Búsqueda cabezona

martes, 2 de diciembre de 2014

Ritual - The Hemulic Voluntary Band (2007)


Artista: Ritual
Álbum: The Hemulic Voluntary Band
Año: 2007
Género: Rock sinfónico / Folk rock progresivo
Duración: 52:56
Nacionalidad: Suecia

Lista de Temas:
1. The Hemulic Voluntary Band
2. In The Wild
3. Late In November
4. The Groke
5. Waiting By The Bridge
6. A Dangerous Journey

Alineación:
- Patrik Lundström / lead vocals, acoustic & electric guitars
- Jon Gamble / keyboards, harmonium, harmonica & vocals
- Fredrik Lindqvist / bass, bouzouki, mandolin, flutes, backing vocals
- Johan Nordgren / drums, percussion, nyckelharpa, backing vocals

Resubiendo discos que me gustan mucho, traemos nuevamente este disco que mezcla rock, música medieval, música folk, poesía musical, instrumentos extrañísimos y antiquísimos, grandes temas y una notable calidad interpretativa, un rock progresivo que eleva al punto máximo la expresión de la música popular... disfruten de estos suecos.




Este disco de esta excelente banda sueca me encantó, su notoria intersección de influencias entre Yes y Gentle Giant es marcada, pero no determinante en el desarrollo del disco, el cual fluye armoniosamente con energías propias.
Un disco fascinante, mucho folk, músicos que tocan intercaldamente instrumentos medievales o ajenos al estilo (como bouzouki, armónica, flauta, acordeón o violín) junto con los clásicos correspondiente al rock, temas con muchos contrapuntos y arreglos, un tratamiento vocal muy trabajado, amplia variedad de ambientes, temas que son una cantata moderna llena de poesía musical y potencia interpretativa... en definitiva, una joya. Pero no me adelanto, voy a hacer un post como se debe, para un álbum altamente gratificante que me impactó apenas lo escuché.



Permítanme, pero voy a empezar el post con un excelente comentario, lean, que resume perfectamente todo lo que vendrá después:


Esta semana, es un placer presentaros esta maravillosa obra maestra de la música contemporánea. Se trata de The Hemulic Voluntary Band, un album publicado en 2007 por la banda sueca de Rock Progresivo Ritual.
Personalmente, creo que, junto con el jazz, el rock progresivo es la más elevada expresión de la música popular. A lo largo de sus casi cuarenta años de existencia, este género músical ha llevado al rock a un desarrollo nunca antes concebido.
Tras cuarenta años de movimientos internos, de fases y estilos distintos, Ritual nos regalaba el año pasado este albúm en el que han querido regresar a los orígenes del Prog, el realizado por grupos como Genesis, Gentle Giant, Yes o King Crinsom.
The Hemulic Voluntary Band está compuesto de seis temas, divididos en dos partes distintas.
1. The hemulic voluntary band (4:55)
2. In the wild (5:56)
3. Late in november (snufkin’s perspective) (4:57)
4. The groke (6:05)
5. Waiting by the bridge (moomintroll’s perspective) (4:39)
6. A dangerous journey (26:32)
cat & glasses
the swamp
a curious crowd
volcano
snowstorm
onion soup
monster!
balloon
a party outdoors
La primera engloba cinco cortes, donde se desarrollan estilos distintos, desde In the wild, el más potente, hasta Late in November, el más lírico. En todos ellos, el rock limpio y elegante de Ritual está atravesado con un evidente aroma céltico, muy presente sobre todo en la segunda parte de la tranquila y emocionante Late in November, con un solo de flauta que, a pesar de su serenidad, encierra una fuerza sorprendente.
Una vez que se ha disfrutado con tranquilidad esta primera parte, uno ya está preparado para entrar en el verdadero paraíso, A Dangerous Journey, un tema de veintiseis minutos que engloba por sí sólo la segunda parte del disco. No hay palabras para describir la naturalidad con que Ritual engarza un tema tras otro, dándoles sentido con un base común. Todos los movimientos son melodías inspiradísimas y únicas, constryuendo, ladrillo a ladrillo, una verdadera cantata moderna que gana en energía y en sugestión por más que uno la escuche una y otra vez.
Fieles, como he dicho, a los orígenes del Prog, A Dangerous Journey narra una historia aparentemente sencilla, desconectada de las preocupaciones de la sociedad actual, las aventuras y desventuras de una niña, Susana, y su gato. ¿Hay algo menos pretencioso y más interesante? Es éste un aspecto que siempre me ha interesado en el rock progresivo. Por un lado, es una afirmación de la importancia de la música sobre la letra, algo en lo que creo firmemente. Por otro, aunque debería sobrar, hay que recordar que los cuentos, los mitos y las leyendas son, desde que el mundo es mundo, la mejor forma de expresar las preocupaciones, los sentimientos y los puntos de vista sobre la vida.
The Hemulic Voluntary Band podría ser perfectamente un álbum de iniciación, un álbum para recomendar a alguien que quiera entrar en el mundo del Rock Progresivo. Como en Pezones de Venus nos mueven sólo buenas intenciones, no vamos a hacer esta invitación sin advertir de los efectos secundarios: una vez que te ha atrapado, el rock progresivo ya no te suelta jamás.
Para terminar, y aunque nunca lleguen a leer esto, quisiera agradecer a Jon Gamble, Fredrik Lindquist, Patrik Lundstrom y Johan Nordgren, el habernos hecho este mágnifico regalo. Debo reconocer que, escuchando vuestros discos anteriores, nunca podría haber predecido el nacimiento de esta joya. No sé cuál será la causa de este alineación cósmica, pero, hayais hecho lo que hayais hecho para llegar hasta aquí, seguid por el mismo camino.
Pezones de Venus


