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Wobbler - From Silence to Somewhere CD (album) cover

FROM SILENCE TO SOMEWHERE

Wobbler

 

Symphonic Prog

4.58 | 181 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
5 stars "Masterpiece of the Year!"

Norwegian Symphonic Prog Rockers Wobbler are the surprise hit of the year with one of the best albums of 2017 "From Silence to Somewhere". The album from the outset has the sounds and ear candy of the classic Prog Rock Of the golden 70's era when Prog was at the peak of the mountain. So close in resemblance is the sound, one may be forgiven for thinking this is an album from that era, comparing favourably with masterpieces such as Yes' "Close to the Edge", Genesis "Foxtrot", Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso's debut and Gentle Giant's "The Power and the Glory". Similar to those albums, Wobbler feature an epic multi movement suite clocking over 20 minutes. There are only 4 songs just like the classics of Yes, ELP and Genesis, and each track builds on the next with Spiritual themes and metaphorical poetic lyrics. The vocals are so close to vintage Peter Gabriel or Jon Anderson it is astounding, and so well executed by Andreas Wettergreen Str'mman Prestmo, who is wonderful on guitar, glockenspiel, and percussion. Geir Marius Bergom Halleland is the lead guitarist, one of the best, Lars Fredrik Fr'islie is a virtuoso keyboardist, and the complex rhythm section is made up of Kristian Karl Hultgren, bass, bass clarinet, bass pedals, and Martin Nordrum Kneppen on drums, percussion, and recorder.

The album opens with the glorious epic From Silence to Somewhere (21.00), that has as many twists and turns as the lengthy treasures of early Genesis, Supper's Ready, Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso's opus Il Guardino del Mago, and Yes with Close to the Edge. The organic music switches moods throughout, from melancholy and reflective to uplifting melodies with intense emotional power. It dives headlong into a guitar driven melody with crashes of cymbals and whirring sustained synths, the bassline and drum section is chaotic and exciting. The lengthy cacophonic intro finally breaks into a peaceful ethereal organ with acoustics, awash with lush Mellotron strings.

The lyrics explore the idea of metamorphosis, from the womb to the grave and beyond the veil. Reminiscent of the ideologies heard on Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso's Metamorfosi from their masterpiece debut. Part 1: Humus 'all that becomes and perishes' opens with lyrics "From the mould, the mother womb that dark and moist, dark and moist shield of old, to rise again from the tomb and like the fragile sprout in twilight's gloom, into the world unfold, ancestral gold, the line of blood, a web stretched out so long ago, built to last." The poetic lyrics are fulfilling and augment the music in the same way lyrics are quintessential to the overall experiential and existential journey of Yes, "Tales of Topographic Oceans". A flute dominates over the next section and the pace quickens into complex shapes. It switches into a quiet contemplative phase. The flute adds its own embrace of beauty to the scape; a chrysalis opening to release the butterfly. Part 2: Corpus 'That no one of existing things doth perish, but men in error speak of their changes as destructions and as deaths', there's a subtitle! Here the lyrics turn a darker shade as the protagonist contemplates the meaning of death after life; "This now when everything never dies, live again, burst into the scarlet skies reshaped, resized, in this dark hour I search the cave relentlessly pondering grand designs, troubling me, cloaked in the veil of light, clarity brightens my halls, proof of the undying, truth beyond these walls." The hard drum returns to signify a new change, and a beautiful lead guitar break breaks through.

Another verse and everything halts as church pipe organ begins and some odd effects before a cascade of Hammond descends into a fast paced drum pattern, until scratches of strings grind like a creaking door opening to a new scenario. The tracks changes completely with a weird spasmodic fractured signature in iambic pentameter, punctuated by staccato crashes of organ and drums. The flute cuts in to the dance, and breaks away so that a lead guitar can have a turn. It becomes heavy as a phased guitar howls over the sound wall. Angelic choral music heralds a new dawn of thought. A gentle guitar passage soothes the storm as swathes of Tron float by. Vocals return and still sound strikingly like Anderson. The epilogue moves into a reflective theme of hope and escape into light, and the music reflects this with bright passages of aural clarity, gorgeous organic strings and guitar layered over pondering basslines and decisive percussion. The Mellotron takes centre stage with grandiose sweeps and tonal phrases as multilayerd vocals blaze away.

It breaks again with tranquil guitars and ambient strings as the vocals contemplate the feeling of death, "boughs of green, so gently dancing in the wind, embracing the earth, my death and my birth, here I lie, at peace in solitude forever until I'm stirred from my nest like a bird and soar into the world once again." The mesmirising beauty of the symphonic music is in direct mirror reflection of the serene feeling of floating Spiritually into the sky.

