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Wobbler - From Silence to Somewhere CD (album) cover

FROM SILENCE TO SOMEWHERE

Wobbler

Symphonic Prog


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Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Norwegian band WOBBLER are veterans of the Norwegian progressive rock scene as well as a renowned and established name in progressive rock circles, with a career going 18 years back and with concerts in most parts of their world on their resume. So far they have four full length studio albums to their name. "From Silence to Somewhere" is the most recent of these, and is set for release in late October 2017 through Norwegian label Karisma Records.

While this is hardly news to anyone with more than a passing interest in progressive rock, Wobbler have made a name for themselves as purveyors of high quality, vintage era symphonic progressive rock, and they do not disappoint on this most recent album either. Those who know they enjoy music of this specific kind can safely add this album to their list of music that needs to be bought, whether they are familiar with this band already or not.

Report this review (#1787904)
Posted Wednesday, September 27, 2017 | Review Permalink
5 stars The wait was so long for Wobbler I simply assumed they broke up. Instead it simply took six years for them to follow up the great Rites at Dawn. Original guitarist Morten Andreas Eriksen had been replaced by Marius Halleland, which was truly the right move for the band. Nothing wrong with Morten, but if they needed a new guitarist, then they needed one compatible with the band, and of course Marius certainly fits the bill! He's at home with electric as the more calm Anthony Phillips or Steve Hackett acoustic end of things. Lars Fredrik Fr°islie is up to his usual bag of tricks with the analog keyboards, with plenty of Moog, Hammond organ and Mellotron, as always. Lars seems to be a busy man, also involving himself with White Willow, Tusm°rke, Opium Cartel, and others. This is a wonderful followup, with some incredible and intense playing from all around. The title track stretches to 20 minutes, and it doesn't bore you. This band figured out how to do a wonderful 20 minute piece. They had a little trouble on Hinterland with the 27 minute title track as it was a bit overlong for some. Not here. This is some incredible stuff, with some medieval stuff going on with the recorder, as well as some ─nglagňrd moves and lots of great jamming. "Rendered Shades of Green" is a really doomy sounding piano and Mellotron-dominated piece that's very short. "Fermented Hours" is nothing short of incredible, the intensity is incredible. They are certainly no slouches here. "Foxlight" demonstrated the new guitarist knack for those gentle acoustic parts as well as more rocking electric guitar parts, and with some medieval stuff on krumhorn towards the end with that Gryphon or Gentle Giant feel to it. They really topped it here. This is bound to be a classic as far as I'm concerned. The only drawback is we'll probably have to wait another several years for another release. The huge wait for something new from Wobbler got me thinking the still-obscure Jordsj° had appeared on the scene creating similar type of prog to fill the void (hopefully they won't stay totally obscure for long, I hope they get as much recognition as Wobbler, they already now have a deal with Karisma Records, which From Silence to Somewhere was released). With so few releases from Wobbler, it's probably good as well. They could have been The Flower Kings clogging the discography with overlong CDs (frequently double CDs clocking at over two hours) and that meant serious hit and miss, and it's clear Wobbler didn't want to go that way (quality over quantity). There is no doubt about it, From Silence to Somewhere is Wobber's crowing achievement and a must have!
Report this review (#1814794)
Posted Friday, October 20, 2017 | Review Permalink
BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR
Jazz-Rock / Fusion / Canterbury Team
5 stars Though many sounds and riffs from old classic prog songs continue to pop up in their music, their self-proclaimed more collaborative, whole-band approach to song composition has really paid off in terms of rendering a distinctively fresh collection of songs. The musicianship is, as usual, extraordinary, but what strikes me more on this album is the remarkable diversity in musical and vocal instrumentation choices and styles. Like a Mike Oldfield album, I found myself sitting on the edge, waiting for whatever new and amazingly unexpected shift the music would take: from Yes-like to mediŠval to psychedelic to folk. Plus, in several places they were able to pull off one of the better incorporations of the GENTLE GIANT style that I've ever heard from a 21st Century artist.

