries, 'Vemod' is an excellent album.

Report this review (#173317)
Posted Monday, June 9, 2008 | Review Permalink
Queen By-Tor
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars They're Swedish, and they've obviously listened to a lot of King Crimson!

What more could you ask for, really? Scandinavia has always brought us some of the best prog and best heavy performances and having been over there I can't exactly say why - because they're all such nice people! They didn't really seem all that dark at the time. But clearly the brooding evil factor to some of their citizens lurks somewhere because this is one of the heaviest albums I've heard in quite some time. One thing that can be noticed right off the bat about this album is the ever-dominant bass which constantly bombards the listener and cracks their floor if they have a big enough sub woofer. Where do all the Krimson references come from - some may ask - well, while they're not knockoffs of the Crimson King, they certainly have a Red feel to them in their sharp guitar riffs, contrasted greatly and harshly by that evil and pressing bass. Though the vocals take a bit of time to get used to at first (the accent is thick as molasses) they're quite good and suit the music well with his low-tone-no-growl style. How would I describe the music in a couple of words? Take the bass riff from Roundabout, tune it down and get Les Claypool to play it and then make Red era Fripp come up with a guitar riff to it. That sounds about right.

All the songs on the album are nicely mid lengthed, and while an album full of seven minute songs can become tiresome quite easily with some bands these guys manage to do it quite well by throwing in the occasional curve ball. All of the songs are structured to work well on their own, and they do, as well as being well placed on the album to make it flow very well. It opens with the instrumental Karelia which is the first time the heavy ass bass is introduced. Spectacular riffing fireworks in the background make for quite a ride until we're handed off to the first track with vocals. The Old Man And The Sea is another heavy affair that will leave you shook to the core after being pounded by Anekdoten power.

The rest of the album doesn't slow down (in terms of quality) either. Whether it be the frantic pace and bass of Where Solitude Remains, the slow and brooding Thoughts In Absence or the melancholic instrumental Longing the entire album is quite a treat. Wheel starts off with a very 21st Century Schizoid riff and moves onto a slower section with some very dark and creepy voice effects before turning into an instrumental section of madness complete with mellotron and that sweet, sweet bass.

Coming into the end though we get a very nice treat. Sad Rain is an excellent 10-minute mini-epic which, as some others have mentioned, is completely soaked in mellotron goodness and all the excellent darkness of the other tracks. If there's one thing Anekdoten can do very well is create an almost black hole of music that sucks you into absolute darkness, and this track really epitomizes that. Just listen to the opening section of this song and you'll see what I mean. Sad Rain is a perfectly fitting title as well as it really has that melancholic feel to it.

This album is perfect for people who want some heavy. A lot of bass and a lot of piercing guitars make for a fantastic listen. Hesitant to give this one a perfect 5, it certainly deserves a 4.5 at least just because of not only how good the music is performed, but how well they manage to create an atmosphere for the audience to be drawn into. 4.5 sad rain drops out of 5, an excellent album that will hold a fine place in any prog rock collection!

Report this review (#173600)
Posted Wednesday, June 11, 2008 | Review Permalink
Cesar Inca
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Swedish quartet Anekdoten was one of those Scandinavian ensembles that reinvigorated the prog scene in the 90s, with "Vemod" being the debt statement. Not unlike Anglagård and Landberk, the Crimsonnian element was a strong component in the forge of the band's sound, but in the particular case of Anekdoten, the Prog King's heritage is recreated in a more visceral fashion, with a more liberal use of heavy sonorities and a major predominance of teh psychedelic factor. You can also notice hints to early Univers Zero, teh standard of Goth rock and contemporary psyche-rock, which results in the achievement of a pretty dark marriage of aggressiveness and oppressiveness. The amounts of skill and energy that each individual member states in the overall amalgam are undeniably impressive, and that's the reason why the sonic aggression work so well - it's a perfectly joint effort, a joint challenge to the Crimson-loyal prog fan who isn't afraid to explore and look at their own demons while listening to prog rock. Berg's guitar can deliver ultra-hard riffs and subtle chord progressions with equal sensibility; the beautiful cellist Anna Sofi Dahlberg can adapt the instrument's inherent solemnity to the tracks' respective moods and developments. Both members share mellotron duties: the presence of this iconic instrument, of course, helps to reinforce the band's connection to the prog genre's roots. The rhythm duo supports the overall sonic journeys, being particularly featured in the mix (especially regading Liljesröm's obsession for the fuzzed bass).After an ethereal intro of mellotron an cello, 'Karelia' erupts with pompous flames that burn everything along the way using its rough sonorities as weapons. Things remains as strong in 'The Old Man & the Sea' and 'Where Solitude Remains', although both tracks include additional nuances through the themes' developments, which in turn creates a somewhat bigger diversity within the well-defined framework. Melancholy expressed with an anger that aims to make the frustration clearly explicit - this seems to be the resolute leitmotif. 'Thoughts in Absence' changes things quite a bit when that melancholy is delivered in a more languid manner, developing a dense semi-ballad where at times things seem to be actually whispering... A nice mood wrapped in an autumnal reflectiveness. The sense of urgent anger returns with a vengeance in 'The Flow', which really flows in an electrifying fashion: all in all, it doesn't bear the same sense of sophistication that had made the best of the first 3 pieces, but it is indeed a very good track. 'Longing' is an oasis of lyrical meditation among the overall emotional tension: it is a beautiful instrumental based on the interaction between classical guitar arpeggios and cello lines, a chamber-friendly serenade nurtured with added pastoral moods. After this moment of spiritual solace comes the amazing closing song, arguably the best Anekdoten composition ever - I'm referring to 'Wheel'. Its management of contrasts and the liberal use of mellotron (strings, woodwind, brass), sustained on the robust rhythm section bring out the band's essence at its most epic. Perhaps one could feel that the energy prevalent in tracks 1-3 and the dynamics of track 5 were anticipations of the final splendor delivered in the last track. A great closure for a great album, "Vemod" is a reminder of the sort of progressive greatness that Anekdoten were capable of creating even from their "cradle days".
Report this review (#182198)
Posted Thursday, September 11, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars As Anekdoten started life as a band playing King Crimson covers it's hardly surprising that when they got round to writing their own songs they came across as sounding very much in the vein of Crimson. They belong to a group of prog bands to emerge from Sweeden in the early nineties including the likes of Anglagard, unlike whom are still active today.

