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FreddeGredde Brighter Skies album cover
3.88 | 110 ratings | 6 reviews | 20% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2014

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Welcome the Bright Skies (5:44)
2. The Autotelic Self (11:05)
3. Your Life (3:02)
4. This Fragile Existence (5:48)
5. The Tower (8:18)
6. Shining (3:58)
7. Ocean Mind (18:24)

Total Time: 56:19

Line-up / Musicians

- Fredrik Larsson / guitars, keyboards, vocals, others
- Louis Abramson / drums
- Zuzana Vaneková / flute (5)

Releases information

CD GlassVille Records GVR013 (2014 Sweden)

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
and to The Bearded Bard for the last updates
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FREDDEGREDDE Brighter Skies ratings distribution

(110 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(20%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(42%)
Good, but non-essential (28%)
Collectors/fans only (7%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

FREDDEGREDDE Brighter Skies reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars Fredrik Larsson is a fresh young multi-instrumental talent out of Sweden who has a proclivity for Drama-era YES but who is unfortunately cursed with a voice like OWL CITY's singer- songwriter Adam Young--"cursed" because, in this reviewers opinion, the OWL CITY singing approach does not match stylistically well with the YES-like music.

1. "Welcome the Bright Skies" (5:45) introduces us to Mr. Larsson's YES-like sound--that is, until he starts singing. "Fireflies" automatically comes to mind (a song I rather like but whose idiosyncratic vocal approach is, I think, better left as uniquely Adam Young's domain). (I know that Mr. Larsson cannot help that his English singing style sounds so familiar to these experienced ears. My point is, I think, that I don't find the OWL CITY vocal approach to fit very well with your choice of bombastic prog music.) A forgettable song that displays tremedous potential. (7/10)

2. "The Autotelic Self" (11:05) The Drama-era YES/Chris Squire bass sound and Trevor Horn voice make this for an interesting song. It is during this song that I am beginning to think that Mr. LArsson's real gift is in the keyboard department--his choices and uses of multiple sounds throughout a song is quite dextrous, confident and masterful. With each successive listen to this album I find myself tuning out the domineering bass and drums to focus on the more interesting keyboard work. Overlooking the too-busy, too-loud drums, and this is quite an interesting, well-constructed song. Even the vocals work tolerably well on this one. (9/10)

3. "Your Life" (3:00) is quite a cute, entertaining (biographical?) journey through the adventures of a young world-traveller. Quite catchy and engaging, if also poppy. (8/10) 4. "This Fragile Existence" (5:50) is a song with just too many layers, too much going on, and not enough consistency to render it engaging much less memorabl--though a brief GENESIS/TONY BANKS section at 4:25 tries to render this hodgepodge song from forgettability. (7/10)

5. "The Tower" (8:21) is probably my favorite song on the album. It has quite a RENAISSANCE feel to it--especially in the bass sound and foundational role of the piano. Quite symphonically constructed and of varied paced, the song's main flaw is in the singing. The singing sometimes feels forced, as if the singer has to rush the lyrics along to keep pace with the keyboard melody lines. The heavy section beginning at 6:45 is quite powerful. Still, the song could benefit from some more instrumental sections--or simply less singing. Reminds me of GENESIS' "Eleventh Earl of Mar" in that it is musically an incredible song over which the singing and lyrics have a negative effect. (9/10)

