Wobbler is a Norwegian Symphonic Prog band born in 1999 by White Willow keyboard player Kristian Karl Hultgren, with marked 70s reminiscences of pivotal groups of the genre such as Gentle Giant and Genesis. The mixture with the sounds of modern groups of the Scandinavian scene such as Anekdoten and Anglagard and their personal touch, make their style unmistakable and high leveled. Over the years they have confirmed the excellent expectations with 5 full-lengths of fine workmanship, allowing the band to establish itself on the world scene as one of the best Prog bands in circulation. The rich keyboard textures, the presence of the horns, the collaboration with high profile guests and the very elaborate textures make this band a must listen for all lovers of certain sounds. The latest record release we are going to review in this article, titled “Dweller Of The Deep” was released on October 23, 2020 via Karisma Records. The label does not need major presentations, as one of the most attentive labels in the discovery and production of milestones of modern Prog. The album available in various colors of vinyl, CD and digital, contains 4 long-running tracks, including a 19 minutes suite and one of over 13, the two central tracks are 4 and 8 minutes-long. The mature sound and the engaging compositions, the trademark described above, once again confirm the compositional and executive vein of a band that always manages to amaze the listener at every release. The opener “By the Banks” immediately catapults us into the Prog sounds of the album, without many frills or introductions, the track immediately comes to life with great keyboard phrases and an intricate rhythmic session. Excellently built on ascending and descending chords of keyboards in pure 70’s style, between accelerations and tempo changes of the highest level, showing all the techniques of the artists involved. The soft and sometimes choral vocal recalls the heyday of Prog, while all the elaborations of the main theme give us an engaging track while always keeping the listener’s concentration high. The intentions of the band are clear right away and they manage to amaze and use the long duration of the song to better develop the musical theme, refined and with a baroque touch like the 70s Prog, delicious. Unlike the previous one, “Five Rooms” begins with a softer atmosphere given by the dreamy layers of the organ and the melodic vocal, with the intensity that increases as the song flows. In fact, with a sudden change in which all the instruments come into play, it turns into a YES style track, full of accelerations and first-level symphonic openings. The forays of keyboards in a more technical and intricate trreno and the Anderson-style vocals are reminiscent of the English band, a positive memory and not a simple copy. A test of virtuosic technique worthy of the best groups of the 70s, listened to with closed eyes this song brings us pleasantly back in time and is a great merit of the band. “Naiad Dreams” is the shortest track of the disc with its 4 minutes and little more, characterized by an introduction of arpeggiated classical guitar and keyboard. With the passage of the song the vocals and the other instruments are inserted, generating a soft moment within the album that lightens the tones. On a positive note is the very pleasant vocal part that deviates from the usual Anderson-style tonalities, showing how Prestmo has a very good identity of him. In the second part also a pleasant female voice comes into support and with the return of the guitar arpeggios the song closes, an excellent and sweeter interlude. Here we are at the highlight of the album, the 19-minute suite entitled “Merry Macabre” which begins with a short piano intro and then leaves room for a frenetic organ-led Prog track. Intricate and elaborate this track also starts immediately strong, without too many frills, the voice here takes on still other characters, showing all the versatility of Andreas. A riot of Progressive sounds, where the compositional technique on long pieces jumps out, giving space to guitars and keyboards that dialogue perfectly. More decisive symphonic and accelerated openings are mixed, creating atmospheres that even here involve the listener without ever making him distract from the music. Songs like this are an added value in a band’s discography, although the long duration can scare those who approach listening by containing all the essence of Prog music and beyond. Jazzy veins counterbalance the more symphonic sections and some harder interventions of distorted guitar, as well as the numerous tempo changes enrich the rhythmic session of the piece. A real milestone and main track for an album with a high technical content. When you are about to listen to a new Progressive music album, what you expect is exactly what is contained within this jewel of modern music. Here Wobbler show a mature sound, full of ideas and technique put at the service of the success of the record. All the ingredients to delight even the most refined palates of the genre are here, a real masterpiece, which seems to come out of the 70s. Despite the numerous influences the band always manages to put its distinctive mark and personal characters without ever falling into the copy. A recommended listening, those who know this band know of its great ability to make music and to create those atmospheres that every Progger looks for when buying an album.
|01.||By the Banks||13:49|
|Andreas Wettergreen Strømman Prestmo||Vocals, Guitars|
|Marius Halleland||Guitars, Backing Vocals|
|Lars Fredrik Frøislie||Keyboards|
|Kristian Karl Hultgren||Bass|
|Martin Nordrum Kneppen||Drums|