He de aclarar que "The Hemulic Voluntary Band" es un álbum musicalmente muy complejo, pero paradójicamente es muy fácil de escuchar y digerir, esa creo que es una de sus máximas virtudes, aunque contenga pasajes medievales y música celta, aunque tenga una canción de casi 30 minutos, aunque sea un álbum del más elaborado rock progresivo, es casi, casi, para que pueda disfrutar todo el mundo, toda una belleza.
Escuchen un momento, presten atención a lo que hacen los instrumentos, capten los sonidos que surgen de instrumento extraños con que juegan estos notables muchachos.


Repito, yo me enamoré de éste álbum apenas lo escuché, de esto hace mucho tiempo. Pero esa es mi opinión, vamos a ver que es lo que nos dice otra gente, a ver si concordamos. Googlemaos un poco y... acá tenemos:

La cuarta entrega de RITUAL es un álbum fabuloso. Jon GAMBLE (clavinete, harmonium, piano de cola, rhodes, coros), Fredrik LINDQUIST (bajo, bouzouki irlandés, dulcema, flautas, silbatos, coros), Patrik LUNDSTRÖM (voz principal, guitarras acústica y eléctrica) y Johan NORDGREN (batería, percusiones, nyckelharpa, coros) la realizaron con nostalgia de folclor, construída en un rock progresivo sinfónico de primera intención.
Estuvo cerrada la fase final de ProgAwards 2007 y es que RITUAL, “desde su arribo en 1995, ha puesto a fans y prensa de acuerdo en que el grupo es uno de los fenómenos más inusuales e innovativos en la escena de la música rock internacional.” La forma como “mezclan elementos rock, folk y world music se esparce en elementos jazz y llevan sus canciones a los límites del avant-garde (1)”, más ambicioso en "The Hemulic Voluntary Band" que lo hecho en discos anteriores. Llama la atención que LUNDSTRÖM sea también la voz líder en KAIPA “2”, pero no hay que olvidar que RITUAL fue primero, dando entonces identificador a este otro súper grupo sueco. La música es lo suficientemente diferente para identificar a cada grupo, siendo en la reseña que me ocupa un tanto más densa y orquestada, salvo en 'Late in november' que es un tema muy tranquilo, pastoral y enamorado. Un sonido diferente con RITUAL también se obtiene desde el uso de instrumentos medievales, llamando más mi atención el uso de un nyckelharpa (desde luego que no tenía ni idea de la existencia de éste), una especie de violín cruzado con teclado. Luego están los equilibrios que se logran con repartición de acústica, más notoria en la enorme y gloriosa 'A dangerous journey', obra que por sí sola podría valer la adquisición del álbum. No obstante lo demás es muy valioso, encontrando si lo quieres referencias en algunos monstruos del rock progresivo, sin embargo siendo más valiosa la fusión de estilos que se logran desde la razón de ser del grupo.
En un ambiente rock progresivo sinfónico no podría comparar "The Hemulic Voluntary Band" con (por ejemplo) "The Sum of No Evil" o el propio "Angling Feelings" de KAIPA. RITUAL desborda diferencias que lo identifican de una forma bien particular, convirtiéndose sin duda en uno de los 10 mejores álbumes 2007. Por su original propuesta superior,
Alfredo Tapia Carreto


