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Wobbler Rites at Dawn album cover
4.00 | 630 ratings | 39 reviews | 32% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2011

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Lucid (1:40)
2. La Bealtaine (7:52)
3. In Orbit (12:30)
4. This Past Presence (6:14)
5. A Faerie's Play (5:19)
6. The River (10:04)
7. Lucid Dreams (2:19)

Total Time 45:58

Line-up / Musicians

- Andreas Wettergreen Str°mman Prestmo / vocals
- Morten Andreas Eriksen / electric & acoustic guitars
- Lars Fredrik Fr°islie / Mellotron, Chamberlin, Hammond C3, piano, synths (Minimoog, ARP Pro Soloist & Axxe, Korg CX-3, Solina String Ensemble), Rhodes MKII, Hohner clavinet, Wurlitzer, cembalo, Marxophone, backing vocals
- Kristian Karl Hultgren / bass, saxophone, glockenspiel
- Martin Nordrum Kneppen / drums

- Ketil Vestrum Einarsen / flute
- Hanne Rekdal / bassoon

Releases information

Artwork: Trine + Kim Design Studio

LP Pancromatic - PLP 2010 (2011, Norway)
LP Termo Records - TERMOLP008 (2013, Norway) Remixed and remastered by Lars Fredrik Fr°islie

CD Termo Records - TERMOCD008 (2011, Norway)

Thanks to Progatron for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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WOBBLER Rites at Dawn ratings distribution

(630 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(32%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(44%)
Good, but non-essential (20%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

WOBBLER Rites at Dawn reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by poslednijat_colobar
5 stars Fragile part II

It's really amazing what a progress can be seen in this symphonic prog band from H├?┬Şnefoss, Norway with the release of this magic album - Rites at Dawn! I named my review Fragile part II, because of the similarities with legendary album Fragile by symphonic prog godfathers - Yes. I don't mean to mention the term similarities in negative aspect, but as spiritual inspiration and continuation of the classic way of songwriting and playing symphonic prog in modern actualities of 2011. Without imitating roughly the old classic, Rites at Dawn by Wobbler carries the tradition of making the exact same type of symphonic prog album in precise manner.

It fills my soul with absolute same type of emotion as the above Yes' classic; but only as positive power and continuation. On the other hand, it distinguishes from both previous Wobbler's album with maturity and clarification of the conception and ideas, turning into breath-taking and well-constructed masterpiece. From the first note till the last one the album enacts the purpose it was created - to shine and astound the listeners with hypersonic and highly-saturated level of musical waves in typical symphonic prog tradition. Highly recommended and strong candidate for album of the year. 5 stars

Review by Tarcisio Moura
3 stars 3.5 stars, really. I┬┤ve been listening to Rites At Dawn for quite some time now and I found it to be one of those records you just love it when you┬┤re hearing it but as soon as it is over no melody line sticks to you. And I really don┬┤t know why. for this CD is far more focused and better composed than their first album Hinterland. What previously sounded like a mishmash of influences without hooks nor a defined melody line, now is definitly structured and objective. It is ok that the band is not that original. Yes is undoubtly their mighty heroes and you can hear all over the place: the Jon Anderson-like singing, the Squire-ish bass runs, even the keyboards and guitars timbres are unmistakingly derivative of Wakeman┬┤s and Howe┬┤s.

Of course some other influences creep in here and there. On the third track In Orbit, for instance, the vocal harmonies are definitly in the Gentle Giant mold, making it an interesting mix of Yes and GG voices.The bad news are that is clear that the band is trying too hard to emulate their heroes. And Wobbler is still too far behind them to step into their shoes.The good news are that the songwriting here is far superior than on Hinterland. Those guys are evolving and I see this CD as a transitional one. I guess they┬┤ll reach a sound of their own sooner or later, as the 10 minute epic The River shows. This track is the CD┤s highlight and proof that Wobbler now can write good symphonic stuff and be different at the same time. Of course their musicanship is awesome as ever and the production is excellent in all aspects.

In the end I think this CD is quite pleasant and promising. They are on the right path. If you like symphonic retro bands in general and the classic Yes/GG sound in particular and don┬┤t care much for originality, this CD is very recommended.

Review by Menswear
5 stars (Too) Close to the Edge.

My hopes are high towards that band, and I know my wishful thinking will not change one iota of the result of an album. But I like to think that Wobbler is MY band, my personnal secret island, only playing for my own pleasure. So when I heard something like a song that Yes never recorded but existed, I was anxious. I thought that my little island just been discovered and invaded by the ''Yes Army''.

Wobbler is not a static band, but I deeply (underline deeply) enjoyed their Gentle Giant/ King Crimson/ Harmonium blend...and I wished it stayed the same. Alas, the Norweigan Warriors changed for other winds, sailing more into the Yes waters. Do we need another Yes attempt? Well, we have Starcastle and Yezda Urfa if you want the Good. We have England if you want the Bad. And the latest Glass Hammer if you want the Ugly. Where is this album in all this?

It's above the rest, hands down. Wobbler gave us a smogasboard, an all-you-can-eat of vintage sounds from Gentle Giant to Genesis and their own colors, showing more and more with time: their vocals are to die for (especially 'In Orbit'), the keyboards make me drool like a zombie from a Romero film and the drumming is intense but restrained at the same time. The drummer concentrates on hi-hat / ride, snare and cymbals, definitely a small kit but super-well used. Good job Kneppen, you have my quiet admiration.

It's a record that take more it's time than the other 2, but I do not fear one second to recommend you Rites at Dawn. It's like gazing at nature at dawn, actually. Forms and shapes can be hard to distinguish, but with time the whole thing harmonizes in front of you.

A powerful and well crafted tribute to the 70's...gnome beards and shaggy carpets not included.