Vemod whilst not their best is nevertheless a stunning debut by anyone's standards. Their songs combine a melancholic beauty largely down to Anna Sofi Dahlberg's use of Mellotron and occasional cello, with bombastic Robert Fripp inspired guitar riffs courtesy of Nicklas Berg. Jan Erik Liljeström's bass often takes a front seat with an incredibly powerful, pummelling sound who along with excellent and sympathetic to whats required drummer Peter Nordins make up a brilliant rhythm section.

The King Crimson influences largely come from mid seventies period, say between Larks Tongues In Aspic and Red but earlier Crimson influences can also be heard, for example on the likes of the more reflective Thoughts In Absence. All this talk of Crimson influences gives the impression that Anekdoten don't have an original idea in their heads but they give their sound an inventive and contempory edge and Berg's vocals have a haunting melancholic quality in no way reminiscent of Greg Lake and John Wetton.

On an album of such consistent quality it's churlish to single out individual tracks for praise and such are its strengths, Vemod is an album I never tire of listening to from start to finish.

Report this review (#211339)
Posted Wednesday, April 15, 2009 | Review Permalink
Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars I love King Crimson. I love King Crimson so much that I even love a band that isn't King Crimson but sounds like King Crimson.

Right from the start, Anekdoten, with Mellotron, distorted bass, guitar, drums and cello, sounds amazingly like Bruford/Wetton/Cross era King Crimson. But that's not a bad thing. And the King Crimson influence actually spans almost all of the different band incarnations. The opening track, ,Karelia sounds alot like Sailor's Tale from Islands, as it might have been played by the Wetton era band. The song eventually changes to a riff that sounds more like Easy Money. Jan Erik Liljeström's vocal sound similar to Boz Burrell. One song sounds eerily similar to In The Wake Of Poseidon.

But don't get me wrong. Although most of this album will give you King Crimson flashbacks, the material is original enough to sound, for the most part, like an original band.

Report this review (#233490)
Posted Friday, August 21, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars When Scandinavia met KING CRIMSON...

''Vemod'' is the debut of the Swedish band, Anekdoten. Anekdoten make their appearance to the Prog Rock scene of the 90's, deciding to compose and perform its music according to the Prog Monster, Robert Fripp. Anekdoten's music has lots of King Crimson influences, rendering it difficult and very complex.

The band consists of 3 main elements. Jan's wonderful bass performing and Peter's amazing drum playing, seem to hold the whole project and give it, its marvelous atmosphere. Nicklas' guitar playing, faithful and dedicated, adds his own character and reminds Fripp's unique style. Jan and he are the main composers of the band. But, the hidden diamond of this band is Anna's beautiful arranged and performed keys and cello. Anna was added to the group and became immediately one of them. She completes this neo-Crimson concept with her mature ideas, plus her wonderful voice.

Anekdoten appears to be a lot promising band and, in fact, later, confirm this prospective. They release a serie of amazing albums, each one close to a masterpiece. They manage to marry the Crimson's sound and filosophy with their style of performing Progressive Rock. The production reminds a lot of the Lark's or Starless' productions, as well as ''Vemod'''s compositions.

