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Wobbler Afterglow album cover
3.84 | 418 ratings | 35 reviews | 25% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2009

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Haywain (0:55)
2. Imperial Winter White (15:02)
3. Interlude (2:32)
4. In Taberna (13:10)
5. Armoury (3:00)

Total Time 34:39

Line-up / Musicians

- Tony Johannessen / vocals
- Morten Andreas Eriksen / electric & acoustic guitars
- Lars Fredrik Frĝislie / piano, Mellotron, Hammond C3, synths (Minimoog, ARP Pro Soloist & Axxe, Solina String Ensemble, Stylophone), Hohner clavinet, electric pianos (Rhodes MKII, Elkapiano 88, Roland EP-10), vocals, producer
- Kristian Karl Hultgren / acoustic & electric basses
- Martin Nordrum Kneppen / drums & percussion, crumhorn, recorders

- Sigrun Eng / cello
- Aage Moltke Schou / percussion, glockenspiel, vibes

Releases information

Artwork: Lars Fredrik Frĝislie

LP Pancromatic ‎- PLP 2003 (2009, Norway) Limited Ed.
LP Pancromatic - PLP 2003 (2016, Norway) Remixed by Lars Fredrik Frĝislie

CD Termo Records ‎- TERMOCD 003 (2009, Norway)

Thanks to Desoc for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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WOBBLER Afterglow ratings distribution

(418 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(25%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(51%)
Good, but non-essential (20%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

WOBBLER Afterglow reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Menswear
5 stars The Troubadours are back!

And I think I speak for everyone when I say 'Uzzah!' and other interjections resuming joy and happiness. No, Wobbler didn't had a quick fling with Ye Olde Progressive Rock, this album's the solid proof. They came back! (little tears at the eyes)

Frankly, the sound is even better, more bombastic and still has that medieval/ analog/ Rickenbaker Bass feeling we all know and love. The first time I listened to it, I immediately felt the excitement I had with the first record. I'm even risking myself to say that this one, being shorter, is more coherent and lacking filling material. For fans of Gentle Giant and Harmonium, this is heaven wrapped in candy paper!

Okay it's shorter, but what do you want? At least it's 33 EXCELLENT minutes!

I'm so excited, and I just can't hide it.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars The liner notes state the music and lyrics were made by WOBBLER in 1999. If I had to compare this music to anyone else's music it would be ANGLAGARD. This is at times powerful with plenty of vintage keyboards, but there are many pastoral sections in contrast to the bombast. Lots of time and mood shifts throughout.

"The Haywain" is a short flute led intro track. "Imperial Winter White" is where things get interesting. It starts out powerful and uptempo bringing ANGLAGARD to mind. More bottom end is added a minute in. A calm before 2 minutes and I really like the sound that follows with mellotron.The tempo and mood continues to change. More mellotron before 4 minutes and later at 6 1/2 minutes. Vocals a minute later. Organ leads the way before 9 1/2 minutes. Passionate vocals return before 11 1/2 minutes. A calm 13 minutes in with a powerful soundscape to follow like earlier in the song.

"Interlude" is a short 2 1/2 minute instrumental of acoustic bass and double bass. "In Taberna" has this amazing uptempo sound to open. It settles with mellotron a minute in. It kicks back in as the tempo continues to shift. The mellotron 6 1/2 minutes in is impressive.Violin a minute later and flute a minute after that. Organ and a powerful sound 10 minutes in. "Armoury" is led by flute and organ early, it calms down 2 1/2 minutes in.

The jury is still out with me as to which album is better "Afterglow" or "Hinterland", although right now I favour the latter probably because I know it better. Easily 4 stars.

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Wobbler's 2009 release "Afterglow" is short but full of rich sonorities; orthodox progressive in a retro framework, this is the best description for the musical input that Wobbler aims at. The album's starting point is a surprising mediaeval intro that lasts less than 1 minute ? the marriage of recorder and hand drums that sustains 'The Haywain' sets a lovely pastoral feel right before the arrival of the pompous progressive tour-de-force 'Imperial Winter White' that fills one quarter of an hour. Its initial passages, which include church organ-synthesizer washes and a stylish Hammond organ solo, are certainly quite frantic throughout the solid retro display. Later on, the mood softens a little with the use of gentle keyboards and flute on a semi-slow tempo. In this way, a new sequence of varied motifs linked into each other, with the contrast between harder and kinder passages being elegantly handled. It is only when the band is about to reach the 7 ½ minute mark that the sung part begins, but lyrics don't take too long to be sung. The most notable thing in this track's second half is the groovy jam dominated by the clavinet cadences and the agile rhythm duo ? the Gentle Giant thing is somewhat evident. The sung section is reprised on a more explicit note, in this way building up the catapult for the powerful motif that sets a sense of grayish darkness in the air before the exulting climax. This track is really a retro- prog lover's paradise, especially the sort of autumnal retro-prog that is so common among Scandinavian names. 'Interlude' is exactly what the title alludes to: an interlude, and again, a mediaeval one, only this time it is delivered by a duet of acoustic guitar and string bass. There is some Anthony Phillips going on here, but mostly it reminds me of their veteran fellow band Ragnarök. The circle flows on with the album's second epic, 'In Taberna'. If the previous album and the preceding epic had left one ounce of doubt about it, there is no hesitation concerning the Anglagard archetype in Wobbler's sound and creativity when you listen to 'In Taberna'. Of course, it is also clear that Wobbler has a more pronounced tendency to elaborate pomposity and bombast than Anglagard or Sinkadus, who used t rely more prominently on eerie moods and spectral density. Wobbler is related to a harsher- sounding band, White Willow, and it shows. The inclusion of string ensemble arrangements in some passages adds a source of melancholy and distinction to the overall instrumentation. There is a moment of special magic when the violin is approaching the beautiful end of its solo while the mellotron rushes in with colorful power, yet not getting overwhelming or anything. The track's last minutes are focused on a majestic escalade properly led by the keyboard work and nurtured by the other instruments. 'Armoury' is the third and last mediaeval brief piece, a beautiful epilogue that brings back memories of Gryphon. Although it is not for the last minute, which is devoted to a psychedelic exploration on pipe organ and synth (something like the spacey side of Wakeman in his "No Earthly Connection" album).
Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars I quite liked the debut album from this Nordic band (four stars I rated), and I was expecting their follow-up with lots of enthusiasm.

