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BEARDFISH

Eclectic Prog • Sweden


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Beardfish biography
Formed in 2001 in Gävle, Sweden - Disbanded in 2016

Beardfish were formed by guitarist David Zackrisson and singer, guitarist, keyboardist Rikard SJÖBLOM. The group includes bassist Robert Hansen and drummer Magnus Östgren. The first album was recorded as a quintet with Stefan Aronsson on keyboards and flute. Their primary influences are a diverse range of Zappa, King Crimson, and Gentle Giant.

To date they have released two albums, both are highly recommended. The first 'Från En Plats Du Ej Kan Se...' runs the gammet from great epics, brash hard prog, with some tasty flute and mellotron thrown in. Their second album The Sane Day is a more ambitious outing.. this time down to a four piece with Rikard taking keyboard duties. A 'double' album released 2005 that might be seen a conceptual, though they deny it. The growth in the group musically is apparent, and is a good album

The group should be checked out by anyone looking for a good solid modern Art Rock group. If you have the chance.. see this group live. Ask anyone in attendance in Chapel Hill on ProgDay06, they stole the show. They will grab you and not let go. Strongly recommended.

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BEARDFISH discography


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BEARDFISH top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.58 | 176 ratings
Från En Plats Du Ej Kan Se
2003
3.95 | 268 ratings
The Sane Day
2005
4.06 | 497 ratings
Sleeping In Traffic - Part One
2007
4.19 | 713 ratings
Sleeping In Traffic - Part Two
2008
3.98 | 453 ratings
Destined Solitaire
2009
3.99 | 604 ratings
Mammoth
2011
3.85 | 424 ratings
The Void
2012
4.00 | 475 ratings
+4626 - Comfortzone
2015

BEARDFISH Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

BEARDFISH Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

BEARDFISH Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.67 | 9 ratings
Original Album Collection
2016

BEARDFISH Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

BEARDFISH Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Från En Plats Du Ej Kan Se by BEARDFISH album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.58 | 176 ratings

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Från En Plats Du Ej Kan Se
Beardfish Eclectic Prog

Review by NickCrimsonII

3 stars The debut album by Beardfish features compositions both in English and Swedish, and serves as a good starting point and a reference point for where the band would go with their subsequent releases. However, this album is not as neat and solid as what would come later. Some really enjoyable moments are on here, some of the better tracks being 'Spegeldans', 'Brother', 'Psychic Amplifier', and 'In Your Room'. As with most Beardfish albums there are good and smooth transitions between the heavier and the lighter moments, some groovier parts here and there (that I think, they would go on and expand on best in 'Sleeping in Traffic'). The 70s prog influence is quite clear, too. All in all, it is a good album and a fun listen, but I would say it is not an essential part of the band's catalogue (compared to other releases). Of course, it is a great addition in the collection of any Beardfish fan.
 Mammoth by BEARDFISH album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.99 | 604 ratings

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Mammoth
Beardfish Eclectic Prog

Review by sgtpepper

4 stars Another chewy album by Beardfish, feeling less retro than previous efforts.

"The platform" has a special and expressive snare drum sound. "And The Stone Said: If I Could Speak" is a long and solid piece of 15-minute music. But wait - can you hear that beautiful saxophone solo and tasty genuine Hammond chords? They are abruptly interrupted by modern synth and then prog-metal attack. "Green Waves" is one of the heaviest numbers on the album with heavy riffing and drumming and intensive vocals. The melody is quite simple. "Akakabotu" brings us back to 70's with a touch of Canterbury and Camel. Dominating instruments are saxophone, Hammond and very audible bass guitar.

Overall, there are average and above-average tracks but the album does not reach the quality of "Destined Solitaire" or previous albums but is better than the swan album by Beardfish.

