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martes, 12 de mayo de 2015

Änglagård - Epilog (1994)


Artista: Änglagård
Álbum: Epilog
Año: 1994
Género: Rock folk sinfónico
Duración: 43:44
Nacionalidad: Suecia


Lista de Temas:
1. Prolog
2. Höstsejd
3. Rösten
4. Skogsranden
5. Sista somrar
6. Saknadens fullhet

Alineación:
- Mattias Olsson / drums, cymbals and percussion
- Johan Högberg / bass
- Thomas Johnson / Hammond organ, mellotrons and other keyboards
- Jonas Engdegård / guitars
- Tord Lindman / guitars
- Anna Holmgren / flute
Guest musicians:
Åsa Eklund / voice
Martin Olofsson / violin
Karin Hansson / viola and double bass
Jan Christoff Norlander / cello




Siguen los aportes de nuestros amigos cabozones, ahora viene el miembro estable de las ligas mayores y siempre presente Alberto, para traernos un disco que no podía faltar... pero vamos con alguna introducción antes de presentar al disco, ya que estamos hablando de la mejor banda a nivel mundial banda sueca de rock progresivo de mayor importancia y trascendencia de las últimas décadas, y eso es bastante decir.


La tapa del disco nos da un pantallazo de lo que contiene su música: un rostro inquitante conformado por las figuras de un bosque en tonalidades sepia, recordando a las noches en una vieja película antigua, al igual que su música oscura... Como dato de color, les comento que el término anglagard, fue creado por Tord Lindman, el guitarrista de la banda, y viene a significar "Casa o granja de Ángeles". A principios de los noventa, el rock progresivo como tal no ofrecía excesiva cantidad de bandas, por lo que se consideraba que había acabado su edad de "neoprogresivo de los 80", pero en distintos puntos alejados de las culturas centrales nacían nuevas formas de expresiones, larvadas y con cero difusión y muy poca convocatoria de gente, pero con mucha imaginación puesta en el asador, así nacieron buenos grupos en lugares como México, Argentina, Brasil, Japón, Suecia, Polonia, Chile, Finlandia, Turquía, etc. grupos que serían la semilla de los nuesvos vientos que en los noventa volverán a suponer el nacimiento de nuevos sonidos. Anglagard crea su primer álbum de estudio, "Hybris" en 1992, que trajo el reconocimiento internacional. Está considerado como un álbum fundamental en el rock progresivo, y sirvió de inspiración a numerosas bandas del norte de Europa, Suecia, Escandinavia, Finlandia... Destacó por la complejidad de las percusiones, contundencia del bajo, los pasajes que creaban mellotrones y órgano Hammond, la aportación de la flauta travesera, el carácter de fusión de estilos musicales, y el sonido tan oscuro del disco.

En 1994 grabarán su segundo y último disco de estudio: Epilog, más cercano al folk escandinavo y a la música contemporánea e igualmente bien acogido. Tras esto la banda dejó su actividad compositiva. En 2012 retomaron el proyecto, 16 años después de este último lanzamiento, y lanzando su "Viljans Oga". Este es el único disco de estudio que nos faltaba de estos geniales suecos.

Segundo trabajo de estudio de esta banda sueca de rock progresivo, muestran toda su calidad con composiciones exclusivamente instrumentales, de las cuales surgen pasajes polimorfos y texturas más bien oscuras.
Rock progresivo de puro sentimiento, folk nórdico, música clásica, pasajes oscuros y góticos, Hammonds potentes, flautas delicadas, enigmáticos mellotrones, guitarras agresivas, coros femeninos angelicales, en definitiva, contrastes entre fragmentos tormentosos, dinámicos, virtuosos y de mucha fuerza, con otros suaves de gran belleza y sentimiento.
Una joya más de la escena sueca, un disco imprescindible en cualquier colección.te disco junto con el Hybris de Anglagard conforman la escena más espectacular del progresivo sinfónico sueco de los 90s... Estos dos discos cambiaron la forma de escuchar rock progresivo y abrió un estilo que eventuales bandas como Sinkadus siguieron... SIMPLEMENTE PERFECTO!!
el gusano progresivo

Quizás el disco no sea tan redondo ni compacto como su antecesor ("Hybris" fue su obra magna), pero no deja de ser una obra de arte musical y de palabras mayores, más adentrado al folk nórdico, pero más allá de lo musical es, creo yo, una lección moral que dice que el arte no se debe mezclar con el mercantintilismo en los límites que eso sea posible, o por lo menos no poner la plata por delante de todo al realizar música que pueda llegar a considerarse como una obra de arte, o por el contrario, dejando en evidencia que por más renombre que tengas, si tu objetivo es el dinero la obra musical seguramente será más de marketing que verdaderamente artística. Y es por ello que considero este tipo de trabajos tan importantes, porque de tan elevadas trascinden lo musical para adentrarse en otros terrenos, más sociales o políticos. No olvidemos que con una actitud similar los ingleses de Henry Cow llevaron adelante su proyecto musical que fue intrínsicamente político en un R.I.O. posicionado desde un punto absolutamente revolucionario y radical tanto musical como en su definición social. Y si hacemos una analogía podríamos hacer un paralelismo entre esta corriente nórdica y la onda experimental que estimuló en Inglaterra a lo largo de los años 60 y sobretodo los 70s... y si a esto le sumamos que uno de los grupos que "inventaron" el R.I.O. fueron los suecos Samla Mammas Manna, no pareciera que estuviésemos ante un impulso creativo nórdico comparable a la memorable época de oro inglesa, pero con mucho menos marketing y por lo tanto menos conocida.
Estos muchachos suecos, sin tomar banderas, tambián han contribuido con esa propuesta que, de tan puramente artística, sobrepasa el arte y lo podemos enfocar desde diferentes aristas... la escena del rock progresivo en Suecia nunca floreció comercialmente en la misma medida que sus pares ingleses o yankys y por lo tanto no ha obtener el mismo reconocimiento internacional, hablando al menos en reconocimiento monetario o de reconocimiento del público masivo. Esta mítica banda sueca que con sólo dos discos publicados a mediados de los noventa, consiguieron gracias a todo su inspirado aporte artístico ser considerados una referencia indiscutible en el panorama (mundito o como quieras llamarlo) progresivo internacional, aunque vengan de Suecia.
Más allá de mis delirios siempre tratando de relacionar el aspecto musical con el social, vamos con algunos comentarios más, y por favor que sean (al menos esta vez) estricatamente musicales...