I can't say that the music is disappointing (far from it), but to release new mixes of demos as well as ten years old material is not quite revolutionary to say the least. And the final result lasts for less then thirty-five (yes 35) minutes. And to top all this: four years have passed since their first release!

What I don't like either is the comments made by the band about their upcoming third album: "it will have 6 songs - about 45/50 minutes - though we were thinking of releasing an album even shorter than Afterglow just for the heck of it". This is just a poor way to try to show some sense of "humour". Sorry guys, but I don't join.

About the music from "Afterglow". This EP is fully in the vein of the Nordic and great scene. Although still derivative, the music is much more concentrated on the Crimson atmosphere than their "Hinterland" debut which was borrowing to a whole range of prog giants.

There are still inevitable "Genesis" oriented vocals (which was not the case in their debut) during the first true song: "Imperial Winter White". The band could avoid the trap in "Hinterland" but apparently not here?

The second song is "In Taberna" which is quite elegant: superb mellotron, great and melodic fluting and some sort of the Nordic coldness are indeed great ingredients. You can add some ELP spices, and you got it all. Actually, nothing really new under the sun. Pleasant for sure. But conventional.

The other three short pieces are really not worth (especially "Interlude"). An EP, no more?

The music played is good, even if the band couldn't show a lot of progress (which is normal since none of these tracks is truly new material) but I don't like the attitude of the band. They'd better concentrate to built a decent website to communicate rather than an old looking static and boring page (being their own website or their "myspace" one).

Three stars.

Review by Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Wobbler is known for lengthy and verbose instrumental passages, the amalgamation of many classic progressive rock sounds and styles, and mediocre vocals. This description is largely accurate for their second release, which, interestingly enough for a sophomore album, consists, as I understand, of material created somewhere around a decade ago. Now while I am generally in favor of artists cutting their albums down instead of publishing every song they wrote during their sessions, this album is ludicrously short by today's standards. Then there's the matter of the arrangements themselves: It really seems like the band should have taken more time to make more coherent tracks rather than fuse together a variety of bits and pieces into two long tracks. "Hinterland" was a tad tough to digest (it is, after all, nearly half an hour long), but somehow it was easy to follow and therefore appreciate. The music here, as expected, is a thick menagerie of nearly every conceivable traditional symphonic progressive rock instrument: Guitars, violin, organ, Mellotron, and much more.

"The Haywain" The album opens with a short piece played on harpsichord and flute.

"Imperial Winter White" The first of two extended tracks that essentially make up the album, this piece has a dark, heavy introduction much in the vein of "Machine Messiah" by Yes. Heavy symphonic progressive rock thunders forward throughout this song. Unexpectedly, a gentle acoustic guitar section ensues, but it is short-lived, as more twisted tapestries of electric guitar, Mellotron, synthesizer, bass, drums, and organ take over once again. The first voice isn't heard until over seven minutes in, and that department hasn't improved any since Hinterland (in fact, I think they are worse here, since they are overly dramatic). It's strange that there are vocals at all, since this whole album is instrumental save for the few lines sung on this track. The bass work stands out in many parts, and the organ, which was noticeably underused for the first half of the track (at least compared to the previous album), gets a respectable solo. As I hinted at in my opening paragraph, this song could have benefited from some thoughtful retooling, or even being split up into several shorter, more easily absorbed pieces.

"Interlude" The title says it all- this is a place for the listener to catch his breath, since it consists of just an acoustic guitar and bass.

"In Taberna" Now it's back to frantic symphonic rock, full of manifold keyboard instruments. Overall, I think this is a prime example of the pitfalls of "trying too hard to be prog," if that makes any sense. Sure the music constantly progresses, but without any themes, anchors, or noteworthy climaxes, this piece is essentially background music (Muzak, if you will) for progressive rock lovers. I think it's fair to say that this is true about the entire album, but not more so than it is true about this giant chimera of an instrumental.

"Armoury" After a mid-tempo Medieval romp, a church organ and synthesizer conclude the brief album.

Review by Prog-jester
3 stars Hate to step in line with my fellow collabs, but I'm disappointed as well with WOBBLER's low activity. I understand the whole situation for any Prog musician today (I'm a musician myself!), music doesn't bring money, only takes it away, and time too (for rehearsals, live shows, recording). But seriously, an old demo, a new instrumental and few introductions? An album? Rather an EP.