Review by Mellotron Storm
5 stars As others have mentioned the YES flavour is strong on this album.There's plenty of Steve Howe-like guitar melodies and the vocals recall Jon Anderson but they almost sound like a cross between him and Niklas Barker (ANEKDOTEN). The Rickenbacker bass is all over this in a Squire-like fashion. Having said all this you'll notice the 5 star rating, it's because this is an incredible album from beginning to end despite the apparent hero worship.The drumming is fantastic as well and there is also more mellotron on this baby than their past two records. Bottom line is that "Rites At Dawn" has a sound that reminds me of that Scandanavian,mellotron drenched melancholy that I love combined with that seventies Symphonic Prog that YES did so well. A match made in heaven. And the sound quality couldn't be better.

"Ludic" opens in an atmospheric manner as the sound builds then settles late. "La Bealtaine" has prominant guitar, bass and drums as the organ joins in. It settles back some with mellotron then kicks back in with vocals. Howe-like guitar 2 minutes in.The organ and mellotron after 3 1/2 minutes are brief as the vocals return and lead. "In Orbit" opens with strummed guitar before it kicks in at a minute. A calm with vocals before 2 minutes then it kicks back in with chunky bass, guitar and drums.Vocals follow. Another calm with acoustic guitar then the vocals join in as it gets fuller. More great sounding bass follows. Howe-like guitar 8 1/2 minutes in then a calm returns a minute later as it builds with vocals and more.

"This Past Presence" opens with acoustic guitar and flute as reserved vocals join in. Piano too then mellotron. It kicks in before 2 minutes. Nice. I like the guitar here. A calm before 3 minutes then mellotron a minute later. Vocals, piano and bass lead 4 1/2 minutes in. It kicks in at 5 minutes reminding me of ANEKDOTEN with that storm of mellotron. "A Faerie's Play" opens with delicate sounds then it kicks in reminding me of the MOODY BLUES.The mellotron, bass and drums sound great before 2 minutes. It's YES-like around 3 1/2 minutes and vocals follow.The vocals remind me of ANEKDOTEN after 4 1/2 minutes.

"The River" opens with some excellent sounding organ, bass and drums.The guitar then comes to the fore followed by a calm before 1 1/2 minutes. Piano and reserved vocals here. Pure emotion after 2 1/2 minutes with mellotron as it builds. It settles again but not for long. Another calm before 6 minutes then it slowly builds again.Vocals are back 8 minutes in.This is so freaking good. "Lucid Dreams" ends it with a dreamy atmosphere.

For me WOBBLER has hit a homerun with this album. Right from the first listen I knew this was special and it gets better with each listen. So impressive !

Review by Conor Fynes
4 stars 'Rites At Dawn' - Wobbler (8/10)

It seems to be something of an unfashionable trend in the prog world for bands to look to the past to find their sound. Although prog was originally meant to push the envelope of popular music and do new things, so many otherwise brilliant bands have been passing me by as clones of a rather small selection of innovators from the '70s. Even this year, I have come across bands such as Magic Pie or Beardfish whose contribution to the new decade may have been ironically suited to have been released a few decades back. Historically, I have been fairly vocal regarding my disdain for these bands worshiping a decade they may have only experienced as infants, and Wobbler's latest album 'Rites At Dawn' comes to me as something of a surprise on the account. Although there is no trace of modernity to this music save for the production, Wobbler's savagely Yes-derived music manages to strike a real chord with me, and even though 'Rites At Dawn' is an album that will never outshine the legacy of its influences, Wobbler may very well have created the best 'tribute' prog record to come out in a long time.

Listen to a minute of the complex twangy riffs or sporadic, upbeat higher register vocals that Wobbler does here, and it becomes near impossible to not get impressions of Yes; hell, there are even times here where I feel I am listening to a long-lost Yes record. That is not necessarily a bad thing; the music here is done with enough vintage confidence that its a bit too easy to convince oneself that this is an undiscovered '70s masterpiece. I can certainly enjoy the album tons, hearing it from that angle. After all, Yes is perhaps my favourite of the classic progressive bands, so any band that can do their sound with comparable strength certainly merits some due respect. Blanketing their sound in rich keyboards and mellotrons, Wobbler's vintage appeal feels much more sincere than much of the paradoxical retro-prog I have heard. The compositions are filled with ideas, but are bound together by a fairly uniform vibe and pallette of sounds. The album flows remarkably well, and I found myself surprised by how much the album grew over listens. If I could bring myself to take 'Rites At Dawn' out of context, I could likely see it as being a masterpiece of symphonic prog.

But this is still a Yes clone we are dealing with.

Regardless of the fact that Wobbler does their style immaculately, it is near impossible to ignore the fact that despite the magnificent and convincing execution of the album, Wobbler are still more than content to fall under the banner of another band, they even seem to be doing everything they can do be a clone of Yes. Symphonic prog has often passed me as being a very derivative genre, and as a result, the truly masterful albums are usually those that both execute things brilliantly, and bring something new to the table. Wobbler has certainly done one of these things with near-perfection, and while I will no hesitate to say that I really like 'Rites At Dawn', its musical excellence still does not discard the fact that Wobbler is playing another band's ball game here.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Why must one band have a monopoly on a 'sound' and 'style.' Are MAGENTA, YEZDA URFA, STARCASTLE, MOTH VELLUM and GLASS HAMMER any less enjoyable, accomplished, or worthy of making good records because of their obvious similarities to YES? If YES had made more records in the early seventies, wouldn't we be happy?

This album is, in my humble opinion, as fresh and masterful as the YES masterpieces--with better production and more melody. I find myself remembering, humming many melodies form these excellent compositions. I find myself liking many structural, instrumental, and vocal choices even more than YES. Then there are so many other familiar sounds from so many other bands.