Para los que pensaban que el rock progresivo noventero era una falta de respeto al progresivo original... les presento a Änglagård.
Estos suecos se formaron a inicios de los 90' y en 1992 lanzaron su primer disco Hybris.
Pero del que voy a hablar es su segundo disco Epilog (1994); una obra maestra, igual que Hybris, pero en este disco consiguen un sonido más unido, caracterizado por tener finos detalles compositivos, una onda sonora folclórica, y una complejidad interpretativa asombrosa.
Y es que quedar perplejo al escuchar este disco es lo más normal del mundo, y no es por nada.
El disco comienza con una oscura melodía en piano, Prolog, la cual no dice mucho de lo que será el resto del disco. Le sigue la no menos oscura Höstsejd, que con su teclado, violines y cellos nos dejan aún en esa atmósfera algo tenebrosa.
Y por fin el disco comienza en serio con Saknadens Fullhet, la primera de 3 grandes piezas en las que se logra sentir la maravilla musical que estos tipos (y una tipa) nos regalan.
Ahh... los suecos. :)
Estas 3 grandes piezas (Saknadens Fullhet, Skogsranden y Sista Somrar) tienen sus altibajos; suelen variar de intensidad constantemente, pero cuidado ! que en cualquier momento te pueden sorprender y el unísono de los instrumentos te hará poner más atención.
Y está la bizarra y mequetrefe, diría yo, Rösten... una grabación de algún sonido que alguien capturó cuando encendió su micrófono, al cual sólo le quedaban 15 segundos de batería.
Luego de lanzar este increíble disco, la banda se separó.. así de simple; se separó.
No sé por qué Dios nos hizo esto, digo, no hay razón, si iban encaminados a ser una de las más grandes bandas progresivos de los noventa.
Una razón más para ser ateo.
No todo sucede aquí




The long-awaited sequel to the classic Hybris has brought with it a lot of hype, curiosity, and questions. Epilog clearly squelches any rumors of a sophomore slump, and has answered all doubters with a repeat effort of shocking maturity, serenity, and pure art. Änglagård shows a tremendous amount of growth on this album, and have wisely steered the band in a direction few people would have anticipated. Whereas the band willingly will admit that Hybris was full of a lot of flash (and that is certainly no criticism), Epilog is far more dreamy and pastoral all the way around. The opening "Prolog" is a gentle Mellotron/classical guitar/flute passage with a rich but brief melody. The 16-minute 'Höstsejd' opens with an eerie but alarmingly simple organ line which mutates into a full-band extravaganza through multiple themes, all of which are fairly ambiguous and far more angular than anything found on Hybris. This is very challenging material to become familiar with, but that's part of what will make it endure. The 14-second "Rösten" (nothing but some noise and thumps) leads uncomfortably into the next two tracks "Skogsranden" and "Sista Somrar," which follow the style set in "Höstsejd." Throughout the album, Änglagård experiment with some new sounds such as wah-wah guitar leads, heavily reverbed pianos, flanged bass guitar, and even brief guest spots on violin, viola, cello, and female voice giving them an even richer sound than before. The solo piano piece "Saknadens Fullhet" closes the album with little resolution, in an almost Satie-like manner. In fact the lack of resolution of musical ideas is what makes the album more difficult, and more complex, than their previous effort. While Epilog is sure to reach critical acclaim in all fronts (albeit much of it token), its maturity, artistic vision, and genuine integrity make it worthy of such praise. So, in the end, is it a better album than Hybris? Maybe, maybe not — it certainly is different, both more simple and more complex, but with the same unique signature sound. All of the minimalist passages will likely disappoint some fans, as will the roller-coaster dynamic ride which takes the listener up and down alternately so many times, perhaps too many. Nevertheless, this is moving instrumental music, epic in its conception and flawlessly performed and recorded. Positively essential, and probably the best album of what has been a very strong year for progressive.
Dan Casey

First off, I think change is good, so long as the change is in a positive direction. The world of music is a chaotic, complex entity, and to stay in the same place for too long is more than just a loss of dynamism; it is stagnation. In the same sense, when many musicians change styles, they move towards writing music as a commodity rather than an art. In other words, I'd rather that an artist experiment and fail rather than to stay with the tried and true. Applying this philosophy to Änglagård’s new release, I am thrilled that Epilog is not "Hybris Part II." However, they still sound very "Änglagård." All instrumental, Epilog is six pieces of complex, analog-keyboard drenched progressive rock in the 70s style. Gone is much of the Genesis and Shylock feel. New is a classical orientation. Rather than the non-stop intensity of Hybris, Änglagård have opted for a subtle, mellow, introspective approach, reminiscent of chamber-rock. Epilog also contains a soulful, folky feel which makes me think of autumn in the forested, northern climates that I used to live in. The intro and outro of Epilog are short, atmospheric keyboard pieces. They sandwich three longer tracks and one very short piece. "Höstsejd," the first long piece, introduces the new Änglagård style as it keeps returning to a repetitive keyboard line between dynamics and moments of heavy intensity. Yes, the Änglagård signature-style dynamics are on Epilog. They are more abrupt and sudden in places, but are usually predictable. "Rösten" is largely the same piece that was released as a single earlier this year, entitled "Ganglat fran Knapptibble." It contains the same main riff and quiet interlude. "Sista Somrar" continues in the same style as the other two, with more abrupt dynamics. Essentially, these three pieces could be considered one long piece; their style is similar and there is a fine sense of continuity between them. As this was one of the most-anticipated releases of the year, I'm finding it hard to be disappointed with. But I feel that Änglagård is capable of more. More angularity, more innovative composition, and if anything, they are in need of more modern instrumentation: the Mellotrons make the band sound completely out of context, and are getting old. While they have matured and progressed in style, Epilog barely opens the door to what this band is capable of. As these six musicians continue on, I hope that their musical paths will contain constant exploration and challenge. Overall, if you enjoyed Hybris, Epilog is almost sure to be a winner. If you found Hybris interesting, but too derivative, you may find this album more to your liking. If you were hoping for a quantum leap forward, you may find yourself disappointed, as I am. However, I still have to rate this moody, complex offering near the top of my list for 1994.
Mike Borella