6. "Shining" (4:02) is another song of wonderful musical creativity that, unfortunately, suffers from the over-/domineering presence of singing and mismatched lyrics. The singer's approach often reminds me of one JON ANDERSON in the way these quite unusual and unexpected lyrics are sung in quite unexpected places and ways. (8/10) The album's finale and longest song, the epic, 7. "Ocean Mind" (18:24), opens with three minutes of well-crafted symphonic prog bombast. Once the vocal does finally enter, it begins with some admirable restraint while some YES/STARCASTLE-like music fills the background (foreground and wings, too!) Again, the instrumental presentation may be a bit too busy. A softer section in the seventh minute has a TREVOR HORN/YES/BUGGLES feel to it (a feeling I'm revisited by A LOT during this song) before the music returns to a heavier instrumental section. Great keyboards and powerful drumming throughout--though the volume and activity of the drums at times detract attention from the other instruments. The song, unfortunately, wanders all over the musical spectrum without revealing (to me) its purpose or soul. The acoustic guitar backed gentle section in the fifteenth minute is nice, though the reverb and singing style forces that Adam Young/OWL CITY feel upon me as much as ever. The denouement of the final two minutes again leaves me wondering, confused: Is this supposed to be a "Supper's Ready" or an Elton John song? (7/10)

FreddeGredde is a band that I look forward to following in the future as I can see great potential if young Mr. Larsson decides to learn to use a little more restraint--to give more power to the subtleties and incidentals and not so much to the bombastic. He certainly has command of all of the elementals of great prog. Now to learn pacing and more mature presentation.

A 3.5 stars album (between "good" and "excellent") that shows tremendous future potential. I do recommend progsters give this one a listen as I believe Mr. Fredrik Larsson may be destined to contribute great things to the prog lexicon.

Review by Progulator
3 stars Just in case you were find yourself believing that Sweden is a magical fountain of good prog, well guess what, you've been proven right again. Out from Gavle appeared the young artist Fredrik Larsson 3 years ago with his debut album under the name of FreddeGredde, boasting a title that pretty much screams out prog rock: Thirteen Eight. Interesting to note, however, is that Larsson has actually been quite the Youtube sensation in his homeland, doing a variety of playful medleys of music from tv shows, classical music, video games, etc. While the videos are fun and all, when it comes to prog FreddeGredde is the real deal. His latest release, Brighter Skies, kicks it up a couple notches from where he left off with Thirteen Eight, showing increased technical and compositional skill as a musician as he plays just about everything on this stellar new release that recalls what we love about bands like Moon Safari, Spock's Beard/Neal Morse, early Dream Theater, and a slew of other prog influences.

The record kicks it off with "Welcome the Bright Skies," immediately recalling Moon Safari in its 'feel good' nature, melodic approach, and dense layering. Very quickly, however, we see that there's going to be a strong technical side to the album, with lot's of headspinning rhythms happening and drums that often lead towards prog metal despite the light-hearted nature of the tune. Boasting pleasant chord changes, tron style flute, the occasional pulverizing riff, and a big ritard towards the end for dramatic effect, and we've got a killer opener on our hands. Next up is "The Autotelic Self," a song that just makes me grin from the way it matches so much virtuoso playing with a song that, when you boil it down, is really based around a few basic melodic ideas that Larsson simply decides to take all the way to the moon and back. Earlier I mentioned Dream Theater, and let me just say that what FreddeGredde is doing on this song is what I wished DT was doing at this moment instead of releasing lukewarm music. The shift from melodic sections to staggering polyrhythms is incredible, and the texturing of sparkly keyboards over heavy and complex sections is masterful. But like I said, in the end, what we get are great, quickly recognizeable motifs spun through labyrinths of instrumental wizardry, broken up by wailing high vocals, unison runs, and even some beautiful quiet sections, all along the way showing us his skill at alternating mood between heavy/dark and bouncy/bright. At this point, Larsson decides to give us a bit of a rest with the relaxing, celtic-flavored tune "Your Life." This fun little folky piece will certainly get you jigging with its upbeat, jolly feel. While it's a simple piece, small additions here and there build it up nicely and keep the interest alive. Nothing wrong with giving us a short and simple tune from time to time, and in this case it's a great way to calm things down after so many crazy rhythms displayed in the first two tracks.