1. "From Silence to Somewhere" (20:59) an interesting and unpredictable run through some older sounds and styles, shifting, as noted above, quite surprisingly and refreshingly from quite different dynamic ranges. These guys can really play! (9.25/10)

2. "Rendered in Shades of Green" (2:05) a pretty little treated piano solo with mellotron, synth strings, and tuned percussives mixed in for the second half. (9.25/10)

3. "Fermented Hours" (10:10) opens with the sounds and freneticism of Yes's "Sound Chaser" (which it seems to be inspired by--though it sounds a lot like "L6 Bealtine" from their last album, Rites at Dawn). The awesome organ work in the second quarter behind the more folksie vocals make for a nice section. The second half continues with the awesome organ work beneath some very Yes-like vocal and instrumental passages. I like the theatric shouts in the final minute just before the song crescendos and fades. (9/10)

4. "Foxlight" (13:19) opens acoustically (with 'tron): flutes, guitars, bass clarinet, glockenspiel, before vocal section begins its play over the top. Very delicate and beautiful! Then at 3:42 the delicacy ends and a loud, bombastic sequence of chords opens--though harpsichord support helps to balance it out. The vocal section starts out nice but then gets a little washed out by too many instruments soloing at the same time as the singing. A Spanish acoustic guitar chord sequence beneath the busy rock weave at 5:45 is nice but ends up fizzling out and letting the heavy cacophony resume its dominance. At 7:11 we get a reprieve and return to more acoustic, almost DOORS and GENTLE GIANT-like, instrumental section. I love this! I must say, the presence of the harpsichord is quite refreshing and welcomed. A kind of "Cinema Show" dream-sequence takes over at 8:40 over which some beautiful harmonized group vocals and flute play make their show. At 10:07 we get a true mediŠval/GENTLE GIANT section. The singer's voice even sounds a bit like an older Kerry Minnear. Great section! Horns (or, really, kazoos)! Probably my favorite on the album. Definitely my favorite song, overall. (9.5/10)

Five stars; a masterpiece of progressive rock music.

Report this review (#1815221)
Posted Sunday, October 22, 2017 | Review Permalink
5 stars A pleasant Sunday morning in New Zealand and I am transported to the impending winter of Norway. For me, this is the best album of 2017 by a country mile. At first, the atmosphere did remind me of Gazpacho's "Demon" and yes there are hints of the 70's with nods to Yes but to be honest Wobbler have crafted their own sound. There isn't a note wasted during the four tracks on offer as they blend an array of instrumental atmospheres ranging from winter campfires, medieval courts, and Woodstock, as yet another unexpected groove appears from near silence to somewhere. This includes the vocals which are quirky, pleasant and melodic acting as part of the atmosphere rather than a separate entity. The title track and near 20 minute epic, just about carries all of the above and proves that the time taken to put this album together was well worth it. It even shows an improvement on their past offerings in terms of composition, as it weaves ideas together eventually coming back to ideas with variation, techniques unused on their debut "Hinterland" which had been my favorite to date. From then on the album doesn't let up in it's quality and at times actually gets better. The final track "Foxlight" manages to tick many boxes of prog for me. It has the melodic melancholy I enjoy in modern Marillion whilst breaking out into something, whilst nowhere near as heavy, that the more groove style of Black Sabbath might recognise. The only problems I have with this album is that I am finding it difficult to listen to anything else and I am going to have to wait another number of years for their next album.

