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A.C.T

Eclectic Prog • Sweden


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A.C.T biography
Formed in 1994 in Malm�, Sweden (known before as "Fairyland") - Hiatus between 2008-2013

A.C.T is a very popular and well-known modern progressive rock band from Sweden, having released music since 1999. They have evolved into a respectable band that has had more than a decent impact; more impressive, however, it how their songwriting and style gets better with every album. The band's musical style is eclectic, but also keen to a lot of influences, some (like QUEEN, SAGA, SUPERTRAMP, MUSE, RUSH, DREAM THEATER or ELO) being largely accepted, others (like IT BITES, ZAPPA or STYX) being more particular, and some (like GENESIS, KANSAS, JETHRO TULL, TOTO or the BEATLES) being much superficial.

The band, initially under Ola ANDERSSON on guitars, Tomas ERLANDSSON on drums, Jens APPELGREN on vocals and Jerry SAHLIN on both keyboards and drums, was created out of friendly discussions and leisure musical sessions and was named FAIRYLAND. During the entire rehearsals and the eventful years of playing and discovering their outfit, the line-up saw some changes, APPELGREN departing and three new musicians joining in: Simon NIKLASSON on bass and dynamic writing, later Peter ASP as guitarist/bassist, and Herman SAMING as vocalist, often leading the charm and lucky good impression of A.C.T's clear crystal voice. In 1995, at the suggestion of Jerry SAHLIN, FAIRYLAND finally changed into A.C.T, both in name and in perspective. Taking on a new musical direction, A.C.T went all the way to a finale at a local competition, "Musik Direkt" - which gave them the opportunity to make some demos. The next year, they were favorites all the way to the grand finale in Stockholm, where losing the competition was a small setback compared to the fame and good spirit they've witnessed since.

A.C.T are as good and exciting on stage as they are profound in the studio. They opened for a lot of good artists, like Yngwie MALMSTEEN, FISH or SAGA. Th...
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A.C.T Videos (YouTube and more)


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A.C.T discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

A.C.T top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.92 | 154 ratings
Today's Report
1999
4.05 | 183 ratings
Imaginary Friends
2001
4.07 | 310 ratings
Last Epic
2003
3.40 | 167 ratings
Silence
2006
3.91 | 223 ratings
Circus Pandemonium
2014

A.C.T Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 3 ratings
Live at Kulturbolaget 2019
2023

A.C.T Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.33 | 20 ratings
Trifles And Pandemonium
2016

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

A.C.T Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.29 | 12 ratings
[The Early Recordings]
2002
4.19 | 27 ratings
Rebirth
2019
4.11 | 19 ratings
Heatwave
2021
4.00 | 17 ratings
Falling
2023

A.C.T Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Trifles And Pandemonium by A.C.T album cover DVD/Video, 2016
4.33 | 20 ratings

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Trifles And Pandemonium
A.C.T Eclectic Prog

Review by Rune2000
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Trifles And Pandemonium was a special live album released by A.C.T after playing selected dates throughout 2014, two of which I got to experience first-hand. The set consisted of a chronological retrospective of each studio album, starting with Today's Report and bookended by tracks from Circus Pandemonium. Hence the the title Trifles And Pandemonium and there were definitely quite a few trifles along in this setlist. Some of the highlights are Waltz With Mother Nature, A Supposed Tour, Svetlana, Manipulator, Call In Dead and a spectacular performance of A Mother's Love!

The live recording was done in a barn in Tyringe, in southern Sweden, where the band rigged cameras and lights to make a professionally shot and recorded live performance. The performances were captured between 6-8th of June, 2014. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to attend the recording session but, judging from the final product, it must have been an amazing experience.

I own copies of both the video and the audio recordings and enjoy both of them. The audio version reminds me of the two great concerts that I got to see with A.C.T in 2014, while the video portion gives a great visual supplement to the experience. To be honest, I don't watch the video portion as often but the audio recoding is still played by me a few times every year. The energy that the band delivers in the live versions of these tracks is even better than the studio recordings and I'm amazed of the level of musicianship that A.C.T show in each and every one of their live shows to this day.

