The record label Karisma Records is developing into one of the most important labels for the progressive rock scene. At the end of October last year they released my progressive rock album of the year 2020. I am talking about the fifth studio album, entitled "Dwellers of the Deep", of Norway's flagship of progressive rock Wobbler. Without sounding like a copycat they blow new life into this genre. The band impressed me during their performance at the 2018 edition of the prestigious prog festival "Night of the Prog" in Germany.
Lars Fredrik Frøislie: keyboards, vocals; Marius Halleland: guitar, vocals; Kristian Karl Hultgren: bass, bass pedals, woodwinds; Martin Nordrum Kneppen: drums, percussion, recorders; Andreas Wettergreen Strømman Prestmo: vocals, guitar
After their debut album 'Hinterland" on the label The Laser's Edge, the albums "Afterglow" and "Rites at Dawn" on the label Termo and the predecessor "From Silence to Somewhere", this is their second album on the Karisma Records label. progVisions can recommend all of the above-mentioned albums. But their fifth album "Dwellers of the Deep" is their first masterpiece! The album consists out of four long tracks; "By the Banks", "Five Rooms", "Naiad Dreams" and "Merry Macabre". The album opens with the track "By the Banks" which has an up-tempo "into your face" opening. 13 minutes of 70's prog presented in a contemporary jacket. Polyphonic vocals and brilliantly organ parts that are reminiscent of Rick Wakeman, the keyboard player of Yes. Talking about the glorious period of the band Yes, this album sounds like an ode to that golden period of prog in the seventies. But the song is so much more, it is a very varied track with various rest points but also with epic highlights. After beautiful Mellotron flutes, the up-tempo theme of the beginning returns. Killer opening track. The following track "Five Rooms" has a slow opening with delicate vocal harmonies and atmospheric organ parts. But soon an up-tempo part is thrown in. Also, this track is varied and lets you think of the prog of the seventies. But I must admit that the reference to Yes more than often pops up while listening to this wonderful album. This also means that the vocals are of a high level on this album. After tracks with a duration of almost 14 and 9 minutes, the following track "Naiad Dreams" is with its 4 and a half minutes like a short interlude. With the acoustic guitars, bell-like percussion, delicate vocal parts, and wonderful Mellotron strings, I had to think of the dynamic music of Änglagård. It is a beautiful and delicate rest point towards the Magnus Opus of this album. The fourth track entitled "Merry Macabre" is a nineteen-minute long suite of epic proportions. A voyage with new musical directions and a melting pot of the above-mentioned influences and their own unique musical styles. Everything comes together in this massive track. For me, this is absolutely the highlight of the album. It is the track with the greatest variety in musical styles and the track with its own Wobbler identity. But at the same time, it sounds like a consistent whole. This long suite gives the album its name "Dwellers of the Deep".
"The lyrical themes of the album deals with human emotion and the ongoing struggle between juxtaposed forces within the psyche. An introspective voyage among the realms of memories, feelings, and instincts, where the light is brighter, and the dark is darker. The concepts of wonder, longing, and desperation permeate the histories told, and the currents from the deep are ever-present."