Beardfish - The Void

(CD 2012, 76:18, Inside Out Music)

The tracks:
  1- Intro
  2- Voluntary Slavery
  3- Turn To Gravel
  4- They Whisper
  5- This Matter Of Mine
  6- Seventeen Again
  7- Ludvig & Sverker
  8- He Already Lives In You
  9- Note
         - I. Note
         - II. Descending
         - III. The Void
         - IV. Note (reprise)
10- Where The Lights Are Low

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The Swedish act Beardfish appeared in the prog rock scene with a promising sound being the new representatives of the seventies prog rock sound in the new millennium. Well, I must say they do very well both on their studio albums and during live concerts. They're keeping the spirit of seventies prog alive resembling pioneers as King Crimson, Yes and Genesis. I assure you that if you dive deeper into their music the only thing you can say is: unique band! So far Beardfish recorded six studio albums: Från En Plats Du Ej Kan Se (2003), The Sane Day (2006), Sleeping In Traffic: Part One (2007), Sleeping In Traffic: Part Two (2008), Destined Solitaire (2009) and Mammoth (2011). The Void (2012) is their seventh one and currently the band's consisting of Rikard Sjöblom (vocals, keyboards, guitars), David Zackrisson (guitars), Robert Hansen (bass), Magnus Östgren (drums).

Beardfish had the intention to create a somewhat heavier sound than they had on their previous albums. I think they succeeded in doing so, because the overall sound of the album is slightly heavier than on any other album by Beardfish. The Void opens with the voice of Andy Tillison (The Tangent) followed by Voluntary Slavery which is a good choice as an opening piece because it agrees with the band's intentions. This heavy track resembles the roots of heavy prog acts in the seventies, no doubt. Turn To Gravel is another perfect example of 'old school' guitar, drum and bass play. In They Whisper you'll hear tonal variations with the keyboards, one of the finest things on this Beardfish album. This Matter Of Mine holds the same atmosphere as the second and the third track, but heavier. This beautiful track reminded me of Mastodon due to the vocals, drums and guitar riffs.

Seventeen Again is a typical Beardfish piece as known from their previous records. Ludvig & Sverker starts with guitar strumming; a nice melody led by a bass line and a fine chorus keep you focussed throughout the song. He Already Lives In You is a good example of heavy prog, while Note is a sixteen-minute epic piece divided into four parts. These four parts are all amazing taking you on a musical journey in the vein of contemporary acts in general and The Flower Kings in particular. The song starts with the sound of chalk writing a note on a blackboard. Where The Lights Are Low is a well-recorded song that reminded me of the good old days of prog. Beardfish really is a unique band and thus The Void is highly recommended to all prog heads, but especially to those who love the prog scene of the seventies.

**** Zafer Yüksel (edited by Peter Willemsen)

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