Wobbler - Hinterland (reissue)

(CD 2005/ 2022, 56:50, Karisma Records KAR208CD)

The tracks:
  1- Serenade For 1652(0:41)
  2- Hinterland(27:47)
  3- Rubato Industry(12:45)
  4- Clair Obscur(15:37)

Wobbler - Afterglow (reissue)

(CD 2009/ 2022, 34:39, Karisma Records KAR209CD)

The tracks:
  1- The Haywain(0:55)
  2- Imperial Winter White(15:02)
  3- Interlude(2:32)
  4- In Taberna(13:10)
  5- Armoury(3:00)

Wobbler - Rites At Dawn (reissue)

(CD 2011/ 2022, 45:58, Karisma Records KAR210CD)

The tracks:
Rites At Dawn:
  1- Lucid(1:40)
  2- La Bealtaine(7:52)
  3- In Orbit(12:30)
  4- This Past Presence(6:14)
  5- A Faerie's Play(5:19)
  6- The River(10:04)
  7- Lucid Dreams(2:19)

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Wobbler was formed in Norway, in 1999. The band had a burning desire to create some of the musical expressions of the early 70´s, especially by the use of the instruments of that time and the somewhat complex compositions of the progressive rock scene from 1969 - 1974. In the early years the band worked hard composing music, in a few months the basic ideas for a demo was created, and in the following years the ideas evolved to fully fledged songs. In 2003 some of these songs were recorded, a demo was put out on the internet, and started living its own life. Wobbler ended up signing a record deal with the US label The Laser´s Edge. The recordings of the debut album Hinterland began in June 2004. After eight intense months the album was ready. The hype from the demo songs had now reached its peak, and the expectations were sky-high. Wobbler released their debut Hinterland, championed by the 28 minute long titletrack in 2005. The release concert took place in front of an eager audience at the prestigious NEAR-fest festival in USA, including two M400 Mellotrons on stage! Both the concert and the album lived up to the hype and brought a lot of new fans to the band. In April 2009 the band finally released its second album entitled Afterglow (see review). It contained a re-recording of two old demos and three other songs composed in 1999. This release continued what Hinterland started, and made Wobbler a name amongst more listeners around the world. Later in 2009 the band entered the studio again, this time with new vocalist and frontman Andreas Wettergreen Strømman Prestmo. While the compositions on the two first albums were largely instrumental and somewhat dominated by difficult parts piled on top of each other, the new material focused more on song structures and the new wind of vocal melodies and harmonies that Andreas brought into the music. The third album, Rites At Dawn (see review), was released in 2011. The album did really well worldwide and gained the band critical acclaim as well as invitations to several festivals in Europe. After a while original member Morten Andreas Eriksen left the band, and old time friend Marius Halleland joined forces as the new guitarist. After the release of Wobbler´s long awaited and critically acclaimed fourth album, From Silence To Somewhere in 2017, Wobbler hit the road and performed all over Europe as well as Canada in 2017-2019. Between concerts Wobbler was busy composing new material for a fifth album entitled Dwellers Of The Deep (see review), finally released on October 23rd 2020. And now there is the reissue of the first 3 albums, scheduled for early 2022.

I remember vividly the first time I listened to Wobbler, this was during the Annual Background Magazine Meeting, one of the reviewers had bought the brandnew CD Hinterland at their debut at the Nearfest festival in 2005 and we were very eager to hear it. Well, as a huge fan of Old School prog and a Tron-maniac I was pleased with the dynamic vintage keyboard drenched sound, also reminding me of fellow Scandinavian bands Anglagard and Anekdoten. Lots of changing atmospheres, breaks and a lush instrumentation (from electric - and acoustic guitars and flute to Hammond organ runs and Mellotron layers) in the 3 long compositions Hinterland, Rubato Industry and Clair Obscur. But I also notice that the vocals are mediocre, and at some moments the compositions fail to keep my attention, due to a lack of direction. So a few mixed feelings about this first effort by Wobbler.

*** Erik Neuteboom

To me this second Wobbler CD sounds superior to their debut album, the 5 compositions (early recordings, from 1999) succeed in generating a lot of excitement! The 3 short tracks are acoustic, except the final part of Armoury which delivers a sumptuous vintage keyboard sound, with mighty church organ and fat Minimoog flights, goose bumps. The other two epic compositions are in the vein of the first album but more elaborate. First Imperial Winter White: it contains obvious hints from Anglagard featuring a majestic Mellotron sound (flute/choir/violin sections) and powerful Rickenbacker bass runs, the vocals in the final part remind me of Damian Wilson, slightly theatrical. And second In Taberna: to me this one sounds more in the vein of Anekdoten, with lots of dynamics, bombastic eruptions and fiery guitar play. Unfortunately the album only clocks 35 minutes, but here it is clearly quality above quantity. And Tron-maniacs will be delighted!

**** Erik Neuteboom

Rites At Dawn
Listening to this third effort I notice that Wobbler have made a lot of progress in writing compositions and making music, I am very pleased with this album. The hints are still obvious from Seventies progrock legends Yes and Gentle Giant, and the 'Second Skandinavian Progrock Wave' bands Anekdoten and Anglagard. But in comparison with the 2005 first album Hinterland the songs sound elaborate, dynamic and captivating: lots of powerful and bombastic music (apart from the short instrumental atmospheric first and final track) with strong interplay, a dynamic rhythm-section, a lush vintage keyboard sound (cascades of Mellotron violins, along Hammond organ and Minimoog runs) and, last but not least, pleasant English vocals (with a slight accent). The frequent use of vocal melodies on this third album contributes to more structure in the compositions. My highlights are In Orbit (dynamic, between dreamy and bombastic, with wonderful Mellotron choirs), This Past Presence (from mellow with flute and acoustic guitar to sumptuous with swinging piano, fiery electric guitar and majestic Mellotron eruptions) and the Yes-like A Faerie's Play (strong interplay and awesome work on the Mellotron).

**** Erik Neuteboom

All edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen

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