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Heavy Prog • Iceland

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Svanfridur biography
Hailing from Iceland, SVANFRIDUR were a four-piece who in the summer of 1972 recorded a single album, titled "What's Hidden There?". The album, recorded in London and released at the time only in a few dozen copies, can be considered one of the most interesting examples of heavy progressive rock mixed with influences from local folk music. SVANFRIDUR's compositions feature complex vocal harmonies and an original, inventive use of violin and Moog synthesizers, courtesy of guest musician and arranger Sigurdur Johnsson.

"What's Hidden There?" was rescued from obscurity by Graham Brook, founder and owner of record label Hi-Note, and released on CD in 1995.

Raff (Raffaella) - January 2009

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What's Hidden ThereWhat's Hidden There
Shadoks Music 2010
Audio CD$16.34
$8.00 (used)
What's Hidden There by SVANFRIDUR (2010-07-06)What's Hidden There by SVANFRIDUR (2010-07-06)
Shadoks Music
Audio CD$55.74
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SVANFRIDUR discography

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SVANFRIDUR top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.46 | 27 ratings
What's Hidden There ?

SVANFRIDUR Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

SVANFRIDUR Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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SVANFRIDUR Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Jibbý jei


Showing last 10 reviews only
 What's Hidden There ? by SVANFRIDUR album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.46 | 27 ratings

What's Hidden There ?
Svanfridur Heavy Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars One year of life and a collectable album was what this Icelandict act left behind.Svanfridur were formed in 1972 by ex-Náttúra singer/keyboardist Petur Wigelund Kristjansson, guitarist Birgir Hrafnsson, bassist Gunnar Hermannsson and drummer Sigurdur Karlsson.They toured around Iceland for numerous live shows, including also two trips to the Faroe Islands, but they were unable to get a contract on a proper label.Still they travelled to London and record their only album ''What's hidden there?'' at the Majestic Studios.The album was pressed there, but released only in Iceland in late-72'.

Swirling around as a rare Psych/Prog release, this is actually a Hippy/Psychedelic Rock album sung in English with minor progressive touches and a pretty versatile sound.They were heavily influenced by British Psych Rock and their sound was more into a late-60's mood than into a reputed progressive spirit.Lots of impressive vocals, balanced guitar solos and leads and a steady rhythm section are the elements characterizing most pieces towards a rather melodic and laid-back atmosphere.Some tracks contain a few rural vibes performed on strings and flute, while the use of piano and Moog synthesizer are the only true connections with Prog Rock, pretty limited and not very pronounced to say the truth.Leave any expectations for intricate material aside and the album ends up to be a trully enjoyable listening with memorable parts and occasional instrumental flashes with jazzy, bluesy and folky touches.Certain parts with a neurotic synth edge do sound quasi-progressive, but the dominance here is the nice use of guitars, sometimes with a heavier sound, and the clean vocals.

The album sold only a few hundred copies, leading the band to a decision for dissolution in mid-73', even if veteran guitarist Bjorrgvin Gislason (also from Náttúra) appeared to have join them.Kristjansson and Gislason went on to form Pelican and two years later Kristjansson rejoined forces with bassist Gunnar Hermannsson on Paradis.Birgir Hrafnsson and Sigurdur Karlsson formed the Rock band Change.

Very good Psychedelic Rock with discreet signs of proggy textures.Well-played, full of nice melodies but also secure arrangements, propably a great addition for fans of the style.Recommended anyway.

 What's Hidden There ? by SVANFRIDUR album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.46 | 27 ratings

What's Hidden There ?
Svanfridur Heavy Prog

Review by BORA

3 stars Well, imagine "Herman's Hermits", or the "Hollies" had they learned how to utilize instruments they could neither afford, not put to good use back then.

No, I wouldn't call it Pop, but Prog, it isn't either. Somewhere in-between and to place it into Heavy-Prog is stretching the imagination a bit..

There are some pleasing instrumental passages and the bass-line in general seems to stand out for me, but the overall results are being "just a little bit pregnant". Neither this, nor that way.

Three decades ago, Iceland was reported to have the highest standard of education amongst all nations. No degrees issued over achievements in baseball, but for hard study and diligence coupled with work experiences would only qualify for recognition and government support.

Svandifur deserves that support and had they had the stamina to evolve further and to stay in the (artistic) race longer, they would have achieved international recognition.

This sole album however is only good, but certainly not essential. Pity.

 What's Hidden There ? by SVANFRIDUR album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.46 | 27 ratings

What's Hidden There ?
Svanfridur Heavy Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Svanfridur, this obscure band hailing from Island and having only one album released in 1972 and re issued in 1995 by Background records. Good album heavy prog meets psychedelic moments with some folk elements here and there. Well, I don't think is quite of one of the greatest albums from that period, but is a worthy one, keeping in mind that is coming from Island a land that was not an oasis of prog bands like Scandinavian ones. Some forte tracks are Please bend with some great violin added in the heavy psych atmosphere, nice moog provided by guest Sigurdur Johnsson, another forte is the title track a folkish piece with beautiful voice, really nice. All in all a fair good album, that desearves attention from both prog listners and those who are more towads the psychedelic side of the genre. Those you have the CD will get the full cover art in the booklet , what an amazing drawing, really fantastic. I will give 3.5 stars if possible, more then 3 but not nearly a 4, some parts reminf me of Jethro Tull Stand up period, nice flute here and there. Nice album for that period but I don't think is a groundbreaking one by any means.
 What's Hidden There ? by SVANFRIDUR album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.46 | 27 ratings

What's Hidden There ?
Svanfridur Heavy Prog

Review by hdfisch
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Highly recommended to any Prog lover and worth 4,5 stars for its uniqueness!

This one and only album by Icelandic band SVANFRIDUR is really a very rare gem in early progressive rock. I was very lucky to find a copy of a re-release by a Brazilian!! label. The liner notes are saying: "What's Hidden There?" is one of the most original and innovative of the albums released in 1971 and 1972. And I have absolutely to agree to that opinion.

The opener "The Woman Of Our Day" is mainly guitar-based Art Rock, neither symphonic nor harsh, certainly the least progressive one on here, but nevertheless a good one. All the other compositions are definitely progressive. "The Mug" is a rather quiet song with guitar, bass, piano and some synthesizer sounds, very well-done and a rewarding listen. "Please Bend" is more in a hardrock vein but with an awesome electric violin added on, again they're using here some synthetic keyboard effects and finish the song with some weird vocal tunes, quite original and absolutely another highlight. The title song is an acoustic one with guitar, flute and violin, very pleasant one as well! "What Now You People Standing By", longest track of the album is a bit harsher and more up-tempo song containing a short but excellent percussion solo and great guitar / bass play. "Give Me Some Gas", again an up-tempo one exhibits a brilliant virtuosity of all musicians on their instruments, especially the bass play is very intense. "My Dummy" is basically a hard rock song with the add-up of some synths keyboards and here like as well in the last track once again Gunnar Hermannsson shines with his bass play.

As a summary I just can say that it's absolutely worth trying to find this rare album. I'm seduced to give the fifth star!

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Raff for the last updates

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