One of Sweden's best kept musical secrets returns with a new disc. Gosta Berlings Saga's latest opus Detta Har Hant, takes some of what they did on their previous album Tid Ar Lud, and pushes the envelope even further. Whereas their former album had moments that seemed a little more pastoral and symphonic, this latest release seems slightly harsher sounding, more angular, more streamlined, and more muscular.
Recorded "live in the studio" with some overdubs added afterwards (mellotron, mini-moog, pump organ), Detta Har Hant delivers 8 tracks that "range from full-blown epic soundscapes via dissonant darkness to minimalistic powerful grooves without compromising when it comes to the strong melodies the band is known for". Indeed, right from the opening "Kontrast" to the stellar closer "Vasterbron 05:30", incendiary guitar passages and playful RIO-inspired melodies, by way of zeuhl-inspired repetitiveness, collide. The results are a "Miriodor meets King Crimson while Magma interjects" musical marriage. Although not as symphonic or "keyboard heavy" as their previous disc, Detta Har Hant still has its moments of pomp, albeit less prevalent than in the past. This album seems more the vehicle for Einar Baldursson's fiery fretwork. His superb guitar leads permeate this recording; most notably during the middle section of the disc's closer, where his fuzzed-out guitar leads scorch their way into the listener's brain.
Some may argue that the band's earlier, more keyboard-driven sound was superior to this disc. I suppose a case could be made for that train of thought. However, this disc is every bit as enjoyable as their debut was in this reviewer's opinion. The band's musicianship is tight as a drum throughout. The melodies have a way of creeping into your subconscious and remaining there long after you've listened to the last notes. The darker, bleaker elements merely act as a contrast to the band's more uplifting passages. One of my top 5 releases from 2009. Highly recommended.
- Sorterargatan 3
- Svenska Hjartan
- Fem Trappar
- Vasterbron 05:30