I also have some minor complaints on the material itself - it's the same way ANGLAGARDic enjoyable Scandinavian Prog, but it has COMPLETELY NOTHING NEW to offer, so go search for experiments elsewhere. What you get here is vintage sound, complex structures, high musicianship level and some nice melodies here and then. Don't expect too much and you'll be satisfyed, I guess.

Review by CCVP
5 stars When less is equal to more

I know this fantastic band from Norway, called Wobbler, for some time now. A year or two ago I was able to put my hands in their acclaimed debut album and, despite enjoying quite a bit the amazing voyage through the Hinterland, that album didn't seem quite right. I mean, the music was all very good and had THAT vintage sound that we all love, but somehow it didn't do the trick because, in the middle of those amazing epics, the band apparently lost their focus, due to the big amount of ideas bursting out of nowhere, and that made two things happen: 1 - sometimes they just played things that were completely out of place / that had nothing to do with the music's direction at that point ; and 2 - the songs did not ended well / the endings were not good (being the prime example of that the ending of the song Hinterland).

Four years after the release of their debut, the band presents us an album that is roughly the size of Hinterland (the song, I mean), if you put the minor acts (the introduction, the intermezzo and the conclusion) aside and it sounds much better than their bloated debut. Why? Because it has the focus the debut lacked. Despite that, many people (prog reviewers and collabs included) were unhappy about the length of the album to the point that some even call it an EP. I'm not even going to speak about how illogical it is to judge the quality of music by saying how much of it there is, since some people actually prefer quantity over quality, but this I will say: is it just a coincidence that a considerable part of the prog classics clock under 40 minutes? I think not. Hell, PFM's Storia di Minuto and Per un Amico and Le Orme's Collage, Uomo de Pezza and Felona e Sorona are even shorter albums than this one and yet NOBODY seems to care about that. I really expected more from those people than to use such an unjustified argument.

Musically this album is not very different from Hinterland: strong and confident retro sound with huge Gentle Giant, Genesis, Yes and Änglagard influences, being mostly an instrumental album (the vocals, also like in Hinterland, only appear occasionally) with preeminent keyboards/organs/mellotron. Afterglow, however, seems to be even more influenced by Gentle Giant than its predecessor, mostly because of the medieval-like music themes and the whole chamber music feeling of it all. Also, as I said before, the band is much more focused in this album, making the music sound more cohere, what definitely is something positive.

Grade and Final Thoughts

Afterglow is one album that don't suffer from the infamous second album crisis. Here, Wobbler was able to repeat the formula they have done before and improve it, without sounding bad nor being short of new ideas. In Afterglow they were able to say everything they wanted to say, but with fewer words, what made possible for them to stay on topic. Let's just hope they keep this focus from now on.

Review by J-Man
2 stars Proof that good bands are not built on skill alone

When I first heard Wobbler's Afterglow I kept waiting for something to happen. I can't quite say what it was, but I knew this album was missing something from the start. So after more listens, I've come to the conclusion of what the problem is with this album. It is lacking in consistency. That's the only major problem with this album, but that alone can completely destroy an album. Afterglow is a perfect example of this.

This album is filled with great Hammond organ moments, some very cool instrumental passages, and really complex sections. So what's the problem? They simply don't work together. Each of the two longer songs is really just a collection of cool sections sloppily thrown together. The lack of coherency on this album really kills this album. The different sections just don't flow naturally. This is a fine example of an album "trying too hard to be prog". The abuse of complexity on this album is unbelievable. And this is coming from a fan of symphonic prog, Dream Theater, and even technical death metal! I don't mind complexity, but this album is simply overkill.

Aside from all of that, this album is not a total failure. The musicianship is top-notch, and the production sounds very professional. The vocals are admittedly pretty terrible, but the musicians (keyboard player especially) show their chops. It's really a shame the songwriting is rather poor on this album, because these professional musicians are more than capable of playing great music.


"The Haywain"- The first song is a short, medieval-sounding piece. I like the use of Harpsichord, and I think this is a solid instrumental opener.

"Imperial Winter White"- From the very beginning of this song you can tell you're not hearing an easy-listening album. There are some cool organ and mellotron bits, but the majority of this lengthy song is rather forgettable. I do highly recommend that fans of the Hammond organ check this out, because this has some killer solos. The only vocal section is near the end, and while the melodies and riffs are memorable and some of the best on the album, the vocal department is suffering. I really think Wobbler needs to consider an overhaul vocally.

"Interlude"- This is a short, forgettable, acoustic guitar piece that serves as a breaking point between the two epics.

"In Taberna"- This is a perfect example of what I explained earlier in my review. Everything here is solid musically, but it seems like it was just thrown together. However, if I had to pick one song from this album, it would be this. It has some really cool bits, but together it just doesn't work. This has some excellent use of mellotron, and instrumentally this song is solid. But as a "song", it fails.

"Armoury"- This is a march-like closing piece. It does nothing for me, even though the church organ part is decent.