***** star songs: The End (5:58) Waltz With Mother Nature (7:07) A Supposed Tour (4:38) Svetlana (3:45) Wailings From A Building (4:23) Mr. Landlord (4:38) Manipulator (6:27) Call In Dead (2:44) A Mother's Love (3:11)


**** star songs: Everything's Falling (4:21) Abandoned World (4:03) The Wandering (6:53) Take It Easy (3:12) Dance Of Mr. Gumble (2:06) Joanna (3:49) A Wound That Won't Heal (4:29) Manager's Wish (5:49) A Truly Gifted Man (7:52)

 Circus Pandemonium by A.C.T album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.91 | 223 ratings

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Circus Pandemonium
A.C.T Eclectic Prog

Review by Rune2000
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars It was a great Christmas gift to read the news of a new A.C.T release, back in December 2013. At that point, I wasn't sure what the status of the band was. I remember having a brief chat with Thomas Lejon, after his gig with Andromeda, in 2011, and asking him about that status of A.C.T but didn't get much more than that the band members were still in touch.

I bought Circus Pandemonium as soon as it was released for pre-order and even got the Japanese release, from some weird Japanese website where I could barely figure out how to place my order. Luckily both versions arrived without any issues and I was ready to dive deep into the fifth official studio release from A.C.T!

The 8 year release gap didn't affect the sound nor the production of the album, as this was still clearly the band I've known and loved. The album was an enjoyable ride from start to finish, or is it the other way at round? More on that later. There were quite a few standout tracks for me initially like Everything's Falling, A Truly Gifted Man and The Funniest Man Alive. Eventually, some of the tracks got a bit overplayed for me, while others grew even more, especially once I got to see A.C.T at their comeback gig on March 1st, 2014 in Gotherburg, Sweden. The band was even better live than I remembered them to be and all the members were firing on all cylinders. This was my all time favorite A.C.T performance to date and I got to see them four more times since then.

The album's concept is not that complicated on paper and I like the twist of having the story play out in reverse order, in style of Christoper Nolan's Memento. But let's be honest, it's the performances and the songwriting that are the focal point of this album. It's safe to say that A.C.T deliver in both categories and managed to craft another fantastic release. I do enjoy Circus Pandemonium a lot and have considered it to be a complete masterpiece on a few occasions, but having had 9 years with it, I will call it a near masterpiece that fits perfectly it the band's discography.

***** star songs: The End (5:56) Everything's Falling (4:55) Look At The Freak (1:13) A Mother's Love (2:37) Lady In White (4:40)

**** star songs: Intro (1:01) Manager's Wish (5:54) A Truly Gifted Man (6:44) Presentation (1:03) Argument (1:06) Confrontation (1:12) The Funniest Man Alive (3:46) Scared (4:43) A Failed Escape Attempt (5:18) Freak Of Nature (5:59)

 Imaginary Friends by A.C.T album cover Studio Album, 2001
4.05 | 183 ratings

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Imaginary Friends
A.C.T Eclectic Prog

Review by Gallifrey

4 stars Listening diary 25th March, 2022: A.C.T - Imaginary Friends (progressive rock, 2001)

A.C.T's incredibly distinctive brand of pop-prog-metal-rock opera is already very evident here, and though it's not quite as complete as on Last Epic, it's still worth celebrating. Whether you love this music really comes down to your ability to handle cheese, because this packs it in at an unprecedented rate. Every melody on it is sugary sweet, straight out of a Disney Channel musical, but with the prog sensibility of the guitars and song structuring, you get a frequent break to allow some of those hooks to sink in without getting to overbearing. The metal here is fairly tame and anyone coming for riffs will likely be disappointed, but if you like musicals and cheese, this is some of the best out there.

6.8 (3rd listen)

Part of my listening diary from my facebook music blog - www.facebook.com/TheExoskeletalJunction

 Silence by A.C.T album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.40 | 167 ratings

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Silence
A.C.T Eclectic Prog

Review by Gallifrey

3 stars 30th May, 2021: A.C.T - Silence (progressive rock/metal, 2006)

I'm not entirely convinced by this one, but A.C.T's brand of hyper-melodic pop metal isn't always instantly digestible. I can hear bits of what made its predecessor so stupidly catchy on this, but not enough to overwhelm the constant and occasionally unbearable cheese. They're a band that you really have to be in a particular mood for, and perhaps only those who are into show tunes can really love them, but I could see this one growing on me if I let its melodies in.

5.9 (1st listen)

Part of my listening diary from my facebook music blog - www.facebook.com/TheExoskeletalJunction

 Silence by A.C.T album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.40 | 167 ratings

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Silence
A.C.T Eclectic Prog

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars "Silence" is the 4th full-length studio album by Swedish progressive rock/metal act A.C.T. The album was released through InsideOut Music in June 2006. Its the successor to "Last Epic" from 2003 and its the bands first release on a larger label. InsideOut Music also picked up "Last Epic (2003)" for a 2007 reissue. The five-piece lineup who recorded "Last Epic (2003)" is intact on "Silence".

Stylistically A.C.T continue the melodic progressive rock style (with the occasional progressive metal element) of the previous releases. Although A.C.T try their hands at some darker lyrical topics than usual, most of the tracks are still uplifting in mood and the instrumentatal performances as sophisticated as ever. "Silence" is a technically well played album, but A.C.T arent an abrasive progressive rock unit, who play thousands of notes and fretboard/keyboard runs for the sake of it. Those elements exist in their music, but they are often incorporated in a more subtle manner. Lead vocalist Herman Saming has a distinct sounding voice and delivery which provide the music with a unique touch.

"Silence" consists of 11 individual tracks and the 22:41 minutes long closing multi-part epic "Consequences". The latter also consists of individual tracks, which make up the epic, so its not one long continuous song. The material are well written, but the album still feels a little long (running at 68:15 minutes), and some of the individual tracks arent that memorable, which is odd since they are all highly melodic and catchy. "Consequences" is definitely the highligt of the album and also the track where A.C.T get to really show their playing skills and creative ideas.

Although I did mention that A.C.T on occasion include heavy riffs and other heavy metal traits in their music, its only an element and its not a dominant one. So "Silence" is first and foremost a melodic progressive rock album. Sometimes I wonder if the members of the band (or at least some of them) come from a heavy metal background, because of the way some of the riffs are constructed, but since the distortion is not turned to 11, but rather to 4, you wont get an aggressive heavy metal feeling that often when listening to "Silence".

"Silence" is a well produced release, featuring a clear sounding and detailed production, suiting the melodic and sophisticated nature of the material well. Upon conclusion "Silence" is another quality release by A.C.T and a 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)

 [The Early Recordings] by A.C.T album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2002
3.29 | 12 ratings

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[The Early Recordings]
A.C.T Eclectic Prog

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Here are the early recording from one of my favorite prog bands from Sweden!

This album is hard to find these days, but I bought it legally on MP3 in a fine site on the Internet. It's a compilation of early recordings of the band along with some preliminary versions of songs which were included in the excellent first album of the band.

The quality of the sound, especially the live tracks, is not the best. But the music shows the great potential that this band had which would later materialize itself in a bunch of splendid records, specifically the first two releases of the band, which are still the best of their career.

Best Tracks: the best tracks are maybe Recall and Abandoned World. But as this songs were included in Today's Report, I would say that His Voice and Warsong are the most valuable songs of this collection of rarities.

Conclusion: if you are new to A.C.T., this early recordings are definitely not the best place to start. But if you like this fine band's music, you will find this compilation very interesting, because it shows the early ideas and style which make A.C.T. great in posterior releases.

My rating: ***

 Silence by A.C.T album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.40 | 167 ratings

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Silence
A.C.T Eclectic Prog

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

2 stars After two great albums (Today's Report and Imaginary Friends) and a third which was not so brilliant but very good nevertheless (Last Epic), A.C.T failed to deliver a competent album with Silence.

The style of the record is the same as their previous three efforts, but this time with a bit more serious tone and with darker lyrics. And I think that's one of the biggest mistakes that they made with Silence. The lyrics of A.C.T were never their stronger point, and this time are so cheesy as always, but not as funny. And I think that's unforgivable!

The production of the album is very good again, but I find the vocals of Herman Saming lost a bit of strength this time and I don't really don't know why. He sounds tired, or bored. At least in most of the songs. Maybe it was deliberated, but then that's also a mistake, just like the lyrics. The rest of the band sound so good as always.

Truth is Pain is a good summary of what this album delivers. A darker shade in the lyrics, tiresome vocals and a worrying lack of authentic new ideas. Even the instrumental section is not so good as always, despite the great musicians. Puppeteers is not better, with its typical Saga-riff, Queen inspired choirs and a very weak chorus. What happened to you, guys?

This Wonderful World is a boring mid-tempo which talks about ecological matters in a very predictable way (it pales in comparison to Waltz With Mother Nature), while Out of Ideas is just lame, despite its fine Ola Andersson's solo. At this point I'm really worried about the compositional abilities of the band.

But hey' Not everything is lost!

Hope suddenly rises the level of the album, with a powerful pseudo-thrash metal riff with palm muting and a catchy chorus despite the less than stellar interpretation of Herman. And this good line is maintained by Into the Unknown, with another good chorus, verses with symphonic arrangements and an outstanding progressive instrumental section.

No Longer Touching ground is not so good, but it has a nice bass during the verses. Useless Argument is an uplifting tune, with some nice hard rock elements and a guitar solo which oddly reminds me to Joe Satriani! An interesting one. On the contrary, The Voice Within is another forgettable mid-tempo.

Call in Dead has strong Queen influences in the verses and a funny chorus. In the second block of verses some Arabic melodies appears, contributing to the variety of the album. Silent Screams is an introduction to Consequences, the long song of the album, advancing some of the melodies that we will hear later.

Introduction is the second introduction to the epic of the album (a bit weird, I know), this time in the form of a nice acoustic melody, which remembers me to Spock's Beard. Then The Millionaire appears to introduce the concept of the epic, which talks about wealthy and its consequences. The song is far from being brilliant, nevertheless.

Joanna is far better, being maybe the best instrumental moment of the whole album. Powerful and precise, just what this album lacks. A Father's Love has lovely keyboard melodies and a splendid chorus with orchestral arrangements, while Memory to Fight brings another typical A.C.T riff and good choirs, alongside a great final section with splendid guitars.

The Diary is one of the best sections of the album, with imaginative riffs and constant tempo changes. I specially love the riff after the bridge, the one we can hear in the chorus. Just fantastic! This is what I expect from an album of A.C.T. And so is A Wound That Won't Heal, another very good song with a marvelous final section, which contains a very delicate guitar and vocal arrangements. Why were they not able to achieve this quality through the whole record?

The Final Silence closes this album with a very good guitar solo, ending an epic which is the best section of the album despite its unfitting lyrics.

Conclusion: Silence is by no means a bad album. It has some fine songs and a very good epic. The problem is that alongside we encounter five or six forgivable tracks, and a pair of really bad ones. Maybe lack of inspiration? Or a futile attempt to search new paths for the band? Or just too long? I don't know, but this inconsistence makes Silence the worst effort of A.C.T

In addition, the lyrics are also very poor. More than ever. And considering that this was always the weakest aspect of A.C.T's music, you can imagine how bad and unfitting they are.

Best Tracks: Hope, Into the Unknown, Useless Argument and Consequences.

My Rating: **

 Last Epic by A.C.T album cover Studio Album, 2003
4.07 | 310 ratings

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Last Epic
A.C.T Eclectic Prog

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Nothing new in the horizon...

But with this superb production and strong songwriting is also this lack of surprises is not so important. If that's the first A.C.T album you hear you'll be totally blown away with their eclectic vision of prog-rock, dramatic changes in almost every song and their influences, which balance between Dream Theater, Saga, Queen and musical and cabaret spectacles.

The king of the record is still Ola Andersson and his marvellous guitars and solos, alongside with the good vocals (but a bit too high pitched for my taste) of Herman Saming. The rest of the band is also great! And they managed to expand a bit their instrumental sound with some strings arrangements this time.

Nevertheless, I have the problem that I heard the A.C.T two previous albums before Last Epic, and therefore I find this third effort a bit repetitive and not really better, despite the general opinion. Actually, I think is under Today's Report and Imaginary Friends in terms of quality. It's obviously not so progressive and too ballad oriented, and the lyrical concept just weak.

Wake Up, Manipulator and Mr. Landford are outstanding and dynamic tracks, while others like Ted's Ballad are just average. Nevertheless the whole album is enjoyable thank to the incredible Andersson solos and imaginative riffs, along with the spectacular choirs and vocal melodies.

Conclusion: Last Epic brought nothing really new to A.C.T fans, apart from another very good example of eclectic prog, strong songwriting and pristine production. And all of this is great, but I'm a bit disappointed with the lack of evolution of the band. They just made a record which sounds just like the same of the two previous albums, but a bit less progressive and more conventional. Maybe they were trying to be more commercial?

Hard to say.

Best Tracks: Wailings from a Building, Mr. Landford, Wake Up, Manipulator, Dance of Mr. Gumble.

My rating: ***

 Last Epic by A.C.T album cover Studio Album, 2003
4.07 | 310 ratings

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Last Epic
A.C.T Eclectic Prog

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "Last Epic" is the 3rd full-length studio album by Swedish progressive rock/metal act A.C.T. The album was released through Atenzia Records in January 2003. "Last Epic" was re-released through InsideOut Music in 2007 and thereby given a wider distribution and publicity.

The music on the album is an interesting combination of 70s influenced art rock and a soft type progressive metal. The band are incredibly skilled musicians and pull off both complex rhythmic playing and more mellow type playing too. The vocals are especially impressive with both skillfully executed choirs and harmony vocals. Im often reminded of the theatrical nature of Queen but actually even more of 10cc. Theres a tongue in cheek kind of humour about the music that points in the direction of the latter mentioned. The progressive metal element isnt dominant on the album but when it appears the band can actually play some pretty heavy riffs and intriguing instrumental parts. Im reminded slightly of early Dream Theater in a much more simple form. The predominantly brief instrumental parts are usually cleverly placed in the otherwise predominantly vers/chorus structured tracks. There are several highlights on the album, but Id mention tracks like like "Wailings From a Building" and the wonderful "Mr. Landlord" as some of my personal favorites.

The sound production is clear, powerful, and detailed and suits the music well. So "Last Epic" is overall a quality release and while I sometimes feel the band could have cut down on the more ballad type tracks in favour of more hard rocking tracks (which is where I feel the band excel), even the ballads are a means to an end and upon conclusion "Last Epic" is a pretty well balanced album with a good flow. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

 Last Epic by A.C.T album cover Studio Album, 2003
4.07 | 310 ratings

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Last Epic
A.C.T Eclectic Prog

Review by gavharr

5 stars Ever wondered how the bastard child of 10CC, Queen, City Boy and Dream Theater would sound? Well, you don't need to wonder any more, because this band is probably how...

What makes this band(and especially this album) stand out, is not the fact that the musicians are skilled and can play 2 million notes a second, but the fact that they are really good songwriters. Showmanship never gets in the way of a good melody. Also A.C.T have a way of blending many differerent genres into a tune and in addition to that, making it sound completely natural.

If you are into catchy melodies, clever arrangements and skilled but restrained and smart musicians, you should really give this album a go.

IMHO it is impossible to single out any tracks, but I will mention that "Wailings From A Bulding" has a guitar solo that is the perfect combination of technique and melody. Superb!

Also worth mentioning is the band's use of three part harmonies which maybe is what reminds me the most of 10CC and City Boy. Really good and playful singing. Also this is a concept album about a bulding and it's tenants. This makes way for interesting lyrical fun from both tenants and the buildings own perspective. Very unique!

I can not recommend this album enough!

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

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