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25 Feb 2017

Trettioåriga Kriget "Krigssång" 1976 Swedish Prog Rock

Trettioåriga Kriget  "Krigssång" 1976 Swedish Prog Rock best 200 European Prog Albums in 70`s

Legendary Swedish heavy-progressive who released 6 albums between 1974 and 1992 (plus a retrospective in 1996) and reunited and released a couple of new albums from 2004 and on. However, the only addition to the normal guitar, bass and drums instrumentation is some mellotron here and there. It’s musical excellence with plenty of extended gratuitous guitar jams and very intricate lyrics. I’d like to recommend this band to everyone but since the lyrics are in Swedish and such a big part of the music perhaps some might not understand it. In several ways, TRETTIOÅRIGA KRIGET (“The 30-year War” in English) can be compare to ÄNGLAGÅRD and LANDBERK to sense their influence. 

The first, self-titled is in many ways like RUSH circa 1980. “Krigssång” is an album that fans of 70’s rock in general will enjoy, and not just progressive rock listeners. In sum, this is one of the defining Scandinavian prog albums. The first two albums are necessary for any serious exploration of the region. The albums released after the reunion show that the band hasn’t lost their touch!……… 

Great progressive rock band from Sweden, and this is a wonderful follow up to their incredible debut two years earlier. 
This album would appeal to anyone who enjoys Yes, Greenslade, Camel ect. The guitarist is very skilled, and has a sound a bit like Steve Howe at times. They use piano and mellotron to a great effect also. The rhythm section is outstanding. The bass player is hard not to notice, as he seems to continuously challenge the lead guitar, and sounds a bit like Chris Squire…nice Rickenbacker 4003 wah wah sounding bass lines, though from what photos and video footage I’ve seen he appears to playing a Fender Jazz bass. The drummer is quite impressive as well. The lineup on this LP includes a fifth member credited as lyricist. I wish I understood Swedish, as the vocalist really has a great prog rock deliverance…in the same vein as Peter Farrelly of “Fruup”, though some may find his style annoying. Still a pleasure to listen to for me, even though I’ll probably never know what he’s singing about. 
The Bands name translated into English means,“Thirty Years War”. 

Second album seems also the easier one to acquire since I have never seen the others in shops. War Songs is the translation of this album and it is a rather fitting name for such a raw and somber record even if the album is definitely more “refined/subtle” both in songwriting and in production, compazred to its predecessor. But this album still sounds the typical TK sound, somewhere between the ultra-heavy and the progressive. If you are not well-acquainted with the group, you will get a slap in the face, with the guitar strings leaving an imprint in your brains, but chances are that you could feel repulsion upon the first listen (hopefully this review will prevent or at least warn of that danger) or even wondering how this can be prog. Fear not: this is!! And of course the side-long heavy (and I mean HEAVYYY;-) title track, full of mellotrons and jazz twists is a rather unique example of prog, even if not that much my cup of tea, I will admit……………… 

.Great, I say. Can’t wait. When the package arrives I’m faced with six albums by artists I’ve never heard. I decide to start with Trettioåriga Kriget’s Krigssång, from 1975. A little research reveals that the band is still active with its lineup intact and that they played Prog Day in Chapel Hill, just down the road from me. I figure this could be good. So after having a couple of listens to this, what do I think? I think this is one of the best progressive rock albums I’ve ever heard. 

The keyboards are very understated, but when present, support the other instrumentation nicely. The stars of the show is the bass work of Stefan Fredin and the guitar of Christer Åkerberg, although Dag Lundquist’s drum work is top notch as well. Robert Zima’s vocals are strong as well, but listeners not familiar with the Swedish language may need a few listens to get adjusted to it, but once you do you’ll discover Zima has a wonderfully rich, evocative voice. 

The first five tracks are all relatively short and every song is near perfection in execution and composition. This is exactly how shorter progressive pieces should be done. Nothing ever stays around in the songs to get boring and yet, you never feel like anything is rushed or hurried for the sake of getting in an extra guitar figure or bass run. These songs are economical and exciting. 

The highlight of the album is the 17 minute title track. I can’t really find the words to accurately describe just how good this is. You’ll just have to find out for yourself. 