 Destined Solitaire by BEARDFISH album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.98 | 453 ratings

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Destined Solitaire
Beardfish Eclectic Prog

Review by sgtpepper

5 stars Another excellent output by this talented Swedish band. The first composition is an excellent moody instrumental workout led by keyboards. The band is not ashamed to display the vast array of influences ranging from the 70's (Frank Zappa, King Crimson, Genesis, Kansas) to more modern bands such as Opeth. "Destined Solitaire" has even short growling vocals imitating Mikael Akerfeldt. It is really an eclectic 11-minute dynamic composition. The Opeth influence is broadened by acoustic guitars and whispered vocals a la Morningrise from 1996. The epic "Until you comply..." has cleverly composed parts with references to Frank Zappa. " Coup De Grâce (or How I Was Killed By An Accordion - Motown Style)" is another creative song dominated by accordion and hammond with semi French style and then proceeding to slow heavy rhythm. There are many clever moments that you simply have to listen to the entire album and enjoy every second of it.
 Sleeping In Traffic - Part One by BEARDFISH album cover Studio Album, 2007
4.06 | 497 ratings

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Sleeping In Traffic - Part One
Beardfish Eclectic Prog

Review by sgtpepper

4 stars A high quality album by Beardfish, more focused than their second effort and full of creativity. The guitar playing is not virtuoso but creative and set of keyboard sounds is really huge. Drumming is consistent although perhaps instrumentally the weakest element of the sound. The voice is equally powerful and emotional. Instrumental passages are real highlights that demonstrate band coherence. Melodies are well thought out.

"Rouelette" offers interesting harmonica sound and dynamic rhythm changes. Ballads or let's call them melancholic songs are represented by "Dark poet" with emotional vocal and piano notes. "Harmony" has a very retro Hammond organ lines and sound. The composition thus has a slight soul touch marked by the passionate vocals and mighty organ. "The ungodly snob" is a keyboard tour-de-force with a myriad of moods and sounds: various synths, organs and electric/acoustic pianos. "Same old song (sunset) reminds of 70's smooth rock with progressive rock touches, which is a rather strange combination.

 +4626 - Comfortzone by BEARDFISH album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.00 | 475 ratings

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+4626 - Comfortzone
Beardfish Eclectic Prog

Review by J.Andrew

5 stars I have spent most of my life listening to prog and am proud to know both the origins of the style and today's bands. Being such an unique and demanding style, one could be tempted to dismiss newer or different approaches to what the founders of the style did back in the late 60s and early 70s. But if one thing that hasn't changed much is the inclination for innovation that prog rock has kept. This being said, few bands can showcase this as Beardfish can. Having had a long career by today's standards, they have done a marvellous work with their latest and final album +4626-Comfortzone.

Not only is Comfortzone a conceptual album in its essence, it is also a perfect blend of prog with a more rock and roll feel. If we were to dismiss the lyrics of these fine tunes, we might find ourselves listening to a perfectly enjoyable and suiting prog album, but that would to no justice to the musical pieces that these accomplished musicians have put forth - indeed one could say that, if anything, this is the perfect farewell album, with its depressive and somewhat defeatist implication of its lyrics.

Technically wise, its a wonderfully recorded album. It won't shine for its technical prowess when compared to Rush or Dream Theater, but it will still catch the attention of those who disdain the repetitiveness and predictability of regular rock, while adding great instrumental sections and fitting solos to atmosphere driven musics that fit perfectly in a larger musical narrative.

There are few albums that I consider as accomplished as this and while Prog Archives does not allow for a 4.5 rating, I can state that his album is surely above a regular 4*. If anything, I regret that we won't be hearing from Beardfish in the future, as there were few bands that delivered consistently good albums as these guys.

I absolutely recommend a few hearings of these guys, especially for those who are bored or disenchanted with symphonic prog or psychedelic rock, as this album is the perfect showcase for what lies on the other side of the spectrum.

 The Sane Day by BEARDFISH album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.95 | 268 ratings

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The Sane Day
Beardfish Eclectic Prog

Review by Kempokid
Collaborator Prog Metal Team

3 stars Double albums are often an iffy thing for me, no matter how much I love a band. I feel like the main reason for this comes from the fact that I believe that if you're making a double album, the music has to be degrees better than one would otherwise expect in order to justify the additional length. This is then taken to another level when bands start makng albums approaching 2 hours long, as it's almost certain that no matter how great the music is, 2 hours will still likely daunt the listener, and this is a big reason why I have only listened to the debut album of The Flower Kings at this point in time. This is the first album by Beardfish that I've listened to, and I can already say, while this album has flaws, I'll definitely want to be checking out the rest of their discography, as I'm highly impressed with what is presented here. There is a clear retro prog sound that the band has, taking heavy inspiration from King Crimson and Zappa in particular, with a definite feel of the more eclectic side of prog, with each song having a lot of musical ideas strewn throughout, while having the more funny, entertaining lyricism of Zappa, as well as some awesome guitar work in that sort of vein. The biggest take away I had from this album however, is how human everything sounds, while Zappa's songs were primarily based in reality, there was either an absurdist, or satirical edge that went along with many of his lyrics, where in Beardfish's case, there's a sense of comfort and fun that comes across. Their lyrics sound less like a commentary on modern life, and more like an exploration of it, which I find extremely refreshing and interesting in a genre typically filled with higher concept ideas or simply just bombast.

Despite my extremely warm impression of this band, I must admit that this album is one that I cannot fully enjoy, exactly for the reasons explained at the start, there's just too much music here for me to be able to enjoy properly. Even though I feel this way, there are without a doubt some incredible tracks to be found on here, the highlight undoubtedly, and somewhat unfortunately being the amazing opener A Love Story, which tells an emotional narrative and displays the more loose songwriting feel that the band has. The song feels simultaneously grandiose and humble, with a dramatic intro that becomes a motif throughout the song, contrasted by the story of the song, which covers a fairly down to earth topic of breakups, immediately establishing the identity of the band in a highly effective way. I love the elements of quirkiness the song incorporates as well, such as direct references to Frank Zappa albums, small sections of vocal distortion, and a line singing about wanting to scream, before then belting out a high note that never fails to put a smile on my face. Other notable songs from the first half are Tall Tales and The Gooberville Ballroom Dancer, both accentuating the wonderful lyricism at play, while also being extremely strong from a musical perspective. Tall Tales presents more mystical imagery, but once again puts it through the lens of reality by having it be told as a compilation of wild stories by someone clearly lying about their journeys, yet the whimsical nature of everything in the song makes it highly compelling to follow along nonetheless. The Gooberville Ballroom Dancer is the most bombastic song on the album by a considerable margin, telling a ridiculous, humourous story with hard hitting riffs and a lovely amount of absurdism. The high energy present here perfectly contrasts the extremely laid back Mudhill, and gives the feeling of being taken on a journey, despite the fact that the songs are all unrelated on this album. The occasional moments of heaviness or darkness found throughout the album further improves it, displaying a great variety while still sticking to its core identity, epitomised by the Fripp styled guitar playing in The Summit.

As you can see, I find the first half of the album to be excellent all around, easily a 4 star album at the very least, but the issue comes from the extremely weak second half, which starts off with 2 more gems before becoming a massive slog. Of the two songs, the titular track is a dark instrumental that moves at a much slower pace than anything else on the album, and Blue Moon is a shorter song showcasing some incredible soloing, but neither of which stand up to the powerful first half of the album. After this, there are a number of instrumental reprises of past songs, none of which do anything to grab me, since I've already heard them in their fullly realised forms. Even the actual songs on this side, such as Mystique of the Beauty Queen and The Reason of Construction and Or Building a Pyramid just do absolutely nothing for me, likely partially to do with the fact that there has already been so much music beforehand that more feels like a chore, but also because it feels like there is a considerable lack of inspiration at this point, with the majority of the top quality ideas being used up, as is often the case with albums approaching this length.

Overall, while the first half of this album is tremendous in quality, the second half falls flat on its face for the most part and dampens the listening experience by a lot. The identity of Beardfish is established very clearly here however, and it's an identity that I absolutely adore, causing me to hastily want to listen to the remaining discography of this band, as despite the mixed affair that this album is, I nonetheless already love this band. I'd recommend the first half of this record to anyone who's a fan of the heavier side of classic prog and also enjoys having some humour in their music, as this is undoubtedly something you'd find at least some enjoyment in. I look forward to listening to their other , shorter albums for sure.

Best songs: A Love Story, The Gooberville Ballroom Dancer, The Summit, Blue Moon

Weakest songs: The Basic Blues, the many instrumental interludes on the second half

Verdict: I love what this album was trying to be, and find the first half of it to be an exceptional album, extending to the first 2 tracks of the second side. After this point, it falls off hard, but even so, this is still worth a listen if you like the more classic side of prog, especially Zappa.

