For a musical genre that has been on the verge of death for the better part of 30 years, new progressive rock bands continue to emerge from around the world apparently oblivious to the fact that naysayers have declared prog/rock deceased and the genre completely irrelevant. And the musicians of Sweden continue to play a major role in the ongoing global history of progressive rock with groups like The Flower Kings, Agents Of Mercy, Anglagard, Isildurs Bane, Kaipa, Ritual, Trettioariga Kriget, Samla Mammas Manna, and Par Lindh Project. Add to that impressive list of Swedish progressive masters the band Brighteye Brison, a group formed in 2000 that sounds more like a 70s' American prog group than any of their aforementioned Swedish counterparts.
Following the release of their self-titled debute album in 2003 the band went on to record the highly acclaimed albums "Stories" in 2006, "Believers And Deceivers" in 2008, and with the release of their latest entry, "The Magician Chronicles - Part 1" the group continues to add to their impressive musical output.
Although the band credits British pioneers ELP, Genesis, Gentle Giant, and YES as major influences it's the sound of early 70s' American progressive groups like Fireballet, Cathedral, Mirthrandir, Pentwater, Roots Of Consciousness, Easter Island, and Atlantic Philharmonic that immediately come to mind (many of which appear on Greg Walker's Syn-Phonic label) - as well as a touch of Spock's Beard.
Adding to the 70s progressive sound is the extensive use of analogue synthesizers, a Mellotron, vintage keys like the Clavinet and Fender Rhodes Electric Piano, and even that strange otherworldly electronic instrument - the Theremin (the instrument of choice in 50s' sci-fi movies).
"The Magician Chronicles - Part 1" is the grand scale mythological tale of a brave knight on a perilous intergalactic journey to confront a wicked magician through space and time. This massive undertaking brings to mind Glass Hammer's 1993 Tolkien inspired concept album "The Journey Of The Dunadan" or the Clive Noland and Oliver Wakeman collaborations "The Hound Of The Baskervilles" and "Jabberwocky". The music is filled with melodic yet intricate arrangements, beautiful multi-part harmonies (Ala Fireballet and Starcastle), and impressive playing from all involved.
The group consists of Linus Kase (Grand Piano, Clavinet, Fender Rhodes Electric Piano, Rri-ha Adagio, Synthesizers, Saxophones, Percussion and Vocals), Per Hallman (Hammond B3, Mellotron, Logan String Melody and Vocals), Kristofer Eng Radjabi (Bass, Tarus Bass Pedals, Theremin, Percussion, Accordion and Vocals), Johan Oijen (Electric And Acoustic Guitars), Erik Hammerstrom (Drums) and guests Figge Norlin (Narration), and Daniel Kase (Marimba and Tubular Bells).
The three songs making up the album are long epics - ranging from over 23 minutes to a little over 8 ... yet the length of the album is relatively short by today's standards ... about 44 minutes; leaving the listener satisfied - yet wanting more. A perfect way to end an album.
Reviewed by Joseph Shingler on December 6th, 2011