Highly recommended,

Report this review (#1816017)
Posted Wednesday, October 25, 2017 | Review Permalink
poslednijat_colobar
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Polyphonic saturation mastery

This exceptional piece of art has been composed for 5 long years and it works on several different levels. From Silence to Somewhere by Wobbler is one of those albums that stuns me more with every new listening and feed itself from itself. An inexhaustible source of musical power, energy and gradation of every part to another. It passes smoothly without being smooth. The polished compositions allow the listener to build a knowledge of the album with every new listening. Being a flawlessly composed and performed, the album offers a lot of variable moments from the best prog structured pieces with harsh, gentle, polyphonic, nordic-sounding and complex musical ideas out of its main genre of symphonic prog, without emulates anything that has been done before and even overcoming a row of classics with huge innovative charge. Collecting the prog's heritage in an inimitably intensive way in terms of musicianship and songwriting From Silence to Somewhere is an inmost echo of the talent and hard work of Wobbler for the last 5 years, converting them to a prog giant. The album is highly recommended and a must for every profound music listener. Do not miss it!

A candidate for best album of 21st century so far and one of the most spectacular albums of all time!

Report this review (#1817626)
Posted Monday, October 30, 2017 | Review Permalink
rdtprog
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team
5 stars This new adventure in the world of Wobbler represents the resurrection of a band who were in a bad mood after the departure of their guitar player Morten Andreas Eriksen. He has been replaced by Geir Marius Bergom Halleland which seems to have brought back some fresh air. The band's music is still old 70's symphonic prog rock using old vintage instruments, such as analog keys, mellotron, and flute. The first 20 minutes epic "From Silence to Somewhere" delivers some beautiful old symphonic prog rock with that inevitable link to some structures and sound of many bands of that genre such as Genesis, Anekdoten, and Focus. The song goes into some fascinating moods, powerful crescendos, and twirling content. The band navigates between atmosheres with refined delicacy. There are some marvelous melody lines by Lars Fredrik Fr°islie in a long instrumental section. Many delicate parts of the music in others section are reminiscent of some acoustic music of Hackett and there is a lot of similarity with the analog sound of the synths of Tony Banks. The sound of the flute is adding some energy and light to the melancholic and dark parts. The interlude "Rendered in Shades of Green" is quiet dispendable, but the 2 others tracks continue to the majestic grandeur of the first track which is half of the album duration. To me, this is the most mature album of the band that has reached the balance between emotions and musical creativity (or the heart and the brain) with some great melodies.
Report this review (#1817914)
Posted Tuesday, October 31, 2017 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is my very first review on prog archives and Wobbler's latest release has been haunting my player in such a degree that I had no other choice but to write about it.

Wobbler show exceptional musicianship in this album, both in compositions/song-writing and in executions. The arrangements are great, the production is ideal and every player is shining in here. Yes, Genesis, King Crimson, Gentle Giant and PFM play an important role in here but I think Wobbler integrated all these influences and have finally found their own voice.

Speaking of voices, Andreas Wettergreen Str'mman Prestmo has a unique taste and is very characteristic, adding a lot to the band's personality. I would not like to chose a particular player in here because every instrument is important in their sound and has its place there, but if I had to, Kristian Karl Hultgren could have been the main protagonist with the sweet a la Chris Squire bass tone and very interesting bass lines.

This is a release not to be overlooked. It possesses a unique quality, and Wobbler have definitely put a lot of effort to make the outcome so high-quality and interesting. In a few years it will be considered a classic, so all prog archives members should listen to this record now that it is fresh!

Report this review (#1820490)
Posted Thursday, November 9, 2017 | Review Permalink
5 stars Wobbler continues to produce the highest quality modern progressive rock available. Hinterland, Afterglow, and Rites At Dawn are stellar albums that are the closest thing to that classic Yes sound from the 70s. Just sink into that comfortable chair or couch, and do nothing but listen. From Silence to Somewhere continues where the three predecessors left off, but advances their sound even more. First play, I felt right at home with the long passages, fantastic keyboard work, and all around amazing musicianship. The vocal tone and style of Andreas are so similar to Jon, that it is hard not to have the Yes comparisons ready. Wobbler is it's own group that will fuse some folk elements into the music. It is time to place them up there with all the great modern progressive rock groups. I have already queued up all four albums into a playlist at work, and I will play them for quite a while.
Report this review (#1823590)
Posted Wednesday, November 15, 2017 | Review Permalink
5 stars I haven't had a prog album grab my attention so quickly and so fully since I was a teen, and discovering albums like 'Close To The Edge' and 'Foxtrot' for the first time. Wobbler has been my favourite prog band of the last ten years or so, since 'Afterglow' for sure. So to hear the band mature so fully, and execute their vision so successfully is especially satisfying. Though I'm always hesitant to prognosticate, I can easily see 'From Silence to Somewhere' occupying a place among my favourite progressive rock albums of all time.

