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Anekdoten (Sweden) - 1999 - "From Within"
(51 min, "Virta")


*****+

1.  From Within
2.  Kiss of Life
3.  Groundbound
4.  Hole
5.  Slow Fire
6.  Firefly
7.  The Sun Absolute
8.  For Someone

All music by Anekdoten.
All lyrics by Jan Eric Liljestrom.

Jan Eric Liljestrom  - bass, vocals
Niclas Berg          - guitars, vocals, keyboards
Anne Sofi Dahlberg   - keyboards, cello, vocaliz
Peter Nordins        - drums, vibraphone

This is the third album from one of the most legendary (together with Anglagard) Swedish Progressive Rock bands, in the contemporary Progressive Rock movement. Incidentally, "From Within", not counting the collaboration between Anekdoten and Landberk musicians, called Morte Macabre, is the band's first album in four years since "Nucleus".

1. From Within begins with highly heavy interplays between riffing electric guitar and fuzz-bass. As usual for Anekdoten, the vocal theme is developed in more quiet, philosophic musical realm with some excellent bass and electric guitar arrangements. The second instrumental part sounds less heavy thanks to mellotron and cello. Later very unexpectedly heavy theme falls into the structures, which are typical for the Classic Symphonic Art Rock with gentle passages of cello into the accompaniment of beautiful lines of bass and guitar. Incredibly diverse drumming, lots of percussives. The song completed with the same vocal theme.

2. Kiss of Life. Typically Anekdotian -- heavy intro becomes a bit softer as the vocal theme begins. Instrumental paintings are very dramatic, full of northern sorrow, as well as the Nordic Frost. Some beautiful keyboard arrangements can be heard before the second vocal part. Needless to say, instrumental arrangements, keeping their complexity and divercity, become more melodic.

3. Groundbound. Rhythm-guitar and vocal simultaneosly begin the first moving of this song. Very mysterious, more or less quiet song. Excellent lyrics, excellent non-accent singing, lots of mellotron and cello. Instrumental field is "stone", "marshy", "almost impassable". Very typical Scandinavian originality.

4. Hole begins very heavily, though the sea of mellotron passages makes this intro the best starting place for singing. Vocal theme, as usual, develops into the accompaniment of "cold" musical philosophy. Soft drumming, soft bass lines, soft electric guitar passages. Very dramatic vocal theme is really full of sorrow. The following instrumental part is the heaviest episode in this song. Heavy riffing fuzz-bass, guitar, lots of "uneartly" sounding mellotrons. Long gloomy hypnotic bass theme with rare guitar and organ arrangements into the accompaniment of silent drum and some percussives sound nearer to the last part of this composition, which is exceptionally heavy and dramatic with lots of mellotron passages.

5. Slow Fire stylistically begins rather in the true Prog Metal key. The following vocal theme first sounds only into the accompaniment of soft electric guitar/bass passages, but later - with the active help from the direction of powerful mellotrons - developed in much more heavy realm. Instrumental field is more or less smooth in the beginning, however a bit later the "musical road" becomes more and more "stone" with heavy bass riffing and intence guitar passages. The second part of the vocal theme is extremely heavy and gloomy, full of varied arrangements from bass, guitars, keyboards and cello.

6. Firefly begins very originally. Unusual, openly innovative guitar themes support the vocal together with a bits of piano and a strong bass line. Vocal theme is also quite unusual for Anekdoten, it's a little more light and optimistic. Some excellent vocalizations in instrumental parts add a really fantastic feeling to the end of this incredible song.

7. The Sun Absolute. Monotonous in some ways, but very hypnotic, on the whole, simultaneous playing of bass and semi-acoustic guitar, supported by very original keyboard effects, wonderfully gentle and beautiful playing of cello shows that Anekdoten are constantly moving forward from their well-known "Crimsonic" structures. Electric guitar solos have a little Eastern taste. In the second part of the album's only all-instrumental composition the varied keyboards (plus bits of piano) play a prominent role, and in the end of this piece that is becoming typical for Anekdoten.

8. For Someone. Vocal into the accompaniment of acoustic guitar passages and some synthesizer flashes paints the picture of typical Northern sorrow. There are no drums and bass in this ballade. Some nice cello and mellotron passages add here the endless nostalgic feelings...

Summary. On the whole, "From Within" is typical proGduct by this famous Swedish band, full of quite familiar structures. However, there are absolutely no direct borrowings (King Crimson circa "Starless and Bible Black" / "Red"), especially many of whose can be heard on the second album by Anekdoten "Nucleus". Overall sound here is not so heavy as on the same "Nucleus", and the general musical atmosphere rather reminds me of the band's debut work "Vemod". In spite of that I've heard here a few innovative motives, I cannot describe "From Within" as the best Anekdoten's album. Band's creation is very smooth, on the whole; each album is excellent, and I still no see any stagnation on the way of this one of the best contemporary Progressive Rock bands. content

VM. December 21, 1999


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