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Agusa: En Annan Varld

Sometimes, in progressive rock, two tracks are all you really need. Case in point with the latest release from Sweden's Agusa, titled En Annan Varld, which contain just two instrumental epic tracks. For their fifth release, the band, who are comprised of Mikael Ödesjö (guitar), Roman Andrén (keyboards), Jenny Puertas (flute), Simon Ström (bass), and Tim Wallander (drums), once again weave their pastoral blend of vintage '70s inspired prog and folk, not that far removed from fellow Sweden Angalgard but also incorporating a bit of Canterbury as well as psychedelia and Krautrock that is highly enjoyable and doesn't all for any room to miss vocals one bit. Guitar, flute, and organ battle for supremacy throughout the album, as the trio weave plenty of intricate passages around each other on the 25+ minute opener "Sagobrus", which also allows for lengthy solos that never get boring or meander. Ödesjö is an outstanding player, whether thrilling the listener with tasty, biting electric leads or lush acoustic work, and he's everywhere here but also working so well to allow the rest of the band their time in the spotlight. "Uppenbarelser" sees Puertas' flute taking on a more prominent role, but Andrén's gorgeous Hammond organ is right up there as well, this track more of a breather that builds and builds to an exciting climax.

En Annan Varld is another absolute winner from Agusa, who are quickly becoming one of the 'must hear' bands on the Swedish progressive rock scene.

Track Listing
1. Sagobrus (25:01)
2. Uppenbarelser (21:13)

Added: November 15th 2021
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 864
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Agusa: En Annan Varld
Posted by Eric Porter, SoT Staff Writer on 2021-11-15 20:48:53
My Score:

This one gets better with every listen, two songs, and 47 minutes of beautiful music. “Sagobrus” opens with a pastoral soundscape of guitar, flute, and keyboards. A somber flute melody, often played in unison with the other instruments opens the track. If someone told me this was a discovered recording of a 70’s obscure progressive rock band, I would not doubt it. The whole vibe is from that era, very organic instrumentation and sound. The melodies and motifs begin to stick in your head upon repeated listens, and for me the flute is the star of the show. It has been a pleasure to allow this music to wash over me, listening without distractions from start to finish is most rewarding. Agusa show many facets to their writing, they can turn things up and get the music rocking, as guitar and keyboard solos take flight. Wah-inflected guitar soloing comes in around the six minute mark, and again using unison lines to drive the melodies home. The flute playing adds mystique to their sound, especially during the quieter passages which are simply gorgeous. The song features beautiful crescendos, and then suddenly the songs are deconstructed back to the basics, only to be built back up again. A growling Hammond solo around 13 minutes in rips and roars, I can imagine that Leslie speaker rotating at full volume in the studio. These contrasts make the music stand out, and you often feel like the song is coming to an end, only to have things start again.

“Uppenbarelser” opens with a beautiful guitar and keyboard passage, very mysterious and dark. The song slowly builds with a trance like backing of drums and bass, it has hints of psychedelia and space rock. I love the acoustic guitar, flute, and keyboard combination, stark and exquisite. This one grinds through some interesting soundscapes, the guitar specifically emits some tortured wah-sounds with the flute in the background, and almost an evil carnival like keyboard sound comes to the fore. And yet again, we get more beautiful acoustic guitar and flute as we reach another climax. At about the 13 minute mark, I hear a bit of middle-eastern influence, yet another twist. Suddenly sirens begin blaring in the background as the final crescendo is reached, the band is at their most powerful. The final three minutes feature acoustic guitar, mellotron, and flute for a fitting finale.

This is a perfect album for these dark and cold fall/winter nights, the music conveys that type of mood. I plan to pick up Agusa’s entire catalogue, my only thought as I conclude another listen to “EN ANNAN VARLD” is should this have gotten 5 stars? It’s that good!

» Reader Comments:

Agusa: En Annan Varld
Posted by Marco on 2022-01-15 19:11:58
My Score:

It's their fourth not fifth full-lenght

Agusa: En Annan Varld
Posted by Ian Johnson on 2022-01-05 18:44:34
My Score:

I hear a lot of music through the year writing for Fireworks Magazine but you can't hear everything and so you miss out on many great albums you should rightly have heard digested and loved. This new album by Agusa is one of those albums and if it wasn't for the guys at SOT posting their favourite Prog albums of the year I wouldn't have heard this at all, however universally this was praised by all of the Prog professors so a blind purchase was made (I trust the taste of these SOT Prog lovers) and what an album it is. Two glorious tracks of instrumental music that I just can't stop playing which means I'll have to break open the piggy bank to get their back catalogue too. Brilliant album thanks for the heads up SOT.

Agusa: En Annan Varld
Posted by Molly Whipple on 2021-10-26 18:40:18
My Score:

I can confirm what Pete says. This album is excellent. I have four of Agusa's efforts and this might be the best although I also find their debut, Hogtid, to be spectacular. With this band you know you are going to get music that ebbs and flows from strolls in the windblown grass to catching said wind to soar into the clouds. And no pretentious lyrics to get in the way. Explore and enjoy.

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