Of course, it is only a short rest from the madness as FreddeGredde throws us right back into the action with "This Fragile Existence." Even though this piece starts off with some pretty menacing riffing, to say this is simply a metal song would not do it justice. There is something subtly theatrical about this song, and just as quickly as it threw down some brutal riffs it quickly moves to bright and poppy, keyboard given sections, delivering plenty of catchyness a la Moon Safari as it takes us through some lighter sections full of strings, flute, little bells, and dense vocal arrangments that become quite personal. All in all, "This Fragile Existence" shows us some of the coolest of the album thus far, but what comes next, "The Tower," is sure to top it. This is a track that is powerful right from the start, conjuring up a heartfelt intro with epic atmosphere delivered by vocals, piano, cymbal swells, and dramatic moments. The transition to guitar and flute screams out Voyage of the Acolyte in fantastic ways before developing the drum parts little by little, introducing bits of Mellotron, catchy basslines, amazing use of syncopation, and impressive vocal harmonies. From start to finish this is a song with amazing flow, and what's more, it's one of the prettiest tracks on the album, perhaps less wild than some others, but somehow delivering a more determined sense of purpose. On top of that, it never hurts when you deliver an ending of epic proportions, this time in the form of proggy playing suddenly hitting a straightforward, slow, doomy beat as the ambient keys and heavy guitar chords ring out, drenching the song in emotion.

To close off the album FreddeGredde essentially gives us two pieces which are polar opposites in nature but both are excellent in their own ways. "Shining" is a compact song, four minutes of very straight-to-the-point prog while "Ocean Mind" comes in at a whopping 18 minutes. For the former, imagine if Dream Theater and Moon Safari had a baby, it's about what you get: four minutes of proggy riffing, happy melodies, and theatrical nuances. Throw in an uber catchy chorus and we have a fantastic, easy access song with fabulous melodies, uplifting feeling and all around awesome. The closer, "Ocean Mind," as is typical of prog epics, maintains a certain casual flow between sections in the sense that the structure becomes very loose and gives room to exploring a variety of moods and timbres through long instrumental passages. Main themes are heard to appear throughout and we get Larsson delivering about every angle we've explored on the album thus far from catchy melodies to uplifting sections, and even the occasional brutal heavy riff with eerie tron strings laden over the top. All in a all, this is certainly the right way to wrap up a prog album.

While Larsson isn't necessarily blazing new trails in the prog world, his take on prog rock/metal is supremely convincing and incorporates the best of influences, tying them together in ways that are fun, challenging, and above all, just plain cool. He's certainly not afraid to push the musicianship as far as he can and at the same time makes sure to include nice little personal flourishes. Brighter Skies is an album that particularly the younger proggers will get into, but simultaneously contains enough dense composition to please the more experienced fans who are wanting to dig into the songs multiple times and always find something new.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Being a busy dad doesn't allow for much web surfing. 5-minute bursts of activity on PA. So I have to pick my pleasure. Out of the myriad I selected, no strong reason, on a whim, Heliopolis and this. While both are prog albums by prog fanatics for prog fanatics, Heliopolis takes a decidedly retro ... (read more)

Report this review (#1294547) | Posted by Progrussia | Monday, October 20, 2014 | Review Permanlink

5 stars FreddeGredde is probably best known for being a YouTube video viral sensation with videos he made in 2009-2010 of medleys and covers. Along the way he also made videos of his original music which is in the style of progressive rock. "Beside Me" and "Vampire Bride" were part of his debut album ... (read more)

Report this review (#1271217) | Posted by Nacho220 | Saturday, September 6, 2014 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Prog is a genre driven by progression, hence the origin of its name. It is a label driven to push the boundaries of the music we listen to and redefine our standards of good music. The more ambitious music listeners become desensitized to the music around them, after many years of constant expo ... (read more)

Report this review (#1239239) | Posted by UnsaltedCatfish | Saturday, August 9, 2014 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is my favorite album of 2014 so far! I've been a fan of the Swedish solo artist FreddeGredde's proggier compositions since his early YouTube releases, and while his debut album had some great material, there were also many uninteresting tracks that I wouldn't consider prog at all. This has cer ... (read more)

Report this review (#1213700) | Posted by FieryEmblem | Monday, July 14, 2014 | Review Permanlink

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