This second album is definitely a progression on the previous one but would have probably gained from not being a totally instrumental. The problem is that the numbers sound too much alike and adding vocals could have differentiated them from each other. For the rest , the music is even more prog than the debut and has more personality. One of those melancholic album like only the Scandinavians can do it
Sean Trane

Does your taste in music extend to instrumental "symphonic" progressive rock? If so, EPILOG, from the 90s Swedish sextet Anglagard, is an album for you!
Admittedly, not everyone is attracted to the idea of longer, vocal-less songs, but if, like me, you thrive on variety in your musical options, and really appreciate top-notch musicianship, you shouldn't be disappointed by this excellent disc. Anglagard's music is very dynamic; it's full of surprises and changes in direction. Slower, softer passages featuring piano, flute and/or acoustic guitar are followed by louder, dramatic sections where the electric guitar, solid bass and drums, and synths are "to the fore," until the melancholy beauty returns again. Shades of classic Genesis and Yes can sometimes be heard here, but Anglagard is no mere pale imitation -- they're much too talented and strong a band to be dismissed as a clone.
This is good background music for reading, as there are no words to interfere with the words on the page. Another great way to appreciate Anglagard's soundscapes is to close your eyes, and supply your own images to accompany the lush and varied music: for me, some parts of "Epilog" evoke battle, while others had me thinking of a lone house at the edge of a wood, with fall leaves drifting down, and clouds scudding across the autumn sky. This music can provide great inspiration for the active imagination and "flights of fancy!"
EPILOG is highly recommended, and it amply deserves inclusion in the thinking prog fan's collection. Mental medication!
Peter

One of my all time instrumental fav's from Sweden. This is a prog lovers haven with heavy mellotron drenched pieces centered around ever changing tempos and themes. The listener never gets even slightly bored here and is kept on the edge of their seats throughout. I find this album to move through many different moods...from tranquil to tremors....This very clever recording runs like one entire piece of music and ends all too soon.
James Unger

Now here ia a Monster Synphonic Prog Masterpiece!!!!..haaa, that will sit perfect aside other monsters from the 70' on your collection; this is not an understatement. Influences are several, the prime suspects are: Genesis, Gentle Giant, Yes and King Crimson, but far away of being imitators, this 6 piece band kept their Sweden Melancholic Rock nature and that to me is one of the most important aspects to call this a Masterpiece!! They probably sparked the reborn of Progressive movement in Sweden, and also may have created the same spark around the globe (I might be wrong), but the truth is that based on the date of this album issue (1994) that may have been the case. I totally missed them at that time, while I was thinking that the prog movement was DEAD or at least mute (How wrong I was!!!), then I came across Buried Alive around the turn of the Century, and I was impressed; but, until I was able to get the re-issue (on a killer digipack) then their true work manifested on me. Beautiful Mellotron, Genesis-like arpeggios and use of flute, killer guitar and a fantastic drum in contrast with that melancholic Scandinavian taste make this piece of work a definitive MUST for any progressive rock fan, rather essential work of certainly one of the best band of the nineties. Indeed, for many the lack of vocals maybe a minus to call it Masterpiece, but personally I do not missed the lyrics, since there is so much taken place musically in the album. I will recommend Anglagard any day of the year, Highly recommended
Jose Gabriel

Another winner, this time ANGLAGARD is a mature band, whose music is more personal and excellent as usual!! This work is very experimental and original too, another must have album by which you can draw your own music experience within the symphonic genre, after such a repetitive and careful listening!! As for the fascinating long theme and its importance for all their following "proselytes"; or once again despite of being an instrumental album (sometimes a bit prolix and you could also erase one star if you're disturbed or tired for it...) is anyway highly recommended for a normal fan of classic prog!!
Lorenzo

Sweden deserves 5 stars. The land of eternal nights and vikings who looks like Rupert in Survivo. I'm fond of many swedish products such as Volvo, Ikea and Ingwie Malmsteen (a cross between J-S Bach and David Lee Roth). But, this record only, gave me the strenght to trespass in the dark side of prog...the 90's. I know, in my profile I desrcribe myself as a prog-purist and it's true. But Anglagard is a terrible exception. Why? A lot has been said but this record is a step back in 1973. So fresh and convicing, Anglagard is a proof of a vintage sound mixed with today's production. It's simply THE record of the year for me, as a new discovery (and I bought a ton of gems this year). It starts with a lot of flute and yesterday's keyboards such as the mellotron (which why this album sounds sometimes like Nursery Cryme). Who cares it sounds like Genesis? The Fountain of Samalacis is a great song, and to be true, Epilog sounds a tad (okay, a lot) like it. But what really blows me away is again the homogenic gather of many influences and the huge mental trip it provides. A good appreciation of this starts with A LOT OF IMAGINATION. To me, Epilog is starts with a quiet walk in an autumn forest and then, wham! Things starts to creep out of the woods. Maidens walking on water, elvens running through the woods on unknown missions, young children dancing in circles in a rain of white, silky petals. But also, black clouds and storms that projects a rain of dead leaves in the air, fights of warriors without fear, stylished vampire hunters on a cloudy night in search of preys, airships tearing the sky on a pursue of treasures ... and whatever music brings up spontainously in your head. From furious rushes to calm flutes, your appetite of lushious musicianship is fulfilled. But, many listens must be done get the full taste of this impressive banquet. Gentlemen, dinner is served.
Jonathan Payeur