 Destined Solitaire by BEARDFISH album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.98 | 453 ratings

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Destined Solitaire
Beardfish Eclectic Prog

Review by TenYearsAfter

3 stars Swedish prog formation Beardfish their latest effort (8th album) is from 2015 (with the funny title +4626 ' Comfortzone) and the latest Beardfish review on PA is from January 2018. I would like to go back to their fifth CD entitled Destined Solitaire from 2009, featuring a colourful, intricate triple fold-out-cover painting.

It sounds as a logical successor of their previous CD, the highly acclaimed Sleeping In Traffic : Part Two (2008): a varied, dynamic and a bit quirky sound, lots of interesting musical ideas and influences that range from The Beatles and Frank Zappa to Gentle Giant, Yes and Spock's Beard.

Their variety is incredible, just listen to the totally different atmospheres in the first four compositions.

A pleasant keyboard-oriented sound (lots of Hammond along piano and harpsichord) with a catchy beat in the instrumental Awaken The Sleeping.

The focus on fiery and biting electric - and delicate acoustic guitar work, with hints from Led Zeppelin in the exciting, often heavy rocking title track.

Around 15 minutes with captivating shifting moods and wonderful vintage keyboards (Hammond, Mellotron) in Until You Comply Including Entropy.

And a sound similar to Frank Zappa in the swinging In Real Life There Is No Algebra (even the humor of Frank Zappa!). What an interesting musical journey!

Very special is the alternating instrumental Coup De Grace (a tribute to keyboard player and singer Rikard his grandfather) due to the blend of accordion, this gives the climate a Parisian touch, beautiful!

I am very pleased with the omnipresence of the powerful and distinctive Hammond organ on this album, like in the tracks Where The Rain Comes In (strong interplay between bass and Hammond) and the compelling Abigail's Questioning (a swinging clavinet solo and a sensational fiery guitar solo with lush Mellotron). And especially in the splendid final composition The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of: varied vintage keyboards (Moog, Hammond and Mellotron) and a bombastic final part featuring a propulsive rhythm-section and spectacular Hammond work with a subtle wink to The Nice.

Although at some moments to me Beardfish sounds a bit without direction because of too many ideas in one song or a 'jam- session-like structure', in general Destined Solitaire delivers lots of interesting and captivating progrock, a big hand for these four creative Swedish minds!

My rating: 3,5 star.

 Mammoth by BEARDFISH album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.99 | 604 ratings

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Mammoth
Beardfish Eclectic Prog

Review by Kingsnake

5 stars Today is the day I fell in love with Beardfish.

I have been in love with Scandinavian progrock for decades, but never gave this band a chance, and I honestly don't know why.

What is so appealing about this band is the more pysch and muscular approach to oldschool symphonic rock. The band sounds like Yes and Genesis and King Crimson etc, but with more balls. They sound like a stonerrock band here and there, just like Swedish comrades Kamchatka (great band aswell).

The band also has some Jethro Tull influences in their music (without the flute), maybe because of the heavy drumming and guitars.

Nevertheless this album to me, is absolutely essential and I will defininately check out the rest of their repertoire.

 The Void by BEARDFISH album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.85 | 424 ratings

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The Void
Beardfish Eclectic Prog

Review by Pastmaster

4 stars Usually when we see progressive rock bands going in a metal direction, it ends up taking on a standard progressive metal tone, which does logically make sense. However, what if you want to hear other genres of metal blended rather than the typical power-prog sound? Beardfish breaks that paradigm of progressive rock bands going progressive metal, and instead blends eclectic rock with sludgy grunge/stoner/doom metal. For someone like me, who doesn't really care for much progressive metal apart from the classic bands, this comes as a welcome change of pace.

This is an eclectic and long album, so one thing that albums like this can suffer from is inconsistency, but Beardfish keeps things pretty steady for the most part. The opening two tracks as well as "This Matter of Mine" are definitely the heaviest songs and the best. Both the opening songs are like a mix of a Kyuss/Alice in Chains-type sound blended with progressive rock. "This Matter of Mine" has some pretty killer basslines and brings to mind a heavier Deep Purple at times. "He Already Lives in You" has a bit of this Deep Purple vibe as well, especially with the vocals and organ. Most of the other songs all have a range of eclectic progressive rock and a smorgasbord of softer passages, hard rockin' moments, spacey parts, and metallic dirges.