Afterglow is a passable album. At 33 minutes of music that were written 10 years ago it can hardly be called an album. On the other hand, if this were longer than 33 minutes I think I would go insane. The musicianship is solid, the production and instrumentation is great, but the songwriting really suffers. This seems like a cut and paste effort, with no real feeling of consistency. Since fans of Anglagard and the Hammond organ will find some enjoyment out of this album, I'll give it a small two stars. But if you're looking for great songwriting, you won't find it here.

2 stars.

Review by The Truth
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Afterglow is a very solid album and definately an album of the year canidate. The mood switches often from rocky to gentle to very medival at times. It creates a great listening experience in my opinion. On the first track, The Haywain, we are introduced to the medival sound that is soon to follow on the epic Imperial Winter White. This track brings to mind a mix of ELP and Gentle Giant but the final product somewhat sounds like The Flower Kings. This track maintains a good atmosphere which is what is most important to me. On Interlude we get a nice acoustic guitar break which gives us just what we need: a nice acoustic break. In Taberna is yet another epic which contains some amazing keyboards throughout the track ending in a very modern prog epic but always giving nods to the old-time greats. Armoury ends the album as a kind of summary for what just occurred: a nice prog album with excellent keyboards laden with medival sounds. I might not be voting for it on album of the year (give me a break, 2009 has been an awesome year!) , but it certainly deserves some votes. This is an outstanding album!
Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars ../''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''\...../''''''''''''''''''''''''''\...... OK, here you have graphic visualization of this album. One dot means half a minute (same as one apostrophe). I liked the structure of this album so much that it made me do this. Except it, it type of prog, what they call retro-prog. I personally like it, but can understand that to some people, this may sounds cheap, like re-using of old ideas. I see it more like return to the roots and doing it in different way. Being retro is more like matter of taste. Tradition I say. Classical music-like compositions (except it's done on prog instruments, many, many instruments). No strong and easily to remember melody, but instead of this, pleasant sound which has a lot to offer. It surely has, because it's pleasant. And what's both pleasant and prog can't be bad, right ? Unless it plagiarizes. OK, this does not apply in world of music so much (they call it "influenced by bands like...). Many instruments, players and big share of skill for playing this music for sure helps. Also, the atmosphere of second (important) song is better than first one (by this thinking, there are only two adult songs and three minors).

4(+), mellotron paradise (or whatever the instrument is)

Review by Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This sophomore effort from Norwegian band Wobbler is first and foremost a vehicle for two epic excursions: The almost instrumental 15 minute venture Imperial Winter White and the slightly shorter In Taberna. And while both compositions share the same qualities and elements - a distinct vintage sound, symphonic foundation, a stylistic approach which basically is to throw everything and the kitchen sink in there - it's the latter of these that is the best effort here. A tight effort, blending symphonic passages dominated by rich keyboards and warm mellotron textures with folkier excursion, jazz and fusion-tinged segments and heavy, organ-dominated sequences of the harder prog variety. With a few more atmospheric parts mixed in for good measure.

The three shorter numbers are somewhat less interesting. An opening folk-tinged atmospheric piece is a nice start to the album, the acoustic guitar track wedged in between the epics is rather forgettable while final effort Armoury is the most interesting piece of these brief songs - a rich, warm folk-piece that breaks to a heavy, dramatic organ before spacey swirling synths takes over until the end.

And while short in overall length it's a nice addition to the album collection due to the epic compositions - especially if vintage symphonic prog Italian style is to your liking. Shifty, quirky and slightly eccentric - but made in an interesting and intriguing manner.

Review by Sean Trane
3 stars Well, for their second release, these Norwegians actually recorded music written well prior to their debut album, supposedly in 99 (that's right, they would've waited 10 years to release these jewels). A little weird, but the album comes with minimal informations. Coming with a fantasy Bosch-like painting gatefold mini-lp with plenty of band piccies (they look like ugly meanies black metal group burning down churches disguised for a picnic) on the inner-fold, it is too bad that they didn't choose the full size mini, instead of the jewel/digipak format, because the disc is simply too tight and regular disc manipulation will eventually damage the cardboard

After a short medieval (complete with crumhorn, a wink to Gryphon, I guess) tune as form of intro, the album launches into Hybris (eeeeeehhhmmm!!!... I mean Afterglow), a 15- mins "epic" Imperial White Winter, that has everything to please the usual retro-prog fan (of which I guess I still rank among, sine I bought the album), but here I must say that Wobbler does raise my eyebrow for a few minutes, because they seem to try something else. Another not-so-short interlude that sounds like Bach's Bourée, the second epic In Taberna is programmed for another 13 minutes of pure retro-prog in the traditional sense, even though when the track nearly dies halfway through, it seemed to get a life of its own, outside the clichés, but when the string arrangements arrive less than two minutes later, you think early- ELO. The short album closes on the other medieval ditty Armoury, which supposed to give a belonging semblance to the album and book-end two epics.

I can't call this album much superior or inferior to their debut release and I wonder how much of the music was re-written or re-adapted from a decade ago. All I can say is that if you love Anglagard-derived retro-prog and are not too, regarding on originality or borrowings, you won't have a problem melting for this.