It's hard to believe ÄNGLAGARD released another fantastic album, but I am willing to believe this is actually a superior album in many ways to "Hybris". For one thing, the musicians don't seem as so nervous (I noticed a nervous air with "Hybris"), so they obviously sound more confident here. Also the music tends to be more exploratory, and perhaps less cliché-ridden than their previous. Again, like before, the band won't lay their hands on digital equipment, so the Hammond organ and Mellotron is present as ever. The band was still making some incredibly complex music, where there are some loud passages, and after a bit they become quite (only here the quiet passages tend to be quiet for longer periods). It's hard to believe that ÄNGLAGARD topped themselves. "Hybris" was a difficult game to top, and they managed it with "Epilog".
Strangely, "Epilog" also made it on LP, as well as privately produced CD. The LP was released in America (believe it or not!) on a label called Gates of Dawn, out of Santa Cruz, CA. But if you own the LP, side one is the label with the Gates of Dawn logo, while side two is the label with the strange face. If you own the original privately released CD, it's a collector's item, as it's long out of print (and I'm certain same goes for the LP).
A classic of '90s prog in my book.
Ben Miler

Many reviewers have already preceded me in saying this: Anglagard's 'Epilog' managed to do what seemed less likely, to top their excellent debut album ' Hybris'. Evidently, the band's performing virtuosity is properly matched with their ability to function as a cohesive instrumental unit, yet you can tell that they have achieved a more cohesive integrity and a more aggressive sound. The compositions themselves demand stuff like that, since it's full of wicked chord and tempo twists, sharp contrasts of mood, and a major recurrence of dissonance. The three longer tracks (2, 4 and 5) are the most sombre and disturbing pieces in the whole Anglagard's repertoire: it doesn't mean that they don't contain some playful moments (the closure to track 2, for instance, is a marvellous circus-like climax), but definitely 'Epilog' is basically a kingdom of emotional distress and psychological tension ruled by the tyrant hands of unpredictable dissonance and Gothic ambience. Each one of the many acoustic pastoral passages that appear here and there is not an invitation to relax actually, but a momentary act of constraint that cannot hide the impending explosion of obscurity that is sure to come shortly after: the electric energy and overwhelming power of the stronger moments gets in this way effectively enhanced. The 2-minute opening track, aptly entitled 'Prolog', is a beautiful orchestral tour-de-force that announces the oppressive gloomy spirit that is going to accompany the listener for the next 45 minutes; while the closure, also 2 minute long, is a grand piano solo that reflects a meditative, eerie farewell to the listener, introspective yet uneasy, like a subtle expression of silent frustration. Anything you hear on this album is full of emotional tension and reflective discomfort, either explicitly or not: I think that this was Anglagard's ultimate artistic goal, therefore I see 'Epilog' as their top achievement, as well as one of the brightest prog masterpieces of our era.
Cesar Inca

Except for the crystal-clear production it would be easy to mistake this for a early/mid- 70s prog album; the band has crafted a work which manages to be an ode to the classic bands (YES and early GENESIS especially) without seeming too derivative. The band is complete without vocals; I have seen too many bands where the vocal is the weak spot (and not just lesser-known bands- Lake and Wetton have both at times marred my enjoyment of certain KC and ELP songs). The sounds are perfectly selected and often lovely; the fluid guitar reminds me of Fripp, but also of Howe's too seldom used fuzz leads ("A Venture" would have benefited from a more extended solo!). I suppose I don't need to mention the excellent Hammond and Mellotron work, which ties everything together without taking more than their share of the mix. The rhythm section is incredibly tight, handling tempo and meter changes better than most bands handle straight 4/4 time; my only complaint is that sometimes in the faster and more intricate passages they seem to be striving for complexity over musical expression, but that is a hallmark of the prog genre as a whole and even my favorite bands suffer a little ( in my opinion) because of it. The slower passages are solemn without being melodramatic, and they are not afraid to make a section simple and sweet if it calls for it ("Prolog" especially, and also the later part of "Skogsranden" are beautifully understated, and "Saknadens fullhet" is almost heartbreaking). But what is "Rosten" and why is it there? Ultimately, the band is not trying to break new ground; they are celebrating the fundamentals of a form that by the 90s had all but disappeared. They establish a musical identity separate from those bands they emulate, and this album is worlds apart from the pop/metal/digital influences that seeped into the genre by this point. An impressive achievement and one that would be a welcome addition to a "classic" prog collection.
James Lee

Anything has been said upon this one i guess. Retrospectively, "Epilog" stands for me as the real progressive gem of the nineties era and stands proudly amongst the better albums of the golden age. Unlike my friend Hugues, i am glad they did not put words on this dark and moody symphonic masterpiece as music really speaks for itself.
Domenico Solazzo

To be perfectly honest, I have to say I wasn't that much convinced with this ÄNGLAGÅRD second album in the very beginning, but as the months with all its weeks and days went by, it completely earned my admiration. The harsh thing for me to overcome when paying complete attention to "Epilog" after listening to and embracing "Hybris", was the incomparable sound the band's first production carved out on my mind. This prominent second composition was quite a challenge not only for the band to arrange, but for the fans to accept as well. The energy placed in between every single track of "Epilog" is constantly projected in a different shape not to overshadow "Hybris", but for to prove that this Swedish band could go further off from the already crafted, to make themselves sure that what they accomplished in their first album wasn't a fortuitous strike, and most of all, to keep on growing as the icon Swedish prog band they still are.
ÄNGLAGÅRD suffered way to many changes and went through considerable rough patches. Tord quitted the band to pick up his filmmaking career from where he left it, Anna went back to college in Stockholm to study a M.d. in music, Thomas is currently a Ph.D. student in theoretical fusion plasma physics, pretty advanced stuff that no one else understands... and so on. Eventually the band decided to split up and went separate ways. They toured for a while and performed before thousands of people at several stages such as the Progfest in '94 (Double CD compilation available) and most recently at the last year's NEARfest. Later on, they released a live recording, "Buried Alive" (recorded at the Variety Arts Centre, Los Angeles on 5th of November 1994, during Progfest '94) which wasn't that much convincing and satisfactory among the prog community.
"Epilog" is an outstanding artistic work. It has got not only the mellotrons and the exceptional drum striking by Mattias, it contains the pure essence of the nowadays Scandinavian prog. This album still works as the engine for some other Swedish bands to innovate and to reach certain level, not to match the one achieved by ÄNGLAGÅRD, but to walk hand in hand within the European scene.
I found this production spotless. Every single detail from beginning to end was harmoniously entwined and played. This symphonic piece called "Epilog" posses two of the most revealing Scandinavian prog songs: Rösten and Sista Somrar. Very powerful, absolutely intriguing and wonderfully executed. The instruments sounded off heavenly soft yet strongly shocking. The poems to Rösten (The Voice) and Sista Somrar (The Last Summer) were written and translated by Rut HILLARP.
Hardly to oversight, "Epilog" is the complementary phase to "Hybris". Can't get one without the other. Absolutely Swedish, completely bold and musically unexpected. Highly recommended.
Albert Knot