Rikard Sjöblom's vocals's are quite varied, but I notice that at times he reminds me of Deep Purple's Ian Gillan especially in "Voluntary Slavery". In the same song, one of the most memorable vocal lines is easily Sjöblom's deep low delivery of "Do you believe, in alchemy?" There is also some Gentle Giant influence in the form of group vocal lines and acapellas, this is heard in the songs "Turn to Gravel" and the nearly 16-minute suite "Note".

The Void is an oddity in Beardfish's discography. This is the only one I've heard but it seems that this is the only album with really noticeable metal elements. Not all of the songs are metallic, but for metal fans that want to hear a different take on metal mixed with progressive rock, this is certainly a good choice. Some of the songs are pretty forgettable, but the great songs certainly make up for those.

Written on MMA (MetalMusicArchives) See review here: http://www.metalmusicarchives.com/review/the-void/325467

 +4626 - Comfortzone by BEARDFISH album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.00 | 475 ratings

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+4626 - Comfortzone
Beardfish Eclectic Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars They originally were just going to call this "Comfortzone" but they thought they'd make it a little more personal by putting the area code of their home town in Norway in front of it(+4626). This is a concept album about the negativity of being comfortable. One of the band members said that Comfortzone is that invisible protective suit of negative thinking. So it can be in relation to staying in your home town your whole life, or staying in that relationship or job that just isn't good for you but it's comfortable so you stay in it. The surreal cover art depicts someone who lives on a lonely planet with Earth off in the distance.

They've certainly scaled back the heaviness that was strong on the previous album("The Void"). It is quite a wordy album so it's taken some time to grow on me, and there are some rather vanilla parts. Still these guys have created another solid album even if it is right now my least favourite of the seven studio albums that I own by them(I don't have the debut). There are so many beautiful melodies on here and the lyrics are always a strong point(love the sarcasm and humour) with this band. And this is still growing on me so who knows where it will end up as far as my favs go by them.

"The One Inside Part 1: Noise In The Background" is a short intro track of less than 2 minutes in length. I like how this sets the album up with the spoken words, and the strings are a nice touch. "Hold On" has such a great sound to it to start with the guitar and bass especially. Vocals before 1 1/2 minutes with intricate guitar and a beat standing out. This is a catchy track with some uplifting sections.

"Comfort Zone" opens with atmosphere as the guitar, a beat, mellotron and more takes over. I really like this. The guitar work reminds me of Randy Bachman at times. Vocals, keys and a calm 2 1/2 minutes in. After he sings "Death walks behind you" we get an uplifting instrumental section. Vocals are back quickly though. The vocals are more passionate 5 1/2 minutes in, and then that Bachman-like guitar is back before 7 minutes. Check out the prominent bass as well. Nice. "Can You See Me Now" is a catchy and upbeat song with clever lyrics. "King" is one of my favourites. I like how heavy it is and the humour too. It's pretty intense 4 minutes in and it ends with spoken words and some killer guitar. "The One Inside Part 2: My Companion Through Life" features picked guitar and some really beautiful melodies as the vocals join in.

"Daughter/ Whore" is a barn-burner with some massive opening bass lines. Passionate vocals here as well and check out the guitar solo after 3 minutes in the incredible instrumental section that follows. I like how the vocal melodies cry out here too. The vocals are back before 5 minutes. "If We Must Be Apart(A Love Story Continued)" sounds amazing once it settles in. We even get some clapping. Too much fun here. After 3 minutes it sounds like a stadium full of people. It's so catchy a minute later, just a great tune.

"Ode To The Rock 'N' Roller" is the longest song by far at 15 1/2 minutes. Organ, bass and a beat start us off and this all sounds so good after 1 1/2 minutes. Man that bass is crunchy. It settles with picked guitar and vocals only before 3 minutes then the organ and drums join in. It's heavier after 5 minutes before settling back and it's so uplifting 7 minutes in. I like the section beginning before 11 minutes with pulsating keys, drums and vocals. A calm with organ follows then it kicks into gear again. The last 1 1/2 minutes are mellow. "The One Inside Part 3: Relief" is the laid back closer that has a feel good vibe to it.

I think it's kind of ironic that the music of BEARDFISH is comfort music for me. I think what they are trying to say is that I should move on to music that takes me out of my comfort zone(haha). A really nice album, in fact these Swedes have carved out a very good career for themselves and I for one want to thank them for all the great music.

Thanks to micky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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