Ritual es una banda sueca con un sonido único, utilizando instrumentos acústicos como violín, mandolina, bouzouki, etc. Ritmos complejos recuerda a principios de Yes, pero con un toque personal e innovador. Un excelente folk-prog de producción con músicos expertos.
Cualquier fan de Gentle Giant les caerá la baba en este álbum de principio a fin porque todo el paquete se basa en una especie de viaje fantástico de los Moomins, inventado por Tove Jansson. Muy bien dibujada, la tapa es sólo el principio.
Las canciones son frescas y ausentes de todos los clichés de metal progresivo, las estructuras folk-rock a la Tull y girando a un Gentle Giant. Con influencias de Wobbler's Hinterland and Phideaux's Doomsday Afternoon: aquí llega a plenitud como para los amantes de la vieja escuela progresiva.
ElkeSea

Como tantos otros llegué a la música de los suecos Ritual gracias a la nueva encarnación de los clásicos sinfónico progresivos Kaipa en este siglo XXI. Y esto es así porque en esos discos canta Patrick Lundström, cantante, guitarrista y alma de Ritual. Si escuchas cualquiera de las canciones en las que él cante entenderás perfectamente porque uso la palabra alma.
Este es el tercer disco de esta banda sueca, de lo mejor que han hecho junto a su último trabajo, The Hemulic Voluntary Band, del cual estaría hablando aquí sin ninguna duda porque es un discazo de progresivo, sino fuera porque Think Like A Mountain sin ser realmente mejor, a mi me remueve las entrañas. Ritual no hace un progresivo complejo, ni sibarita, es un grupo centrado en las canciones, en lo expresivo, usando sus ramalazos progresivos, su gusto por instrumentos acústicos y su buen hacer en arreglos armoniosos, sin muchos malabares pero lo suficientemente interesantes e imbrincados para mantener del oyente ávido y del que busca sensaciones más directas. Como digo, la voz de Patrick hace del conjunto algo verdaderamente especial, su peculiar timbre, su forma acolchada y acogedora se te mete en la cabeza y en los huesos. Auténticas delicias temas como la apertura de What Are You Waiting For, la maravillosa y trascendental Humble Decision, la más rockera y agresiva Explosive Paste, la flotante y onírica Mother You've Gone Much Too Long, el lado más folkie en Moomin' Took My Head y la acústica On y un pelotazo de canción como un pino bajo el título de Infinite Justice.
Estoy harto de decirlo, pero no sé que tiene Suecia que su música me destrona.
Migue

La cubierta del disco parece bastante apropiada para representar lo que la música que el grupo trata de evocar: una gran concentración de folk, rock progresivo y mucha fantasía. A través de cada track Ritual nos lleva a caminar entre los mundos de la fantasía y el folclore. Músicos excelentes se dedican, desde el principio (empezando con esos contrapuntos tan King Crimson) hasta el pomposo final, a que aquellos nostálgicos de la llamada época de oro del rock progresivo dejen de mirar tanto hacia atrás y puedan disfrutar de los trabajos actuales con tanto gusto como lo hacían en la década del 70, mientras que permiten a las nuevas generaciones y a aquellos que no sean adictos al rock progresivo más "puro y duro" hacercarse fácilmente (o casi) a desarrollos intrincados, temas que parecen hechos para juglares en una sintonía muy Jethro Tull, instrumentaciones largas con mucho diálogo entre los instrumentos (hay secciones donde el acordeón, la guitarra, el violín y la notable voz de Lundström se persiguen unos a otros de manera magistral), largas canciones épicas y conceptuales tratando diferentes variaciones sobre el tema como hisieran en su momentos los ELP, la creación de mundos fantásticos al mejor estilo de los ensueños hecho temas que nos regalaran los Yes, experimentación, polifonías vocales de coros muy a lo Gentle Giant, pero sobre todo al espíritu progresivo "tradicional" pero con un sonido más actual, tanto que hasta llegar a sonar casi metálicos en pequeños momentos de esa notable epopeya que es el último tema.
En definitiva, esto es música muy inspirada que evoca y sintetiza a los grandes grupos del rock progresivo pero con una mirada actual apostando al futuro. Tenemos una banda con dos pies en los años 70 pero bien parados en el momento actual creando un disco hermoso, mágico y cautivante, que tiene todos los ingredirnte para fascinar al proghead más tradicionalista como así también al público más joven y poco afecto a este tipo de música.