The guidelines of this page tell us to be very careful with 5 stars rating, but when I make reviews of ÄNGLAGÅRD it's very difficult to be careful because the music is so majestic that's almost impossible to leave away the impulse to give the album the maximum possible rating.
The main difference between Hybris and Epilog is that this album is instrumental and much more mature, maturity should be good in any normal band, but in the case of ÄNGLAGÅRD it's hard to know because something I admired very much in the debut album is that innocence they showed. The band didn't cared how many influences they played with, so it was easy to notice Crimsonian passages, Yes sounds and Genesis chords all mixed together, almost like a child builds houses with his multicolor bricks, but they were able to build incredibly beautiful and intelligent music, almost as if the child would have turned into an architect who can make monuments using the same color bricks to remain innocent.
In Epilog their own sound is more developed, the listener still notices that King Crimson and Genesis had a strong influence in ÄNGLAGÅRD, but it seems more distant. The absence of Tord Lindman's voice may satisfy those fans who believed he was weak and maybe too feminine, but the sound is colder without him, you notice something is missing, even if you're not a particular fan of his vocals. The music is stronger and less derivative but they lost that naïve charm they had in Hybris.
The album starts with "Prolog" (Prologue), and what a way to begin, simply delightful music, I'm sure that any person that doesn't know about ÄNGLAGÅRD will qualify this track not as Prog' Rock but classical music. The Baroque atmosphere achieved with guitar, violin (by Martin Oloffson who is a guest) and keyboards is simply perfect, it's sad, melancholic but extremely beautiful. At the end you feel 2 minutes are not enough, they should have made this song 5 times longer.
"Hostejd" (Rites of Fall) is a song where all the band shows how much they matured, there's clear King Crimson inspiration, but they work it being less evident than ever before. The abrupt changes perfectly fit one after the other, the whole band's work is amazing, but Anna Holmgren's flute is the one that carries the weight of the track, you can feel the main melody as if it was surrounding the sound of louder instruments until they all melt in one. Also great drumming by Mattias Olsson who has better feet work than in Hybris.
"Rosten" (The Voice) doesn't really deserves a comment, 14 seconds of almost not audible sounds gives not too much to talk about.
"Skogsranden" (Eaves of the Forest) starts again with a flute semi solo by Anna, soon followed by the piano, again the band takes the path of classical music, but this time less baroque and more romantic until the piano an organ announce another sound explosion that remembers us we're dealing with a very complex progressive band that can go from classical to shocking rock and then to a soft keyboard and chorus section as almost no band ever before. In this track Thomas Johnson is outstanding, he uses piano, organ and mellotron with equal skills. The song ends with another surprise for the listener, a hard complex instrumental section that ceases in one instant without anything that makes the listener guess the end is near.
"Sista Somrar" (The Last Summer) starts with a soft piano that works as an introduction with a soft violin and guitar, the track remains calm and soft until about the 6 minutes when the complexities start, beginning with a strong passage followed by an almost silent section that leads again to another explosive and rhythmic chord where all the band show what they are capable of. Before the end there is a guitar and drums section that reminds me of Focus, specially to Jan Ackerman's solos, this resemblance is more obvious when Anna joins with her flute. A very complex song.
The album ends with "Saksnaden Fullhet" (The Fullness of Longing) another short track that may easily be confused with classical music, played only with a sad and melancholic piano. Simple and beautiful.
The album is as beautiful as Hybris and probably more complex, for most fans is their masterpiece, I can't disagree because it's obvious that ÄNGLAGÅRD is at this point a much more solid band, but still there are things I miss from their debut, specially the criticized vocals by Tord Lindman and the simplicity they left behind.
Sadly this is the last chapter of ÄNGLAGÅRD's short saga (Except for Buried Alive, an album recorded in Nearfest), as a bright star they shined with great intensity and illuminated the 90's but as anything so shiny they burned too fast. Lets hope for their rebirth, something not too hard when most of their members are still in the late 20's and early 30's.
This time I will restrain my high rating impulses and give Epilog four solid stars, even when 4.5 would be the exact rating IMHO.
Iván Melgar

Anglagard, one of those bands EVERY proghead should have heard about. Lately I tried to get around reviewing the two Anglagard albums because I try to concentrate on bands without a general echo like Anglagard. But now it's time to write a little bit about this great band. I woun't tell you new things, just take a look on how many times Anglagard got reviewed here but I may help to proof that Anglagard is a band no proghead should leave out. I got to know Anglagard due to a german prog site. The two albums are rated as the two best prog albums of all time, at least refering to the rating and amount of reviews. And what can I say? I don't think that you will find a better prog band. I consider Anglagard's music to be perfect, nothing is missing, nothing bothers me, just perfect. I really love the fine mellotron-work, truly awesome. The mixture between beautiful, mellow parts and weird, crazy almost wild sections. Unlike their debut "Hybris", "Epilog" is a totally instrumental album.
"Prolog" is, as the title implies a short mellotron dominated intro, quite mellow and melancolic. "Höstsejd", the second track maybe is the highlight. 15 minutes of pure energy, mellow moments, ups and downs and of course mellotron, really awesome. when you listen to this song with headphones, quite loud, there may be shocking moments, namely the transitions of mellow and loud, wild parts. "Rösten"...I don't really know what it should be, a strange 14 second sound. "Skogsranden" is a raising song. It starts very quiet, with some piano and flute and gets louder and heavier just to end quite mellow again, very nice. "Sista Somrar" is another highlight. I really love the melody in the middle of the song. I also like the development of the song. The bass is truly awesome, a real highlight. "Saknadens Fullhet " is an outro, an Epilog. Piano dominated and melancolic, beautiful.
"Epilog" is a masterpiece. I consider both Anglagard albums to be the best prog albums of all time. Genesis, King Crimson, ELP or Gentle Giant just to name a few, nobody of them really enthuses me like Anglagard does. For me, Anglagard is the measure. Without any kind of overstatement, "Epilog" (together with "Hybris") is the best prog album of all time. If you don't know Anglagard, you definitely missed something. More than highly recommended!
Martin Dietrich