Though there are many levels on which I appreciate this album, I have to mention the work of rhythm section Kristian Karl Hultgren on bass, and Martin Nordrum Kneppen on drums. Their playing reminds often me of Chris Squire and Bill Bruford, and moves easily from light, gentle passages to heavy, symphonic moments with ease. And as always, Lars Fredrik Fr├Şislie's keyboards are a delight. His playing really deserves to be considered in the same breath as Emerson, Wakeman, Moraz, Banks, Bolin, and the other great prog keyboardists. New guitarist Geir Marius Bergom Halleland brings a heavier edge to things, which I think helps the band's sound immensely. Much like John Weathers' heavier drumming helped Gentle Giant move up a level, the guitars here really bring out the band's capacity to be heavy.

And then there is Andreas Wettergreen Str├Şmman Prestmo's voice. I've read some describe it like Jon Anderson's, and I can see that to a degree, but I think he really brings a new, fresh voice beyond the sum of his influences. He can do moving, soft passages, be he's also capable of holding his own against loud, busy symphonic sections, too.

Influences of Yes, King Crimson, Nektar, Gentle Giant, Genesis, and so many other great prog bands. This isn't an album to be missed in 2017, or any year.

Report this review (#1823675)
Posted Thursday, November 16, 2017 | Review Permalink
5 stars Opinions concerning Norwegian symphonic prog rock outfit Wobbler have been quite divided in the past. From the beginning Lars Fredrik Froislie and his bandmates were labeled an Anglagard cover band. Things didn't seem to change when Andreas Wettergreen Stromman Prestmo added his singular falsetto on 2011 release "Rites at Dawn", adding a lighter texture to the band's overall sound. Wobbler had now officially become a yes clone to many. The main complaint of critics is never aimed toward their technical capabilities concerning composition or instrumental virtuosity but simply lies in Wobbler not having an own individual voice, but only borrowing the latter of those before them. Yes indeed, Wobbler tap into some Yes, King Crimson or Gentle Giant repertoire from time to time, integrating the one or the other idea into their pieces. But this is symphonic progressive rock. Who doesn't?

Truth of the matter is: Wobbler's 2005 debut "Hinterland" introduced a very mature new voice to the prog world and the consecutive releases only demonstrated further growth and improvement on every front. Same goes for the object of this review, latest release "From Silence to Somewhere". While "Rites at Dawn" strongly diffused more positive vibes framed in shorter structures, the newest album continues where sophomore release Afterglow left off. 3 Epics (one clocking in at over 20 minutes) and a short intermezzo half way through form the outlines of the record.

The Album opens with the eponymous title- and longest track of the album, swallowing the listener straight from the start down a road of life, death and resurrection, bedded in organically dynamic layers of mellotron, Rhodes, vintage guitar, throbbing basslines and franticly stomping drum-work. Divided into 3 parts ? Part I: Humus, Part II: Corpus and an Epilogue, the themes presented here flow seamlessly into one another without leaving the listener overwhelmed. The material displayed is not to densely packed but takes it's time to develop and climax with highly dynamic buildups here and there. The first 6 minutes demonstrate these elements. A threatening organ grows more and more ominous until replaced by a galloping 6/8 with the main melody carried by the guitar. After a conversational jam between organ and guitar the floor quiets down and the synthesizer introduces the main theme, then taken over by Andreas' heavenly light voice. The exposition leads directly to the second theme of the song, which is of more folkloric and positive nature. The Flute adds to the folkloric feel and general celebratory mood. Apart from an instrumentally demanding middle section, calling to mind the 'Relayer' Yes phase, the rest of the track works through the material presented this far and intelligently arranges the motifs around different harmonious progressions. The Epilogue is lightly instrumented, mainly lead by quiet electric guitar chords split in arpeggios accompanying Andreas' longing wish for resurrection. The melancholic harmonic context fits its lyrical content wonderfully and leaves the listener baffled.

