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Vargton Projekt: ProgXpriMetal

This is the debut release from Vargton Projekt, on Lion Music (LMC307) and whilst they might sound like a character from The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Universe they are in fact a new band based around some very talented Swedes - guitarist Mats Hedberg, Grammy winning drummer Morgan Ågren and vocalist Björn Jansson.

ProgXpriMetal as the title may suggest is a varied release that will satisfy those who like their metal extreme, as well as fans of hard rock in general and those who prefer more experimental (geddit?) Zappa-esque soundscaping.

Originally planned as an instrumental album, Hedberg instead approached one of Sweden's finest metal vocalists Björn Jansson (Tears Of Anger / Ride The Sky) to put some vocals on selected tracks. Keyboardist Hans Lundin, from (personal favourites) Kaipa was asked to play on 3 tracks and the animal voice of percussionist Giovanni Imparato (Paco de Lucia) from Naples was also added. Alessandro Gwis contributed additional basic keyboard parts and some electronic stuff, which added a further dimension to the music whilst Lars Eric Mattsson performs some guest guitar solo duels with Hedberg on track seven.

Stylistically ProgXpriMetal is heavy on guitar and drums with nods to the likes of King Crimson and Mahavishnu Orchestra.

It's not often I'm blown away within twenty seconds of a record starting but blown away I was. Opener "Jaipur" has some of the sweetest guitar work you'll hear this year, underpinning an eastern flavoured track (complete with sitar solo!) propelled along by fantastically fluid drumming, and magnificent bass lines, as well as showcasing one of the best rock voices I've heard. What is it about Sweden, that there's such a breadth, and depth of musical talent on offer?

"Uggarderojr" is a bluesy, funky guitar workout that will have Crimson fans, indeed lovers of all guitar based music smiling like a Cheshire cat. And that voice. What can I say? Jansson is a revelation.

Clearly, given the album's length and the fact there are 18 songs, a track by track review would run into a couple of dozen pages. There are a number of shorter, more esoteric 'bridging' pieces dotted about the album, but when it comes to the meatier tunes every single one is a belter. Check out the acoustic beauty of "Norrsken", or the pitch perfect keyboard heavy prog of "III - Defender & Believers" or the jazzy "Vargton". So much variety, so much quality. Play the album in order, or on random shuffle and each new title throws up another gem. I am mightily impressed. This record deserves to be heard by as many people as humanly possible.

Track listing:
01 Jaipur 5:28
02 Ujevkoszonto 0:48
03 Uggarderojr 6:35
04 Rjoredraggu 2:48
05 I - The Gathering 1:49
06 II - Rendition 4:01
07 III - Defender & Believers 8:58
08 Norrsken 5:31
09 Lvorna 7:49
10 Capriccio 1:08
11 U Playin On My Drum 5:09
12 Outrott 1:09
13 Allegro Vivace 3:10
14 Digerrojr 1:42
15 Vargton 6:49
16 Naudljaus 4:28
17 Tokeri 1 5:04
18 Tokeri 2 3:10

Added: July 13th 2011
Reviewer: Brian Watson
Related Link: Band MySpace Page
Hits: 2428
Language: english

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