Having only recently been bullied into listening to Anglagard by various forum members, and seeing the almost universal praise heaped on this album, cynic that I am, I approached this album with not a little trepidation.
I knew of most of the musicians in Anglagard from Par Lindhs good but patchy album 'Gothic Impressions' where their playing came over as technically solid, but cold and unfeeling - playing 'Epilog', however, hearing the same musicians united with their own keyboard player, and playing their own compositions, this is a totally different animal.
The individual and ensemble playing is truly exceptional, with especial mention going to Thomas Johnson on keyboards (no wonder Par Lindh did not include him in the 'Gothic Impressions' sessions); not only is he a truly gifted Hammond/Mellotron player, but the feel he brings to his playing genuinely echoes the '70s heyday of progressive rock (the Mellotron playing definitely owes a debt to Fripp in the early days of King Crimson, circa 'In The Wake Of Poseidon').
The overall sound of the band yaws between Genesis, ELP and Yes (from their classic periods), but something I've heard distinctly on this album, which I don't think has been picked up in any of the other reviews, is the definite influence (especially in 'Höstsejd') of Frank Zappa, both in the (almost playful) rhythmic/melodic changes, and the guitar style.
If I had to criticise anything on this album, it would be the constant shifting between ideas, without allowing some phrases to develop, almost as if there were a surfeit of ideas, and they wanted to get them all in; oh yes, and the track Rösten, 14 seconds of vague background mumbling. If it weren't for these 2 minor points, I would not hesitate to grant 5 stars.
True, this is not the most original album in the world, with Anglagard wearing their influences firmly on their sleeve for all to see, but this is not a criticism. The early 1980s saw many bands trying desperately to emulate the sounds of the classic bands, with varying degrees of success (or failure), and the 'new wave of British prog-rock' fizzled away to virtually nothing by the early 1990s - then along comes Anglagard in 1994, and releases 'Epilog': a true masterpiece which, if I were been told it had been released in 1974, I would have believed it without question.
All good things must come to an end, though, and the band split soon after - a real loss to 21st century progressive rock.
Jim Garten

Sometimes when writing about a band that emerged long after the great prog bands of their past reached their peak, it is tempting to go on about which passage reminds you of Genesis or Gentle Giant or King Crimson. Despite executing a passing resemblance of each of those bands for fleeting moments during this intoxicating recording, there is no doubt that Anglagard has a voice that is unique and powerful. The only real dilemma I now have about Anglagard is over which of its two excellent albums I prefer. Upon careful reflection ... I've given up trying to decide!
After the tasteful classical intro Prolog, Anglagard launch into the epic eerie instrumental Höstsejd, which is 15 minutes of Gothic prog magic. It occasionally veers into metallic chaos, but by and large relies on the daring punchy keyboards of Thomas Johnson, while Anna Holmgren's flute combines with acoustic guitar to give the pastoral sections a beauty of their own. Skogsranden also has the balance of light and heavy sections, but it is the bleak landscape in the middle of the piece that always gets me ... the way the band breaks out with an angry calculated venom to conclude the song is truly beautiful. Particularly kudos to the outstanding rhythm section of Johan Högberg and Mattias Olsson, who hardly seem to get the credit they deserve.
The fun concludes with a final, brooding epic ... Sista Somrar, which manages to accomplish the not-inconsiderable feat of being, for the few minutes at least, the most sombre Anglagard piece ever. It does however, become a virtual "jig" at one point, and the mix of light and heavy passages (although both are dark) tends to be as close to a formula that Anglagard get, and it does have the effect of making some of the pieces indistinguishable from one another, if one is new to the band that is.
Anglagard had a few notable peers, and even the odd imitator (the highly accomplished Wobbler), but with Hybris and this album, the sextet put out a dazzling one-two combination that yet to be matched by any prog rock outfit over the last quarter century. A real knock-out performance which was followed by a tragic early demise, which will at least, add to the legend
Martin Vengadesan

If you are a nostalgic progressive rock fan of the 70's, especially Genesis around 1971, and think nothing similar has been done after 1980, then you should get this record to prove you are wrong. Well, the number one album of the seventies that describe the best the graceful and refined mellow parts here is definitely Genesis Nursery Cryme, mainly because of the omnipresent delicate flute, the typical organ notes and the mellotron parts. Most of the many loaded parts AMAZINGLY sound like The Flower Kings: the same guitar sound, the same drums patterns, the same bass style and even the same rhythmic organ and mellotron streams! However, it still has the old Italian progressive rock sound of the seventies, like Banco for the loaded parts and sometimes PFM for the mellow parts. Epilog is a very subtle album: even Gentle Giant is a good reference, and so is Harmonium for the mellow parts; finally, some percussive parts (small bells) and the gentle & delicate acoustic guitars are reminiscent of the Mike Oldfield's work of the 70's.
The only negative thing that I have to say if we dare to compare it to the best works of the 70's is that the album here has too much the ON/OFF style: many loaded & complex parts are often followed by too empty, lengthy and silent bits. For instance, the useless "Rosten", which only lasts 14 seconds, is so irrelevant that it makes "More fool me" on the Selling England by the pound album a complete masterpiece, as a comparison. Obviously, the airs here are not as memorable and as spine tingling as the ones in the 70's; is it because the album is totally instrumental? I do not think so.
For the reasons explained in the previous paragraph, I have to remove 0.5 star to this otherwise masterpiece of anachronic progressive rock.
greenback