Ritual started as a folk/rock band and released some fine albums that for the progressive rock public might be a bit to poppy or folky. The members have stayed the same over the years and also the choice for acoustic instrument stayed, yet this new album features a completely reinvented Ritual. Kaipa latest release Angling Feelings immediately comes to mind. This album shows the same complex melody structure but Ritual's sound is more friendly and accessible. The oldest habit in progressive music was chosen, a concept album preferably inspired by a fantasy book. In this case the Moomin books written by Finnish novelist Tove Jansson. The album is split in two parts. Chapter 1 contains 5 songs based on different characters and phenomena and chapter two is a 26 minute epic about, and named after, the book The Dangerous Journey.
The Hemulic Voluntary Band introduces the band as Hemulens, not so intelligent characters that easily become fanatic. Fanatical indeed, but the not so intelligent part is far from true. Vocal lines and melodies are complex and even experienced prog listeners will be surprised as the song marches on like a fanfare and remains a very pleasant song.
In The Wild is a more straight forward song. According to the booklet it's not directly linked to a book by Tove Jansson but it fits perfectly. Heavy piano rhythm carries the song through the lyrical part, whilst a gentle piano piece followed by a frantic guitar solo completes the song - a very good, compact song.
Late In November is a beautiful sensitive ballad and not much more than vocals, acoustic guitar and flutes appear in this song. This is a very pleasant fragile song with outstanding lyrics and beautiful vocal lines.
The Groke freezes everything where it stands and is the equivalent of a winter depression. The song exactly embodies this creature, slow dragging dark sounds and fearful lyrics, lasting six minutes whilst strolling in the same rhythm. The song balances on the edge of becoming boring but it's like watching a horror movie, once the suspense grabs you can't let go.
Waiting By The Bridge is an uplifting funky song with a chorus that sticks in your head. Halfway through this short song all the lyrics have been sung and the band show their craftsmanship with a funky intermezzo. One more time the very pleasant chorus is played and then it's time for the main course.
A Dangerous Journey is Ritual's first epic song and the band succeeds in a most glorious way as for the whole twenty six minutes the song remains interesting. The opening Cats & Glasses starts in a narrating way with very friendly acoustic guitar playing, campfire music. Still mainly acoustic guitar, The Swamp becomes more threatening whilst Meeting shows first signs of "electricity", but it's not until Volcano that the drums kick in. This is the centrepiece of the epic with great lively vocals and stunning complex rhythms. Cold is a melancholic piece that flows into the jazzy Onion Soup. Monster is an apocalyptic minute of heavy guitars. Balloon and a Party Outdoors make a gentle end to this great epic song.
Ritual took a giant leap and created a true masterpiece. The combination of lyrics and music makes the Moomin world come alive. The music is foremost acoustic but they got rid of the poppy and folky sound. The compositions are very complex and require several spins. To summon the feeling I would like to quote some lyrics from the title track:
"Stomping the tempo furiously. Yes, we take music seriously.
It's fun past remedy, rehearse insanity.
Well it is madness what we do, really."
Edwin Roosjen