An Intermezzo, pensive and lead by a quietly haunting piano, serves as a bridge to 'Fermented Hours', which picks up the afore introduced menacing vibrations with organ arpeggios that grow louder with every beat until the main verse comes crashing in. Framed in this more aggressive theme, the middle section builds in calmer and more melodious motifs, lead by stand out bass work and, yet again, beautifully sung melodies. A 6/8, which could be interpreted as a danceable ż Waltz, due to the bass-emphasized 1 and 4, builds the dreamy center of this section and experiences further development after a short build up exercised by emotionally performed spoken word in Italian, to which the subject is the 'dolce vita' (the sweet life).

Don't be fooled by the talk about an epitaph in closer 'Foxlight', for this is only the beginning of things, a 'crossroads' where 'the journey still remains'. Opening with acoustic guitar strokes a fairy like atmosphere is established with the addition of several vocal layers. The buildup takes it's time and truly savors the mood diffused by Andreas' vocals. After 4 minutes change happens suddenly. Decisively hard blows by the harpsichord break the mood and drench the piece in darker waters, which remain mysterious and undefined throughout. Here, drummer Martin Nordrum shines, continuously layering and alternating between a multitude of rhythms over a long 6/8 section, creating a vicious circle with never ending cycles. After another short Harpsichord break 'Foxlight' finds it's piece and closes in a positive light, ornamented with folkloric chant.

With 'From Silence to Somewhere' Wobbler have once again improved and created an album that demonstrates great virtuosity, gripping songwriting and a gift for thoughtful and dynamic arranging. The Songs put truly unique and beautiful melodies on display, leaving no room for doubt, that this is a band with a very special and unequaled voice of its own.

Report this review (#1824593)
Posted Saturday, November 18, 2017 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#1824911)
Posted Sunday, November 19, 2017 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover Prog Team
4 stars Mellotrons, how do I love thee, let me count the ways, one, one thousand, two, one thousand, three, one thousand. I can't help it, the first time I played this I got an image of Roger Rabbit in my mind and it won't get out! But, instead of a fluffy white rabbit in a film where Bob Hoskins was cruelly denied in Oscar, what we have here is the Norwegian quintet back with their fourth studio album. To say that this album is making waves in the prog scene is something of an understatement: as I write this, after 138 ratings this is the top ranked album from 2017 according to ProgArchives, and by a country mile the top ranked Norwegian progressive album of all time. So, critically it's not doing too bad at all!

The one thing I can't really make my mind up on with this is whether I should say in the review if the album belongs from 1971 or 1972: part of me is having an argument with the rest to say that it could be as late as 1973 but I'm ignoring that at present. This is classic retro prog as they say, in that not only has it take the influences of bands such as classic Genesis, ELP and Yes but have decided that there is no need at all to move any further and can stay quite happily there and expand on the themes, musical motifs and styles. At this point, progressive rock truly becomes a genre and style, as opposed to music that is challenging boundaries and creating something that is different and exciting. This is where I have another discussion with myself in that part of me gets annoyed that a band is attempting to move music back forty-five years, but the rest of me says 'who cares when the music is this damn good?!'. Maybe I should start taking tablets'

Anyway, there is no denying that this is an amazing album in many ways. If you are the type of discerning proghead who bemoans the demise of flares and sitting cross-legged at gigs while partaking of various illegal and legal substances, then this is for you. To be honest, this is something that progheads simply can't ignore as pretty much all will love it to one degree or another, as it really is quite special. Did I mention the mellotrons?

