Trettioåriga Kriget - Trettioåriga Kriget

Year of Release: 2004
Label: Mellotronen
Catalog Number: MELLOCD 016
Format: CD
Total Time: 58:49:00

Trettioåriga Kriget gained new fans with their most recent new release, Elden Av År (2004). And with the subsequent re-issue on CD of their previous albums, that new fan could easily get up to speed on this Swedish group. In late 2004, Mellotronen released Trettioåriga Kriget, the band's first album, originally released in 1974. This CD edition is a digipack, the accompanying booklet including a history of the band, written by lyricist Olle Thörnvall, covering the period before, during and immediately after the album's release, plus historical anecdotes on the album's tracks (in English). Included also are pictures of each band member.

The band's name translates as Thirty Years War and the music on Trettioåriga Kriget has a dark heaviness that reflects a war-like atmosphere, even if the song's subjects don't deal with war themes. It's thick and dense, played close in; and yet it is not claustrophobic -- there are gaps in the wall of sound. It's these "gaps" that give the whole thing depth - whether that gap is melodic guitar phrase, smoothly delivered vocals or an actual pause in the arrangement. The music leans more towards a heady, arrangement focused balance, versus a song focused balance... this is due no doubt to the fact that the music was written first and lyrics added later -- instrumentals with vocal passages, as it were. That doesn't mean it's not enjoyable or is difficult to listen to or anything - it is and it isn't, respectively. Just that it doesn't have that instant accessibility that...well, I'll say more commercially minded progressive rock forms have. It's not King Crimson angular, but it's not neo-prog poppy either. It's... 70s dark progressive rock... and I like it.

A militaristic drum rhythm (Dag Lundquist) opens the gothic dark "Handlingens Skugga" ("The Shadow Of The Act"); the vocal delivery (Robert Zima) has a certain emotive quality... "heartfelt" is the word that came to mind; instrumentally it is dark and churning ... moments where guitar (Christer Åkerberg) and bass (Stefan Fredin) grind against each other like warriors in battle. And if you like the big, epic solo, there's one here, though it lasts all too briefly.

The album's opener, "Kaledoniska Orogenesen" ("The Caledonian Orogenesis") is also thick, heavy, dark, churning. It's percussion/drums, bass and guitar heavy, though also slightly jazzy. Thörnvall writes, "[the title] refers to a geological period: the creation of the Caledonian Mountains. I associated it with the outburst of noise that begins the song, and from that the lyrics unfolded: 'born out of an eruption/here we come into being as note out of note.' I wanted the song to describe itself and in that way also the music of Kriget, who used it as a gig opener. (The quotation in English is from 'The Battle of Epping Forest' by Genesis.)."

A jazzy feel can also be heard in "Ur Djupen" ("Out Of The Depths"), which is a rewritten and stripped-down version of "Under The Pendent Roof," done so to provide a shorter song for a single as per the producer's wishes (though, as the liner notes indicate, it never was released as a single). "Under The Pendent Roof" is included here as one of the three bonus tracks, it's length 9:36 compared to the 3:46 of "Ur Djupen." Early Deep Purple leapt to mind with the opening heavy groove (bass, drums) of "Under The Pendent Roof", leading into extended, fiery soloing from Åkerberg. Dag "Krok" Kronlund plays grand piano on this piece as well. "...Pendent Roof" is a beefy piece, muscular, even with Zima's falsetto vocalizations.

"Röster Från Minus Till Plus" ("Voices From MinusTo Plus") starts downtuned, moody and dark, but by the time it's a third of the way through, it brightens up with a sunnier rhythm, lead by a cheerful guitar phrase. One of my favorites, this is an intensely dramatic piece - not melodrama, just drama. The later third is large, strutting its stuff (a throbbing bass is why). Lush in a way, but in the way dark velvet can be, not a wet, tropical rainforest. "Fjärilsattityder" ("Butterfly Attitudes") is... fluttery; frenetic -- jittery, rather than crazed -- guitar characterizes this piece, with chunky bass and percussion... rocky cliffs full of sharp edges and sheer drops. It's like being in a calmly excitable state ... perhaps because the bass and percussion are played at a more quick-change pace than is the guitar soloing, In amongst all that - we get moments that are like audio-kaleidoscopes ... something sorta circus/carnival-esque, but not quite.

"Mina Löjen ("My Smiles" - meaning "What I Laugh At") mixes some lovely smooth, croony vocal passages - a disco-esque section that serves as a chorus - with acidic guitar soloing. The piece includes a "typically" proggy sounding guitar solo as well, compared favorably to Gilmour and his "descendants." But as with other "soloing" sections, this is also rather short. Of course, guitar can be heard throughout the album, and is often focus, but areas where we'd typically find a solo are seemingly brief (aside from the above mentioned "...Pendant Roof").

The other two bonus tracks that close out this re-issue are "I've Got No Time," an acoustic guitar and vocal based piece, akin to the soft rock of the period, think Moody Blues or Bread, but also of softer pieces of bands like The Guess Who, Badfinger... balladic but not wimpy or whispy. Though towards the end, it gets quite heavy and dark... a bit gothic. "Perspektiv" is also dark, rumbling along. Hints of early-period Genesis, which, in a way, is true for all the pieces, though I personally didn't hear quite as much as in this piece... and hear it even in the guitar playing of Åkerberg. It is the first one that Fredin wrote "then called 'Amassilations' and it is on the Glorious War CD" (a 2004 release that gathers together TK's recordings from 70-71). This abbreviated version is performed live in 1975; abbreviated because the tape ran out during a bass solo, so the notes say.

TK's sound was darker 30 years ago, but fans who want to track the evolution of their sound, shouldn't hesitate to start here at the beginning.

Kaledoniska Orogenesen (5:20) / Röster Från Minus Till Plus (7:54) / Fjärilsattityder (5:26) / Mina Löjen (8:09) / Ur Djupen (3:46) / Handlingens Skugga (7:39) / Bonus Tracks: Under The Pendent Roof (9:36) / I've Got No Time (3:39) / Perspektiv (7:40)

Robert Zima - vocals, electric guitar
Christer Åkerberg - acoustic and electric guitars
Stefan Fredin - bass
Dag Lundquist - drums and percussion
Olle Thörnvall - lyricist
Dag 'Krok' Kronlund - grand piano (7)

Trettioåriga Kriget (1974/2004)
Kriss&aing;ng (1976/1992/2004)
Hej P? Er (1978)
Mot Alla Odds (1979)
Kriget (1980)
War Memories (1992)
Om Kriget Kommer (1996)
Glorious war - Recordings from 1970-1971 (2004)
Elden Av År (2004)
I Börgen Och Slutet (2007)
Efter Efter (After After) (2011)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin SE

Added: April 2nd 2006
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 1475
Language: english


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