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(50:27; Karisma Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Run 5:56 2. Lay Me Down 11:40 3. The Siren 7:29 4. Every Second Every Hour 13:20 5. Descending 4:34 6. Everything to Everyone 7:28 LINEUP: Bjorn Riis - vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards with: Henrik Bergan Fossum - drums Kristian Hultgren - bass Simen Valldal Johannessen - piano Mimmi Tamba - vocals
Prolusion. Norwegian artist Bjorn Riis has a by now long ongoing solo career that he caters to in between the role he has in the band Airbag, with four studio albums to his name with the first one appearing in 2014 and the latest one now in the spring of 2022. "Everything to Everyone" is the name of this most recent album, which was released by Norwegian label Karisma Records.
Analysis. Bjorn Riis and his music as a solo artist is one that will always come with at least some points of reference to Pink Floyd in general and David Gilmour in particular, and that is the case for his new solo album as well. It can and should be argued that the music here covers a few more bases of course, but whenever a guitar solo comes wandering in those references will be impossible to avoid. Hence we are in the accessible department of progressive rock here, and music with an emphasis on moods and atmospheres to a much greater extent than technical virtuosity at that. A typical trait for the songs on this album is that the vocal parts tend to be limited, leaving a lot of room and space for instrumental section to be the dominating aspects of most of the compositions. Given that Riis is a guitarist that isn't unexpected of course, and he does get to showcase several different sides to his skills as a musician due to that. Many of the songs here tend to ebb and flow beneath gentle and delicate sections on one hand and beefier, darker and more energetic parts on the other. For the more careful parts of the songs the acoustic guitar as well as the piano are central instruments, and when vocals are applied to those they tend to be soft, careful and melancholic in tone, mood and delivery. My perception is that there's a slight psychedelic character to some of those passages as well, albeit present in a more subtle and unobtrusive manner. Another aspect of the more careful parts of the songs are interludes with a bit more of an ambient touch to them, dreamladen floating sections often used as the starting point of a build-up leading to a grand finale followed by a careful end section. The harder parts of the songs feature guitar riffs and beefier, distorted guitar solo surges and effects, often with increased tempo and a much higher intensity to them. Effective contrasts to the more delicate parts, and sections that add life and tension to the songs. In between these parts we are treated to many fine, atmospheric laden guitar solo driven sections of course, and often with the blues-tinged floating guitar solo style reminding many listeners of Gilmour and Pink Floyd, often backed by the expected acoustic guitars and keyboards. Riis has solo runs such as these as something of a specialty, and each and every one of these passages are as beautiful as you hope and imagine them to be too. All the solo albums by Bjorn Riis have been given favorable reviews, and this latest one by him seems destined for the same fate. This is a quality production through and through, it will be your subjective taste that will determine just how high you will rate it.
Conclusion. Those with a passion for accessible progressive rock with a liberal amount of long instrumental sections and the inclusion of elements similar to later day Pink Floyd will feel right at home with this album. While a taste for the music of the latter isn't strictly a requirement here it is needful, but what is required is an affection for atmospheric laden guitar solo runs as well as beefier, more expressive guitar solo surges. Often melancholic, and usually with songs exploring the contrasts between delicate sections and darker, beefier ones, this is an appealing album that should find favor with a broad section of a progressive rock interested as well as a classic rock interested audience.
Progmessor: April 2022
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