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The Chronicles of Father Robin: The Songs & Tales of Airoea-Book 1

The Songs & Tales of Airoea-Book I is the first installment of a triple concept album from Norwegian progressive rock supergroup The Chronicles of Father Robin, featuring members of Wobbler, Tusmørke, The Samuel Jackson Five, and Jordsjø. The musicians are Andreas Wettergreen Stromman Prestmo (vocals, guitars, keyboards), Jon Andre Nilsen (bass, backing vocals), Henrik Harmer (drums, backing vocals), Thomas Harmer (guitars, mandolin, electronics, backing vocals), Aleksandra Motozova (vocals), Regin Meyer (flute, keyboards, backing vocals), plus special guests Lars Fredrik Froislie (keyboards), Hakon Oftung (keyboards), and Ingjerd Moi (backing vocals).

With that line-up, it's no surprise that the results here on this first part of the trilogy is rather spectacular.Booming Rickenbacker bass, layers of electric & acoustic guitars, flute, Mellotron, Hammond organ, Fender Rhodes, acoustic piano, church organ, clavinet, and other vintage instruments are utilized to great effect, and especially on longer pieces like "Eleision Forest" and "Twilight Fields", the band really stretch out and allow the arrangement to breathe and build lots of drama. The music overall is classic symphonic Norwegian prog, and comparisons to their main bands as well as fellow Scandinavian acts such as Anglagard, Anekdoten, White Willow, Landberk, and others are inevitable. The vocals, all sung in English, are really well done, and waft over the lush keys, flute and guitars on the folky "Unicorn" and the whimsical "Death of the Fair Maiden".

Great artwork adorns the album, and it will be great continue on with the second part in just a short time to hear the story continue to play out and see where the illustrations take us. Folks who love vintage prog sounds of the '70s from bands like Genesis, Yes, Cathedral, Jethro Tull, Mirthrander, and ELP are in for a treat with this album.

Track Listing
1. Prologue 01:06
2. The Tale of Father Robin 01:16
3. Eleision Forest 11:57
4. The Death of the Fair Maiden 08:03
5. Twilight Fields 15:24
6. Unicorn 08:29

Added: December 14th 2023
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band @ Bandcamp
Hits: 568
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

The Chronicles of Father Robin: The Songs & Tales of Airoea-Book 1
Posted by Eric Porter, SoT Staff Writer on 2023-12-14 16:03:36
My Score:

Consisting of members from Wobbler, Jordsjo and others, The Chronicles of Father Robin are a Norwegian Progressive band that certainly grabs ahold of that retro sound and don’t let go. The concept appears to be based on an entity (Father Robin) that embodies all the band members and the challenges of life, with inspiration taken from different mythologies and folklore.

The high register voice of lead vocalist Andreas Wettergreen Stomman Prestmo will definitely evoke Yes. The short “The Tale Of Father Robin” comes off as a nursery rhyme, and forgive me for saying this, but it’s a bit on the cheesy side. “Eleision Forest” hits hard with a great guitar riff and organ, and throws flute and mellotron at you, a full prog assault and this is what I have been looking forward to, and easily my favorite track. The song has plenty of twists and dynamic shifts, and I really enjoy the changes at the end and how it revisits the main theme. I like the thick bass tone that opens “Death of the Fair Maiden”, but one of the issues I have is that whenever a song seems to be gaining steam, they kill the momentum with a soft pastoral section. I find that is the main problem with this album, there may be a bit too much of the mellower aspects of their music; I’d like to hear them go balls out more often and keep the pedal to the metal. The song does kick back in at the 6 minute mark, but maybe a little too late, although this section cooks led by guitar and organ.

“Twilight Fields” is the epic of this album clocking in at 15+ minutes long. A promising start with flute and aggressive guitar kick things off. Again, the music grinds to a halt after that kick ass intro, and this is repeated far too often across the album. The song goes through many changes as you would expect, but the beginning is by far the best part. This is not to say there aren’t interesting sections, and good playing, but it feels pieced together, a very disjointed song. “Unicorn” is a rather boring closer, not the best final impression, the last two minutes crank up, but it’s too little too late.

All the elements are here, the sound, instrumentation, musicality, it should work. For some reason it falls a bit short for me, I think the band needs to focus on the heavy aggressive parts more, use the softer material as contrast. Put together as a trilogy, there are two more releases coming, let’s hope they take the existing formula and turn out something great.

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