Review by Raff
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars As those familiar with the band's 2005 album, "Hinterland", will know, Wobbler take their dedication to vintage prog very seriously. In particular, mainman Lars Fredrik Froislie is an enthusiastic collector of vintage keyboards, which he employs to great effect on this album. Like the great Swedish prog bands of the Nineties, Anglagard and Anekdoten above all, Wobbler blend the symphonic component with medieval, Renaissance and folk influences, evoking that intriguingly melancholy mood so typical of Northern European music. They also make ample use of intricate counterpoint patterns in the style of Gentle Giant, supported by an astoundingly rich instrumentation. Even the album cover, a quirky painting by Froislie himself with more than one nod at Hieronymus Bosch's unique style, seems to follow the time-honoured Seventies' tradition for distinctive artwork.

A mostly instrumental effort only 35 minutes long, "Afterglow" is built around two epics, the 15-minute-plus "Imperial Winter White" and the slightly shorter "In Taberna". In spite of their apparently patchy structure, they possess an inner consistency that unfolds after a few listens. Though their level of complexity could have made either composition almost intolerably pretentious, Wobbler succeed in creating the sonic equivalent of richly detailed tapestries, whose different colours, instead of clashing, merge together smoothly to delight the eye (or, in this case, the ear). In spite of the frequent shifts and changes in tempo, alternating hard-edged riffs with lushly orchestrated sections and delicate, acoustic passages, the compositions do not come across as fractured or meandering - though they obviously demand a lot from the listener.

Opener "The Haywain" immediately sets the mood for the album with its pastoral, medieval-inspired atmosphere, punctuated by the distinctive sound of the krumhorn. The other two shorter tracks, "Interlude" and "Armoury", share the same subdued, melancholy tone - the former based on the interaction between double bass and acoustic bass, the latter starting much like "The Haywain", and ending with a duel between the majestic strains of a church organ and the whistling sound of a Moog. Their strategic placement also provides a welcome break from the no-holds-barred nature of the two epics.

"Imperial Winter White" starts and ends with a barrage of guitar and organ riffs reminiscent of Anekdoten's grittier moments (or even of Deep Purple at their best), and develops into an awesome cavalcade punctuated by rumbling Rickenbacker bass, unleashed keyboards, flute and cello.. In my view, the brief vocal sections are the weakest feature of the track, as they seem to interrupt the flow of the music without really adding much. "In Taberna", though similar in conception, sounds somewhat heavier on the whole, even veering towards prog-metal territory in the final part, though the central section features some rarefied moments, and even a brief, jaunty organ solo with clear jazz overtones.

If "Afterglow" had contained another extra ten minutes of music of the same quality, it would have effortlessly got a 5-star rating. This is an extraordinarily accomplished album, and a true listening pleasure - which proves that, when there is genuine talent involved, producing great music does necessarily involve reinventing the wheel. 4.5 stars for an album that, while unabashedly 'retro', will appeal to fans of every prog subgenre.

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
5 stars The only thing wrong with this album is the length. Thirty five minutes was fine for a vinyl album, but for a CD that would be an EP. Otherwise...

When I reviewed Wobbler's previous album, I said it felt like home. What I meant was that the album brought back fond memories from thirty years ago when I would buy an album without knowing anything about the band, and discover new worlds of prog. This one is like coming home, and finding everything is much better than you remember.

The instrumentation and keyboard sounds are seventies vintage. Mellotron fan should be thrilled with it's use here.

The first and last songs are misleading, with a medieval sound, both The Haywain and Armoury might make you think you have a new Gryphon album. But it's the two long pieces that make the album. Imagine the instuments of Gryphon, the fire of King Crimson, and the inventiveness of Univers Zero and you might begin to get an understanding of the feel of Imperial Winter White and In Taverna. Where some might say they are too retro, I disagree. While there is a seventies feeling, there is also some exploration that very few bands did back then.

The only way to truly understand this is to listen to the album. It won't take much time.

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Second album from Norwegian vintage symphonic prog band. In Wobbler's case vintage means that they really use all possible instruments (mostly keyboards for sure) from 70-s. So, even if there is immitation in their music, this immitation is half-authentic.

This music caught me from very first listening, even if I'm not a big fan of symphonic prog. Yes, possibly it's mostly great mellotron, Hammond,etc. sound, atmospheric mix and in whole very 70-s illusion. Great melodic compositions, complex enough, with strong feel of medieval musical tradition. Well played.

Even album's format is classic 70-s: 5 compositions, less than 35 minutes in total. Mostly instrumental, two long three short compositions. Plenty of vintage keyboards in sound.

After repeated listening (many of them), step by step I became more critical to this music - very professional from the surface, it's still a fake. &0-s imitation, and good one. But without that important component deeply under skin, what could be named "spirit of early 70-s".

I still like this music , and I believe this album is one of great imitations from last two decades. If you didn't succeed to touch that mystic "spirit of 70-s", possibly you wouldn't even feel they are fake. And it's a big thing, believe me, there are not so many such a successful imitators all around!

My rating - 3,5, rounded to 4.

Review by Flucktrot
2 stars Listening to Wobbler--and others of this writing style--often reminds me of interactions with my dog: just calm down! For example, in Imperial Winter White, they only settle into their first extended--and by extended, I mean over a minute--groove around the 10 minute mark. Then they layer on the flute and keys, and it's wonderful. Unfortunately, it's only fleeting, and then we return to the aggressive/delicate rollercoaster. The dynamic changes are most effective when they're unpredictable, but this strategy is used so often that abrupt changes become the norm.

