Last Laugh - Meet Us Where We Are Today

Year of Release: 2002
Label: Record Heaven
Catalog Number: RHCD8
Format: CD
Total Time: 47:27:00

Sweden has become a hot-bed of progressive rock, maybe second only to England. Who's surprised today when they pick up a great prog CD and discover it came from Sweden, home to the Flower Kings, Änglagård, Kaipa, Landberk, Anekdoten, and the Par Lindh Project? Add to Sweden's list Last Laugh, a four-piece group who have developed a style I can only describe as a slick blend of King Crimson and King's X. Throughout Meet Us Where We Are Today, the band treads a continuum between their two forefathers, sometimes closer to King Crimson and other times closer to King's X. In general, though, this powerhouse, guitar-prog outfit settles into their own groove, where the influences suggest rather than dictate the final sound.

An album of complex and intensely rhythmic stuff, Meet Us opens with "Busy," a song that sets the stage for the entire disc. An understated bass line introduces the track, with guitar slowly trickling in Fripp-like patterns. Two-part vocal harmonies add a nearly chanted melody. But don't expect to drift off into quiet soundscapes; the track's opening belies the song's main riffs, which explode suddenly from the speakers in a roar of multi-tracked power chords. Even when the song settles into its verses and choruses, unexpected guitar crunches leap in and out of the mix in delightful and curious ways.

These sonic pyrotechnics are typical of the fare here. "Present," for example, sounds like a long-lost, experimental King's X track, but is defined by Last Laugh's chunky, rhythmic approach to power guitar. Probably the most accessible track on the album, "Present" flows with vocal harmonies and the strongest melodies on the disc. Most of the rest of the album is a sonic attack on the senses (in a good way), although the musical trickery settles down (well, almost) for the title track, "Meet Me Where I Am Today," one of the most original songs on the album. Here, a guitar ostinato overlaid with a gently melodic vocal part suggests King Crimson, but the sudden appearance of insanely low, detuned guitars -- Korn fans will be grinning! -- crash into the proceedings, guaranteed to rattle your windows in their frames, before retreating for the return of the vocal. And so goes the rest of the album.

Last Laugh has a lot to offer the progressive-metal arena, a genre cluttered with Dream Theater clones. This is original music delivered in a professionally produced package. The recording is top-notch: clear, punchy, and crisp. Thrown into the deal is a full-color, 12-page booklet featuring the complete lyrics (which, by the way, are sung all in English). Although these aren't songs that you'll whistle during a stroll on the beach, Meet Us Where We Are Today is surely a disc you'll play again and again. Highly recommended.

Busy (7:03) / Present (3:35) / Peace (5:45) / Meet Me Where I Am Today (5:41) / Panic (4:28) / Is There Anywhere? (5:02) / Regards (5:11) / Ultimate Unity (4:09) / Onti (6:12)

Stene - bass and lead vocals
Wallin - guitars and vocals
Östnytt - goggles and saz
T-Mox - drums and percussion

Meet Us Where We Are Today (2002)
Shapes (2003)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin SE

Added: February 23rd 2003
Reviewer: Clayton Walnum
Artist website:
Hits: 1261
Language: english


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