As a new initiate to this band, I had no expectations other than my familiarity with Patrik Lundström’s voice from Kaipa, however I was pleasantly surprised by the strength of this band, opening with a very Gentle Giant-esque title track. Spock's Beard used to do their one Gentle Giant inspired track per album, mainly focusing on syncopated vocal rounds, but The Hemulic Voluntary Band pretty much has the classic Minnear/Shulman/Green/Weathers instrument ensemble nailed. An excellent tribute - Patrik's voice, with its quintessential Nordic tone, is the only give-away. He sounds nothing like Derek Shulman, who has a quintessential Saxon tone. But somehow either one fits right in.
More surprises await - this is not a band limited to one style. In The Wild, though just under six minutes long, is constructed like a longer epic as it moves through several evolving sections. The main riff is quite memorable and weaves in and out to maintain the track's character but is never pounded to death - this is what a great riff should do in progressive rock and Ritual understand this. Patrik plays a really emotional guitar solo at the track's peak, laden with all manner of creative dissonances and tweezed wahs. This might be Ritual's signature track of the album.
Late In November is a well-placed quieter "folk" piece. Attractive vocal melodies are supported by traditional acoustic instruments including guitar, harmonium, whistles, bouzouki, and nyckelharpa. (This according to the credits, to these Western ears it sounds like guitars, recorder and violin.) Then with Track 4, The Groke, the mood changes to one of eerie menace. A deep, brooding piano/bass line plods over shuffling drums, creating a heavy sound without metal fuzz. Following this track is a light, almost funky Waiting By The Bridge featuring layered vocals in harmony. The Flower Kings' Chicken Farmer Song came to my mind in comparison, with its syncopated interlocking keys and guitar.
Each of these five tracks is quite a different style, with their own individual flavour and polish. And then, to close the album, the band put it all together with an epic. A Dangerous Journey is a dangerous track. On the surface it is a good concept, but unfortunately it doesn't sound quite completely baked. The vocal lines are a bit too simple (this could be a good thing if you've had enough Jon Anderson or Peter Nichols!). And a few un-artful punches don't help the cause. The musical themes are really good, but I detect a forced quality underpinning this track. The performance is flawless but a little more musical refinement would have helped tie it all together more effectively. Although this is just as good as your average Gabriel-era Genesis epic, perhaps I've just been spoiled by Neal Morse's unrivalled extravaganzas.
Jeffrey Terwilliger

With the release of The Hemulic Voluntary Band, Ritual maintain their consistency of producing a new studio album every four years. Forming in 1993, the debut Ritual appeared two years later, followed by Superb Birth (1999) and Think Like A Mountain (2003). Umm… four albums released by a four-man lineup at four-yearly intervals, do I detect a trend here? The pattern was broken momentarily for last year’s Live, their only non-studio recording to date. A quick check of the Reviews Index will confirm that so far the band’s ‘DPRP Recommended’ success rate is 100%. That achievement could be attributed to the stability of the line-up, which remains unchanged since their inception. They are Patrik Lundström (lead vocals, acoustic and electric guitars), Jon Gamble (keyboards and backing vocals), Fredrik Lindqvist (bass, mandolin, recorders and backing vocals) and Johan Nordgren (drums, percussion and backing vocals). Earlier this year, as on three previous occasions, Patrik could be heard moonlighting with Swedish proggers Kaipa on their latest Angling Feelings, a personnel favourite of this reviewer.
The band has long held a fixation for the ‘Moomin’ characters created by Finnish children's writer and illustrator Tove Jansson. This manifested itself in songs like Seasong For The Moominpappa from the first album and here forms the basis for the entire concept. The songs reference characters and incidents from her books and the final extended piece takes its title from The Dangerous Journey, a picture book published in 1977. With Ritual portrayed as The Hemulic Voluntary Band on the album cover memories of The Beatles and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band are evoked but musically the title track has its roots in the 70’s. With a bright and upbeat feel it has a tricky urgency that Gentle Giant would be proud of. It took me several albums to fully come to terms with Lundström’s stark vocal delivery but here, as on the last Kaipa album he sounds in top form. His guitar playing is almost as distinctive with a spiky style blending perfectly with Gamble’s keys and the busy drums and bass work of Nordgren and Lindqvist. In addition to GG, Jethro Tull at their proggiest circa A Passion Play also comes to mind.
In The Wild is for me one of the most compelling tracks largely due to a monumental Led Zeppelin style riff, driven not by guitar, as you would expect but piano. This is offset by a melodic vocal section and a beautiful piano solo. To keep the listener on their toes the mood is broken by a discordant guitar break that echoes Robert Fripp before developing into a heavy blues workout. In complete contrast is Late In November, a gorgeous folky lament with acoustic guitar, nyckelharpa (a keyed fiddle) and recorders. Lundström’s vocal sounds like Freddie Mercury at his most plaintive supported by breathtaking a cappella harmonies that in turn bring Queen to mind. Like In The Wild, The Groke also benefits from a bombastic keys driven riff joined by the deep and moody tones of a harmonium. The atmosphere is darker this time relating the sad tale of one of Jansson’s most bizarre creatures. Waiting By The Bridge is the kind of song that only Ritual could produce. It’s an incongruous mix with a slightly off kilter guitar rhythm, tricky time signature and sing-along chorus. For me the least satisfying track on the album.
Lundström has described this release as the band’s most progressive to date and if I hadn’t been convinced at this juncture, the final track A Dangerous Journey put it beyond doubt. With epic length tracks being more common place now than ever before, this is one of the most absorbing and cohesive I’ve heard for sometime. It flows beautifully with a coherent narrative that can be followed in the lyrics. A pastoral acoustic opening section takes up one third of its playing time, as the story’s scene is set. I was reminded of Gryphon, Ant Phillips and the intro to Genesis’ Suppers Ready as Lundström and co weave their magic incorporating amongst others bouzouki, harmonium, mandolin and lush harmonies. A lively vocal mid-section includes some fast and furious playing from all concerned that has the hallmarks of Neal Morse era Spock’s Beard. The majestic final section is again mostly acoustic with a kind of Transatlantic meets Iona feel and suitably uplifting vocals.
With all the comparisons made above you may be forgiven for thinking that I’m suggesting there is nothing original about Ritual’s music. Nothing could be further from the truth. They take the diverse styles of prog, fusion, folk and hard rock and shape them into a sound that’s refreshingly unique. And what a glorious sound it is. Not only is this their most progressive album thus far I would also suggest that it’s their best. Followers of the aforementioned bands would do well to check this out and discover what existing fans already know and that is Ritual are producing some of the finest music around at the moment. With impressive releases from Ritual, Kaipa, A.C.T, Carptree and The Flower Kings, this is turning into quite a year for Swedish progressive rock.
Geoff Feakes

