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Wobbler - Rites At Dawn CD (album) cover

RITES AT DAWN

Wobbler

 

Symphonic Prog

3.90 | 418 ratings

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Distant Planet
4 stars I looked forward to this release with some anticipation. It's been awhile since WOBBLER's last release, the superb 'Hinterland', which was more of an EP than an album lengthwise. 'Rites At Dawn' thankfully gives us a slightly longer playing time at about 46 minutes.

WOBBLER remind me of ANGLAGARD, but without as much angst or venomous edge, or of LANDBERK but with less 'vemod' and melancholy. However, they combine elements of many other facets of prog rock too, including their very own hallmark of originality. They are one of the few current bands who for me can actually create valid music that is awash with a genuine 70s prog feel. In terms of validity this music is like real gold rather than the gold plating some other bands may offer. The band originate from Norway, it seems that the Scandinavian countries are continuing to offer outstanding talent in all areas of music, including progressive rock.

If you are a fan of 70's progressive rock and you have not heard WOBBLER before, I urge you to listen to this album, I will be astounded if you don't like it. It has more than lived up to my anticipation, in fact it has exceeded it in bucket loads. The musicianship, composition and production are superb. There is less of a medieval essence to the music than expected and there is more plagiarism than I would associate with previous WOBBLER releases, mostly similarities with parts of 'Fragile' by YES. Strange indeed as I haven't noticed that much (if any ?) YES influence in their previous releases !! However, rest assured, overall this is not a bad thing and there is also an original validity to everything.

The album offers 2 very short tracks and 5 longer tracks varying between five and twelve minutes in duration, they are as follows:

'Lucid' : a dreamy and short instrumental intro which sounds unlike its name !!

'La Bealtaine' : a rustic theme is joined by mellotron and then those YES like vocals enter the fray, think 'South Side of the Sky' or even 70's band DRUID on their debut album 'Toward the Sun' . However, it is only about 4 minutes into the track that any YES influence sounds through in the actual musical lines (shape shifters - indeed !!!) and in reality the ideas taken from YES largely adorn and embellish a very original composition.

'In Orbit': pastoral acoustic guitar and oboe take us toward a complex YES like theme that develops into a virtual YES theme, that sounds more like YES than YES !! Those vocals are there again and even that Chris Squire bass line. Five minutes in the themes also owe something to GENESIS circa 'Selling England' including at 6.09 an awesome keyboard run that Tony Banks would have been proud of . However, the whole twelve and half minutes of this epic song is also indelibly stamped with WOBBLER's own trademark sound.

'This Past Presence' ; a pastoral and dream like affair where the occasionally more aggressive passage, contrasts with flute and acoustic guitar and some gorgeous use of mellotron.

'A Faeries's Play': another gorgeous blast of original and 70's influenced prog, possibly the highlight of the album for me.

'The River': more aggressive than some of the previous tracks but still steeped in melody and atmospheric mystery and with some nice use of bassoon.

'Lucid Dreams': rounds off the album where we started, with a short dreamy and angelic instrumental outro..

I'd like to give this album five stars, essentially I feel it's that good and it deserves it, but due to the overly strong homage to YES (which I further state is no bad thing !!), I feel I can only offer 4.5 rounded down to 4. Still, please do listen to it if you can !!

Distant Planet | 4/5 |

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