Report this review (#1826311)
Posted Saturday, November 25, 2017 | Review Permalink
FragileKings
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars From the first time I ever heard Wobbler's 'Rites at Dawn' five years ago, I felt that this was a special band. Back then I was only just beginning to really explore progressive rock. Though I'd actually been a fan of some prog bands for a couple of decades, I was never aware of the 'prog' label until 2010! 'Rites of Dawn' impressed me so due to the complex music that was so expertly executed with many of those thrilling parts that you just have to hear again and again, and though many albums that made it into my collection have, after a time, been left to play again at some unknown future date, most of the songs off 'Rites' have been invited back for repeat performances in my ear phones throughout the last five years.

Of course, that meant that I soon picked up 'Hinterland' and 'Afterglow', which I also enjoyed but not as much as 'Rites'. 'Hinterland' bears the massive 27-minute plus title track epic which is also rich in awesome parts but sure takes a while to get through. Add two more tracks that are both over ten minutes and that's a lot of music to digest, especially since Wobbler are not a band who commonly set up simple structures in their compositions. Take 'In Taberna', an instrumental off 'Afterglow'. It's like a musical journey where you never visit the same place twice. 'Rites at Dawn' brought in song structure and tamed the complex structure of Wobbler's compositions somewhat so that the individual tracks on the album were easily more memorable thanks to vocal harmonies, melodies, and a variety of instrument showcases with flute, or saxophone, and styles such as funky jazz or an older classical style as showcase moments.

'From Silence to Somewhere' is the long-anticipated fourth album then and it was at last completed and released at the end of October. (I had been following Wobbler's Facebook page ever since hearing in 2016 that a new album was in the works). I was at first disappointed that the new release didn't follow the 'Rites' approach with five songs clocking in somewhere between six and twelve minutes (plus two short instrumentals bookending the album). The disappointment quickly faded, however, as the album began. After a buildup of swirling organ chords, Wobbler erupt in their typical quick-paced, direct to classic prog approach. Those not familiar with the band should take note that Wobbler use only classic prog era equipment and are determined to a point of perfection to recreate the sounds and atmosphere of that era, all the while writing strictly original material.

The title track serves as a 22-minute album opener and it's rife with good old-fashioned prog goodness. Andreas Wettergreen Stromman Prestmo (a name as long as some of Wobbler's compositions) holds the lead vocal duties as he did on 'Rites' and I have to say that his voice has improved greatly. Though his work was certainly commendable on the previous album, he shows positive strength in his singing here. There are times when I almost though he wasn't going to be able to hold the note, but he did it! He does sound more like Jon Anderson on this album, I feel, but it's a compliment to him. Unfortunately, the wonderful vocal harmonies from the last album are nearly gone this time, and that may be because one member has changed. Guitarist Morten Andreas Erikson has gone and now Marius Halleland has the role. Perhaps this change has left the lead vocals with less backup.

Another note is that even though this album takes the 'Hinterland' approach with one epic piece, two shorter epics, and one short non-rock instrumental, the music is less about meandering and exploring every nook and cranny of progressive rock but instead feels more focused and concise. That doesn't mean the music stays on repeat, but rather it's like the band have matured to where they don't need to prove that they can write a song that has 19 different melodies and motifs in 11 minutes and can now concentrate on writing something better held together. The title track features several highlights for me including some growly bass reminiscent of King Crimson John Wetton (at 10:40 and 12:40), some terrific flute going along with the beat and groove (at 11:48), and an older Wolfmother guitar sound (at 12:40). The track rises and falls with some quieter moments and louder, more anthemic melodies. Particularly at the 17:00 mark, the emotion really builds and strikes me as a new approach for Wobbler to take.