Majestic and dream-like, Epilog will captivate you.
Although I do not like this as much as Hybris, this is indeed still very good. The heavy use of mellotron and the style in which it is used reminds me more of Museo Rosenbach than any other artist. Their is a lot of dissonance here, with many complex passages subdued by softer moments, though Anglagard does well to not over dramatize these mellower, less intense sections. My personal favorite is Höstsejd, an outstanding display of musicianship and songwriting.
The lack of vocals does not bother me, as it gives me a chance to meditate and reflect during the calm moments here. When the music becomes intense it is very exciting and an abundance of thoughts will flow through you. I am a bit saddened by a lack of vision here, but that perhaps might have taken away the overall effect of this album. Regardless, Epliog is excellent modern symphonic prog.
Joey Kelley

it sure comes close. There is still a fan club website dedicated to the band which includes a running petition to have the band release another album, and I have to say that it’s hard to imagine such a reunion wouldn’t be successful. The group tried a brief reformation without guitarist Tord Lindman a few years ago, but one has to wonder if the motivation was still there, as it seems to yield little more than a few live appearances and the occasional ‘new track’ popping up on various websites.
This is an entirely instrumental release, but considering the scarcity of vocals on the first album I’m not sure this is really a drawback. What’s more noticeable is the preponderance of lengthy slow, almost airy passages that give the album an overall less energetic feel than their first release. Also, the keyboard and guitar work here are much more reminiscent of King Crimson’s tendency toward a fusion type of sound. On the first album the arrangements seemed more structured, a bit less dissonant, and frankly a little more pompous, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing for symphonic rock.
The opening “Prolog” is promising with its spidery flute and classic piano tones, but as this gives way to the lengthy “Hostsejd” the strident mellotron and fusion-like guitars set an altogether different tone than the Baroque stanzas that marked the debut album. This in itself is okay, since simply repeating their previous work wouldn’t have been all that interesting. But the segue to the long and repetitive keyboards and recurring dropoffs throughout this track get to be a bit tedious without the context of lyrics to help shape the moods. This comes off as an epic-like tale, which I’m sure it what it was meant to be, but the short free-form poem that goes along with the track doesn’t do justice to the range of moods expressed here.
After the brief transition of “Rösten”, “Skogsraden” (Eaves of the Forest) kicks off another lengthy and moody piece. Again, the accompanying poem is a bit cryptic, perhaps referring to some Swedish folk-tale or something – not sure. Here again the piano work is impressive, and the mellotron is energetic for the most part and stretches the traditional role of its sound. But again as well, the transitions are rather weak and there is no real context for making sense of them.
On “Sista Somrar” (The Last Summer) the long, almost inaudible intro seems inconsistent with a more forceful and upbeat sound one would typically expect for a song about summer. Perhaps way up north there in Sweden summer has a different mood and connotation that is does in places where beaches run deep in bikinis and beach balls. This seems more like a song about the ‘last days’ than it does the ‘last summer’. Or perhaps I’m missing the point altogether. Regardless, this ends up being the most animated work on the album, but it takes a while to get going. The acoustic guitar and piano toward the end are quite beautiful, and the final mood actually reminds me a bit of Opeth circa Blackwater Park. This is a complex work, and requires many listens to gain full appreciation.
Finally the album draws to a close much like it started, with delicate and mournful piano and light string-keyboards, quietly fading and leaving a uniquely Nordic sense of hope in its wake:
“I look in the deep brook, and I see a birch leaf floating by.
I believe that under that rock leads a path to heaven.”
Just a bit inconsistent, but at the same time an intense and quite rewarding experience, this final studio release of Änglagård’s is well worth a few spins for anyone who enjoys extremely well-arranged and intense symphonic music. Four stars might be just a bit of a stretch, but not by much.
Bob Moore

Another BRILLIANT prog-rock release from the 90's !!! I can't really add to the glowing reviews most people have already submitted for this amazing album (so I've cheated by taking the easy way) - to analyse each track in words is darn near impossible !! I can say that the Gates Of Dawn vinyl issue shuffles the initial track order (I guess that's to balance the length of the sides out evenly) and that possibly takes a bit away from the intended flow - to have an incredibly beautiful piano piece (Saknadens Fullhet) at the end of side 1 kind of kills the design a bit as it's a perfect end piece for this breath-taking album, which is where it SHOULD be.....
Minor quibbles aside, the compositions are of mathematical complexity, all musicians are clearly heard and absolutely phenomenal players on their respective instruments, and it's 'stuffed to the gills' with amazing MELLOTRON playing. No prog lover should go without at least hearing Anglagard, in some ways they summarise the best of 70's obscure prog music with a modern edge !! Please get this.
Tom Ozric

Anglagard's debut album Hybris was such a blast of fresh air for prog fans that the follow-up, Epilog, is sometimes mentioned only as an afterthought. Most prefer the debut, and certainly Epilog holds to the already established signature Anglagard sound. However, the band has clearly evolved a bit between albums, and to me the second album is much more mature from a compositional point of view. It's also a little mellower as a complete unit, but like all of the band's work, the album contains a fair share of very intense moments. Probably the biggest distinction between the two is a more open mix, which allows a better clarity for each individual instrument. It seems as if the band feels a little more comfortable to take their time to allow things to develop.
My first exposure to Anglagard was a prog sampler mix CD a friend made for me which contained the magnificent song Skogsranden. This classic epic begins with pastoral piano, acoustic guitar, and flute, and slowly picks up steam until it's like a train rushing down the mountain. The dynamics are astounding, ranging from soft and delicate to firm punches to the gut. The brutal Anglagard bass comes in, with the electric guitar goading it on in percussive fury. It is perhaps the best track from one of the giants of the genre, probably the best one to come after the classic era.
Compared to the debut, Epilog has a more obvious Genesis influence, especially with the use of flute and increased quiet pastoral sections. Mellotron is also prominently used, along with very occasional vocal textures. Unlike Hybris, no actual lead vocals are used. The two albums actually compliment nicely, combining into a single body of work that is nothing short of masterpiece level. To set aside the second half of that work would be to deprive yourself of some of the best symphonic prog. As essential as Hybris.
Jay Brieler

What defines the "rock" portion of "prog rock"? Is it the core instrumentation of guitar, bass, drums and keyboards? If so, that is the only link to "rock" on Epilog, the masterpiece by Anglagard. This album comes closer to creating the electric rock band equivalent of 20th century orchestral chamber music than Fripp, Bruford, Wetton & Cross ever achieved with King Crimson in the seventies.
Detractors may not like the complete lack of traditional rock forms in this music, but that's not the point. Listen to Bartok, Stravinsky, or any of the great 20th century masters, and you will hear a lot of what is going on in this album. It's not for the faint of heart, as it can be powerful, ferocious, mesmerizing, and delicate, all at the same time.
Does it sound like I'm fawning over this album? It should! I love it!
Scott