To me, a new-born Master Prog band, a new-born Masterpiece... 5 stars, really...

Report this review (#236607)
Posted Thursday, September 3, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
4 stars Anekdoten's debut is a dark and powerful album that should appeal to all admirers of King Crimson's Red. Unless those people would say that only King Crimson is allowed to create churning bass driven rock in weird time signatures with dissonant guitar power chords and smoky vocals!

So that pretty much sums up how they sound. Maybe add the brooding atmosphere and entrancing pace of Magma to the list and you might have a good idea of what Anekdoten is all about on their debut album. Oh yes, there's even more, they really pull it off really well.

I would almost give 5 stars here but as they would still grow on further albums I'll stick with 4. Nevertheless, you really shouldn't miss this slab of muscle prog!

Report this review (#236934)
Posted Thursday, September 3, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I am a big fan of King Crimson from their very beginning till modern time. So, when I just started to listen Anekdoten debut album, two minds were born in my head.

The first was - OK, it's strong KC tribute band even with some elements of originality. Some pieces sound as clear citates from early KC songs.

And second - whoof..., it's nice, that in our time the new bands returning back to genius ideas and even trying to continue and develop them.

So, after listening of all album, my opinion is the same ( just mix of this two minds, as above).

Yes, band is interesting musically and in techniques, has own transcriptions of KC ideas. A bit pity, sound quality and producing could be better, what is important for music like this.

But too often and too much you hear KC citates.

So, in total, it a perfec debut, and very important, what happens after (OK, now we know, that step by step group found their own way later).

So, recommended as interesting variations to KC theme for all KC fans, as well as fans of later , more unique, Anekdoten just to see how did all were started.

Report this review (#238370)
Posted Thursday, September 10, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
5 stars This album was a love at first listen, which is truly a surprise after my string of on-off relationships with Ankedoten!

After listening to Nucleus, From Within and A Time Of Day I was convinced that I've heard all I needed to pass a judgment on Anekdoten's studio material but decided to give them just one more go and what a nice payoff it turned out to be! Come to think of it I don't quite understand why I previously was so eager to push forward in the band's discography without even considering to check out their debut until a few month ago. Maybe I was put off by the title Vemod which translates roughly into melancholy/sadness.

The first two album tracks are just fantastic! Karelia is a great instrumental with luscious mellotron undertones which does resemble a few King Crimson compositions, from their 73-74 period, particularly the ending which is a dead give away. Still I don't consider it to be a flaw since the overall composition has a spirit of its own and these little references don't in any way overshadow those assets. Besides, if this is considered plagiarism then I don't know what should be said about bands like Spock's Beard, Flower Kings, Dream Theater, The Tangent etc.

The Old Man And The Sea is the only songs here that I'm certain that I've heard Anekdoten perform live and it's a killer of a composition that has to be experienced by all fans of heavy progressive music. The next four tracks are quite different from the first two numbers especially the two nice acoustic compositions which work remarkably well in contrast to the longer and heavier numbers.

The album closes with Wheel which is my personal pick from Vemod. It starts off with an epic sounding intro which nicely works its way to the melodic vocal section and from there the composition goes into a crazy jam section. What a great way to conclude an excellent album!

This is an excellent album and a definite must have for all fans of progressive rock music!

***** star songs: Karelia (7:22) The Old Man And The Sea (7:50) Wheel (7:52)

**** star songs: Where Solitude Remains (7:21) Thought In Absence (4:13) The Flow (7:00) Longing (4:54)

Report this review (#264659)
Posted Saturday, February 6, 2010 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#273044)
Posted Friday, March 19, 2010 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
5 stars Anekdoten provide thought provoking, mellotron-soaked music on an amazing debut

My first listen to Anekdoten has been a pleasurable experience. The melancholy and ambience the band emit with mellotron, cello and soft vocals is akin to the type of material heard from the legendary King Crimson. The guitar work is so refined and creative it takes music to new levels.

The debut album, 'Vemod' translated in Sweden as 'sadness' is a master work of mellotron-soaked heavy prog. The musicians play like a well-oiled machine, the rhythm section, consists of the bassline hammering of Jan Erik Liljeström who incidentally provides all vocals, and the drumming of Peter Nordins who keeps time with precision. The Fripp-inspired guitarist Nicklas Berg is also a mellotron muso and he is joined by Anna Sofi Dahlberg, on mellotron, keys and cello. At times she sings parts which add to the texture and nuances of the songs. On piano is Per Wiberg who provides some lovely scales and arpeggios preferring to play pianofortissimo, in fact the whole band like it loud. The subtle shades of dark and light tones are evident on every track, where sound provides an atmosphere of darkness with heavy deep basslines, and light when the piano is allowed to be joyful, and the mellotron cascades across the void.