When Ritual’s last release Think Like A Mountain was released I knew next to nothing about the band. All I knew was that Patrik Lundström, their lead singer was also lending his talent in the then newly reformed Kaipa (and I had liked what I’d heard from him in that context). Think Like A Mountain was enough to set Ritual squarely in my sites as a band that warranted further investigation, and I soon acquired the re-master of their self titled debut album, which has become one of my favourite progressive albums of the modern era (post 1990). So when Ritual announced a forthcoming new release I was naturally curious to see what this band of shifting styles would offer this time around. I checked out their MySpace page to get some idea of the new CD, and there it was: The Hemulic Voluntary Band… huh? I looked at the cover art, listened to the samples, and was hooked! Yes indeed, The Hemulic Voluntary Band! I ordered it immediately.
This album appeals to me on so many levels. From the artwork (done by Javier Herbozo-some of my favourite album artwork ever!), to the music, to the lyrics and concept, I have remarked to some that this is the album I have been waiting for, for a long time, but had no idea I had been waiting (ironically, Ritual asked in the last release What Are You Waiting For?). On this new album, as on the others, Ritual’s unabashed ecosophy (look it up on wikipedia!), wild imagination, and apparent reverence for the natural world is once again pervasive throughout, which (in this world of fast food, wholesale religious extremism, overzealous politicians, and pollution run rampant) endears them to me greatly. However, the presentation of the material on this release is pretty dramatically different form previous efforts. Here, the band has set down music which feels so intimate, even when it rocks, due (I think) mostly to the fact that there seems to be very little in the way of padding. You can almost always distinguish the four members playing their individual instruments without any heavy overdubbing, synth washing, crazy digital effects or fancy engineering (which they did on Think Like A Mountain… very very well I may add!!). Instead you get beautifully arranged textural ensemble based arrangements that range from the dense to the spare, acoustic and folksy to anthemic electric prog rock, from heavily contrapuntal (ala Gentle Giant) to transparent and serene, every moment of which could conceivably be reproduced faithfully in a live setting.
Keyboardists’ choice of gear so often has so much to do with the definition of a band’s sound, especially in prog, and Jon Gamble’s certainly does here. He restricts himself on the album to clavinet, harmonium, piano, and Rhodes, with playing that at times is reminiscent of Kerry Minnear’s work. His style is textural and lyrical, subtle at times and funky at others. Frederik Lindqvist contributes an arsenal of eclectic instrumentation to the album, including Irish bouzouki, dulcimer, recorders & whistles and, oh yeah, bass-and may I say that his bass playing is extremely exciting on this release (if your head isn’t bobbing to his bass line during Waiting By The Bridge I suggest that you check your pulse to make sure you’re still alive)! The drumming on THVB is not about flash or how many notes can possibly fit in a measure, but is instead all about groove and feel. Johan Nordgren offers up some of his tastiest stick work to date and also contributes some beautiful work on the nyckelharpa, a kind of keyed fiddle. And of course there is the singular voice of Patrik Lundström, who also displays his formidable skills on acoustic and electric guitar. As on previous recordings, the wild intensity of Patrik’s voice is still evident, but he seems to have less of an edge on this record, with a warmth, restraint, and range of emotion that is quite stunning and inspired (his falsetto will send shivers up and down your spine!). And collectively the band offer up some incredible vocal harmonies. I should also give mention to special guest Lovisa Hallstedt who offers moving violin work on the epic The Dangerous Journey.
The Hemulic Voluntary Band, while not strictly a concept album, does have a thematic thread that ties it all together. The band have used the works of Tove Jansson as a springboard for the majority of the text and stories here, all except for In The Wild, which still fits right in with the overall vibe of the album. The use of language is great and the lyrics are extremely well done. To read more in depth about the premise of the album and of each piece, the band have provided extensive descriptions on their website. For these weary ears, this album is a breath of fresh air, a musical triumph and an artistic one, which takes the listener on a fantastical journey through a world where everything is possible and where imagination and ecology rule the day. It reminds us that worlds of wonder are always available to us if we can just remember see the natural world and each precious moment of creation through the eyes of the eternal child. Highest praise for The Hemulic Voluntary Band!
Chris Meeker

