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BLÅ LOTUS

Heavy Prog • Sweden


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Blå Lotus biography
Founded in Örebro, Sweden in 2016

Blå Lotus is a progressive rock trio who makes heavy prog music without a guitar, just bass, drums, and Hammond organ. Frederik ANDERSSON is the keyboardist, composer, and singer who went on to play in different bands before meeting his bass player friend Linus KARLSSON. This reunion led to the formation of the band in 2016. The music is heavily influenced by the 70's in the vein of ATOMIC ROOSTER and ELP.

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3.90 | 14 ratings
Tube Alloys
2018
3.89 | 9 ratings
Högtid
2019

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BLÅ LOTUS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Högtid by BLÅ LOTUS album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.89 | 9 ratings

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Högtid
Blå Lotus Heavy Prog

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic Team

4 stars "Bla Lotus" is a Heavy Prog band that was formed in 2016 in Sweden. The interesting things about this band is that it is a trio of musicians that make music without the use of a guitar. Their 2nd album, released in June of 2019, is called "Hogtid" and is made up of 7 tracks and a total run time of over 51 minutes. The line up is the same as their debut album: Fredrik Andersson on both Hammond and Farfisa organ, mellotron, synth, electric piano, flute and vocals; Linus Karlsson on bass, theremin and sound effects; and Wikto Nyden on drums and percussion.

The music is made up of songs that originated in 2017 and the band worked on to prepare them for this album. Unfortunately, Fredrik was hospitalized for a while and that delayed the release of the album, but eventually the band was able to finish it off. The album begins with "Pagan Solstice" which is a song that actually originated with Freidrick's previous band in which he played the guitar. This song had to be revamped so that it was suited for the Hammond. It starts off as you would expect, heavy and dark with a lot of somber organ and a psychedelic, yet folkish feel. The vocals are heavily processed, warbly and with reverb, giving it an even more psychedelic sound. The folk element is in the traditional sounding melodies presented by the organ, but you would also swear you were listening to early Deep Purple without the guitar. The tempo does pick up a bit halfway through the track and then the organ persuades it to speed up even more as a secondary vocal theme comes in. The track exceeds the 9 minute mark and is considered by the band to be one of the two main centerpieces of the album.

"Open Hand on All Fours" has a brighter texture to it and is more upbeat. Heavy organ melodies are backed up later by lighter synths. The middle section goes into a jamming mode with the organ embellishing on the theme by improvising around it. Following this instrumental is the track "Unreal Estate" which approaches the 10 minute mark in length. It is another track taken from an earlier project that included guitar and had to be rearranged to fit in with this album. It begins with a lilting organ melody and then a very folk sounding melody in the harmonized vocals. The track has a more progressive style to it with tempo and meter changes that support the basic melody. The effects and lo-fi feeling of the music give it an authentic retro feel. As the singing ends, the tempo speeds up and the flute is utilized and then an exciting organ solo takes over with nice retro effects added in here and there. Different backgrounds enhanced by changing rhythms bring in different keyboard solos.

"While You Were Away" is an ode to the division of labor, but that the world continues to be a better place day by day regardless of the issues we are always facing. The Farfisa organ is the centerpiece of this track mostly in order to provide a variety in sound in this track. The vocals and the melody is more up front, but the organ use keeps the sound in the retro vein. In the middle of the track, things get a bit heavier and dark, and then later wanders a bit while a mix of sounds, natural and strange form a wall behind the music before the vocals start again. "Ganglat" is a short rendition of a traditional Swedish marching tune. This 3 minute instrumental track starts off with a lot of noise and chaos before it settles into a heavy track with the distinct melody played and embellished upon by the organ.

"Summer Demons" is the 2nd main track of the album as designated by the band. It is over 12 minutes in length. According to Fredirck, the track began it's life as a short Neil Young style folk song but morphed into the longest track on the album. After the introduction, it turns to an atmospheric track with layers of keys and a Pink Floyd style pinging sound, then it builds tension by a ticking cymbal and rolling organ riff before the vocals come in after 2 minutes. The melody is simple, yet nice and is supported by the entire band. Soon, the organ takes over by playing through riffs and improvising over the band. After 6 minutes, the beat goes into a more driving rhythm and soon the synths come in as the center instrument. This culminates into a bright riff towards the middle of the track that gets repeated several times. After 9 minutes, more synths are used as the track enters another jamming section. Vocals return at 11 minutes.