The two "Lucid"-"Lucid Dreams" end pieces (album intro [1:40], album outro [2:19], respectively) are beautiful, brilliant, and perfect--kind of like the "Firebird Suite" used to open and close YES concerts. (10/10)

2. "La Bealtaine" (7:51) feels/sounds more RUSH-like at the start--until the vocals (and lyrics! How YES!) kick in. Still, this song has so much freshness, unpredictability, and CSN&Y-like feel--even OUTLAWS (guitars picking like "Green Grass and High Tides")--to stand out far from the YES catalogue. The slow vocal harmony part at 5 minute mark shows a style all their own. Great song. (20/20)

3. "In Orbit" (12:30) begins like an AMERICA song before the YES-like electronics take over. At 1:51 there is a brief switch to GENTLE GIANT-like vocals before ripping back into the YES-sounds and speeds. If Close to the Edge had been a double album, this might have been on it. 5:35 sees my favorite part--fresh vocal melody and almost Burt Bacharach-like support. The soli section from the 6 minute mark to 8:45 is great, too. (I like the sax/horns in the background.) The delicate/building section beginning at 9:30 and playing to song's end is awesome--maybe more GENESIS-like than YES--or STARCASTLE. (24/25)

4. The vocals on "This Past Presence" (6:13) are at times so beautiful it's like MOON SAFARI or CROSBY, STILL, and NASH merged with the original KING CRIMSON lineup. (10/10)

5. The organ and drums on "A Faerie's Play" (5:20) sound as if they are from SUGARLOAF's "Green-Eyed Lady" while CSN&Y, Pete Giles, Martin Barre, and Robert Fripp (and of course, YES) can also be heard. (8.5/10)

6. "The River" (10:04) starts off far too familiar ("Close to the Edge" in replication) before turning to a JESSIE COLIN YOUNG/RADIOHEAD song. Arrive the mellotron and Pete Giles-like drums with Fripp-like guitar sounds and picking and we get distracted a bit until at the 4:10 minute we find ourselves completely re-immersed in CttE. Easily my least favorite song of the album because it is too derivative, lacking of any of the freshness of the other songs. (15/20)

Five stars; a minor masterpiece of progressive rock music. People, it's the CSN(&Y) influence that makes this album stand on its own. Awesome addition to any prog lover's music collection. Most highly recommended! And, yes, IMO, a new masterpiece of prog rock.

Review by lazland
2 stars An album which is extremely highly rated on the site, and, so, with my Spotify subscription in hand, I was looking forward to listening to this to see if it is worth parting with my hard earned cash for the CD.

Well, if your idea of heaven is to have a band in 2011 doing a replica (note the word replica, not influenced by or moving forward) of Yes circa 1970 to 1972, and sounding for all the world as if they recorded the said work in the Large Hadron Collider Tunnel, then this is, undoubtedly, a masterpiece as other reviewers have stated. Regrettably, for this reviewer, this is not my idea of prog heaven in 2011, and I fail to see the appeal at all.

The vocals are not, as has been mentioned, reminiscent of Jon Anderson. Thankfully, the band avoid that particular trap. No, the lead vocals are such a dead ringer for Squire, you have to look twice at the credits to see if the great man himself has not done a bit of moonlighting. Come to think of it, the very strong Rickenbacker bass by Hultgren is also very much in the Squire mould, but I say this as a compliment.

There are many Scandinavian bands who produce some great symphonic prog, and I count The Flower Kings especially as amongst my favourite bands. They wear their influences on their sleeves, but, having said that, they do mould their influences and create an utterly unique sound with it. It is a recognisably TFK sound, not a Yes sound. You can say no such thing about this, and, whilst they are undoubtedly a very talented bunch of musicians, what you get in a track such as In Orbit is basically Fragile in drag with Squire singing lead vocals instead of Anderson and, quite frankly, a mess of a track. It worked at the time for Yes - nobody had done anything like the spaced out jazz rock fusion that they produced then. They were also the best at it, and this lot could not, even by their most ardent fans, be described as such. Yes also had, amongst all the noodling and experimentation, a definite structure to their songs. This does not. It is just noodling for the sake of it.

The melancholic This Past Presence changes the mood a bit, in favour of debut and Trespass era Genesis, flute and all chucked in for good measure, and the intro is rather pleasant. Unfortunately, what could have been a pleasant, if rather unoriginal, pastoral piece swiftly bursts into life with Howe, Wakeman, Bruford, and, especially, Squire and we are back to Fragile.

It is not often that I condemn bands for their influences, and neither should we on the site. I love neo-prog rock, but what neo detractors need to realise is that the best bands within that sub-genre took their influences (mainly, but not exclusively, Genesis) and turned them into something both special and unique to that band. As an example, I give you Marillion and Pendragon. Both were clearly, in the early days, influenced like this, but no two albums by those bands sounded anything like each other.

So, this album is not symphonic prog. It is actually a neo prog album, and a very poor one at that. Whilst the musicianship is never anything less than good, the vocals are annoying, the production is absolutely shocking, and there is barely a trace of originality here at all, and the latter is the biggest sin of all.

This album, in my opinion, really is for collectors only - collectors who have to own absolutely every version on God's earth of The Yes Album or Fragile. For those who like their neo-prog, like me, to have a semblance of originality and a well produced album, then please stay away. Spend your money on the far better releases of 2011.

Two stars, and I am being generous.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Wobbler's 3rd album turns out to be a divisive one. They've always been a retro act, which I don't mind actually, but in an attempt to be more Yes then Yes the band let go of their earlier King Crimson, Gentle Giant and Genesis influences. Also that 'Scandinavian' feel got missing somewhere. Unfortunately, these multiple elements were exactly what made their previous albums into such an interesting cocktail.

