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(48:30, Musea Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Jagad Av Satan 2:20 2. Vanlig Dag Pa Jobbet Snutjavel 3:37 3. En Rak Hoger Sa Att Glasogonen Rok 4:17 4. Tulpandrakula 4:17 5. Den Felande Lanken 2:49 6. Sirankel 0:38 7. Allt Ar Inte Farligt 3:49 8. Ar Detta Humor 3:49 9. Makt Korrumperar 4:51 10. Kontrollapparat 3:33 11. Baklangesmannen 0:50 12. Den Meningslosa 3:55 13. Ugglor I Mossen 5:14 14. Splittring 4:30 LINEUP: Milvesofia Rydahl – organ, el. piano, synthesizer Mikael Styrke – drums, percussion Pahl Sundstrom – guitars David Hallberg – bass
Prolusion. Sweden’s KLOTET was formed in 2004. It took four years for the band to release their first brainchild, “En Rak Hoger”.
Analysis. Made up of fourteen instrumental pieces, this 48-minute CD seems to be amateurishly produced, since its last eight tracks are all noticeably stronger than the first six, two of which stand out as black sheep, though only in terms of style. Noteworthy for its heavy bass riffs, Den Felande Lanken reminds me of Primus whose members have suddenly found themselves using keyboards as part of their performance equipment. En Rak Hoger Sa Att Glasogonen Rok (what a long title!), in turn, reveals hard guitar riffs as its basis, often in combination with organ passages, frequently bringing me back to “Child in Time” by Deep Purple. Jagad Av Satan and Vanlig Dag Pa Jobbet Snutjavel both follow the lead of ELP circa 1978 (think “Love Beach” rather than “Works Vol. 2”) and – to a somewhat lesser degree – Sinkadus (when the guitar is also in the arrangement), featuring some unison leads-based moves as well as returns to what has been played already. Compositionally, Tulpandrakula is a remarkable creation, on a par with probably any of the implied highlights. There are plenty of refined organ, electric piano, guitar and bass solos, winning twists and so on, and yet something prevents me from enjoying the piece. The point is that, like all the previously described pieces it deploys programmed drums, and so has a slight synthetic feeling – in contrast to all the yet to be named ones, where we finally meet with an acoustic drum kit. Beginning from Sirankel (featuring only a guitar and bass, this tiny cut can be taken as an intro to its follow-up), everything sorts itself out, so to speak, and the rest of the material is far more diverse and compelling, stylistically rightly in the realm of Klotet’s native, Swedish, branch of the progressive rock genre, recalling Sinkadus at their most intricate as well as that band’s main source of inspiration, the mighty Anglagard. The name of the game here is certainly complex, full-blown symphonic Art-Rock – either in its pure manifestation, as on Makt Korrumperar, Ugglor I Mossen, Allt Ar Inte Farligt and Baklangesmannen (although very short, this is in all senses a full-fledged composition), or with elements of progressive Doom Metal which we get on Ar Detta Humor, Kontrollapparat, Den Meningslosa and Splittring, both the latter pieces being particularly rich in those. Throughout the last two thirds of the disc’s contents, the music is filled with classic progressive rock vivacity and zest, often coming across as a suite – only partly because some of the tracks there have no pauses between them. I think it also needs to be mentioned that Makt Korrumperar and Ugglor I Mossen are both dominated by guitar in their soloing department, whilst otherwise the maneuvers with only keyboards (mainly both organ and electric piano) as their main driving forces alternate with those featuring also the six-string instrument as another lead voice.
Conclusion. None of the first five tracks are poor creations, far from it. For the most part, if not all the time, the band does a solid job of avoiding stagnation, at the very least. In the long run, only the fact that they have been unsympathetically placed on the CD leaves me somewhat dissatisfied with this “En Rak Hoger”. But one way or another, fans of classic (as opposed to neo) Symphonic Progressive will find a lot to enjoy on Klotet’s first offering, so I believe it can easily be recommended to that category of the listeners, albeit with minor reservations.
VM=Vitaly Menshikov: July 14, 2009
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