The last track is "Rats'n Brats" and is a fast rocking style track and ends the album on a stoner-style, rock and roll song, simple, yet infectious.

The album definitely has the retro feel to it, but has a unique folk undertone going on through out. The heavy use of the organ brings back memories of Deep Purple and Uriah Heep and other psychedelic style groups from that time. The lo-fi sound also helps make things more authentic. It's a fun album, but it is only for those that love the heavy and dark sound of the organ. You keep expecting a huge guitar solo all along, but that is what makes this band unique, is that most of the music and sound is produced by mostly older keyboards, especially organ. It does tend to lack in variety because of that, but the songs are interesting enough that you still end up getting caught up in them, especially in that nice retro feel. Anyway, the album is decent, and is definitely a few notches above simply 3 stars, so it is easy to round it up an extra star because of enjoy- ability. Just know that it has a lo-fi quality to it to help bring authenticity to the recording.

 Tube Alloys by BLÅ LOTUS album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.90 | 14 ratings

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Tube Alloys
Blå Lotus Heavy Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars As soon as I started playing this I was taken back more than 20 years to two albums released on the long-lost Ad Perpetuam Memoriam label by a band called Death Organ. Led by keyboardist Per Wiberg (Opeth, Spiritual Beggars), their music was a strange mix of death metal and prog, and notably contained no guitars. I wonder if these guys have come across them, as yet again we have a band producing heavy music, with no guitars involved. Actually, their motto is, "No six-strings allowed," and they create a soundscape equipped with just bass, drums and Hammond organ and a vast array of lengthy jam-based compositions interspersed with heavy stoner-like riffs.

The trio of Fredrik Andersson (Hammond and Farfisa Organ, Mellotron, synthesizer, electric piano, flute and vocals), Linus Karlsson (bass, Theremin, sound effects) and Wiktor Nydén (drums) have taken Atomic Rooster as a starting point and have then moved on from there. I was fortunate enough to see Vincent Crane, John Du Cann and Paul Hammond (all three now sadly deceased) some 35 years ago, and the power they were putting out onstage, without a bass, was quite incredible, and here Blå Lotus are doing the same without guitar. With a very heavy use of Hammond, their sound is strongly rooted in the early Seventies, and they move between extended instrumentals and vocals with ease. That this is a great album is never in doubt, and it is incredible to think that they came together in Autumn of 2016, and recorded this album in April the following year, as they sound as if they have been bouncing ideas off each other for years. Now if only Per Wiberg would reform Death Angel, and the two bands went out on the road together, that would be something well worth seeing. If you have ever enjoyed the sound of a Hammond Organ in the hands of someone who knows what they are doing, then this is essential.

 Tube Alloys by BLÅ LOTUS album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.90 | 14 ratings

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Tube Alloys
Blå Lotus Heavy Prog

Review by Progfan97402
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Wow! This new Swedish heavy prog rock band just totally blew me away. This is a trio consisting of keyboardist/vocalist Fredrik Andersson, bassist Linus Karlsson, and drummer Wiktor Nyden. This group has a "no guitar" policy, so unsurprisingly Quatermass will be one band that will come to mind. ELP, Atomic Rooster, a bit of Bo Hansson and even occasionally Italian prog springs to mind. Hammond organ is by far the most dominant keyboard used, and Fredrik Andersson plays it like there's no tomorrow. Lots of in-your-face intensity certainly to blow your mind. It sounds so much like a lost recording from the early '70s that you can't tell this was actually recorded in 2017 (released the following year). It's funny that while these guys aren't exactly bringing anything new to the table, they still sound like a total breath of fresh air. This is especially when so much modern-day prog really disappointed me big time, usually because they're overlong and way overstay their welcome on a CD full of nearly 80 minutes of music. Not with these guys! It's clear these guys are totally enjoying themselves. That "no guitar" policy only proves, as Quatermass or Rare Bird (their first two albums only) had proved all those years ago, that great music can be had without a guitar. Blå Lotus is simply the new generation of it. Really worth it.
Thanks to rdtprog for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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