The main weakness on the previous works were the vocals. Wobbler used to keep them to a minimum but this time they obviously wanted to put more lyrical content in so they attracted a new vocalist; one that immediately brings Yes too mind, especially that magnificent bass player with the voice that I don't like that much, mr Chris Squire. Well, unlike Squire, Wobbler's guy can keep a tone (in the studio at least), but I don't find the vocals very attractive. Too derivative, in tone as well as melodies and harmonies.

Conclusion, despite not really caring for the whole retro issue, trying to mimic just one particular example is not stimulating for one's creativity and this album proves that again. The band voluntarily got their own hands tied by their formulaic approach, and even if the music may be composed and played with skill, there's no soul or personality in here. Still, i think this is better then Yes themselves these days so this should be a satisfying release for dedicated Yes fans. But it's not a Wobbler I'll be playing a lot.

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars Let me first say that Hinterland and Afterglow are two of my favorite albums from trhe past few years, so I was really anticipating this one.

One thing I've always enjoyed about Wobbler was their obvious devotion to seventies style prog while keeping their sound decidedly original. Here, there is a clear reference to the classic music of Yes. I wouldn't go as far as to say it is a clone of Yes, but throughout the album the vovals, the bass, sometimes the guitar and keyboards appear to be trying to pay homage to that great band.

Happily, enough of Wobbler's own style comes through to make this more than an imitation album. The Genesis, Gentle Giant, and even Gryphon influences (What's with the "G" bands?) are all on display as well, making this another winner of an album.

Besides, I love Yes.

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Oh, I reckon this album will be dividing Prog fans a lot. And to be honest, I have to admit that I am still confused, even after repeated listens. Should I look for copying evidence, or just enjoy it, risking I will enjoy copycat album ? Never before I felt the need to resolve such issue before (and I've listened my share of "clone" albums).

It is carefully polished, technically perfect (to the tiniest detail) production and super clean compositions. It almost sounds too much calculated, but then again, it's difficult to capture the fine line between such states.

In the end, I simply gave up and said to myself: "Why not." (enjoy this album)

Review by Anthony H.
5 stars Wobbler: Rites at Dawn [2011]

Rating: 9/10

Rites at Dawn is the third album from Norwegian symphonic progressive-rock band Wobbler. This band made a strong name for themselves after 2005's Hinterland and 2009's Afterglow. These are two superb releases with jaw-dropping musicianship and developed compositional ideas. Wobbler are known for their decidedly retro sound; the band only uses vintage instruments, including the Hammond organ and Moog synthesizer. This aesthetic remains in full force on Rites at Dawn, but it is approached from a different angle. The previous two albums approached symphonic-prog in a dark and hard-hitting manner, comparable to bands such as Anglagard and Sinkadus. However, they have adopted a much lighter approach here. The first two albums exuded heavy King Crimson and Gentle Giant influence, but Yes is the primary influence here. So much so, in fact, that many are dubbing this album a "Yes clone." I can understand why, for the music here is nearly stylistically identical. However, I disagree with the pejorative connotation that such a label carries. This is a lost Yes album, but it doesn't earn that title simply because it sounds like Yes. This is a brilliantly composed and soulfully performed release that manages to recreate everything that made Yes such a great band.

"Lucid" is a brief atmospheric intro that fittingly sets the album's mood. "La Bealtaine" immediately presents the listener with an array of melodic ideas, backed up a driving rhythm section. New vocalist Andreas Prestmo displays his chops here; his voice has a gorgeous timbre that evokes a Jon Anderson feeling without sounding exactly the same. The short Moog solo near the end is a major highlight. "In Orbit" is the album's first mini-epic. The folk influences are prominent here, although there is certainly no shortage of keyboard wizardry to be found as well. The instrumental sections venture into energetic jazzy territory, and the vocal segments are ethereal. The folk side of the band's sound is even more apparent on "This Past Presence." Quiet acoustic guitars and pleasant flute create a rustic atmosphere. "A Fearie's Play" is a perfect example of a successful short symphonic-prog piece. The vocal melodies are immediately memorable, and the Mellotron is nothing short of majestic. "The River" is the second and final mini-epic. It integrates melodious moments with more complex and intricate jazzy passages. The conclusion is suitably bombastic and satisfying. "Lucid Dreams" is a short ambient outro that ends the album in a cyclical manner.

Rites at Dawn is a stunning release, pure and simple. Wobbler's influences are abundantly apparent; I'm not going to argue that fact. However, I don't think that it's a bad thing. This doesn't merely sound like a 1970s progressive-rock album; it feels like one, too. This is an important distinction. Certain music fans are tempted to throw the word "imitation" at an album like this, but to do such a thing would be a grave injustice. Wobbler do not only recreate style; they also recreate spirit. This is a special album because it encapsulates the soul of a golden age in the most genuine manner imaginable. Rites at Dawn is an enormous success that should not be overlooked by fans of this genre. Leave your preconceived notions at the door and simply enjoy the music.

Review by m2thek
3 stars Wobbler is a retro symphonic prog band whose 3rd album was released earlier this year. Hopefully I will be able to stop saying this soon, but I'm an unfamiliar with anything prior to Rite at Dawn. From what I have read (and can hear on this album), the band plays music in the style of Yes with lots of authentic old instruments. However, while Wobbler may imitate the sound of Yes on this album, they fail to capture the songwriting that made those old albums so good.

While I normally try to stay away from comparisons in reviews and let albums stand on their own merits, it's very difficult to discuss Rite at Dawn without mentioning Yes at all. Funnily enough, the latter released their first album in a decade earlier this year, and frankly Rites at Dawn sounds more like classic Yes than Fly from Here does. Sound is the key word there though. While this album has the sound of the 70s, there's not enough done with it to have anything more than that.