There are so many highlights including the mesmirising 'Karelia' which is an instrumental focusing on bass and drum patterns, odd time signatures and full blown mellotron. The real interesting component of the track is the slicing Cello which feels menacing and creates tension in the soundscape.

Another great track is 'The Old Man and The Sea' that begins and ends with an industrial scraping bass effect, incredibly played by Liljeström. There are layers of sound including cello and grand piano that add a true sense of adventure to the music. It is like nothing else I have heard. The band are genuine virtuosos and they never hold back although you sense at times they pull out to release members of the band to shine. The sustained mellotron shimmers with increasing volume and feels chilling to the marrow when those deep resonances are unleashed creeping through your senses. The vocals are well sung on this and it adds a sense of dread the way the lyrics are written: 'The storm has raged here for hours, the water's plunging in on me, The remains of my creation is swallowed slowly down by the troubled sea into unconsecrated ground, gone eternally, gone eternally, Feeder of my visions, carrier of my soul, The last hope for the dreamers, now crashing to the shore, pinioned and torn In presumption and with my foolish pride, I challenged the storm, I challenged the storm.' It reminds me of the old adage of a man battling against the elements similar to the tale of Moby Dick in some respects. Perfect prog theme.

'Where Solitude Remains' begins with a blistering heavy bass riff that is chunked up to the max, and the mellotron sweeps across until finally it breaks to a quiet pad and Liljeström's vocals softly tell the strange tale: 'I watch the clouds through my window, sail across the sky and underneath the canopy, gulls, they wheel and glide, the shoreline stretches endlessly along these windswept plains, I wander through this barren land where solitude remains, I've made myself a universe in this far-off home, unseen from the outside world, here I live and roam and though I've tried assiduously to heal the wounds with time, you'll haunt me in my memories until I die.' I think the lyrics are some of the best I have come across expressing true alienation and loss, foreboding but thoughtful, and the music answers perfectly with appropriate precise emotional nuances. The instrumental at the end is so arresting, emotional and played with excellence, it seals the deal that this is another definitive highlight.

'Thoughts in Absence' is a type of break in transmission, a much softer approach with mellotron, clean guitar and clear vocals about life's ups and downs: 'ease and calm you give but life begins... my time has come now, this bird has flown, a glimpse of hope but still an everlasting moment' Certainly it is cliché driven dialogue but it works as a balladic piece, in sharp contrast to the relentless riffing on other songs. The song is sugarsweet, shimmering and short. It works nicely between two killer tracks.

'The Flow' is my favourite, it really grew on me and I cannot get over how incredible the music is. It begins with minimalist woodwind sounds and chimes, a monkey wails and jungle echo percussions give an ethereal atmosphere. The guitar fades in with relentless picking ala Fripp style. There is a blood curdling scream signifying that the band are ready to go into full flight. The chord changes are fastidious and fabulous, descending and doomy. The monstrous bassline is astonishing and an off kilter drum beat adds the perfect balance. The fluid, lulling mellotron pads are huge, creating a massive wall of sound. Then it phases out during the soft vocalised verses: 'Random lines fall in place, adulterines slowly fade away, I'm sucked in deep by the flow, taken in by the undertow.' An instrumental break is unleashed with Dahlberg's heavenly cello that is grinded and tortured before an angular guitar blazes away. It is simply awesome and I had the chills when that chord progression suddenly took a detour and the foreboding cello sliced to its conclusion.

Another highlight is 'Wheel' with an accentuated angular riff that is constant with some estranged vocal harmonies. The flugelhorn on this is divine, amidst a backdrop of booming bass and off beat drums. The main thing I am really impressed here is the ghostly, ethereal vocals of Anna Dahlberg who compliments Jan Erik Liljeström beautifully. The lengthy instrumental break is uplifting and multilayered with mellotron and guitar.

'Sad Rain' is the bonus track to the CD that heavily relies on soft mellotron, sounding at times like a flute, very pretty and melancholy. The lyrics are heartfelt bittersweet about walking on a path that never ends: 'and so our time has come, my friend, the child who cries and no-one seems to care, the echoes of the birds are gone, the sky is painted grey, but it's so warm, searching for a light in the darkness, trying to keep your eyes from the dirt, taste the bitter wine of tomorrow, I'm walking on a path that never ends.' Wonderful emotional music that is invigorating and thought provoking.

There seems to be strong recurrent theme on this album about being lost at sea and feeling a sense of isolation and alienation from society, a loss of great magnitude is all pervading, and a sense of hopelessness and reaching out in despair. Yet I could not call it a concept album, as it is more subtle than that but there is no denying the thematic content is linked.

As this is the debut for the band I had reservations about giving a masterpiece status but, hang it, the album is astounding and deserves recognition. It is not often you encounter music at the measure of this calibre, but when you do, it is mesmirising and you cannot get enough of it. I became hooked on the band from this debut and made an effort to systematically get every album. That in itself is a true sign as far as I am concerned to award 5 stars and so I shall, without reservation.

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Posted Friday, April 23, 2010 | Review Permalink
Post/Math Rock Team
3 stars Sweden seemed to be the home of 'retro-prog' during the early 1990s, with this album and the debut of Anglagard. This is the only Anekdoten album I have heard so far and it really does sound a lot like King Crimson. Not just the Wetton-era, which is the most obvious influence, but I can hear traces of Crimson's first three albums as well. The bass is very Wetton sounding, while the Mellotron recalls the first three KC albums. You can hear influence from other groups from time to time (Vemod is taken from a song by Swedish group Kultivator, for example). I don't like the lead vocals too much, but they are done in perfect English with no hint of an accent.

After a symphonic opening section, "Karelia" switches to a Red-era rocker. The guitar playing later gets more jazzy. I like the mix of Mellotron, jazzy drumming and distorted bass over halfway. A very good instrumental which is probably my favourite song on the album. "The Old Man And The Sea" sounds like something from the first two KC albums when the vocals start. Gets more Red-era sounding later. Very Fripp-like guitar near the end. You can listen to "Where Solitude Remains" here on PA. This song seems a bit more folky during the verses. Gets jazzier in the middle, followed by some brief start/stop playing. Very symphonic towards the end.

"Thought In Absence" is a laid-back jazzy song with brushes on the snare drum. The vocals here sound very similar to Greg Lake when he was in KC. Nice electric piano sound over halfway. "The Flow" starts with some weird sounds. After a minute of that goes into a mix of Red-era KC and '80s-era KC. The majority of the song is heavy symphonic prog. Later more Red-era again with some cool cello playing. Gets very '80s KC sounding near the end. "Longing" is an instrumental focused on acoustic guitar and cello. Nice song but nothing outstanding.

"Wheel" is one of the better songs. There is a melody here which gets reprised throughout the song which sounds like one of the songs on Lizard (can't remember which one exactly). I like the mix of male and female vocals here. Some '80s KC interlocking guitars at one point. Great trumpet solo. This song sounds like a cross between Lizard and Red with just the right amount of Discipline. A cool effect at the very end when the sound changes to something recorded on a cheap tape recorder. "Sad Rain" is a bonus track and the longest song. Basically it sounds like a more upbeat "In The Court Of The Crimson King"(the song).

This is alright but I might enjoy Nucleus more. It's more highly regarded and supposedly more original sounding. To me this sounds more like a homage to '70s Crimson than most Neo-Prog sounds like a homage to Gabriel-era Genesis. My favourite Scandinavian prog groups generally have their own unique sound. Good but not essential, 3 stars.

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Posted Wednesday, March 2, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Vemod First of all, this album is not heavy prog. Could hardly get further away from Rush ' Porcupine ' The Mars Volta, and still play prog. Rock. The better choice would be Neo-Eclectic Prog

Vemod means 'a mood of sentimental sadness', as in your lost love is still haunting your soul, and you feel this sweet sadness thinking about good things passed, never to come back. Cant help wonder if it (at least in part) was reffering to the music from days long passed. There is no doubt that Anekdoten was inspired by 70's music, even though they allways sounds like Anekdoten. Vemod was the debut, and this is often where you can expect to find the the closest link to the main inspirators, in this case King Crimson, the link is there, but not enough to make this a Neo-Crims recording. The studio sound on Vemod is a bit 'rough' compared to the sound they would develop later, maby due to the equipment getting better, maby a choice, but it sounds a bit unpolished. The album is good, as a collecters choice, its a must, beeing the debut, one of the 90's prog classics. As a Anekdoten album however, its may not be the best choice to get this one first, its seems like they havent yet fully found there own unik style, that would later make them one of the best prog acts, to make a neo prog. with roots in 70's Crimson, as opposed to those many bands with roots closer to 70's Yes/Genesis. The highlight is the last track Wheel (7:52), (on some editions followed by an 'extra':Sad Rain) A supreeme old style 'Crimson'ish' track, makes my ears flip with pleasure. Sad Rain, as mentioned an edition on some versions, is a 10 min.+ Epic, very closely related to Tracks like 'Epitaph', not very original, but still great. Vemod is a very nice album, that I truely love, but its not the masterpiece. All in all the album deserves a small 4 stars, It's essential, its excellent, I just miss something, that i cant put my fingers on.

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Posted Wednesday, August 10, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Anekdoten's debut album finds them already mastering their chosen style - a style heavily inspired by King Crimson from around the period of Red, with a combination of raging guitar, a jazzy rhythm section and melancholic Mellotron creating an air of nostalgia and yearning on each track. King Crimson fans who seriously miss the Red era will doubtless find it endlessly entertaining, and there's the odd departure into lighter, jazzier territory than Anekdoten would ever revisit which offers a tantalising glimpse of all the directions with Anekdoten could have taken their music in but ultimately chose not to. Plus the cover art is just charming - a delightful throwback to the old Vertigo aesthetic.
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Posted Tuesday, January 17, 2012 | Review Permalink
Italian Prog Specialist
3 stars King Crimson comparisons abound for Anekdoten's debut album Vemod and rather than presenting a dissenting view, I will just join the choir on this one.

Just about everything familiar, alien, loved or loathed from (primarily) ca.-Red era King Crimson can be found on Vemod: keen dynamic awareness and exploitation of the massive power in jumping from the calm to the chaotic in wild abandon, throwing out more minimal atmospheric focus for powerful, musically busy aggression by the flick of a switch along the way. The similarities do of course not end there, but continue all the way down to the sound of the instruments. Along the way you will recognize the unstable, neurotic melodies and slight atonality and chromaticism of Fripp (coupled with the equally familiar angular, uncompromising riffs), the muscular, distorted and dominant bass lines, soaring Mellotron and a mix of forceful and dexterous drumming. Even the moods come across as rehashed: twitchy, neurotic melancholy, sad reflectiveness, a ray of wondrous light in the midst of aching sorrow. Plain old fun if you're into the brooding or dark side of stuff! Take any of those feelings, transport it by a dense, ominous buildup of slightly malevolent sounds and let it explode in a cathartic eruption of frustrated, crashing instrumental thunder.

But it isn't identical. Out goes the violin, in comes the cello. Not the most dramatic of changes, but it definitely brings more fullness to the soundscape. However, the major differences, as I see them, are two. Or possibly three. Because when peaking in intensity, there's a streak of more hard-hitting aggression and speed to the music, making it feel more contemporary metal or heavy rock. It's just a stronger crossover into that world than King Crimson ever tried to accomplish; more riff-driven and direct, rawer and more "honestly" energetic, if that makes sense to you. Some of the grittier parts are sometimes spectacularly heavy, but also rather fast and rhythmically bouncy. Funnily enough, the other main difference I would identify is found in the very opposite end of the music. When in mellower territories, there's a streak of vulnerability and sensitivity to both the clean, precise vocal lines (sometimes even lacking in power) and melodies I don't really associate with King Crimson, something that could be described (perhaps wrongly) as a touch of a more ethereal, introverted indie/alternative-influence. The addition of piano fleshes out these bits and serves as an excellent indicator of the third difference: a will to enrich the arrangements, a search for more melodious fullness ( even mildness) and a decidedly more organic and agile approach to the compositions than the mid-70s-King Crimson, who despite even improvisation can come across as a bit formal and disciplined (perhaps even academical) to this reviewer.

I thoroughly enjoy Vemod, but think the band paid just a bit to much tribute to their apparent heroes here. There is individuality to be sure, but it's a bit underdeveloped and raw at this point, and the band would go on to make more interesting albums later. And sadly, things tend to stay a bit same-old-same-old as well, with songs morphing into each other at a bit too high a rate. This is made even more obvious due to the similarity of mood throughout the album, causing just a bit of listening-fatigue.

A nice addition, a good debut, but far from essential.

3 stars.


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Posted Sunday, June 24, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is another one of those albums that would have been absolutely awesome if it weren't for the vocals!! The instrumentals in this album are awe inspiring and send shivers down any spines. The heavy instrumental segments are the heaviest you can get without actually venturing into Metal, which is quite the achievement. The brooding atmospheric segments are reminiscent of King Crimson's best gentle moments mixed with an extra tinge of terror. Somehow, unfortunately, the vocals manage to ruin it for me. They are incompetent and drag along for way to long, and sounds rather uninspired. That's not to speak for the lyrics, which are pretty decent. If only the vocals were either cut out entirely, this would be an absolute masterpiece!
Report this review (#1191210)
Posted Wednesday, June 11, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars The first thing that strikes you is the evident Crimson-esque atmosphere. They simply took the King Crimson Red-ish sound and started to play with it. After a decade in the eighties when prog was almost extinct when you hear something like this you could not be other than happy. Together with Anglagard they are responsible for the revival of the dark eclectic progressive phenomenon in the nineties.

Even if the word Vemod meaning in Swedish is sadness there are plenty of moments when aggressiveness is unleashed. Except 'Thoughts in Absence' and 'Longing' which are both around 4 minutes slow songs the other are mixing slow cello/mellotron driven with heavy chaotic parts in a fantastic manner. Lyrics are maintaining and even amplifying the melancholic mood.

My impression after several spins is that we have a solid recording which is one of the few responsible in the nineties with reviving some of the best moments of the seventies. Albums as this one seem to be a strong indicator of how advanced and before of their times were King Crimson in the seventies with their incredible and milestone releases. I'm glad that after efforts like this we are still able to hear as of today so many great bands and albums pushing even further progressive rock limits.

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Posted Wednesday, December 31, 2014 | Review Permalink
The Crow
4 stars Vemod is the result of the talent of a bunch of musicians who had the ability to consider the past while achieving to sound actual for their time!

And yes, this album sounds a lot like King Crimson, and sometimes even like Van Der Graaf Generator. But it's also has glimpses of grunge, alternative rock and even punk. Yes! That's what I ask of a progressive band, and Anekdoten delivered in a magnificent way.

Nevertheless, the production of the album is not the best. The drums are a bit too loud in occasions and the vocals are not really good implemented. I think Jan Erik Liljeström is not such a lousy singer as he seems to be in this album. In Nucleus he sounds better, and in posterior releases even better. So, I think that the out of tone segments that we can hear in this album are in part because of the weak production.

But it's all part of the charm of Vemod, I guess.

Karelia starts the album and Anekdoten's career in a great way, with a dark keyboard and a precious mellotron melody. After that a pungent bass appears introducing some guitar melodies very reminiscent to King Crimson, but filtered out by heavy distortion (or punk) which set us undoubtedly in the 90's.

The Old Man and the Sea starts with a schizophrenic riff which leads to another calmer one, imitating the sound of the waves. Just great! And at this moment the vocals appear? And I don't really know if I love the singing or I hate it. After repeatedly hearing this album I find the vocals not so annoying, but I guess that it's an acquired taste. At 3:47 we find an outstanding punk riff which leads to a great progressive section. Just incredible! Shame of the weak singing in this one.

Where solitude remains has a brutal bass line at the beginning, which lead to verses dominated by keyboards, very good despite the mediocre vocals. The chorus is more intense and the great bass appears again. After the chorus Anekdoten show their most psychedelic side, with an outstanding guitar solo. But the singing is just lame? "Taiaiaiaiaiaiam Looost" Just awful.

Thoughts in Absence is a marvelous acoustic song which had a lot of influence through the 90's in my opinion, especially in acts like Opeth or Green Carnation. And the vocals are undoubtedly better in this one! Thanks God. The Flow has a completely atmospheric beginning but after that we can hear another crazy riff and piercing bass flowing, intertwined with great notes of cello and mellotron. The vocals are not good, but at least not so annoying this time. At the end of the song we can hear where Opeth took inspiration to create their characteristic riffs!

Longing is another instrumental composition with precious acoustic guitars and cello. Almost a perfect one! And Wheel is also outstanding, with its melodies which go up and down through a limited scale in attempt to imitate the form of the aforementioned wheel. The Jan Erik Liljeström's vocals are accompanied this time of the Anna Sofi Dahlberg ones, achieving the best vocal interpretation of the album. After a prodigious solo of drums, bass and trumpet we encounter the initial riff again, closing this album properly.

Conclusion: Vemod is an outstanding mixture of piercing bass melodies, tons of mellotron, weak vocals and imaginative guitars in the vein of King Crimson, and a cello (and trumpet) work reminiscent of Van der Graaf Generator. But Anekdoten has the ability to mix this 70's influences with the typical grunge, alternative rock and heavy of the 90's, achieving a unique and very influential sound.

I think a lot of bands, especially in Sweden, took a lot of ideas of Anekdoten and Vemod. So, despite the weak vocals (maybe given by the sub-par production), I think this album is an excellent addition to every prog-music collection.

Best Tracks: Karelia, The Old Man and the Sea, Longing, Wheel.

My rating: ****

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Posted Sunday, August 13, 2017 | Review Permalink
5 stars What will be the status of Anekdoten in the year 2025, 10 years after their latest (or last) effort entitled Until All The Ghosts Are Gone. Will this Swedish prog formation be remembered as legendary Nineties Skandinavian progressive rock? Or as a very good prog band, but too derivative? If I take a look at this website I notice that Anekdoten was a highly acclaimed band between 1993 and 2015 (all albums around a 4 star rating) but then Anekdoten gradually turned from highly acclaimed into pretty overlooked. The reason for this intro is the fact that I recently watched Anekdoten live footage on the Internet, and again I got very excited about their music. I decided to play their praised debut CD entitled Vemod, this title is close to the Dutch word 'weemoed' and also means 'melancholical mood', a strong indication for the Anekdoten sound.

1. Karelia - instrumental (7:20) : What a legendary Mellotron intro, especially when the violin section joins, goose bumps! Then the music explodes with a propulsive, powerful and dynamic rhythm-section and fiery electric guitar, early King Crimson rules, very exciting. The music frequently alternates between dreamy and bombastic, this creates a lot of tension in the music, embellished with wonderful work on the Mellotron and the cello by Anna Sofi Dahlberg.

2. The Old Man and the Sea (7:50) : More KC inspired prog, the drummer shines with his inventive play and assorted percussion, and the bass growls, very powerful. The English vocals sound inspired, the focus is on emotion, from dark to fragile, but at some moments the singer lacks a bit power. The bombastic and heavy outbursts are awesome, with Mellotron choirs, 'Red meest ITCOTCK', how thrilling! The mellow parts delivers subtle piano work, again creating lots of tension.

3. Where Solitude Remains (7:20) : A heavy and bombastic atmosphere, fuelled by an agressive bass sound and embellished with Mellotron layers, this is trademark Anekdoten. Then dreamy with Mellotron flutes and melancholical vocals. Halfway a great build-up with howling guitar and Mellotron floods, supported by an awesome rhythm-section!

4. Thought in Absence (4:10) : The music turns into mellow featuring a jazzy guitar and fragile vocals. In the end subtle piano and gentle electric guitar runs, simply wonderful.

5. The Flow (6:58) : An intro with sound effects (Genesis with The Waiting Room comes to my mind), then biting Fripperian guitar, a thunderous rhythm-section and Mellotron flutes. The distinctive melancholical vocals match with the dark and compelling atmosphere, topped with majestic Mellotron violins and dark cello work. In a propulsive and heavy, catchy beat we can enjoy a distorted cello solo and Fripperian guitar runs, fiery and biting, like a musical chainsaw! The final part is bombastic with a heavy cello solo, an adventurous part.

6. Longing (4:50) : Another mellow track, with tender classical guitar and cello, evoking a very melancholical atmosphere. To me it sounds like sublimating deep sorrow, very emotional. And what a huge contrast with all those heavy, bombastic and agressive parts on this album.

7. Wheel (7:52) : A bombastic Mellotron drenched atmosphere with powerful drum beats, then mellow with cello and a bit high pitched duo vocals (male and female), pretty hypnotizing and dark. Halfway agressive work on guitar and bass, blended with Fripperian guitar, powerful bass lines and a flugelhorn solo, like the more avant-garde side of King Crimson. The music explodes again with biting electric guitar (overdubs) and a powerful and dynamic rhythm-section, and in the end the flugelhorn, a strong musical idea.

8. Sad Rain (10:14) : I bought the Japanese 1995 CD version because of this mindblowing bonus track, to me it sounds as Anekdoten its dark answer to the titletrack of ITCOTCK. The music starts with a slow and bombastic atmosphere with wonderful Mellotron violins, then dreamy with twanging guitar and tender vocals. The exciting contrast between the dreamy and bombastic parts is the perfect formula in this epic composition, topped by majestic Mellotron violins and flutes. Halfway the music gradually culminates in a very compelling 'grand finale' featuring the Mighty Tron in its full splendor, wow, this is Prog Heaven, goose bumps!

I have always had mixed feelings about Classic Prog band King Crimson: I love their melodic and harmonic work, and I dislike their more experimental and avant-garde compositions. Well, Anekdoten started as a King Crimson cover band, and I am very pleased that on this first effort they have blended the melodic and harmonic elements of the more mellow King Crimson album ITCOTCK and the more agressive and dark album Red. This has resulted in very dynamic, contrasting and compelling music, topped with wonderful work on the unsurpassed Mellotron. So a big hand for Anekdoten their debut album, for me a masterpiece of Nineties Skandinavian prog, along with the first albums of contemporaries Landberk and Anglagard!

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Posted Thursday, March 14, 2019 | Review Permalink
4 stars Together with Änglagard, Anekdoten are the most famous Swedish bearer of the King-Crimson message in the 90's.

In comparison to Änglagard, Anektoden is less melodic, melancholic and stiffer, in other words, slightly different. It is also more accessible than Änglagard, in my opinion.

Vemod is one of their best albums if not the best one. A good balance of instrumental and rarely sung music as well as presence of violin and mellotron bring the KC authenticity.

"Karelia" is a trademark instrumental combining heavy and mellow moments having a memorable dark mellotron intro. Delicate guitar lines belong to another highlight. "Old man and the sea" is in its composition a complex piece very much resembling King Crimson style. "Where solitude remains" has a killing melancholic solo in the end and 3/4 rhythm pattern in the beginning. The mellow "Thoughts in absence" showcases flute, jazz guitar licks and synths, something that Opeth could be doing in 20 years on. "The flow" is not surprisingly focusing mainly on the music flow rather than melody or arrangements until the 5th minute when a very progressive experimental dynamic section kicks in. "Longing" has a pastoral and broken feeling that makes it the most peaceful track on the album.

The album "Vemod" is characterised by mature composition and playing and will be a welcome addition to any prog music collection.

Report this review (#2240206)
Posted Saturday, July 27, 2019 | Review Permalink

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