Exposé Online banner

Änglagård — Viljans Öga
((Not on label) ANG03CD, 2012, CD)

by Mike McLatchey, Published 2017-02-09

Viljans Öga Cover art

In the early 90s, Änglagård weren't the first retro-symphonic rock group to rise up in the genre's comeback years, but they were arguably the most important, and they certainly set the underground abuzz with their debut, Hybris. They followed that essential piece of art with a second studio album and one live album before they disbanded for many years. So many rumors abounded in the interim that after a while it seemed like a lot of them were just being made up, but eventually and with the massive expectations you'd expect, they finally released their third studio record — short one member — in 2012. Änglagård has often been unfairly labeled as a Genesis clone, perhaps a simplification based on the style and analog-based instrumentation, perhaps a result of their cover of "The Musical Box," although most likely due to the equal and opposite reaction to their lofty reputation through the years. But while they are obviously in that lineage, they were never constrained by it and always surpassed such a surface level approximation. What made the band such a singular and impressive act were their wide use of dynamic highs and lows, compositions that were extensively explored until the themes and melodies were both intricate and memorable, and a sense of longing and melancholy that had many varied shades of its own, until what seemed gloomy was really glorious and transcendent. Most collectives that last into two or three decades change drastically due to a collective maturity, but here that experience instead contributed to elaborating on what they had already accomplished without any major shift in direction that might necessitate a different audience. The maturity instead showed up as an expansion on their sound somewhere between the intense urgency of the debut and the intellectual and sometimes precarious writing of Epilog, with a much higher level of confidence that allowed them to widen the sense of the symphonic with guest musicians and allow the long pieces to find their own sense of space naturally. It was as if some of the sense of resistance had uncoiled and allowed what was already one of the best of the modern symphonic rock bands to actually improve. This was no small feat.


Filed under: New releases, 2012 releases

Related artist(s): Änglagård

Latest news

2020-02-18
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more

2020-01-15
Carlos Alvarado RIP – Carlos Alvarado, pioneering composer, multi-instrumentalist and pioneer of progressive rock and electronic experimental music in Mexico, passed away January 14th, 2020 at age 68 after a two year battle with cancer.  » Read more

2020-01-12
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more

2020-01-12
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Lenny White - Venusian Summer & Big City – Looking back thirty years later on the “golden age” of jazz-rock fusion, we tend to focus on the super tight unison lines and complex rhythmic structures of the Mahavishnu Orchestra and...  (2002) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues