In the early Nineties I started to write about progressive rock, in those days The Second Wave Of Skandinavian Prog emerged, spearheaded by AnglagardAnekdoten and Landberk. I was blown away, especially due to the frequent use of the unsurpassed Mellotron, in the vein of the best early King Crimson. Well, listening to this first solo album by Wobbler keyboard player Lars Fredrik Frøislie (also drums and flute), with guest musician Nikolai Hængsle on bass, I am blown away again, wow, this is my music, vintage keyboard drenched Old School symphonic rock, wow!
“The first song Rytter Av Dommedag is themed around Ragnarok, when King Rakne awakens in his large burial mound outside Romerike and, together with the old gods, creates real mischief.”
This epic composition delivers lots of dynamics, tension and shifting moods, topped with beautiful native vocals. From sumptuous eruptions with soaring Mellotron and sparkling Hammond organ runs to dreamy piano and tender native vocals and a mid-tempo with powerful Rickenbacker bass. Often Swedish Anglagard come to my mind. Halfway tender piano work, in a mellow atmosphere, with soaring Hammond, then a bombastic eruption with Minimoog flights, fuelled by an excellent rhythm-section. The final part features an exciting build-up, from a dreamy atmosphere with a churchy Hammond, Mellotron choirs to a compelling grand finale with Hammond runs, Mellotron and choir singing, Old School symphonic rock at its best, goose bumps, what a start of this album!
“The second song Et Sted Under Himmelhvelvet is dreamy, possibly set in a Renaissance garden near Florence or Arcadia. But in principle it can be anywhere where it feels good to be. It is partly about travelling to a place and feeling that you have been there before - only to find out that you had ancestors who lived there long ago”.
The first part strongly evokes fellow Skandinavian prog bands Anglagard and Landberk, due to the sound of twanging acoustic guitar and flute, blended with dreamy native vocals and Mellotron violins. Then a slow rhythm with bombastic climate, soaring Mellotron and RickWakeman-like fat Minimoog, and inspired native vocals. Next a powerful mid-tempo with Hammond, a growling Rickenbacker bass, powerful drums, and distinctive Mellotron violins, wow! Halfway a churchy Hammond sound, soon followed by dreamy flute. And finally a compelling climate with fat Minimoog runs and soaring Mellotron violins (in the vein of early PFM), another strong track.
“The third song Jærtegn opens in a frenzy, with a horse and cart speeding through the forest. The wagon overturns at the same time as there is a solar eclipse, and the riders become eternal wanderers in the dark forest, only visible to us now and then like the northern lights, as they vainly stretch their arms towards the sun in the hope of finding their way home”.
This composition alternates between a bombastic mid-tempo (with powerful Hammond and bass, and strong native vocals) and mellow with tender clavinet and dreamy vocals. In between flashy Minimoog with use of the pitchbend button, blended with emotional vocals, Hammond, anda strong rhythm-section. This dynamic piece is concluded with Mellotron violins, I love it!
“The final song Naturens Katedral is a depiction of the Norwegian mountains in winter where the cold is bitter, and blizzards and avalanches abound. It is also a search for bygone times when life was more basic out in the wilderness.”
The other epic track delivers lots of changing atmospheres, from dreamy to slow rhythms and sumptuous eruptions, backed by excellent work on the Rickenbacker bass, and topped with emotional native vocals and exciting Hammond work, obviously inspired by Keith Emerson (Tarkus-era). Halfway the music turns into more experimental featuring a variety of sounds and instruments (piano, cymbals, clavinet), blended with theatrical vocals and again sensational work on the Hammond, with a psychedelic touch. The final part contains a swinging rhythm with Minimoog, fat bass, tight drum beats, and in the end another churchy organ sound, thumbs up!
What an incredible work by this duo, not to be missed by any serious fan of symphonic rock and vintage keyboards!
Therefore here is the line up with equipment:
Lars Fredrik Frøislie: Ludwig drums, Paiste cymbales, vocals, Hammond C3 organ with Leslie 147, Mellotron M400, Minimoog Model D, Chamberlin M-1, Hohner Clavinet D6, Yamaha CP70B, William de Blaise spinett, Arp Pro Soloist, Arp Axxe, Solina String Ensemble, Tremoloa, Rhodes mkII, Wurlitzer 200, recorder.
Nikolai Hængsle: Bass (Rickenbacker 4003, Fender Precision Bass, Fender Jazz Bass and Fender Telecaster bass).
**** Erik Neuteboom (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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