Bodin, Tomas - I Am

Year of Release: 2005
Label: InsideOut
Catalog Number: SPV 085-48342/IOMCD 209
Format: CD
Total Time: 63:23:00

In 2003 I reviewed Tomas Bodin's second solo album, Pinup Guru, and I have to admit at the time the album did not really impress me or touch me. I did not hear his third album, Sonic Boulevard, so I was curious to hear his latest release, I Am, as it was presented as a "rock opera."

When you hear "rock opera," you automatically picture an epic sound, with orchestra, multiple singers and a captivating (concept) story. After having listened to I Am about a dozen times, I can safely say this is not a rock opera as you might expect it (think Ayreon, Nostradameus or even Avantasia), but it is a phenomenal concept piece, divided into three parts, each part clocking in at around 20 minutes, with one story to bring and with several singers giving voice to the story.

Although the album is divided into three tracks, it should be played as a whole, so I will try to review it as such. The atmosphere of the album is full of passion and emotion and descibes the time of man on earth, from birth till death. For Tomas Bodin, a way to deal with questions we all have, but often try to neglect, like "will life ever have a good ending?," "Who am I?" and "Will I live on eternally?"

The form he put these questions in works very well. His choice of vocalists is good, especially Anders Jansson, who has the passion of Roger Waters and the warmth of Bono (U2). He is the first singer to appear on the album. Halfway through the first "act," after about 7 minutes, the first female singer enters, with a soft, warm voice. There is quite a contrast between the singers, keeping the vocals alive and varied. I still prefer the male vocals, as they bring an atmosphere to the music similar to what Patrick Lundström adds to Kaipa, as well as to Ritual.

But also musically a lot goes on. Bodin uses a wide variety of synth sounds and has a great rhytm section (Reingold & Liliequist, both Flower Kings colleagues) to back him up. They do that good, but never at the front. The dominating sound, in the good sense of the word, are the keyboards by Bodin. But guitarist Marsh, from Glenn Hughes fame, has an important part in the album and his crunchy riffs give it the "rock-feel," with a touch of psychedelica here and there.

In the accompanying press release it states: "To describe the music itself in greater detail would only do this masterpiece disservice." Although this is the same place where I Am is called "one of the most ambitious rock operas ever released," which I totally disagree with. I do think you need to listen to this album yourself and not read a complete breakdown of the music. It may not be the ambitious rock opera it claims to be, but it is one hell of a good concept album, with a rock opera atmosphere to it.

Tomas Bodin has outdone himself and created one of the better albums of 2005. I know I will enjoy this album for a long time and I think you will do so, too.

I (23:12): I. The Beginning - II. Wheel Spinner - III. Day By Day - IV. Mother's Heart - V. Speeder - VI. They'll Fight For Me! - VII. Fighters - VIII. War Is Over - IX. Aftermath - X. The Angel Of Dreams - XI. The Awakening / A (21:28) I. Take Me Home - II. The Tree Of Knowledge - III. The Path of Decision I - IV. The Prayer - V. The Path Of Decision II - VI. Close The Deal - VII. The Path Of Decision III - VIII. The Tube Of Reverse / M (18:43): I. In The Land Of Retrospect - "Why / 7 Days At Kingdom's Inn" - II. Voice Macabre - III. Dance Macabre - IV. The Halls Of Future - V. The Path Of Light I - VI. The Path Of Light II

Tomas Bodin - keyboards
Marcus Liliequist - drums
Jonas Reingold - bass
Jocke JJ Marsh - guitars
Anders Jansson - vocals
Pernilla Bodin - vocals
Helene Schönning - vocals

An Ordinary Night In My Ordinary Life (2000)
Pinup Guru (2002)
Sonic Boulevard (2003)
I AM (2005)
Cinematograaf (2008)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin SE

Added: July 31st 2005
Reviewer: Marcel Haster
Artist website:
Hits: 1142
Language: english


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