It really is a nice sound the album does capture if it's what you're looking for. The vintage keyboards are in full effect with Mellotron, organ and synthesizers that get you in the mentality of the 70s. The tone of the guitar is also reminiscent of the earlier times, and really if you heard the music out of context, you'd be hard pressed to put the correct year on it.

Though the sound used on the album captures that of classic Yes, the composition is what Wobbler could not capture. The album rarely makes use of its sound to do anything fairly interesting, and most of the songs merely meander forward than really drive to an end. The melodies are just not very strong, and thinking back to the many times I've listened, I find it hard to remember much. There are a couple of really great, exciting moments, but they are far too few to elevate the sound of the album to anything special.

When it comes down to it, the best and the worst that can be said about Rites at Dawn is that its fine; nothing more, nothing less. The album doesn't do anything poorly, but it just doesn't do anything particularly well either. For those of you that are looking for a more modern sounding album, then this is the easiest pass of the year. If you are pining for the sound of the 70s though, this album may briefly interest you, but don't expect to come back to it again and again.

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
4 stars It's true what many reviewers say: this album sounds like a YES clone, inspired to the golden period of the YES, the one including The Yes Album, Close To The Edge and Fragile. But I don't think it's a bad thing. WOBBLER have been able to put the clock back to the 70s, composing and playing something that , if you don't know, seems coming directly from the 70s.

However there's not only a YES influence. "The River" in example reminds more to the KING CRIMSON (of the Bruford period of course), and they still have that touch of "Scandinavian" that's undefineable, but makes a dotted line which links bands and artists like ANGLAGARD, PAR LINDH, BO HANSSON and also the great PEKKA POHJOLA.

The vocals are high pitched, but not so high as Anderson and Squire can be, maybe more similar to Rabin, but apart of mentioning the possible influencer this album is first of all a collection of excellent songs, containing all the things that one can expect to find in a prog album: odd signatures, sudden changes, solos, strong bass and percussions, contaminations with jazz and classics (not too much but there's a bit).

In terms of rating, even though it's non essential as it doesn't contain anything really "new", is a so goos album that everybody can enjoy on different levels. First for the pure listening pleasure, then for the impressive musicianship of the band that from a pure technical point of view doesn't have anything less than the bigs mentioned above.

That's why I think it can find its place in any collection and rate it with 4 stars.

Review by memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Review originally written for

They did it again!

Wobbler is still a young band, however they sound like they were on the musical scene for ages, because of the outstanding compositions they create, along with the high-quality performance of the musicians. Now in this past 2011 they released "Rites at Dawn" which is their third studio album so far, and a musical piece that challenges the big names of progressive rock. This album consists of seven compositions that make a total time of 45 minutes, divided in two short pieces, three mid-length ones and two epics.

The album opens with one of the short tracks. Almost two minutes in which "Lucid" shares a dreamy atmosphere. I imagine someone waking up, opening the eyes and see a new dawn. Later when everything is relaxed, a fast and busy day begins with "La Bealtaine", where the already own Wobbler sound can be appreciated, with the great interaction between guitars and bass, accompanied by drums, voice and the prominent keyboards. Since this first longer song we can realize the complexity of their music, and the great musicianship of the members. I really love how they combine the instrumental passages with the vocal ones. Stunning!

"In Orbit" is one of the epics, with twelve minutes of first-class music. It starts with acoustic guitar, accompanied by a wonderful bassoon (congrats for adding this instrument) which produces a beautiful yet somber sound. A minute later we will listen to a drastic change in which all the musicians create complex, bombastic and vertiginous music that give as a result a very interesting passage. Another drastic change comes when the previous passage vanishes and a delicate vocal sound appears for some seconds, preparing the scene for guess what, another vertiginous change. The keyboard work is awesome during the whole track and album; the bass creates great melodies that do not sound ordinary or plain, following that complex spirit that Wobbler offers since their first album. There will be a moment in which Yes will come to your mind, I assume that classic band influenced them in a way, but it is worth clarifying that Wobbler is never a copycat band, never. Just listen to this wonderful and original song, so you will appreciate their own style.

"This Past Presence" has a mellow and pastoral sound at first. A laid back and peaceful sound where we can appreciate acoustic guitar, a delicate voice, flute and piano. But when you think the song will continue like this, it explodes all of a sudden creating that heavy symphonic tone they use to share. A series of mood and time changes will be found here, loyal at Wobbler's style. "A Faerie's Play" is like the second part of the previous track. The sound is pretty alike, with that lush mellotron accompanied by excellent guitar figures, the always imposing bass and of course, the top-notch drums. This song is simply amazing, it perfectly flows and offers us five minutes of pure heavy symphonic ala Wobbler prog. One of my favourite compositions!

A new element is added in "The River", given the exquisite saxophone they implemented since the very first seconds. A vertiginous sound is shared here for the first minute and a half; later it slows down and creates a calmer rhythm that reminds me of some 70s acts such as Pavlov's Dog (the music, not the voice, of course). Once again, the band put several jigsaws that together form the puzzle, each and every of them are essential to the success of the song. As I mentioned earlier, I love how they decide in which moments the voice enters and in which doesn't, always in the precise moment. Here after four minutes we will listen to the probably most Yes-like sound in the whole album; later it slows down again, sax and acoustic guitar play for some seconds just before the music explodes once again. This is another excellent composition (which isn't?).

Finally, this wonderful album finishes with "Lucid Dreams", which is like the reprise of the first track, but this time with a glockenspiel playing. Now it is time to sleep, rest, relax and dream. Wobbler strikes again with "Rites at Dawn", an album that symphonic rock fans should not miss, but that is highly recommendable to any progressive rock aficionados.

Enjoy it!