'Rendered in Shades of Green' is one of those gentle and short instrumentals with piano and strings, at first seemingly an odd inclusion but actually rather typical of Wobbler. I personally like 'Fermented Hours', a track that both rocks and rolls and also eases back. This shows Wobbler at their most intense and even dark at times. When they did something similar on 'Afterglow', it earned them a feature in a metal magazine which labeled them as avant-garde metal. It's not metal, but it is the most intense and darkest part of all the music in places.

Our marvelous journey through Wobbler's musical adventure world takes us to 'Foxlight', the final track, though at 13:19 we have lots of time to coast to the end. It begins in strong contrast to 'Fermented Hours' by playing out more serenely at first but then at 3:50 it too becomes more powerful with some sinister bass action coupled with some tension-filled harpsicord. That harpsicord comes back to perform a solo at 7:20 along with acoustic guitar and clean electric guitar. The track concludes with a kind of medieval melody (something Wobbler do very well) from 10:20, and whole band are in full motion, strutting their stuff for the album's finale.

I'm familiar enough with Wobbler's style to have enjoyed this album from the first listen, but it's not just a clich' to say that with repeated listens, I am enjoying the album more. It's been a great opportunity to play the other three albums and enjoy them anew as well. Though 'Rites at Dawn' still remains my favourite Wobbler album for now, 'From Silence to Somewhere' was worth the wait!

Report this review (#1826408)
Posted Saturday, November 25, 2017 | Review Permalink
5 stars Wow! What an amazing album. Jam packed with excellent melodies, dynamic interplay, exquisite musicianship and top notch composing skills. It all flows naturally, and no note is replaceable or superfluous. Aesthetically it's rooted firmly in the 70's, but it feels fresh, modern and original nonetheless. The first song, "From Silence to Somewhere" must be THE epic of the last 40 years. And the cover art is so beautiful, especially the gatefold cover of the vinyl version. It suits the themes and music so well. I'm flabbergasted that it's possible to create such a wonderful piece of art in 2017. This modern day classic is very highly recommended!
Report this review (#1827124)
Posted Tuesday, November 28, 2017 | Review Permalink
5 stars The band Wobbler had been silent for a while. Is that the message in the album title? It was worth the wait. Since their former RITES I think they've matured somehow. Don't get me wrong, they were already impressive musicians, and the music was amazing, complex and full of corners, but they were excessively after old prog heroes. This one is got a different flavor, although the early 70's are still there painting it all, this one is more GENESIS-like, with picks from YES, KING CRIMSON, etc, but there is much more effort in the story line now, plus some modern flavors in a perfect blend, the tracks have a bone to bite for a long time now. As in the long epic album title track, in which they use a fast pulsing motif that reminds Genesis' The Knife in Foxtrot. Or the perfect Fermented Hours, what a wonderful blend of 70's and 2K's. Curiously, what they won in personality they've lost in complexity (does it make sense?..., I think so, it's sort of what one could feel of YES and GENESIS). The tracks are much more digestible, accessible to a larger audience. Here and there, you get some bits from 21th prog heroes like LEPROUS, especially the singer, that is still the weakest part of the project. I mean, we all know that Jon Anderson and Einar Solberg are among the greatests of all times, but Wobbler is trying to get there, and the singer Andreas Wettergreen should not allow himself some failures in the recording. Is it too much asking to do it again till it gets right, man?
Report this review (#1839354)
Posted Wednesday, December 6, 2017 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars I'd be very surprised if this isn't the album of the year for 2017 on most Prog sites and on my particular list. I really feel that they've gone that extra mile this time going into ANEKDOTEN and ANGLAGARD territories. Mind you the previous four studio albums are all incredible in my opinion. The debut still has this mythical feel to it for me. I remember back in 2006 taking my oldest daughter to a friend's place, they lived in this little village on the mountain and I played "Hinterland" for our journey. Memorable music.

