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coverpic flag Sweden - Full Moon 230 - 06/02/15

Until All The Ghosts Are Gone

Anekdoten started as a King Crimson tribute band in 1990. The first time I witnessed them live, in connection with the release of their debut album on vinyl way back in January 1994, I think, they played a more than approved version of Crimson's greatest offering "Starless" as the encore. Metallic progressive rock was on the agenda, blended with some softer moments. Here we are more than 21 years on and the main ingredients are still the same: washes of Mellotron, hard edged guitars and bass and some beautiful quiet and mellow moments in between, for afterthought. The band got rid of the overt Crimson stamp pretty soon and found their own sound a long time ago. And the quartet has remained stable for all thESE years, meaning Nicklas Berg (guitars, keyboards and vocals), Jan Erik Liljeström (bass and lead vocals), Anna Sofi Dahlberg (keyboards, cello and vocals) and Peter Nordins (drums and percussion). Impressive!

Until All The Ghosts Are Gone is Anekdoten's sixth studio album in about 22 years, the first of new songs in nine years, not counting the compilation Chapters from 2009. Unfortunately Anna Sofi hasn't played her cello on any of the last albums, not so here either. Instead the acoustic elements are taken care of by guests Gustav Nygren on sax and Theo Travis on flute. The latter needs special mentioning. In addition to several solo albums in the jazz vein, he has played along with several from the British progressive camp, including Gong, The Soft Machine Legacy, Porcupine Tree and Steven Wilson's solo albums to name but a few. He has also recorded four albums with Mr. King Crimson himself, Robert Fripp. "If It All Comes Down To You" and the title track includes some great lyrical flute playing by Theo. There are two more guests here as well, Per Wiberg (ex-Opeth) on organ and Marty Willson-Piper (ex-The Church etc.) on guitar.

I though the band's previous album A Time Of Day was a bit limp here and there. Not so with Until All The Ghosts Are Gone. Strong and varied melodies, great playing of course and enough key and time signature changes to keep the progressive camp satisfied. The metallic side of the band is not that hard. Compared to hard-edged Scandinavian contemporaries, Anekdoten might be labelled grey metal. Occasionally the songs tend to grow a bit pompous, for instance in "Get Out Alive" and "Writing On The Wall". As long as the pompousness is caused by swathes of Mellotron it's entirely fine by me. I can never have enough of that old fashioned instrument as long as it's treated by competent hands. The combination of Mellotron and Hammond organ is also a classic one. In the second half of the wordless "Our Days Are Numbered" at the end of the album the soaring guitar, sax and Mellotron amalgam almost lift the tune into space rock. Not bad!

A most welcomed comeback by Anekdoten, then. Until All The Ghosts Are Gone is one of their best, along with the third From Within from 1999, if you ask me. I didn't realise how much I had missed the band until I started listening to the album. It was released digitally in April and on LP including CD in May. The LP is worth checking out because of the great gatefold cover alone, with details not easily spotted in smaller formats. Can be ordered from Anekdoten's home page.

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You may also want to check out our Anekdoten article/review: From Within.

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