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5 stars I cannot describe Anglagards music , unique, eclectic , but with some passages which remind me of King Crimson cirq 1973 and National Health. Add to this some flute. The band apparently did not rate their playing on this release , but it sounds quite majestic . highly recommended
Report this review (#799)
Posted Saturday, January 24, 2004 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
3 stars 3.5 stars really!!!

I wish I could stay awake to hear the end of this . Something wrong with the sound and somehow the band does not manage to reproduce here the excitement of the original recordings. I saw them live last summer in Verviers and although un-rehearsed , they were taken by surprise by the reaction of the public and are re-thinking of re-forming for more albums . They presented us that night with two new-old originals and they sounded quite good .

Report this review (#800)
Posted Thursday, February 5, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is the first Anglagard cd I have heard and I am VERY impressed. The music here is amazing and heavily classically influenced, the liner notes said the band was not happy with the performance and I have not heard the studio versions of these songs but they sound great to me.
Report this review (#70170)
Posted Tuesday, February 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Let's spend five minutes to review the posthumous release of the Swedish band Änglagärd. As you all know, the band unfortunately only released two albums, those being Hybris and Epilog, while the French based Musea label released the highlights of Progfest '94 on a double CD including Änglagärd favourite "Hostsejd" ("Rite Of Fall"). The band's performance on that memorable 5th November '94 finally became their very last gig together, so afterwards they thought it might be nice to put the entire concert on disc. In the beginning, the band and Musea thought of releasing this as a double CD, featuring the entire concert plus an unreleased composition of around 15 minutes.

Around that time, some of the Änglagärd members were active in the band Pineforest Crunch and it looked as if that unreleased 15-minute track would be used for this band. Due to this fact, the record company no longer found it interesting to release 2 CDs, so it was decided to limit the live recording to a single release. Buried Alive (Levande Begravd) includes all of the Hybrid album plus two tracks from Epilog, which means that the early fans are left a little in the dark. As "Hostsejd" has already been included on the Progfest '94 album it was decided to omit it from the Buried Alive album.

Sometimes the sound sits way in the back, such as the piano in "Jordrök'. When you turn up the volume, the bass bangs out of your speakers whilst the next passage is again too silent. The group themselves admit that this was one of their worst concerts ever because of the many mistakes they made. Meanwhile drummer Mattias Olsson and keyboard player Thomas Johnsson played in the Swedish version of Jesus Christ Superstar. The pair also got involved in the Krake-project where they played music in the vein of Swedish jazz pianist Jan Johansson. Guitarist Jonas Engdegard worked as an engineer for local bands in Stockholm. Flutist Anna Holmgren studied music in Katrineholm. Bass player Johan Högberg worked part-time at a record shop, whilst guitarist Tord Lindman went to India for four months and then went on to work for a Swedish ferry company.

Mattias Olsson became a member of Pineforest Crunch, whose debut album Make Believe sold in excess of 50,000 copies in Sweden alone, bringing them enough acclaim to be billed at the world famous Roskilde festival (remember the people killed during the Pearl Jam concert there in 2000?!). Mattias went on to record Ex Tenebris with White Willow from Norway. Then there's also his side project Reminders, for which he was finishing a demo featuring seven semi-acoustic songs reminiscent of American Music Club, Tom Petty with a dash of R.E.M. The most important activity was the recording of the second Pineforest Crunch album with the working title of Marrakesh. The band was looking for the ideal producers, having been declined by King Crimson producer David Bottrill. This means that Brian Eno, Daniel Lanois and Mitchell Froom were still in the cards. Pineforest Crunch also added the sound of a real Mellotron, which means the new material can be found in the region of Pink Floyd, almost country-styled popsongs and ambient sounding Camel-like tunes.

Report this review (#108295)
Posted Sunday, January 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars At the end of this gig - the last Änglagård would play for some time (but not forever) - the band left the stage in tears. After reading the previous statement, you may be thinking, "Well it was the end of a brief, but impressive career. No wonder they were crying - it was an emotional time." However, the cause for tears was not the emotion of their last concert, but the fact that they had all left the stage with an incredible amount of disapointment and regret for not playing better than they had. Thomas Johnson (Piano, Keyboards, et cetera) had afterward said, "How can an entire crowd be ironic at the same time?" I think that Johnson is overstating the shortcomings of this album, but at the same time, it was quite disapointing for many reasons.

The faults were very numbered. There's sloppy guitar work, the drumming isn't quite as good as the studio versions' (but also, the percussion - as opposed to drums - is great). The crowd is annoying at times, most of the songs sound too similar to the studio version to be worth listening to often. Volume is all over the place. Here's an example of that last one: Jordök's solemn and intriguing piano opening is so quiet that you nearly have to crank the volume of your stereo to hear it properly, and then (unexpectantly for those who are not overly familiar with Änglagård's Hybris album) blaring bass and drums explode. There also a few minor timing issues, but that is easily overlooked. The singing is also very poor compared to the studio versions', which wasn't fantastic to begin with.

Of course, Änglagård's music is just so well written that this album isn't really a complete waste of time. The studio versions are all much better: smoother, more fluent, and have better sound quality. However, to that crazy Änglagård fan among us, who absolutely MUST own ever single artifact that has anything to do with Änglagård, to you I say: this album will make you very glad. To all those who concider themselves casual fans of Änglagård, perhaps you need not buy this album straight away, but do not think of it as terrible by any means. It's simply not Änglagård's best.

Report this review (#116590)
Posted Wednesday, March 28, 2007 | Review Permalink
Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars I may be in the minority who feel Änglagård’s post-mortem live album isn’t quite up to the standards of their studio recordings. These guys on a bad day were far better than a great many more successful prog bands of the nineties, but not really on the strength of this recording.

One of the things that has attracted me most to Änglagård’s music is their ability to seamlessly blend each of the musician’s output into a cohesive whole that almost sounds as if the players have one collective brain. I don’t hear that as much here. Partly of course is because this is a live album, and there’s only so much that can be done to mask little imperfections and slight timing or tuning flubs.

But that’s not really the problem here; it’s more that there just doesn’t seem to be the level of engagement that their studio records have. On “Hostsejd” for example, the exquisite timing (including the delays between tempo shifts) seems more rushed in a live setting, with the result of not only shaving a minute and a half off the song but also in leaving an impression of a perfunctory performance instead of one where the band is fully engaged with their audience.

“Jördrok” is a little better on the mood and timing, and this is one of my favorite Änglagård songs anyway so I can appreciate its inclusion on their live album. But the vocals on “Vandringar I Vilsenhet” are a bit strained (and frankly Anna Holmgren sounds just a little bored to me), plus the keyboardist seems to be laboring to keep in synch with the percussion and guitar, which makes for a slightly off- kilter rendition of this ‘Hybris’ epic.

And I don’t know what’s going on with “Kung Bore”, but the complex and impressive keyboard/guitar interplay that comes midway through this song on ‘Hybris’ sounds off here on the live album. I’m not sure if it’s a timing or a tuning issue, but while the studio version is a brilliant case of rendering order from chaos, this version sounds more like herding cats. Maybe that’s a bit harsh, but the whole second half of the song on this live release just doesn’t work quite right.

This is the easiest Änglagård CD to find, so if it is the only one you can get your hands on then you should, as this is a band with an impressive penchant for drama and complex music (particularly when sticking to what they do best – instrumentals). But I can’t say it ranks with their two studio albums in terms of technical quality or energy. The live version of “Jördrok” is well-recommended, but otherwise I’ll say this is a good, but not great, live recording. Three stars.


Report this review (#176941)
Posted Tuesday, July 15, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars After two studio albums, there was fortunately a live recording of the work of this rather unusual Swedish band.

There are a lot more minutes of music from their first album here (which is quite alright IMO). I have to confess that "Änglagård" pleased me more during their debut album than throughout "Eplilog"...

This live set is just as accurate as it could be. Faithful performance of their studio tracks for sure. The music played doesn't need or doesn't feel like being rendered with lots of feeling or texture. Just a good play back of great songs. Period.

A northern concept of a concert: one plays as good as one can do; tracks as the crowd is expecting and that's it. Interaction with the audience are left to a minimum as if the band were afraid of the people in front of them.

This being said, this album might well be a good entry to the band. One gets most of their two studio albums (over than an hour of music) for a decent price. But don't expect a masterpiece here. It's just a good live album from a good band.

No extra feeling, no added emotion, no fabulous solo, no fantastic gig. No nothing as such: plain rendition of good tracks. Totally Crimson oriented, as the original tracks. I guess that most of the people having listened to this live set were just waiting for this. No surprise.

I have to say that "Änglagård" deserves your attention: they opened a paved way for several bands from these cold countries and as such deserved a medal in the prog history. But IMHHO, it is only a bronze one.

Three stars for this burial.

Report this review (#179643)
Posted Friday, August 15, 2008 | Review Permalink
Avant/Cross/Neo/Post Teams
4 stars ANGLAGARD...immediately they came out in front of us and immediately passed away...suggest this live work on Progfest '94 was their life itself.

Unfortunately, my experience for ANGLAGARD is poor and I've heard only Jordrök and Sista Somrar of all their songs recorded in the studio. Their studio albums are not now available and the used ones are very expensive for us to get. Why? Needless to say. :) As above mentioned, they formed in 1992, released two great studio albums and a live album, and disappeared suddenly in 1995. With only three-year activities, it's very rare such a lot of traditions they've born and made. We, progressive rock freaks, have many things to discuss about them.

Anyway, back to the review of this live we can listen to their live-performance on Progfest '94. After releasing the second album Epilog, I guess they should feel their limitation on activity and progressiveness. But believe me! What a lively play and performance! Basically their style was aggressive and eccentric guitar and rhythm section with gentle and romantic melodies including soft and cheerful keyboard, mellotron and flute sound. To be static and to be dynamic, explosion and calmness, can cross and mix with each other and there is well-balanced tune and sound.

Exactly in the live performance we can't expect the sound of perfectness and accuracy such as on studio work, but I'm sure it's really, really enough for us to feel the atmosphere and be moved and absorbed into their ability and greatness. Not overevaluatin'.

No, no, I wanna say they are not buried but alive in our mind!

Report this review (#200641)
Posted Monday, January 26, 2009 | Review Permalink
Eetu Pellonpaa
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars As re-thinking of this record now later on year 2014, I am happy the band was not buried alive to their first pioneering phase, but arose to the schizoid 21st century with grandiosity of a Phoenix's wings. As a adorer of live concerts - especially poor audience tapings from the 60's - I hoped this album would have pleased me more than their canonized two first studio albums, which however failed in my own opinion to achieve artistic goals they reached. The compositions themselves appeared to my ears having too much effort on difficult timechanges and melodic thematics, resulting to a too messy aural painting without harmony. Some problems with timings and precision does not seem to be an issue for me; as an example some Yes recorings I have heard from early/mid 1970's were in some instances much more interesting than carefully produced studio epics. I believe this album is recommendable for anybody who got enthusiatic about "Hybris" and "Epilog" albums or attended the gigs. My own CD was tossed after this re-listening session in bleary envelopes of yesterday, whilst anticipating the vinyl release of "Prog på Svenska - Live in Japan".
Report this review (#201810)
Posted Thursday, February 5, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal and Heavy Prog Teams
4 stars Nothing buried except for the crowd

This is not a typical live record; I would not really expect it to be due to the nature of this band. ANGLAGARD's Buried Alive is a strange live album in many aspects. With only two studio albums in their discography, this ''compilation'' could not have been something less than representative; in fact the balance leans towards their debut which has been characterised as one of the best post-1990 symphonic prog albums. Timewise, roughly 2/3 of the music are tracks from Hybris.

Buried Alive is actually the first album of the band I have really delved into - I still need to explore the other two which I own - and my judgement will be based on this fact. To my knowledge, the tracks in this live record are pretty close to what you would hear in the studio versions: similar arrangements, similar atmosphere and of course similar complexity and level of virtuosity. The folk element is dominant and it's the one that makes the difference.

In case you have been unfamiliar with ANGLAGARD's music, it is usually a mixture of (extremely at times) technical/complex symphonic prog filled with folk and epic influences; the music radiates some obscure magic that is difficult to describe. Another element that differentiates them from bands in the same genre is this strong Scandinavian atmosphere, a sort of music that derives from the woods... The vocals sung in Swedish add to this obscure atmosphere. The fact that the complex parts of their music interchange with slower, melodic, enchanting melodies is the feature that intrigues me the most.

On the negative side, the production of the recording is mediocre with some 'ups and downs' in the sound and the volume of the output. The crowd can not be described as enthusiastic and is hardly noticeable throughout the recording apart from some applause at the beginning and ending of the songs. To be honest though, if I was watching an ANGLAGARD show I can see myself having the same response; not because I don't like the music, but because I would be absorbed in it and try to understand it.

Kung Bore, the track that concludes the album, is probably my favourite because of its unique references to some extremely interesting passages (which coincidentally or not remind me of my own country's folk music).

Musically the whole recording is at high standards and I would have no doubt to recommend it to friends of prog rock as a first experience with the band. For those who own the studio albums it might not be essential. However, my criteria in this case are different...

Report this review (#224248)
Posted Thursday, July 2, 2009 | Review Permalink
Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
3 stars This is a good, but not great live album. I strongly prefer this band's studio albums. But this one is worth a listen once in a while.

I agree with other reviewers here that the recording quality is a bit off. At times it sounds like the microphones were in the audience. This is most noticable, and annoying, during Prolog, where audience members talking to each other can be heard until the full band joins in for Jordrök.

The performance, however, is exeptional. And since this band was only around long enough to record two studio albums, I suppose we should be grateful that they were able to record at least one live album, despite the recording issues.

Report this review (#238470)
Posted Thursday, September 10, 2009 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Prog Specialist
4 stars ÄNGLAGÅRD was like a bright star, they shined from "Hybris" (1992), but burned too soon, after "Epilog" (1993) and even when their members were in the late teens or early twenties, they had vanished in the air, but there was still one more chapter to be written, the band had to release a live album, so in 1994 their Progfest presentation was recorded and released as "Buried Alive" in 1995.

Many people criticize this album because it doesn't sound as their two previous and spectacular releases,but they don't seem to understand that the band was practically retired and making a tremendous effort to play without the help of overdubbing, being that their music because of it's complexity can't be reproduced on stage without loosing some of the magic. As a fact in a presentation I saw on video, the had to ask Par Lindh to help them with the double keyboards required to reproduce what was done on studio.

There's another problem that fans often ignore. ÄNGLAGÅRD'S music is so complex an technical that doesn't suit perfectly on stage where yo need more improvisation and emotion instead of surgical precision, that is what the band gives us.

But lets be honest, despite the limitations and obvious lack of emotion of a band that was thinking in an early retirement, they give an excellent concert, with the usual accuracy and quality in their performance, plus gives us a chance to listen them on stage.

I won't review the tracks as I normally do, because the correct analysis was done on "Hybris" and "Epilog", the natural environment in which this material must be listened.

So, if you are a newbie, start with the studio releases, but for any fan of the band, Buried Alive is an excellent addition that deserves no less than 4 stars.

Report this review (#243507)
Posted Wednesday, October 7, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
3 stars I think that it's great that Änglagård recorded and released a live album featuring material from their two studio albums and that it has a strong emphasis on the debut release, but all the surrounding details just don't appeal as much to me.

Let's be honest, the sound production of this live album is far from decent. It actually sometimes sounds more like a bootleg that was recorded by some audience member since there is no detail in the sound channeling and that's a huge letdown for me. I get especially irritated when I can't hear a specific guitar/bass fill that I've been so accustomed to on the original studio recordings but that can, in some cases, have less to do with the recording's sound and more with the slightly new arrangements that the members perform on these compositions.

For all these reasons, Buried Alive doesn't really become the excellent retrospective of the Änglagård material that I would have wanted it to be and therefore it can hardly be recommended to anyone who is new to the band. The already established fan base should find these performances a nice change of pace from the compositions that they've been accustomed to but I doubt that anyone would ever prefer any of these renditions of the tracks over their original takes. For most part, these performances are very true to their originals and the occasions where they differ are usually done so for the worse.

Even if Buried Alive is far from an excellent live recording I still have a difficult time dismissing it as merely a fans only release. It does feature all of the original four tracks off Hybris and the tracks from Epilog can pretty much be seen as a bonus for everyone who decides to check this album out after only hearing the debut release. I've actually been a bit more inclined to hearing this album than Epilog coming through the speakers in my household, over the last few years, which I guess says pretty much all you need to know about Buried Alive!

**** star songs: Prolog (2:20) Jordrök (11:45) Höstsejd (14:03) Vandringar I Vilsenhet (13:07) Kung Bore (12:34)

*** star songs: Ifrån Klarhet Till Klarhet (9:04) Sista Somrar (9:22)

Report this review (#306484)
Posted Sunday, October 24, 2010 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars I held off getting this for years because of the complaints about the sound quality. What the heck ! It sounds freaking amazing ! Now i'll admit that when compared to their studio albums it's not nearly as good, but you have to understand that no other band were as worried about doing everything perfect as ANGLAGARD. So yes their studio albums weren't released until they were flawless. Unfortunately live albums aren't. The band wasn't happy with their performance here but I guarantee you that they have never done a concert where they were satified with the results.This concert (ProgFest 1994) was actually performed after the band had already broken up, but they wanted to (or had to) fulfill their obligations. Some amazing pictures in the liner notes including one of a youthful Greg Walker who was instrumental in bringing these guys to America the first time in 1993 I believe. Listening to this album is humbling. I am just so in love with their sound that is so complex and melancholic.The upfront bass and storms of mellotron make me weak in the knees. All of "Hybris" is on here and most of "Epilog". So only 3 songs are missing which translates into just 13 minutes of music missing from their two studio albums.

"Prolog" is simply gorgeous with those mellotron flutes. "Jordrok" opens with piano as the mellotron rolls in. It kicks in with power before 1 1/2 minutes. Killer sound ! Love the bass and guitar here. A calm after 3 1/2 minutes. A beautiful section with flute and acoustic guitar. It kicks back in at 6 minutes as it continues to shift back and forth. "Hostsejd" has some chunky bass early before it settles down with flute and keys 2 1/2 minutes in. It kicks back in quickly. So good.The contrasts between the pastoral and powerful continue.The mellotron is amazing after 6 minutes. Great sound 10 minutes in too. It settles then builds with mellotron 12 minutes in.This is insane !

"Ifran Klarhet Till Klarhet" has an interesting intro then it kicks in after a minute. It settles with vocals a minute later.The mellotron is moving. It kicks back in at 5 1/2 minutes then settles with flute and cymbals. It's heavy again. Incredible ! Love the growly bass with mellotron to end it. "Vandringar I Vilsenhet" is laid back to start then it starts to build 2 1/2 minutes in. It settles back a minute later.The vocals arrive 4 minutes in then it kicks in. Man this is good as it winds along shifting and changing. "Sista Somrar" is intricate early on. A calm after 2 1/2 minutes then it picks up as contrasts continue. Lots of mellotron here.

"King Bore" like many of these tracks contrasts the beauty and anger of music. Check out the bass 2 1/2 minutes in. It kicks back in at 6 1/2 minutes. How good is this ! Spoken words 8 1/2 minutes in then it turns powerful with a flood of mellotron. Not worthy !

4.5 stars and a must for ANGLAGARD fans.

Report this review (#422028)
Posted Thursday, March 24, 2011 | Review Permalink

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