As noted by others, these are long songs, but they could easily have been chopped into different songs. Like a worm, you can chop it in half and both halves do just fine. You can't do this to the best prog and get away with it. I like the vintage instruments--particularly the mellotron, flutes, and guitar parts (both heavy and light), but the quality of sounds, and not the music, is the only think keeping my attention.

So, is 33 minutes a good or bad thing? If it means more focused than Hinterland, then yes! But it's not more focused, so it seems only lesser by comparison. This is not bad prog, but it just feels more like bonus material. If you like Anglagard and Anekdoten--with perhaps some Gryphon sprinkled in--then you should have at least some Wobbler. I recommend Hinterland over this, and view having both as perhaps unnecessary.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A short (at 37 minutes it is actually quite average for 1970s standards) collection of great modern melodic medieval prog rock in the tradition of FOCUS, JETHRO TULL, FRUUPP, GRYPHON, GENTLE GIANT, and ANGLAGARD ("The Haywain" [0:54] [9/10], "Interlude"[2:35] [9/10], and "Armory" [3:00] [9/10]) and great keyboard-based symphonic prog in the vein of ELP, LE ORME, BANCO delle MUTUO SOCCORSO, PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI and NEXUS ("Imperial Winter White" [15:01] [10/10] and "In Taberna" [13:09] [9/10]). The musicianship is outstanding--worthy of superlatives throughout--and the medieval-based songs are certainly like a breath of fresh air. Definitely a band to follow!

4.5 stars of excellent prog compositions and performances rated down for brevity.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The second Wobbler album is a perfect continuation of their debut 'Hinterland', a nice retro melange of Geneses, Yes, Camel and Gentle Giant spices. The vocal parts, which weren't the best really, have been further cut down to a minimum and this allowed the band to concentrate on writing fluently rocking symphonic material in the vein of Anglagard and Sinkadus before them.

The album is very short, apart from the short folksy pre-, inter- and post-ludes, it mainly consists of just one 15 minute and one 13 minute composition. Both are excellent. I love how the band managed to be creative despite their obvious references. It's probably by mixing those influences that they made it work, it allowed them to forge something 'new' from the known ingredients. 'Imperial Winter White' has a short vocal section that is totally ripped from Genesis. I guess it's a tribute rather then theft so I won't hold it against them, but still, the track would have been better of without. 'In Taberna' is entirely instrumental and offers that typical Swedish (Anglagard) melancholic heavy prog sound with lots of organ, mellotron and flutes.

A short but very consistent album with excellent material. 4 stars for the music, 3.5 because of its EP length.

Review by Warthur
4 stars Wobbler's Afterglow is a short but sweet album, the band clearly feeling that quality outweighs quantity. In this case, I'm inclined to agree with them. In an era when all too many symphonic prog bands are relying on the same old influences - Yes, Genesis, a bit of King Crimson and add ELP to taste - Wobbler draw on a much more diverse field, with sections on this album reminding me of classic-era Gryphon, the darker moments of Anglagard, and the best aspects of Fruupp. This is clearly symphonic prog composed by a band with a nigh-encyclopedic command of the genre and who aren't afraid to take the path less followed, and as such is more than a worthy followup to Hinterland.
Review by Atavachron
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is a band. A real one. A group of guys so good, who play together so well, they just don't care anymore. It's better to just relax and let them do what they do - e.g. laying down the primaries together in the same room with very few takes or overdubs - than to attempt to perceive them in the normal way one does five musicians & friends. The material was conceived and written in '99 which means by the time these trollkarlars started recording, the pieces had been well-gestated, were more than ready for birth and have an immediacy rarely heard in modern prog albums. Late is almost always better than premature anyway.

When one considers Wobbler's debut was in 2005, the cuts here could be seen as supplemental to, or even predating, the work on Hinterland. If that's the case, it makes Afterglow that much more interesting (and explains the title). A preamble Elizabethan is quickly discarded for the robust and ever-changing 'The Haywain' and though the past is always present in Wobbler's music, they are unique in their brutal authenticity; an animal of uncompromising natures and ancient, earthly powers. These men of the mountains have secrets and they're not going to share them anytime soon. You have to listen and figure it out yourself. At fifteen minutes, 'The Haywain' is simply a joy of compositional alchemy and is as good as anything on their first.

'Interlude', an engaging conversation between Hultgren's basses and Eng's cello, opens 'In Taberna', bookending the album with its second epic full of tight playing, solid charting, and brief peeks of ELP circa 1971, things ending with pseudo-Baroque 'Armoury' and a nod to maestro Wakeman.

I understand why the consensus deems this one the poorest of the three releases so far, and that is probably an accurate judgment. The thing is, with a band this special, it doesn't matter. It's a winner no matter how you slice it.

Review by FragileKings
4 stars Wobbler's second album contains music from their early days at the turn of the millennium. Their debut in 2005 was recent material and they revisited their older works for the sophomore release. Unlike their fabulous third album, "Rites at Dawn", this album only includes one song with lyrics and they are quite short at that. Instead, Wobbler show off two sides of their proficiency with three short tracks in a very medieval flavour and two longer ones that challenge Anglagard for complexity.

The album is quite short but sounds better than their debut, "Hinterland". The production is cleaner which helps the music a lot. "The Haywain", "Interlude" and "Armoury" are short instrumentals that will conjure up images of ladies in long dresses in pointy hats on castle towers and village folk walking behind carts pulled by cattle. Only "Armoury" changes period by morphing into a Moog and church organ piece for the finale.

