When The Flower Kings are on their extended hiatus, all the members are focusing on side bands. Now singer Hasse Froberg has joined them with the creation of a new band which is called Hasse Froberg & Musical Companion. The debut, Future Past, was released in 2010 on Reingold Records. Here Hasse takes on lead vocals, guitars and composing the music. He does this with no help from his TFK bandmates. Of course there’s some nods to The Flower Kings sound but in comparison to the other side bands, the similarities are kept at a bare minimum. Joining Hasse are Thomas Thomsson (bass), Kjell Haraldsson (keyboards), Anton Lindsjo (lead guitar), and Ola Strandberg (drums).
Opening the album is “Sounds From The Empire” (1:27) which serves as an intro to “Fallen Empire” (10:20). The foundation of “Fallen Empire” is in a symphonic hard rock vein. It reminds me a lot of, theme wise to “Last Minute On Earth” from The Flower Kings. Hasse’s vocals are in top form here as with the rest of the band. Around the 4 minute mark has a very cinematic sounding passage which leads into an acoustic guitar and with Hasse doing some soft emotion vocals. The full electric band sound returns around the 7 minute mark.
“Song For July” (4:59) which is the song for Summertime and the most accessible song of the album. This is a fun infectious optimistic song in a more acoustic based format. “Piece Of The Sky” (14:18) is the epic of the album and has a more original sound in comparison to the previous songs. I heard a mixture of influences including early Queen, Genesis, Led Zeppelin and Yes (especially around the 5 minute mark). It’s also, in my opinion, one of the best epics of the year.
“I Wouldn’t Change A Thing” (6:49) is a catchy hard rockin’ song that could easily be the lead single. This is one of those songs that sticks in your mind long after it’s over. It’s also one of my favorites of the album.
“Above” (10:27) starts off in a straight forward hard rocking of a song then morphs into a symphonic sound with gorgeous slide guitar playing. It returns to that hard rocking groove.
“Everyday” (4:56) is another accessible track that could be the second single off the album and very catchy from start to end. There’s a vocal part that reminds me of “Keep Me Hanging’ On” (originally done by The Supremes and famously covered by Vanilla Fudge).
The vibe continues with “The Ultimate Thrill” (6:34) and the heaviest song on the album. This song has the least amount of progressive rock but that’s okay because it doesn’t need to be for a good song.
Closing off the album is “Only My Blood” (13:00) the second longest epic on the album. The quieter parts are counterbalanced by a hard rock element. It contains some excellent guitar and keyboard solos. It ends with some birdsong and running water. A perfect way to end an album.
If you’ve enjoyed Hasse’s vocals in The Flower Kings and always wanted to hear an album full of them, then go no further. You’ll get your wish fulfilled and then some. The musicians backing Hasse here sounds like a professional seasoned band. Future Past is one of the better debuts of 2010 and gets my highest recommendation.
Reviewed by Ron Fuchs on October 17th, 2010