The production is perfect throughout the album. The particular copy I have is remastered and was reissued last year on the Mellotronen label. Three additional tracks are included, but as is the case in may reissues they sound a bit tacked on. All three are very good and almost as good as the songs on the actual album, but should be taken as what they are, extra songs…….. 

For their sophomore release “Krigssång”, the guys from Trettioåriga Kriget decided to take the powerful heavy prog approach of their debut album to a subtler level, administering the rougher moments more in a refurbished balance that gave more room to less explicit sonic explorations. This factor also allowed the band to state some relatedness to the standard of symphonic prog at times (some people have mentioned German symphonic bands such Novalis, and I would add Wallenstein, but mostly to my ears, TK’s symphonic side is closer to “Remember the Future”-era Nektar). The namesake opener is obviously based on a blues tempo, which receives a particularly sophisticated treatment all the way through its 4 ½ time span since TK remain loyal to their art-rock ambitions. Track 2 ‘Metamorfoser’ starts digging deeper into the sort of slow tempo that had been delivered in the opener’s main motif, only this time the energetic moments that eventually emerge bear a jazzier tendency and state a more consistent presence, in this way catalyzing the main motif’s melodic development. I have the feeling that both tracks would have benefited greatly from longer expansions and a major use of mellotron (or whichever other keyboard that drummer Dag Lundqvist might have used at the time) in order to properly explore the epic potencial further and see where things can go from there. Anyway, this is what there is and what you see is what you get. 'Jag och jag och jag’ is an acoustic pastoral ballad that is stylistically connected with the sort of folkish spirit that one can expect from the candid side of 70s art-rock: since the central mood is quite introspective, this ballad serves as a convenient moment of simple solace before the arrival of 'Mitt mirakel’ (originally omitted from the 70s vinyl but luckily recovered for the 2004 CD re-edition), a fine example of the interesting things that TK are capable of when they systematically incorporate clever jazzy flavors into their heavy prog sound: the rhythm duo’s dynamics is excellent, and so are Åkerberg’s deliveries on guitar harmonies/lead phrasings. Once again I find myself longing for a different, alternative Universe in which this track is longer and with a fuller global sound, although essentially I don’t have any complaints at all about the track’s compositional structure. 'Murar’ is basically structured around the linkage of two different jams: the faster one is reserved for the second place, in this way allowing the overall mood to give the impression of elaborating a controlled sonic discourse headlong for a specific climax. So far here are the rougher passages in the album, but there is some more roughness in store concerning some moments of the forthcoming suite. The album’s final track is the 17 ½ minute long 'Krigssång II’, an excellent, exciting suite that ultimately fulfills its musical ideas in a hyperbolic accomplishment of an usual progressive leitmotif - an extended, well-articulated series of sections properly arranged to conform an ambitious taste for art in rock. Here is where the band’s moderate flirtations with symphonic prog lie and get an effective development. Fredin’s bass playing sounds somewhat Squire- related in places, although by no means should anyone read that Yes is some notable influence on the band. A special motif that reappears recurrently (sometimes augmented by synth) helps to reassure the whole expansive track’s cohesion. In terms of harmonic expansions and motif linking, this piece is monumentally successful; the jam that gets started around minute 5 brings some colorful psychedelia while it lasts, and it also prepares the room for the following defined section. A jamming that takes place a few minutes later sure reminds me of Nektar and “Inside”-era Eloy (to a degree, at least). The slow passages are energetic enough as to encapsulate some of the melodically driven pomposity that is one of the undeniable trademarks of symph prog. For the coda, things turn to a faster tempo and an increased groove: the fact that the rhythm section gets jazzy helps to keep things ordained as the rhythm goes on intensifying the mood. Actually, I would have loved to hear some impressive guitar lead as the track approaches its end: otherwise, on a good note, the fade-out has been arranged in a very clever fashion, stating an eerie reiteration of the coda’s harmonic basis. A very good ending for a very good suite, indeed. The 2004 CD edition comprises three live bonuses besides the official repertoire plus the originally intended track 4 that I have mentioned earlier. Compared to the debut album, this one is noticeably less explosive in general and less expansive regarding the first half: the last half compensates for it largely. TK is by now a heavy prog band with a refurbished interest in developing a new, more refined side to it……by Cesar Inca ……………… 