Since they hired a new vocalist for the "Rites Of Dawn" album there is a YES vibe because he does sound very much like Jon Anderson. Even instrumentally I felt YES was an influence at times on that "Rites Of Dawn" album but not nearly so much here, in fact hardly at all except for the vocals. I'm a little sad that the list of instruments that Lars Fredrik Froislie plays isn't listed on here, maybe because it's a paragraph long. Here it just says keyboards and backing vocals. How about organ, mellotron, clavinet, electric piano, synths, keyboards, zither and grand piano but there's actually even more details to this. Impressive!

"From Silence To Somewhere" is the 21 minute opener and we get a guest appearance from Ketil Vestrum Einarsen playing flute and he's from JAGA JAZZIST. He also guests on the closing track with flute as well. Atmosphere builds before a full sound kicks in quickly. Love that in your face bass and the distorted organ starting before 2 minutes. A beautiful calm arrives just before 3 minutes. The synths and atmosphere bring YES to mind but when the vocals arrive well this sounds like YES during their classic period. Mellotron before 4 1/2 minutes then it starts to build a minute later as the mellotron becomes more prominent. It then picks up with flute over top then the vocals return. A calm with mellotron, acoustic guitar and more after 6 minutes. It kicks in again before 8 minutes with flute over top and vocal melodies. The guitar starts to solo before 8 1/2 minutes. It steps aside as the vocals return. An experimental calm then kicks in sounding amazing before 10 minutes. Love the huge bass lines and old school keyboards. Another experimental calm then the keyboards and bass return before it kicks into an insane soundscape where it's every man for himself(haha). The flute is back then it's the guitar lighting it up as it grinds away before the mellotron returns before 13 1/2 minutes. An almost silent calm after 14 minutes as some sparse drums then vocal melodies join in. Acoustic guitar takes over ala GENESIS. Atmosphere then rolls in. It kicks back in before 17 minutes with mellotron storming the soundscape reminding me so much of ANEKDOTEN. Passionate vocals follow. A calm after 18 1/2 minutes as reserved vocals join in. What a beautiful way to end it.

"Rendered In Shades Of Green" is a 2 minute instrumental with piano leading the way at first. It's melancholic as other sounds join in on this sad piece.

"Fermented Hours" builds right from the start and I really like this. A vocal melody follows then it kicks in heavily with keyboards over top. Vocals just before a minute in this uptempo section. Check out the bass! Some guest spoken words before 2 minutes and later on too. The singer is back signally a return to that uptempo and fiery instrumental work. A calm with keys, a beat and picked guitar follow as the mellotron helps out. Man this section starting before 3 1/2 minutes really sounds like IQ. It's building after 5 minutes with those guest spoken words. Love the mellotron and bass that follows. The vocals are back after 6 minutes followed by a mellotron storm after 6 1/2 minutes. Organ before 8 minutes as it settles right down. Here we go again! Not worthy!

"Foxlight" is the stunning closing track. It actually reminds me of CHICAGO's "Wishing You Were Here" classic until the vocals arrive. The flute flutters as the picked acoustic guitar and atmosphere continue. Some piano too as the vocals come and go. This really sounds good. Crumhorn too. It suddenly kicks in quite heavily with organ, drums, bass and more. Oh my! The vocals arrive as the bass leads the way into battle. Flute to the fore after 5 1/2 minutes then the vocals return. Back to the heaviness. So good! Check out the bass, drums and mellotron 7 minutes in as the vocals continue. Powerful is the word. Intricate sounds follow as we get a lighter but more beautiful section. Distant almost spacey vocals arrive before 9 minutes as it turns melancholic and mellow. Mellotron rolls in as the vocals step aside. Suddenly it all brightens as these upbeat vocals kick in with a catchy rhythm. Nice chunky bass and vocal melodies too. It's like a happy ending! I like happy endings.

I will be shocked if this isn't my favourite album of 2017. Got several more to get to yet.

Report this review (#1840330)
Posted Sunday, December 10, 2017 | Review Permalink

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