Review by Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I have begun my day with this album many mornings. The difference in comparison may be subtle, but I would say that on this album, Wobbler sounds a little less like Yes and more like Starcastle. I appreciated Wobbler's debut. Their second album was less impressive. This one is by leaps and bounds their best. Bookended by peaceful instrumentals, nearly every minute of this album is charming and stimulating.

"Ludic" A swirling, malleable introduction waxes and wanes.

"La Bealtaine" Granular guitar and stout bass burst into the first song. There's the first of several incredible and creative vocal refrains, and the band shows how well they've evolved vocally through the use of counterpoint. Mellotron soars through at one point, while the rest of the ensemble remain consistent. Just over halfway through, a second impressive vocal melody comes through alongside acoustic guitar. If that isn't enough, Wobbler dazzles with a third. I am amazed how this composition flows, because when I think back on this album, my mind separates these melodies into different songs, so each time I come back, I am astonished that they are parts of one stellar whole.

"In Orbit" The lengthiest piece begins peacefully before a jarring guitar and bass interaction occurs. It temporarily subsides, revealing peaceful, Gentle Giant-like melodies. The fourth wonderful melody happens over rapid instrumentation. The fifth arrives just before keyboard solos that are both playful and more menacing. The remainder of the piece is reminiscent of Relayer, particularly "To Be Over," and is nearly just as uplifting.

"This Past Presence" Acoustic guitar and elegant Mellotron and piano weave a dreamy atmosphere. A rattling guitar solo fires off over a dense rhythm in 6/8. The final passage is soaring and brilliant, with Mellotron in both strings and flute mode.

"A Faerie's Play" Cascading Mellotron and loose drumming help make up a beautiful piece of symphonic progressive rock. This is, I must say, despite its ingredients, the most forgettable song on the album. It is not at all a flaw, only the weakest comparatively speaking.

"The River" The band adopts a sound closer to classic Kansas here (sans violin and with Mellotron, of course). Midway through gives us yet another fascinating vocal melody backed up by an interesting harmony and quite like Starcastle all around. A bass interlude leads to an instrumental section that once again reminds me of Kansas before launching back into that wonderful theme.

"Lucid Dreams" The final piece is an airy mood similar to the beginning.

Review by Warthur
4 stars Whereas Wobbler's earlier albums had impressed me with the sheer range of different prog bands of the past they drew inspiration from, on Rites at Dawn they seem much more focused on paying tribute to Yes, with a few other bands only getting occasional look-ins (such as in the fairly Gentle Giantish vocal harmonies - but even then, golden-age Yes wasn't averse to playing around with vocal harmony a bit either themselves). I'd be disappointed if this proves to be their new direction for the long term, but for the space of one album I think I can just about forgive it - they do a really very good impersonation and update of Yes at their best, after all. I just hope the band don't get caught up in a Yes-worshipping rut.
Review by FragileKings
5 stars There are times when I buy a CD and I know very soon that I am going to love it. Since discovering this site and that I really enjoy this music, I have been going Prog wild, you could say. I've been checking out the early classics, the neo stuff, the 90s, and the greatest of the latest. There have been winners and losers and in-betweeners in any period, but always there is the excitement of finding something to treasure in my ears and between them.

Wobbler showed up one day while cruising Amazon and the cover attracted me. I sampled the album and decided it might just be good enough. Great choice!

A lot of people here have been pointing out the similarities to Yes, and certainly there are many similarities: electric guitar distorted and clean, acoustic guitar, all flavours of keyboards, cool bass guitar, choral-style singing, odd time signatures, and everything you could want in symphonic Prog, including flute! However, I don't think the vocals sound as Jon Anderson-like as some have written and the music sounds quite distinct to my ears. To say Wobbler sound like Yes is like saying Uriah Heep sound like Deep Purple. There are similarities but still enough differences.

The album opens with a short peaceful instrumental and then goes straight into the totally retro symphonic Prog of 'La Bealtaine'. We are off to a good start.

But it's the thrilling musical ride of 'Into Orbit' that is the first real treat off the album. Rocking with distorted guitar and some ripping organ and Moog solos, quick temp and time signature changes, slow moods and rollicking quick sections, this song has become one of my recent favourites. There's even a short vocal part that sounds like the Moody Blues.

'This Past Presence' opens with gentle acoustic guitar, flute and piano, accompanied by the vocals and a bit of mellotron. But about 1:40 into the song, the pace suddenly changes and there's a wild guitar solo followed by some fast fingers on the ivory before the pace slows again. The group chooses to stick with the melody and pretty music rather than jump around all over the place. There are some hurried steps and then a powerfully symphonic segment led by mellotron before shifting back to the rocking piano which supports a short flute solo. A cascade of piano notes brings the song to a close.

'A Faerie's Play' is the shortest song on the album, aside from the bookend instrumentals. It begins peacefully but quickly drops a Moody Blues-ish burst of drama, followed by a quick jazzy Yes segment, which then rolls of into something more like Glass Hammer. There's a marching snare drum, more mellotron, Moog, and just overall wonderfully crafted music. I find the vocals, though good enough, don't stand out as particularly skillful at times. Wobbler do a great job of placing just enough vocals into the music so that it works without ever becoming tiresome.

Next up, 'The River', and my favourite track off the album. A mini epic in composition, the song starts with an instrumental introduction in a rock out style with some sax that reminds me of King Crimson. Introduction over, a gentle and haunting clean electric guitar sweeps us to the first lyrics. Here I find the vocals sound a bit weak, but the building music keeps interest high. Mellotron. Flute. And then a very Yes-like shift, a softer segment, and an eruption of symphonic prog rock. I'm in heaven when the chorus comes in, three voices at least, singing a beautiful melody and one of the vocal highlights of the album.

