Anyone who believes that Swedish progressive rock begins and ends with bands like The Flower Kings or Anglagard are in for a surpise. Galleon have been around for a while, releasing six CD's since the early 1990's of mostly muscular neo-progressive rock, squarely in the vein of bands like Arena, Marillion, or even Rush. The groups eighth album, From Land to Ocean, is an adventurous release, covering two full CD's worth of music, and in many aspects is the most mature and diverse work they have done so far.
It becomes readily apparent once hearing the opening track "Three Colours" on CD1 that Galleon are going for a more vintage prog sound this time around. This tune contains oodles of neat keyboard sounds and textures from Ulf Pettersson, and intricate lead guitar work from Sven Larsson. At close to 12 minutes, this song starts off the CD in epic fashion. "Fall of Fame" is a more rocking and upbeat piece, sounding a tad like modern day Saga (singer/bassist Göran Fors at times sounds a bit like Michael Sadler with a Swedish accent on this CD), while the band goes for a contemporary fusion vibe on the outstanding instrumental "Liopleurodon." You can hear the influence of Genesis just drip from the gorgeous "Solitude", from the guitar work to the sumptuous keyboards, as the band weaves one alluring melody after another. A similar vibe can be heard on "Land" , which is augmented by flute and acoustic guitars which gives a slight Jethro Tull nod. The closing 14-minute piece on CD1 is "The Price", a real aggressive song that has loads of guitar and keyboard exchanges, but also contains some atmospheric sections where the keys get kind of spacey and Fors gets to sing some theatrical vocal passages. Of note also is the majestic piano work of Pettersson and the dynamic drum work fills of Dan Fors on this number.
CD2 sees the band tackle the 52-minute "The Ocean", a sprawling epic that contains a multitude of moods and textures, but never fails to keep your attention. There are many parts to this adventure, with short instrumentals filling in the gaps between the vocal sections. Lyrically, this one is quite facsinating, dealing with all sorts of topics pertaining to the state of the earth, and musically, if you like vintage Yes, Genesis, and even Marillion, you can't go wrong with this piece.
In short, this is one hell of an album. No filler here, for those who believe that every double album contains at least a few duds. This is song based prog rock, done in a classic style but certainly very contemporary. Highly recommended!