Anekdoten

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Vemod

Anekdoten - Vemod ©1993 Virtalevy
1. Karelia
2. The Old Man & The Sea
3. Where Solitue Remains
4. Thoughts In Absence
5. The Flow
6. Longing
7. Wheel

There's nothing like listening to a "progressive" rock album that sounds exactly like an album that was released twenty years before it, eh? In Anekdoten's debut album, Vemod, there's really no mistaking the heavy influence from King Crimson's Red. While comparing albums like this usually is a bit off-the-mark, this pretty much fits Vemod like a somewhat large glove. Okay, I might paint Anekdoten in a bit of an unfair light here, as this isn't a pure clone, but everything from the distorted bass-riffs to the Fripp-sounding guitar solos and the not-that-great-but-charming-tone vocalists certainly bring the ol' ContruKCtionists to mind. These guys do keep it a bit more accessible to people who generally find prog superfluous and tedious, though, by filling up the songs with music that doesn't just feel like a lesson in music theory.

What Anekdoten delivers is an album full of great arrangements, melodies and riffs. You'll find a little bit of everything here, from slow cozy jazzy numbers like "Thoughts in Absence" to the madly up-tempo "The Flow", whose opening riff is one of the ugliest, atonal riffs I've ever heard. And that's a good thing, by the way. The instrumentation on the album is the typical rock instruments, with the addition of a cello, and the progster-staple: the mellotron.

"This is all well and cozy, but so what? Does it rock?" Didn't I already say it did? Damn you, pay attention! Hell yes it does! This is a perfect progrock album for people who fricken hate the "wanky" nature of most progrock bands. Sure, it's not the most original album out there, but this band knows how to groove with the best of them, and since they change up the mood and melodies of the songs constantly, it's not likely you'd get bored by this release. I think this album holds enough crossover appeal to be enjoyed by both diehard progrock fans, indiekids and metalheads. To bring back the Red comparison, you essentially get a version of that album based more around actual songs and not quite the same oppressive feeling, as this gets downright beautiful both once and thrice.

There are some bad moments on this album, though. The lyrics are somewhat silly at times, but nothing truly atrocious. I find the vocals occationally veering off the pitch, but it's no big deal, as it's usually in the more hard-rocking parts, where it off-pitch vocals are the norm anyways. And of course, if originality is a big issue for you, or you frickin' despise Red, you should probably skip this and try one of Anekdoten's later albums.

Review by Řystein H-O

Review date: 08/2001

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Nucleus

Anekdoten - Nucleus ©1995 Virta
1. Nucleus
2. Harvest
3. Book Of Hours
4. Raft
5. Rubankh
6. Here
7. This Far From The Sky
8. In Freedom

This album should bear a sticker warning listeners of the tremendous damage the first song is likely to wreak on their balance (and bottoms). After the first minute has pushed one really deep into one's seat, the remainder of the song takes care of shaking said seat mercilessly in various directions. Then the next song comes and starts the whole rigamarole all over again.

Significantly more discombobulated than the band's first and third albums, Nucleus is a pleasantly painful listen. Most of the songs switch moods several times, with ambient passages followed by much harder early 70's-style raveups featuring a very loud distorted bass guitar, Mellotron, Rhodes, and gnarly dissonant guitar. The King Crimson references are there, and the vocals are paradoxically cleaner and more on-pitch than on the other two studio albums. If you can imagine late-career In The Woods, recent Arcturus, mid-career King Crimson and recent Radiohead all blended together, you may have a pretty good idea of what this album sounds like.

Nucleus is certainly a very interesting album, albeit less immediately enjoyable than From Within. Get it if you can.

Review by Rog The Frog Billerey-Mosier

Review date:08/2001

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From Within

Anekdoten - From Within ©1999 Virta
1. From Within
2. Kiss Of Life
3. Groundbound
4. Hole
5. Slow Fire
6. Firefly
7. The Sun Absolute
8. For Someone

This third album by Anekdoten doesn't deviate very much from their well-established formula of classic King Crimson-esque songs, with upfront bass, Mellotron galore, and weird lyrics.

The anekdotal Swedes still know how to start a song, as the first few minutes of "From Within" and "Kiss of Life" kick a tremendous amount of art-rock butt. Thankfully, the energy waxes and wanes throughout the record, with quiet moments, oppressing rave-ups ("Hole"), and obsessive bass riffs ("The Sun Absolute"). The Mellotron parts are among the most tasteful and emotional I have heard from a progressive band, and never come across as a retro gimmick.

Some of the slower songs recall Porcupine Tree ("Firefly" is everything "shemovedon" should have been) and Radiohead ("Hole"), but the atmosphere is clearly from bygone days, when rock was progressive and a band had to have a color adjective in its name to be taken seriously.

Much more stable and song-oriented than its predecessor, this album has been spinning ceaselessly in my player and isn't showing any signs of letting up. Good stuff.

Review by Rog The Frog Billerey-Mosier

Review date: 08/2001

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