The song pauses and enters a very classical-influenced instrumental passage where all musicians and many instruments contribute to one amazing piece of music. If someone asked me what progressive rock sounded like in a single-song summary, I'd have this song ready for their ears.

If I have anything to say negatively about this album it's that the vocals usually lack a little in skill. The opening and closing instrumentals might not be necessary but they give the effect of entering a special sonic place where this remarkable retro sound exists. Then we awaken and the CD ends. It's not a bad thing at all.

Finally, the length of this album is just right. I have listened to some albums that sound great at first but seem to overstay their welcome after 50 or 60 minutes.

I would love to give this album 5 stars. I was thinking to give it 4 and say 4.5 but as I listened to it again I found I liked it even more. A strike against it might be its retro approach or its somewhat weak vocals but I think it's a really well-crafted piece of work. Others have said Wobbler have really improved since their first two albums. If that's so then they have reached that high place. So I will give it 5 stars and recommend it highly. If you disagree with the 5-star rating you might still likely give it 4.

Review by fuxi
3 stars After all the existing reviews (which were mostly enthusiastic) I'd just like to add my two cents.

First of all: this doesn't sound a bit like FRAGILE or CLOSE TO THE EDGE; the first thirty minutes or so kept reminding me (for some reason) of "Beyond and Before", the opening track of Yes's first album!

Secondly: are these guys for real? I know some of them are musicologists who love vintage keyboards and play krumhorns in their spare time, but... When they write songs about rabbits, fawns and faeries; when they pose for an inner-sleeve photograph with a stuffed owl, a stuffed fox and a load of (apparently) plastic food on the table, what are they trying to tell us?

What I mean is that most of Wobbler's MUSIC can't be faulted ("La Bealtaine", the first extended piece here, verges on the tuneless - but let that pass). The bass, the drums, the guitars, the keyboards and everything else is carefully thought through. You can listen to this music again and again but you'll always find new things, and that's just the way it should be. When you finally reach "The River", the last extended piece on the album, it's... it's probably the best Yes-type composition to emerge from anywhere since Yes themselves came up with DRAMA!

But is it earth-shattering music? I tend to think NOT. I can't help comparing RITES AT DAWN with Big Big Train's ENGLISH ELECTRIC (part one) which sounded oh so passionate and earnest, and I must conclude something's missing: Wobbler never move me. What a shame.

Review by Wicket
3 stars UPDATED

So I got crushed for dissing this album, and I get it.

I was wrong. I don't like admitting when I'm wrong but I'm man enough to admit when I screw up.

I thought these guys just took a page out of the Yes book and just phoned it in, but after hearing much worse prog bands, I decided to re calibrate my thinkings on progressive music as a whole and revisit the Wobbler catalog.

The good thing about this album is that the songs are actually written to support verses and choruses now, unlike "Afterglow" where you only heard a minute and a half of singing on the entire record. "La Bealtine" sounds like a properly vocal driven song. The mixing is balanced this time, and the band never truly overpowers the singing and vice versa. "In Orbit" really sounds like a lost Yes track, but as much as it bothers me, the song is still well written and composed, and the mixing is far better than before.

"This Past Presence" starts slowly, but a quick change of pace and some nifty guitar and piano work make it a nice little tune, "A Faerie's Play" sounds like a mild tribute to the American, Italian and Canterbury prog scenes and "The River" finally opens up some space for the band to stretch out and solo more.

Granted, the focus on singing now has set the instrumental sections back a bit on this album, but seeing the songwriting and composing improve is a good thing. The lack of creativity still bums me out a bit, as I wish they incorporated a bit more of their medieval stylings instead of using the Yes playbook of synths, harmonics and samples, and I'm also kind of over the throwaway intro and outro tracks on albums now (I say attach them to the beginning and end of your opening and closing songs, that way people have no choice but to hear them, and it streamlines the tracklisting). There's still signs of improvement, but I'm still not sold on this band quite yet.

Review by Progfan97402
5 stars To me this is the first truly great Wobbler album. These guys had really done their homework here. I honestly didn't miss their previous vocalist Tony Johannessen as his vocals were a bit difficult for me to take. In comes Andreas Prestmo, once a vocalist for Les Fleurs du Mal (an early incarnation of Tusm°rke) and his vocals are more easy on my ears. The band was no longer trying to be the next ─nglagňrd but they went for a more melodic symphonic prog approach with obvious Yes and Gentle Giant influences. The songs are shorter but a couple pieces do go over 10 minutes. Lars Fredrik Fr°islie had purchased himself a Chamberlin M1 from an American seller and puts it to good use alongside his Mellotron. Here the music has an even more retro vibe to the point you could be easily fooled for a '70s recording. The music has a more pastoral feel despite largely using electric instruments. The band also kept the album around 45 minutes just right for a single LP. Nothing like the Flower Kings where a two CD set totaling 2 hours is modest. For me Rites at Dawn is the first in a winning streak that continues with From Silence to Somewhere and Dwellers of the Deep. This is their first essential album that's a must have!