Second Anglagard album is a real masterpiece! If debut album was very attractive,pleasant and competent mixture of all the best prog-rock from 70-th invented, the second one is more mature work. You can hear not only very competent citates, but more melted sound, band's sound.
Some reviewers think that absent of vocal lines is a minus there: don't think so. I think that vocal was one of rare weak points in band's debut, and even debut was mainly instrumental. There you have 99,9% instrumental album, and it sounds better than previous one!
The music is more deep, more personal, less guitar driven energy ( but still some Crimsonian sound breakes/peaks included). Think, it's group's highest point ( ok, three albums only were recorded), and perfect mature symphonic rock from early ninetees.
Slava Gliozeris

"Hybris" is one tough act to follow. I have to give the band credit for not just doing a "Hybris II" although I wouldn't have been complaining if they did. The vocals are gone on this one. I for one liked them, just like I enjoy ANEKDOTEN and WOBBLER's vocals. They suit the music. "Epilog" is much more pastoral than the debut with a lot of dreamy, laid back sections. That made it harder for me to get into but the advantage of all the mellow sections is how powerful this sounds when they let it rip. I have to also say that the sound quality of this recording is pretty much perfect, crystal clear.
"Prolog" is pastoral to start with organ but it turns much fuller after a minute. Some violin too. "Hostsejd" opens with organ, mellotron and drums as the sound rises and falls. How good does this sound when they kick in. We get a steady sound before 1 1/2 minutes with some nice chunky bass. The mellotron then storms the soundscape. A calm follows before they start kicking it hard after 3 minutes. It settles before 5 1/2 minutes then the mellotron rolls in a minute later. It kicks in again after 10 minutes with mellotron. This sounds so good. Guitar makes an appearance then it settles with piano after 11 minutes. It's building before 14 minutes. What an incredible way to end this epic.
"Skogsranden" opens with laid back piano, then flute and violin join in. Piano only takes over again, then flute before it kicks in with power before 3 minutes. Killer sound ! Check out the guitar after 4 1/2 minutes. Mellotron follows then it settles. Female vocal melodies cry out of the atmosphere 6 1/2 minutes in. Acoustic guitar and flute follow. Beautiful. Mellotron after 9 minutes then it kicks back in. My God ! More great mellotron too. "Somrar" has a pastoral intro. Violin, organ and mellotron follow then it settles back again before exploding in after 4 minutes. The mellotron is so majestic 6 minutes in. Then we get a calm before it kicks back in before 7 minutes. Amazing sound here. It settles before 10 minutes then the flute comes in. It's fuller 11 1/2 minutes in with drums leading. A calm a minute later to end it. "Saknadens Fullhet" is a short laid back track filled with piano melodies.
I still prefer "Hybris" but man this just blows me away. It's 1A verses 1B.
John Davie

At last I decided to review another exceptional album in the world of progressive rock - Epilog by Anglagard. It's the second and regretfully last release by swedish symphonic band. With their debut Hybris, Anglagard established themselves as a genuine and distinctive band in the darkest hours of the genre with dynamic and saturated symphonic sound. With their next album Anglagard add quite more experimentation and complication of the composition and the result is: contemporary classic on symphonic scene. I would say even better than Hybris. Epilog is fully instrumental album containing less dynamic and more melancholic themes than the debut. Classic influence is very strong again. The musicianship is superior and precise.
Atanas Dimov

Anglagard went all-instrumental for Epilog, and in addition continued their weaving together of varied prog influences into a sound which I feel is a bit more individual and distinctive than that of Hybris. The compositions here are at turns anxious, mournful, tense, melancholic and spooky, delving into murky emotional realms which the band's major influences rarely if ever explored (with the exception of King Crimson). The performances are great, the compositions are breathtaking, and on the whole Epilog is an album which left me hungry for more. If the persistent rumours of a follow-up album in the works are true, it'll be a day one purchase for me for sure; if not, Anglagard will still deserve a place in the prog hall of fame for the two superb studio albums they did create.
W. Arthur

I always considered Anglagard one of the most typical progbands ever. I mean if you wonder what prog is like or if a newbee would ask me I would say: take a shot at Anglagard with either of their studio albums and you get a pretty good idea (to say the least).
Hybris consisted of 6 songs, all clocking between 5 and 14 minutes whilst Epilog is much more extreme where the playing times are concerned. One of just a few seconds, two of exactly two minutes and the other three above 10 minutes. I wonder if this is done deliberately or that things simply turned out this way. Personally I prefer longer songs so my attention goes to the three mini-epics. From these three the longest, Höstsejd is the most challenging one; great variation, some experimentation alternated with much more catchy moments. Sista Somrar is a bit more coherent and all in all more accessible than the larger epic. Leaves Skogsranden as most gloomy as well as most laid back of the three (I mainly love the flute in the 8th minute). The short opener (Prolog) and closer (Saknadens Fullhet) are pretty good but too short to evaluate in a copious way, let alone Rösten (0:14).
Everything considered I feel both studio releases by Anglagard are essential for true progfans but that doesn't mean I consider them masterpieces. But both score the 4 stars easily. Hybris was more a 4,25 case to me whereas Epilog is something like rounded up from 3,75. At least I'm glad I spent my time discovering them. By the way, the cover art is great even though I'm usually not really into those things. Recommended !
Henk van der Hoff

Puuuffff... y hay muchísimos comentarios más, pero... no tiene sentido que siga copiando y pegando si todos te recomiendan que tengas este disco, y nosotros no podemos ser menos, nos vemos en la oblicagación moral de decirte que a este disco, aún sin ser tan absolutamente genial como "Hybris", te lo tenés que llevar y escucharlo muchas, muchas veces, por el bien de tu espíritu. Un disco necesario, no hace falta agregar nada más.




3 comentarios:

  1. Download: (Flac + CUE + Log - No Scans)
    http://pastebin.com/kGycEddJ

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  2. Respuestas
    1. Es un gusto si la saben disfrutar. Gracias Mariano por tu comentario.

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