We had to wait years for it but there it is: Himlabacken Vol 2, the new album by Swedish superstars Moon Safari. And it was worth the wait. Himlabacken Vol 2 is a masterpiece.
All compositions are amazing, the musicianship is fantastic and vocally it's more than phenomenal. The six Swedes (Pontus Åkesson on vocals, guitars; Sebastian Åkesson on backing vocals, keys; Simon Åkesson on vocals, keys; Mikael Israelsson on drums, backing vocals; Petter Sandström on vocals, acoustic guitar; Johan Westerlund on vocals, bass) worked their ass off to produce an album that got them back in the centre of the prog world. The recording is top notch and the production and mix of the album are sublime. Vocally Moon Safari was always one of the best bands in the scene (I mean that if they would have a bad day they sound better for instance than Yes at their best). The harmonies these guys create are out of this world. The layers in their unique sound are fantastic. But don't let that overshadow their instrumental capacities. Musically they're also among the technical best instrumentalists around. Let's go through the songs, not all because there is no weak one on this album, just a few highlights. I start with Epilog, the last song of the album. Sung in Swedish this one starts with church bells and a church organ and when the vocals kick in this song is really angelic. The longest track is Teen Angels Meet The Apocalypse, an epic 21 minutes Prog at its best. The guys throw in everything they got. Did I say something about the vocals, harmonies and layers? Well, for sure listen to Beyond The Blue, a nearly a cappella beauty.
This is certainly an album for the end of year list. It's that good. Everything is perfect and maybe that's the only criticism I have. Himlabacken Vol 2 is nearly too good.
***** Arne van Os van den Abeelen (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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