Latest members reviews

4 stars I first heard of Wobbler around the end of 2020 thanks to Pete Pardo's amazing YT Chanel S.O.T. when their latest studio album Dwellers of the Deep was being reviewed and discussed. I looked up for it, listened to it and was immediately hooked. But digging into their catalog I came across their ... (read more)

Report this review (#2594047) | Posted by ElChanclas | Sunday, September 12, 2021 | Review Permanlink

4 stars New start. After ten years of slump where few progs seem to appreciate the music offered by Wobbler, Lars Fredrik Froislie's team decides to change direction. In this decision, the choice of Andreas Prestmo as the new singer is decisive. The clear timbre of his voice which immediately recalls tha ... (read more)

Report this review (#2480648) | Posted by Muskrat | Saturday, November 28, 2020 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Edit: I've come back in the year 2021 to bump this rating up to 5 stars after listening for a couple years. The songs on this album have continued to really resonate to an even stronger degree over the years and listening now I still pick up on so many brilliant subtilties and complexities in the ar ... (read more)

Report this review (#2277930) | Posted by dougmcauliffe | Sunday, November 3, 2019 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I am not a fan of the first two albums of Wobbler. It is OK music for people who try too hard to be like the old days. Even the use of the Mellotron seems somewaht forced to me so I was not at all convinced to give a spin to their new offering. Big mistake...this is pure bliss in form of music. ... (read more)

Report this review (#2166152) | Posted by steelyhead | Friday, March 15, 2019 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This must be the best album to come out in ages. Of course there are influences by Yes, but does this sound like Yes? Sometimes, but it also has a lot of influences from the Canterbury-scene, and Camel and Gentle Giant. What the band does, is being influenced, and then create something entire ... (read more)

Report this review (#1600107) | Posted by Kingsnake | Monday, August 22, 2016 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Simply the best album of 2011, Norwegian band Wobbler, this time made an album with the least weak points and got more and more near to what they want to produce : a classic Prog album by all means near to what supergroups such as Yes managed to make in the golden years of seventies , in order to t ... (read more)

Report this review (#645975) | Posted by sorcerer kermes | Sunday, March 4, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Over the last few months, my listening habits felt like they had gone a little stale. So in the hopes of alleviating that condition I've been casting my nets further and further afield. I've found myself experimenting with and being taken by things I never expected. I am truly very glad however, ... (read more)

Report this review (#641133) | Posted by R-A-N-M-A | Saturday, February 25, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars 9/10 Unabashedly retro. Incredibly good. I can not tell if I have a soft spot for bands that openly "clone" or inspired by the sound of the giants of progressive rock of the 70s, partly due to my own lack of experience in this subject, but all I can say is that if all of them are like Wobb ... (read more)

Report this review (#636172) | Posted by voliveira | Sunday, February 19, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Retro - prog at it's finest! I've picked this album as my first review probably because of the emotion it stirred inside of me. I've been a progressive rock fan ever since my introduction to 'Dark Side Of The Moon' and ' In The Court Of The Crimson King' around 1975. I was 11 years old at the ... (read more)

Report this review (#610680) | Posted by Prog North | Monday, January 16, 2012 | Review Permanlink

2 stars In the world of pop and rock music it is probably safe to use the cliche that there is nothing new under the sun, everything has been done. Even in the mad world of RIO although there are bands who make some extremely interesting noises, they all wear their Faust/Magma/Henry Cow or whatever influ ... (read more)

Report this review (#539825) | Posted by Starless | Sunday, October 2, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I don't frequent this site much any more; this is partly because I feel PA has turned into a sort of parody of itself. The new favourites are just rehashes of the old favourites, and most seem bent on defining the great sound instead of understanding what made it great. When I look through t ... (read more)

Report this review (#522005) | Posted by MaxerJ | Tuesday, September 13, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I have always regarded Wobbler as a sort of poor man's ─nglagňrd. Not bad, but just not great. Though with this release I now hold them with a much higher regard. I read here that there is so much debate about whether what Wobbler have produced with Rites At Dawn is copying or not, and if it ... (read more)

Report this review (#509757) | Posted by Plastic Dreamer | Friday, August 26, 2011 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Are you an old Yes fan? Would you like to listen to a Yes album? THEN PLAY A YES ALBUM. Influence is unavoidable and every band exhibits it. But this is not influence. This is copy and pasting. This should interest Yes' legal team. This is a covers band. Your album buying money deserves to go t ... (read more)

Report this review (#500464) | Posted by Textbook | Tuesday, August 9, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Although I have only 2 auditions, this third work of the Norwegian band WOBBLER, I can affirm, without fear of being wrong, that this was it that more it pleased me. Even if I consider their two previous disks excellents realizations (that deserve to figures in any progressive music collecti ... (read more)

Report this review (#498657) | Posted by maryes | Saturday, August 6, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is the album which has caused a clone debate recently in PA. A debate I understand after I have been listening to this album for some days. To a large degrees, this is the lost Yes album anno Close To The Edge. Or an outtakes album if you want. ........ That if you accept that Yes is a Nor ... (read more)

Report this review (#497718) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Friday, August 5, 2011 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Didn't really enjoy this album, and I tried really hard, I have played it lots and sorry, I was really excited when I read the reviews here, and ordered the album with great interest, but, I just dont get it. Its all very competent, but I dont sense any real emotion or desire in their delivery, I h ... (read more)

Report this review (#497129) | Posted by neolover1 | Thursday, August 4, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Unashamably and amazingly accurately recreating the sound of Fragile-era Yes - this is a remarkable album. If you can overlook the fact that Wobbler did not create this soundscape from scratch and appreciate it purely for what it is - an incredibly close replication of Yes' sound circa 'Fragile' and ... (read more)

Report this review (#491129) | Posted by barp | Wednesday, July 27, 2011 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I have been a fan since their debut album "Hinterland" came out, which I loved instantly. The same with "Afterglow", though I think it's not as good as the debut. So my hopes were high when I learned that Wobbler was going to release another abum called "Rites at Dawn"! But I am disapointed ... (read more)

Report this review (#457644) | Posted by Moonstone | Monday, June 6, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I looked forward to this release with some anticipation. It's been awhile since WOBBLER's last release, the superb 'Hinterland', which was more of an EP than an album lengthwise. 'Rites At Dawn' thankfully gives us a slightly longer playing time at about 46 minutes. WOBBLER remind me of ... (read more)

Report this review (#453953) | Posted by Distant Planet | Monday, May 30, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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