I’ve been a fan of Anekdoten since their first US performance at Progfest ‘94. I loved the power the band created with their first album. I’ve been a loyal fan of the different style changes they had over the years. The first two albums, Vemod & Nucleus, contained a strong King Crimson influence On their third & fourth album, From Within & Gravity, the band began to have their own original sound that was more akin to bands like Radiohead rather than King Crimson. Some fans were not happy with this change. Their last studio album from 2007, A Time Of Day, in my opinion is the best of the last three albums. I feel they found their style of music to play.
In 2009, the band released a double compilation album called ‘Chapters’, which includes songs from their albums, some unreleased material as well as demos.
This is the perfect introduction to the band, especially in the USA because I think it can be obtained domestically now.
The band remains the same since the beginning, Peter Nordins (drums), Jan Erik Liljeström (bass, vocals), Anna Sofi Dahlberg (keyboards, Mellotron, cello) and Nicklas Barker - formerly Berg - (guitar, vocals). The vocals are quite haunting and calm, which in contrast to the songs is fitting. I think they needed to change direction to accommodate Barker and Liljeström vocals patterns. There’s also occasional help from Dahlberg.
Musically the band ranges from a thunderous roar to a subtle quieter moments. As stated above, I think the original fans felt betrayed by Anekdoten on the third album. This is sad because there’s some wonderful songs. I wasn’t sure at first but after repeat listens of albums like From Within, I was hooked.
On disc 1, covers material from the third album forward. There’s nothing new here but it’s a good representation of those years. Personally I would have put these songs on disc 2 with an overall chronological track listing It would help new listeners to see how the band evolved over the years.
On disc 2, they start off with an alternate mix of “Sad Rain” then two songs from the first album. The rest of the songs are demos Unfortunately for new listeners, there are only demos from the second album here.
In closing, Chapters is the best introduction to Anekdoten for new listeners as well as the die-hard collector’s. This is a highly recommended album, especially for fans that embraced the change in style that started in 1999. I can’t wait to see where Anekdoten takes the listener next!
Reviewed by Ron Fuchs on December 1st, 2009