A few years ago, a friend of mine - a real mellotron maniac - recommended the Norwegian prog rock band Wobbler. He saw the band on the annual USA prog rock festival Nearfest in 2005, the same year of their debut album Hinterland and he was delighted. However, I couldn’t share his euphoria, because I found the compositions sound too fragmented on Hinterland. My friend was astonished that Wobbler omitted their best compositions on that album.
Fortunately, on Afterglow you can enjoy those ‘lost tracks’ that were re-recorded in 2007. Listen to Afterglow and you will understand why my friend was so positive about these compositions. Indeed, this mini-album that lasts barely 35 minutes is superior to Hinterland. What an exciting seventies symphonic rock oriented sound, especially the vintage keyboard sounds of the Hammond, the mellotron and the MiniMoog are mind-blowing! Afterglow contains only five songs of which three are rather short and mainly acoustical. Only halfway Armoury, the atmosphere changes to a bombastic sound with majestic church organ and fat MiniMoog synthesizer runs. The other two songs are epic compositions. Imperial Winter White, with echoes from Änglagård, has a mighty mellotron sound, a powerful Rickenbacker-bass and a second part with Damian Wilson-like vocals. In Taberna has a more Anekdoten-inspired sound with splendid bombastic eruptions, lots of dynamics and fiery electric guitar.
This album is a perfect example of ‘quality prevails over quantity’. It reminds me of the albums of the classic Italian progressive rock bands from the seventies that last no longer than 33 minutes!
**** Erik Neuteboom (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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