On their fourth album, Sweden's Ritual expand on their multi-genre aesthetic of progressive rock, mixing elements of rock, folk, and world music, as well as a small dose of jazz which helps carry their songs to the verge of avant garde.
Primarily influenced by prog bands such as Gentle Giant, King Crimson, and Camel among others, The Hemulic Voluntary Band encompasses six amazing tunes, all of which are both strictly rooted in the 70's and open to outside influences. While the songs are structured in a traditional prog rock sense, the production and the exuberant instrumentation are very modern-sounding, especially on the title track, comprised of theatrical vocal styles, cool percussion, unusual synth tones, and a cool mini-jam.
Compared to vocalist and guitarist Patrik Lundstrom's other band Kaipa's most recent release Angling Feelings, this record is much more interesting stylistically and aesthetically. For starters, Lundstrom sounds much more emotive with his vocals, and his guitar work is simply stunning. On the bass-driven "In the Wild", for instance, the band combines a curious mix of genres, from vocal-centred melodies to solo piano passages to RIO-inspired guitar work. Lundstrom's playing evokes that of Fripp's on the more recent King Crimson albums (think The Power to Believe for instance), as he opts for the same scintillating guitar attacks which get more and more intense with each passing second.
The band's bassist and drummer, Fredrik Lindqvist and Johan Nordgren, have always brought in a great folk presence to Ritual's songs. The same tradition continues on this album: "Late in November" moves on an entirely folky landscape, driven by cool harmonica, flute sounds, acoustic guitars, and beautiful vocal harmonies (including some female chanting far back in the mix). Likewise, "The Groke" sees the band moving into more avant-garde territory, at one point evoking The Flower Kings' underrated work Adam & Eve due to the overall darkness of the theme and discreet folk elements.
The only track that resembles a pure 70's vintage prog is "Waiting by the Bridge", essentially developed within a poppy song structure bringing forth a thick bass groove. That said, one would have no problems whatsoever distinguishing a Ritual song from most other prog bands' current material. This is also where Ritual's strenght lies. Despite priding themselves on playing a form of 70's prog rock, their songwriting is a lot more courageous, informed by elaborate ideas and utilising modern production values.
The last song is the aptly titled "A Dangerous Journey". Clocking in at over twenty-six minutes, it is indeed a journey on which Ritual takes the listener, touching on various moods and sound motions. All the characteristics of their music apply here. It starts as a standard Scandinavian folk tune, based on largely acoustic instruments, including the bouzouki, keyed fiddle, and harmonium (a keyboard generating airy tones that wander across the piece). The song also has a cool recurring theme that gets more recognizable upon repeat listens; so you will discover a wealth of the melodies during the acoustic beginning and electric ending of the track. With hard-to-notice Middle Eastern scales applied to the guitar, the band also shows their approval of Gentle Giant's more classically driven songcraft before venturing into brisk instrumental pasages. From here on, they dabble with weird-toned synth lines, jazzy overtones, theatrical vocal parts, as well as folky melodies courtesy of drummer Jon Gamble's harmonica.
Towards the end, they increase the speed of the song, playing a harder-edged form of rock with aggressive vocal leaning before retreating to a calm mood with lots of harmonies and acoustic guitars. Though some may argue that the length of the song is more than most can handle, I feel the connections between the 'movements' of the song are very swift and almost seamless. In a way, this is like the last track on Frost's Milliontown album, which is also highly recommendable. In parallel, this disc also merges traditional ideas with updated production.
If you like the darker side of British prog, and would love to hear a Swedish band incorporating influences of Gentle Giant, early Jethro Tull, and Comus into their sound, you must check this album out. The reason why this album is such a success certainly stems from their Scandinavian background.
Murat Batmaz