This colossal epic is a dynamic, bold and innovative journey that Wobbler takes the listener on. They inject so much passion in their music, so much understanding for the medium, and those artists who inspired this genre, that it is difficult not to be overwhelmed by the sheer bombastic grandeur. But the best is yet to come! Rendered in Shades of Green (2.05) is alarmingly short after the previous marathon. It is virtually a transition as a veritable calm before the storm. This intermezzzo is tranquil piano over waves of lush atmospheric Mellotron strings that gently caress the ear.

Fermented Hours (10.10) is a return to the complexity of the opening track, the time signatures are off the meter, and there are some intricate instrumental passages. I adore the opening electronics that build into a killer riff with very loud guitar and Hammond stabbing viciously without mercy. The vocals are theatrical, "far way in the Northern regions", that are sung along the heavy handed melody. One may be reminded of the early Focus or Yes sound, and it wanders into Rock Progressive Italiano territories. Indeed it almost acts as a love letter to such bands as Premiata Forneri Marconi, and their "Stories in one Minute" era, particularly in terms of structure and layout, building into progressive musical shapes utilising Hammond, flute and strong percussion in 6/8. The cool organ solo at 2:30 minutes in is a delicate sound that generates a mysterious atmosphere. The Peter Gabriel style is prevalent in the vocals and the melody is infectious. Mellotrons flow lucidly beneath the soundscape. It sounds like raindrops coming down, and the vocals do state "I'm soaked with the sweetness of wine" so perhaps this is the idea. It breaks signature at 5 minutes in, the percussion gets dramatic and some odd vocals speaking another language reminds us that this is inspired by RPI. Steve Hackett style lead guitar can be heard in places and the Gabrielesque vocals continue to tell the story of fermented hours, and seeking solace and meaning among chaos. The music becomes chaotic too with a frenetic bassline until a Cathedral organ grinds majestically, like entering the church with stained glass windows. The glass shatters as the heavy punctuated rhythmic guitars return in an arrhythmic meter and bookend this magnificent track. It is an outstanding example of how great music can be, relentlessly inventive and daring beyond the barriers of music; my second favourite on this awesome album.

Foxlight (13.19) closes the album with a genuine masterclass performance of the band in full flight. This is the best track on the album and after hearing it I had no hesitation in rating this album a five star triumph. It opens with flickers of flute and sweeping Mellotron that floats along acoustic picking. A lilting woodwind ballet of clarinet and flute playfully dances gracefully over the rivers of acoustics, and then a glockenspiel chimes in. Lovely pianoforte passages and a tambourine build the progsphere. It soon ignites into a paroxysm of lightning striking heavy Hammond and berserk guitar in a polyrhythmic meter. The melody locks in with interchanging schizophrenic moods. The vocals sound as high falsetto as Jon Anderson with creative lyrics, "Bewildered here down at the crossroads, confronted with the choices for my epitaph, a distant flame gives me a sign, shows me a path within my mind." The flute has a Tull like quality. The meter picks up and switches signature as the Yes like sound continues, "Too tempting are the ways that promise release, through blissful subjection and foxlights leading the way, a vortex of realities has dragged me under, all the things I believed, what my yesterdays conceived is lost." It begins to sound really close to Yes, then the Hammond becomes more aggressive and the Mellotron dominates as a foundation. The percussion is sporadic, until it breaks.

The introduction of a harpsichord enhances the atmosphere with a medieval flare. Flamenco guitar waltzes along with the harpsichord. The arrangement settles into a haunting contemplative mood, with harmonious vocals "here I lie". A gorgeous lush Mellotron with flute segues into a Gentle Giant sounding passage, especially in the vocal style, "even if the pieces change only the journey still remains", and the marching percussion heralds a new mood of triumph. Gryphon style medieval music glistens over a dollop of flute before a climax of Gentle Giant style a Capella multi layered harmonies. A krumhorn sounding like a kazoo can be heard over the wall of sound, and the flute twitters until the sound breaks into drums and a "la la la la la la la la" harmony, with loud staccato stabs of organ and guitar. It is an absolutely brilliant track; a throwback to 70s Prog and yet sounding so current. This is the magic of Wobbler.

I have heard this album many times and each time it dazzles my senses. Contender for album of the year? Absolutely! It certainly deserves masterpiece status as it pays homage to classic 70's Prog, crosses Prog rock borders and delivers it wrapped up in a new package. The versatile style and structure of the album is a captivating experience. If you looked up the definition of Prog you could put a picture of this album next to it and it would be sufficient. Everything about the album rings true as a prime example that the sound of classic Prog is alive and kicking! "From Silence to Somewhere" is a triumph; an outstanding achievement destined for masterpiece status.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 5/5 |

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