"Imperial Winter White" (with lyrics) and "In Taberna" are the real guts of Wobbler. For the most part, they are multi- musically-faceted compositions that might be described as a rock band doing a medley of a European movie soundtrack in 12 or 13 minutes. The band continues to pull rabbits out of hats over and over, rarely adhering to a single musical theme for more than 30 seconds or 16 bars. Unlike Anglagard though, Wobbler lean more toward the heavy guitars of the 70's, and it should come as no surprise that I found the band mentioned as avant guard metal on a Russian heavy metal site!

"In Taberna" became my favourite track for this album because of some heavenly 70's rock passages with rock guitar and Moog synthesizer, as well as some heavier parts and an interesting blend of Renaissance music. While preparing this review I found that "Imperial Winter White" also features some excellent parts, and I noted that one section where the beat actually maintains a 4/4 rhythm for a stretch permits the music motif to establish itself and roll along smoothly before a new motif takes over.

I enjoy this album much more than "Hinterland" but not as much as "Rites at Dawn" which is one of my favourite albums. It's not a proper album in that three short instrumentals and two long pieces fill up 35 minutes. But for the adventurous this album has its rewards.

Review by Wicket
3 stars UPDATED

Wobbler has been one of those bands I could never figure out. They're an outfit of immense musicality and instrumental prowess,but I've always knocked them for just being all over the place, like they could never make up their mind on which direction to go. After my unreasonably harsh first reviews of "Afterglow" and "Rites at Dawn", I've given them second chances and second listens, and while at this point now I have heard much worse and much blander music, I still haven't gotten the entire picture.

"The Haywain" is a nice baroque minute long intro while "Imperial Winter White" is one of the two giants off this rather short album. It's an incredible display of instrumentality and technicality that's broken up by slower and softer sections that almost miss the point entirely (you stop the soloing just as it's developing into something really cool?) and vocals that just have no place in the song when they first appear seven minutes in for half a minute and then for another minute or so four minutes later. So, roughly a minute and thirty seconds of singing on a 13-minute long song, singing I can barely hear because it's mixed so far below the instruments around it? That's just bad producing and composing.

A nice acoustic "Interlude" bridges one big track to the other big track, "In Taberna", which is a bit softer than "Imperial Winter White", but shares the same blueprint: massive instrumentally focused juggernaut with softer bridges and atmospheric interludes, but this time, no vocals! Which is a good thing, because the way these songs are written, they're written for instrumental prowess and showmanship, not lyrical storytelling. Close the album with the very Medieval Times-esque "Armoury" and there's your album.

It's obvious the two big tracks are the highlights and the three smaller pieces merely afterthoughts, and the fact the album is only 34 minutes long for a prog rock album is a bit disappointing. It isn't a terrible album by any means, but it's a decently average outing for a talented band.

Review by patrickq
3 stars It's tough to figure out whether Afterglow is a bona fide album or a stopgap release.

According to Wobbler's bandcamp page, the music and lyrics were written ten years before Afterglow was released in 2009. I find that interesting because this Oslovian quintet evidently put the production of this album on hold to create their debut album, Hinterland, in 2005. Some have interpreted the timeline as an indication that Afterglow is a collection of cast-off songs from a group that was otherwise unable to assemble a sophomore album.

Afterglow is comprised of two longer pieces (one fifteen minutes, one thirteen) interleaved among three shorter tunes. Some fans see the total running time (under 35 minutes) as another indication that this is an odds-and-sods affair, especially given that Hinterland was nearly an hour long.

Stylistically, Afterglow is all over the place, which is probably why I feel this album should be classified as "neo-prog." "Imperial Winter White," one of the two longer tracks, is a good illustration. It begins with a heavy-prog feel à la "Machine Messiah" through the first two minutes, then moves on to a more pastoral section via a bit of King Crimson. Lots of syncopation throughout, with the bass cranked up. At four minutes this gives way to a solo acoustic guitar, but in less than a minute, we're back in heavy, full-band territory. Then a "dry-ice" section, more heavy prog, this time more symphonic, and at around 7:20, a brief vocal section starts, reminiscent of Van der Graaf Generator. Then the band kicks back in. I'd be lying if I said there weren't a few seconds of disco guitar beginning at 8:23. Hammond solo, brief bass-guitar breaks, Mellotron strings, realistic flute. Then a nice groove kicks in around 9:48. Arpeggios, not solos - - this section feels like the backing to a vocal verse. A bit of noodling begins at 10:45: first flute, then electric guitar. Then a change in feel, followed by a change in rhythm, all signaling a new section, which is like the "Willow Farm" section of "Supper's Ready" sung by a progressive-metal vocalist. A false sectional ending at 12:00 is followed by one more verse, and at 12:39, a transition: descending organ chords over what feels like a ritardando. The new section is softer, slower, with flute and violin over piano - - and at 13:26 we've returned to the heavy, sinister, "Machine Messiah" section. My son says this sounds like a mix of older Genesis and Metallica. The final half-minute, starting around 14:30, is an appropriately bombastic send-off. The thirteen-minute "In Taberna" is an entirely different song cut from the entirely same stock.

And then there are the short pieces. Afterglow opens with the rustic "The Haywain," a deceptively nice little number which prepares not the listener for the heaviness of "Imperial Winter White." "Interlude" is a pensive solo acoustic-guitar piece bridging the two long pieces; and "Armoury" sounds like a march for mechanical toy men in a mad inventor's workshop - - for the first two minutes. Then a pipe organ takes over, and the song devolves into white noise and a few fading synth notes, finishing kind of like Fish Out of Water by Chris Squire.

In certain respects, Afterglow does in fact seem like a stopgap album, but not a makeshift one. It has a consistent sound throughout, and although the short pieces are of styles very different from the long pieces, the listener is prepared for stylistic deviance partway through the second track.

Afterglow is evidently intended for fans of a wide variety of subgenres of 1970s progressive rock. There's plenty of prog-folk, symphonic, and heavy-prog content, and the whole package seems to fit the definition of "eclectic prog," whatever that means. But because it so self-consciously checks off so many boxes, Afterglow is a neo-prog record, even if it doesn't sound like Marillion.

Afterglow is a solid album, and a good indication of the direction in which Wobbler would head; it's practically a blueprint for the opening number of Silence to Somewhere.

Latest members reviews

4 stars This time, we have dinstinctly more classical influence, namely Renaissance and Baroque. The compositions are more packed with action, they are less derivative of the 70's retro-prog. The keyboard collection continues to be impressive and we get a real church organ in the majestic "Armoury" tha ... (read more)

Report this review (#2576820) | Posted by sgtpepper | Tuesday, July 6, 2021 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Why didn't Wobbler impose himself at the time as Anglagard did? It will always remain a mystery for me? We are nevertheless in the same register: acoustic / electric alternations, many changes of tempo, an exacerbated contrast between violence and calm, harshness and softness, complexity and simplic ... (read more)

Report this review (#2480480) | Posted by Muskrat | Friday, November 27, 2020 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Now don't think I am biased based on my Wobbler profile pic! It is because of this album that Wobbler rose to become my favorite band. "The Haywain"- A stellar opening to the album. A refreshing medieval style piece with recorder. More to come later in the album! Short piece but doesn't lack b ... (read more)

Report this review (#1734587) | Posted by skog_prog | Friday, June 16, 2017 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The second work from Wobbler is gorgeous, retro prog music with northern flavour. Just two long compositions full of bombastic, complex keyboard passages with classic vintage sound, dynamic and complex rhythms all around, and medieval flavour that reminds me of Anglagard. They don't create or exp ... (read more)

Report this review (#307963) | Posted by migue091 | Tuesday, November 2, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The main objection I have read so far about this CD in particular is about the lenght of It. Let me ask You: do We really need fillers? Do You really love The Battle of Epping Forest? That's what I tought. So here You'll find a band in search of themselves, a very different approach than the f ... (read more)

Report this review (#280762) | Posted by steelyhead | Thursday, May 6, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Wobbler. A type of lures which in particular attracts pikes. It is my understanding that this is a collection of left-over stuff from ten years back and inbetween. I have not heard Hinterland yet, so I am kind of doing this review blindfolded. But the music on Afterglow is a blend of the best ... (read more)

Report this review (#231202) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Wednesday, August 12, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Starting with something brilliant, and I mean this work,is a great album that these guys just offer to us,they are Taking some styles like a la, gentle giant, anglagard, Yes and Genesis.This album for me is one of the best in this 2009, a criticism could be the length of the album that are just 35 ... (read more)

Report this review (#221349) | Posted by JgX 5 | Monday, June 15, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The music here folllows along in a similar way from the excellent debut album 'Hinterland'. This makes sense since the songs were originally recorded around the same time. There is not a lot of music here. Only 34 minutes. But what is here is pretty good! I can understand the frustration o ... (read more)

Report this review (#218203) | Posted by digdug | Monday, May 25, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Gorgeous, startling, grandiose, haunting and jaunty are five (of many) words that help to describe Wobbler's sophomore album. Lars F.F. & co. have done it again, unleashing a breathtaking symphonic prog album on its listeners. Wobbler make no bones about it - they love old-school analog keyboards an ... (read more)

Report this review (#209125) | Posted by Progatron | Saturday, March 28, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I had been anticipating Afterglow ever since I first read about it on Wobbler's MySpace page. I wasn't disappointed! Although Wobbler's second release comes 4 years after their last (recorded in 2007-2008, released in early 2009), this music has apparently been on the shelf since before Hinterla ... (read more)

Report this review (#208439) | Posted by PaulH | Monday, March 23, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars ANGLAGARD meets GENTLE GIANT! When I give five stars to this album I am moved more by its excellent flavor than by its originality. The sound was developped by others, but, what a good renaissance! I don´t agree the short timing must be a problem. There you have THE EGYPTIAN KINGS, Almagest ... (read more)

Report this review (#207853) | Posted by avatar | Friday, March 20, 2009 | Review Permanlink

1 stars BUYER BEWARE : I had been religiously emailing Termo Records for updates and the release date for half a year and had been told this was a full length album. It is NOT! It is 33 minutes long and two of the shorter tracks are nothing special or worth mentioning. I realize now , why there was no m ... (read more)

Report this review (#207801) | Posted by Synthphony | Thursday, March 19, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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