(All Album Reviews by belaoxmix)
Anglagard is from Sweden and is a sextet of young musicians - 2 guitars, bass, keyboards, drums and flute. The music on Hybris ( 92 ) is great classic symphonic prog of the early 70’s pioneering mold. As you’re listening, Yes or Crimson may come to mind, but not because a chord or a guitar or keyboard note sounds like a part of a Yes song, but because the essence of the old and the new are similar…something like that. How about this?…you can play this for some one and tell them it’s an obscure Swedish band from 1973 and this is just getting released now…and they’d believe it.
Hybris has been reissued with an extra song…only 5 total…each song is lengthy…11, 12, 8, 13 and 7 minutes…every song goes thru many changes in tempo, volume and mood…many times within one minute…and without sounding like it’s straying, but adding and building. What’s also interesting is that there isn’t any one keyboard song or guitar song…all songs get an even amount of keys, guitar, guitar-guitar interplay, keys-guitar interplay. There are vocals, in Swedish, but of a short duration of only a minute in each song…one song is instrumental. After 51 minutes, I still wanted another hour.
These young Swedes have been inspired by the classic stuff and have created a great and original work of power & beauty!
Anglagard – Hybris is a must have!
The following is an excerpt from an on-line review that is right on the mark:
"In a deep Scandinavian forest six young and extremely talented musicians were out to prove that there was one major 'Symphonic' Prog album left to be made. To aid their task they each brought with them one classic album of the genre:
Camel - The Snow Goose
The Enid - In The Region Of The Summer Stars
Focus - Moving Waves
Genesis - Trespass
Gryphon - Midnight Mushrumps
King Crimson - Red
Yes - Close To The Edge
They then proceeded to take these albums apart, analyzed what made them instrumentally 'tick', learnt all their tricks and nuances and then set out to make something better. The amazing thing is they mostly succeeded.”
These 6 fabulous Swedes that make up Anglagård sound like they recorded this fantastic album in late 60s although it was recorded in 1992. As a debut album it has very high composatory and musical standard. Any prog fan who cherished early prog music with lots of mellotron, flute, guitars etc. will absolutely drivel over this gem!
With a total of 44:15 min. spread over 4 epic songs, with so many twists and turns that it makes for an exiting listen...over and over again.
“Jordrok” (which translates to something like: “Earthsmoke”) is a brilliant opener...with its eerie piano intro (could have been out of a thriller soundtrack) soon to have counterpoint drumming interwoven with some fine guitar themes and even a church organ bursts in at some point. This is the stuff that real prog music is made of!
It’s hard to pinpoint a style to Anglagård, but there are traces of early King Crimson and hints of Swedish folk music here and there. Still there is plenty of room for Anglagård to deliver their unique stylings and ideas.And overall, the ever-changing themes and time signatures make for an exciting listen, so much so that you’ll wanna press the repeat button. All lyrics and singing are in Swedish, but don’t let that put you off it goes very well with the music.
You probably guessed by now that I really like this album!? Like...ahem..is really an understatement – I absolutely love this fine album, and I do not hesitate one moment, to highly recommend this to any serious prog fan / prog collector!
So, go on, put it on your Christmas wish list. It might just be the best Christmas gift you get this year!
(All Album Reviews by Reginod)
Recently Anglagård's Hybris was the featured album on Progressive Ears' main forum. In lieu of posting these additional thoughts in that thread, I decided to put them up as another "review" of an important piece of work that engenders such passionate opinions from so many listeners.
The use of the word has been controversial, but yeah I do feel that Hybris and Anglagård are overrated.
If you go to the Gnosis website (I'm not trying to cause a shitstorm here, but if you want a sense of the opinions of progressive music lovers, it's a great place to get a sample), you will see that, as of this writing, 85 out of 100 people gave a rating to Hybris. Out of that 85, 70 of them gave the album 12-15 points. In other words, approximately 82.4% of those rating Hybris gave it the equivalent of 4 or better "stars."
Another reason for my impression that it is overrated is just a general sensibility gleaned from reading such forums as PE over the last several years. In general, Hybris is spoken of with much praise, such that might lead someone who has NOT heard it to think that it is on the same level as the canonical giants of progressive music. And to some it may well be. No argument there. That opinion is perfectly valid.
But since I don't personally love the album that much, and since I wouldn't give it any more than an 11 on Gnosis' scale, to me it is indeed overrated, and the use of that word to give an abbreviated take on Hybris is also . . . . perfectly valid.
Going into a bit more detail, the reason that I don't consider Hybris to be such an indispensable classic is primarily this: the compositions too often come across as unresolved collages. They are chock-full of interesting ideas and hooks and sounds and moods and dynamics, but those ideas seem strung together, laden with promising tension but never really reaching an adequate release. To my ears (and I've listened to it many, many times) their music often sounds very cold and calculating, even if it was painstakingly crafted and produced in such an admirable fashion.
So for me the appeal of Hybris and Anglagård is primarily cerebral. They don't fulfill that part of my listening psyche that craves an emotional, gut-level visceral reaction. Sometimes a cerebral appeal is wonderful, and for that reason I would say that Hybris is indeed quite a good album. But since it falls well short of sending chills up my spine, I do not agree that it is a great one.