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(37:51, Apollon Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Fade Into Obscurity 5:02 2. Pronk 3:58 3. As I Am Dying 6:00 4. Guzarondan 5:29 5. Von Two-Step 4:25 6. Kore Wa! 4:13 7. Docteur Mago 8:44 LINEUP: Trond Gjellum - vocals, drums, percussion, programming, keyboards Anders K. Krabberod - bass Nina Hagen Kaldhol - guitars, vocals Hans-Petter Alfredsen - keyboards, vocals Thomas Meidell - vocals, guitars, noises With: Ketil Vestrum Einarsen - vocals, flute Aud I. Otomidi - synthesizer
Prolusion. Norwegian band SUBURBAN SAVAGES first surfaced ten years back, then going by the name Tr-ond and the Suburban Savages. A decade later they are back with a slightly expanded line-up and their sophomore production, "Kore Wa!", which was released by Norwegian label Apollon Records.
Analysis. Trond Gjellum, who I guess is still the primary mind behind this band, is a person that I understand have something of a fascination going with many artists that are generally regarded as being of a more eclectic and avant orientation. And this is something that is rather apparent also in the music created by him and his band mates on this album. That being said, this is not one of those albums that tears your face off and smack your head into landscapes much to challenging for comfort. This isn't music that is overly dramatic nor abrasive in intent nor execution. In fact, compelling keyboard textures, catchy grooves and steady to hypnotic drum patterns are dominant effects, as experienced on more of a surface level at least. But all along, there are also certain odd touches and timbres that creates that otherworldly, unnerving feeling of something that isn't quite right. The tones and timbres of the keyboards may shift towards the sickly sounding, some playful possibly Canterbury inspired vocals are executed in patterns and movements that seems subtly wrong, jazz-oriented instrument details adds a careful touch of dissonance to arrangements otherwise melodic and harmonic. Gliding, subtly dissonant guitar textures Crimsonian style have their place in these landscapes as well, and the more dramatic and militant vocals and instrument modes of delivery that are prominent features in the soundscapes of a band like Magma makes their appearances here as well, but not always in an immediate manner. Title track Kore Wa! with it's exotic timbered and what may be Japanese inspiration is one such case, of the odd placed alongside the exotic and the latter being the more dominant aspect. Otherwise the keyboard presence one may otherwise find in symphonic progressive rock bands is a regular feature, sections with arguably more of an art pop appeal and orientation have their place in these landscapes as well, and there's even a passage or two one might describe in heavy prog context. As previously described, the core foundations of these compositions tends to be of a more compelling and accessible nature, while the more challenging aspects of the material roam more freely beneath the surface.
Conclusion. Suburban Savages as they appear as of 2017 comes across as a band that will be a perfect choice to seek out if you today have a strong fascination for the more accessible aspects of progressive rock, but would like to have a taste of what the more avant-oriented aspects of the genre may have to offer. "Kore Wa!" is an album that mix and blend aspects of both these approaches to the art of progressive rock in a rather successful manner, and as such merits a check by the curious as well as those with an already existing interest in material of a more avant-oriented nature.
Progmessor: September 28th, 2017
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