Sumamente recomendable, uno de mis top ten del 2007... un disco lleno, repleto, de mística, de épica y fantasía, pero también de buen gusto, compruebenlo escuchando la música de los videos que dejo abajo, está incluída la suite de 30 minutos al final.
Un disco que es una maravilla, y que muestra una de las mejores facetas del rock progresivo, el de las emociones por sobre la técnica, porque aunque haya mucha, mucha técnica invertida, siempre está al servicio de transmitir lo mejor posible el espíritu emocional de las canciones y la lírica.
Super recontra recomendado. Si aún no lo tienen, no hace falta que les diga que se lo lleven ¡YA!

www.myspace.com/ritualsweden
www.ritual.se






12 comentarios:

  1. Este comentario ha sido eliminado por el autor.

    ResponderEliminar
    Respuestas
    1. archivo corrompido. Podrías re-subir? Gracias.

      Eliminar
    2. ¿Seguro? ¿intenteas descargar nuevamente los archivos?
      ¿A alguien más le pasó?

      Eliminar
  2. No, no está corrompido. Funciona bien.

    ResponderEliminar
  3. Tendrán el booklet del disco? me interesa bastante conseguir las letras.

    ResponderEliminar
    Respuestas
    1. Querido Plushy; lamentablemente yo no tengo el bootleg del disco, sorry....

      Eliminar
  4. Download: (APE + CUE - No log - No Scans)
    http://pastebin.com/SXGjS6uj

    ResponderEliminar
  5. Muy bueno! Bajando. Gracias por siempre poner videos con ejemplos, son siempre super utiles para no andar bajando cosas sin sentido y tener un buen panorama. Como siempre, excelente blog.

    ResponderEliminar
    Respuestas
    1. Sí, un disco excelente. Y sí, la idea de los videos es que vean de qué se trata, que escuchen a ver si les gusta, si les va la onda... aunque con este disco (y tanto otros que tenemos por acá) quizás no hace falta, bájenlo de una...

      Eliminar
  6. Excelente disco, por dios!!! No se que tienen los suecos, pero debe ser algo genético que les brinda creatividad musical... en fin, disco para recomendar en la calle, en el facebook, mandando por mail el link, o para entrar a Discover de galería jardín y decirle, "-eh, barba, si no tenés este disco, bajá la persiana".
    Si te cansaste de ABBA y Roxette, bienvenido a Ritual

    ResponderEliminar
    Respuestas
    1. Este disco y Never ending way de Orphaned land me alegraron la semana

      Eliminar
    2. Personalmente amo a este disco, pero a veces uno trata de ser un poco objetivo y no entrar en ese tipo de calificaciones en el comentario. Pero a veces no es posible ser objetivos!
      Tenés el disco de Dark Suns, la otra resubida de la semana, para ver como te calza. Para mañana resubo otro discazo, y en la semana que viene algunos otros discos internacionales de la gran put... digo... muy buenos! :D

      Eliminar

Lo más visitado en el mes

Aclaración...

Este espacio se reserva el derecho de publicar sobre cualquier tema que parezca interesante a su staff, no solamente referidos a la cuestión musical sino también a lo político y social.
Si no estás de acuerdo con lo expresado podrás dejar tu comentario siempre que no sea ofensivo, discriminador o violento...

Y no te confundas, no nos interesa la piratería, lo nuestro es simplemente desobediencia civil y resistencia cultural a favor del libre acceso al conocimiento (nuestra música es, entre otras tantas cosas, conocimiento).