The best progressive album from Sweden? Well, I tend to agree. Or rather, know it is. At least as far as the 70’s is concerned. There are otther great bands from Sweden but none as great as Trettioåriga Kriget was on this album. I came across it in a little recordstore about 20 years ago and loved it right from the start. 
In Sweden there was a strong political agenda associated with prog (or progg, as it is known). There were many bands, not all musically gifted. Alot of bands were actually musically challenged, if you wish. Trettioåriga Kriget was a band of great musicianship and brilliance, never as evident as on Krigssång, still retaining the political message of socialism. 

The musical content (with it’s very prominent bass) is amazing. Not only in the playing but more so in the songs themselves. It is a blend of hard rock, symphonic and fusion like stuff. I think of Stanley Clarke, sometimes, and maybe I am not that far off. Stanley Clarke playing in Rush, could be a comparison not straying too far off the mark. 

From the first second to the last, this album delivers in spades and keeps on being spellbinding. This is a masterful and epic creation, worthy of praise and recognition. Listen and be amazed… GruvanDahlman ………….. 

Trettioariga Kriget’s debut was considered as the first true Heavy Rock album from Sweden, but actually it was more than that.It did receive some excellent reviews and the band had a chance for an exhausting tour on Swedish ground as well as extended visits on the Swedish radio.The second album of the band “Krigssang” carried again an epic title (means “War song” in Swedish) and it was recorded in summer 75’ at the Polyvox Studios in Stockholm, but not released until early 76’.This time the vinyl was marked with original CBS press. 
This was another great example of hard-hitting, powerful Progressive Rock with psychedelic overtones, highlighted by the monumental Scandinavian feeling, the poetic lyrics and the dynamic, passionate performances of the band.While mainly guitar-driven, their style had still plenty of clever moves, complicated breaks and a good balance between instrumental variety and vocal performances.Plenty of unexpected shifting tempos and influences from KING CRIMSON, DEEP PURPLE and LED ZEPPELIN are always in the menu.Moreover they also dish out some lovely acoustic textures with a melancholic touch, while Mellotron waves appear quite often, adding a nice orchestral flavor to the passionate sound of the band.The centerpiece of the album is of course the 17-min.“Krigssang 2”, a nice piece of complex, guitar-based Progressive Rock with the usual Mellotron showering as the absolute highlight and some surprising synth lines as well.It often sounds like a mix of RUSH with YES, although being far from any symphonic tendencies, but certainly drawing some inspiration from STEVE HOWE’s acrobatic guitar moves.It passes from vocal-based Rock to early-70’s Psychedelic Rock to stunning Progressive Rock in a blink of an eye with numerous gear shifts and very tight executions. 

Yet another thumbs up for one of Sweden’s leading Rock bands from the 70’s.Combination of passionate Hard Rock ala LED ZEPPELIN and DEEP PURPLE with intricate Progressive Rock in the vein of YES, RUSH and KING CRIMSON.Strongly recommended……….by apps79 …………. 

– Robert Zima – lead vocals 
– Christer Åkerberg – electric & acoustic guitars 
– Stefan Fredin – bass, vocals 
– Dag Lundquist – drums, violin, Mellotron, vocals 

01. Krigssång/War song (Stefan Fredin/Olle Thörnvall) – 4:33 
02. Metamorfoser/Metamorphoses (Christer Åkerberg/Olle Thörnvall) – 4:33 
03. Jag och jag och “jag”/I and I and “I” (Christer Åkerberg/Olle Thörnvall) – 3:20 
04. Mitt mirakel/My miracle (Dag Lundquist/Olle Thörnvall) – 3:31 
05. Murar/Walls (Stefan Fredin/Dag Lundquist/Christer Åkerberg) – 4:20 
06. Krigssång II/War song II (Stefan Fredin/Olle Thörnvall) – 17:32 
07. On Going To England (live) (Stefan Fredin/Olle Thörnvall) – 7:23 
08. Ur djupen/Out of the depths (live) (Stefan Fredin/Olle Thörnvall) – 6:42 
09. So Long (live) (Stefan Fredin/Olle Thörnvall) – 7:05 

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..





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