June 1, 2023
By Valentino Butti
Album d'esordio per questo quintetto svedese, attivo da una dozzina d'anni ma che solo sul finire del 2022 è riuscita a pubblicare in formato fisico "Beyond the veil, people stand silent. Trusted and in their prime", dopo che tutti i brani erano comunque già stati editati sui vari social.
Sei brani compongono il cd: cinque inediti e la cover "Rhayader goes to town" dei Camel, peraltro piuttosto simile alla versione originale. La traccia iniziale "1000 people" è decisamente promettente: la voce potente di Robert Johansson Lind ben si sposa con l'organo Hammond di Anders Altzarfeldt e con la ficcante chitarra di Bjarne Forsbom che conferiscono sonorità tipicamente "vintage" al pezzo. Dovendo cercare dei paragoni non crediamo di allontanarci troppo dalla realtà citando i "Deep Purple" o i… "Magic Pie" come fonte di ispirazione dei cinque "signori" svedesi. Piacevole anche la successiva "Trust in me" che, sfiorando i dieci minuti, è pure il brano più lungo dell'album. Ancora in evidenza la voce di Lind che ben si disimpegna anche nei toni più soffusi che, talvolta, il pezzo richiede. Ottima la sezione strumentale centrale ed il prepotente "solo" di tastiere molto new prog, mentre il finale è decisamente rock. Molto energica, tra riff decisi di chitarre ed Hammond "Prime time", con venature hard- blues un po' alla Uriah Heep e con spazio anche al "drums- solo" di Mikael Grönroos. La cover dei Camel è poi seguita da "Silent Treatment", un'altra composizione attorno ai 7 minuti. Dopo quasi tre minuti in cui accade… nulla, inizia una ballad hard-blues piuttosto anonima, malgrado lo Hammond in evidenza e la voce di Lind, cerchino di "limitare i danni". Le cose vanno un po' meglio con il pezzo finale intitolato "Veil": brano dinamico, piuttosto roccioso, con sonorità old-style a cui manca, forse, quel quid melodico per elevarsi ulteriormente.
In definitiva "Beyond the veil, people stand silent. Trusted and in their prime", tra alti (i primi 3 brani…) e bassi, è comunque un discreto lavoro, tenuto anche conto che si tratta dell'esordio discografico per la band. L'energia c'è e si percepisce, il sano divertimento alla base del progetto pure, le sonorità retrò non sono certamente un difetto… rimane, e non è peraltro poco, da incanalare meglio il song writing con una ricerca melodica più attenta e meticolosa.
English translation by Google
Debut album for this Swedish quintet, active for a dozen years but which only at the end of 2022 managed to publish in physical format "Beyond the veil, people stand silent. Trusted and in their prime", after all the songs had already been edited on the various social networks.
Six songs make up the cd: five unreleased songs and the cover "Rhayader goes to town" by Camel, moreover quite similar to the original version. The initial track "1000 people" is decidedly promising: Robert Johansson Lind's powerful voice marries well with Anders Altzarfeldt's Hammond organ and Bjarne Forsbom's punchy guitar that give a typically "vintage" sound to the piece. Having to look for comparisons, we don't think we're straying too far from reality by citing "Deep Purple" or… "Magic Pie" as a source of inspiration for the five Swedish "gentlemen". Also pleasant is the following "Trust in me" which, reaching ten minutes, is also the longest track on the album. Lind's voice is still evident and is well disengaged even in the more suffused tones that the piece sometimes requires. The central instrumental section and the overbearing "solo" of very new prog keyboards are excellent, while the finale is decidedly rock. Very energetic, between decisive guitar riffs and Hammond "Prime time", with hard-blues veins a bit like Uriah Heep and with space also for the "drums-solo" by Mikael Grönroos. The Camel cover is then followed by "Silent Treatment", another composition around 7 minutes long. After almost three minutes in which… nothing happens, a rather anonymous hard-blues ballad begins, despite the prominent Hammond and Lind's voice, trying to "limit the damage". Things go a little better with the final piece entitled "Veil": a dynamic song, rather rocky, with an old-style sonority which lacks, perhaps, that melodic quid to further elevate itself. between decisive guitar riffs and Hammond "Prime time", with hard-blues veins a bit like Uriah Heep and with space also for the "drums-solo" by Mikael Grönroos. The Camel cover is then followed by "Silent Treatment", another composition around 7 minutes long. After almost three minutes in which… nothing happens, a rather anonymous hard-blues ballad begins, despite the prominent Hammond and Lind's voice, trying to "limit the damage". Things go a little better with the final piece entitled "Veil": a dynamic song, rather rocky, with an old-style sonority which lacks, perhaps, that melodic quid to further elevate itself. between decisive guitar riffs and Hammond "Prime time", with hard-blues veins a bit like Uriah Heep and with space also for the "drums-solo" by Mikael Grönroos. The Camel cover is then followed by "Silent Treatment", another composition around 7 minutes long. After almost three minutes in which… nothing happens, a rather anonymous hard-blues ballad begins, despite the prominent Hammond and Lind's voice, trying to "limit the damage". Things go a little better with the final piece entitled "Veil": a dynamic song, rather rocky, with an old-style sonority which lacks, perhaps, that melodic quid to further elevate itself. another composition around 7 minutes. After almost three minutes in which… nothing happens, a rather anonymous hard-blues ballad begins, despite the prominent Hammond and Lind's voice, trying to "limit the damage". Things go a little better with the final piece entitled "Veil": a dynamic song, rather rocky, with an old-style sonority which lacks, perhaps, that melodic quid to further elevate itself. another composition around 7 minutes. After almost three minutes in which… nothing happens, a rather anonymous hard-blues ballad begins, despite the prominent Hammond and Lind's voice, trying to "limit the damage". Things go a little better with the final piece entitled "Veil": a dynamic song, rather rocky, with an old-style sonority which lacks, perhaps, that melodic quid to further elevate itself.
Ultimately "Beyond the veil, people stand silent. Trusted and in their prime", between highs (the first 3 songs…) and lows, it's still a decent work, also taking into account that it's the band's debut album. The energy is there and can be perceived, the healthy fun at the basis of the project as well, the retro sounds are certainly not a defect ... it remains, and it is no small thing, to better channel the song writing with a more careful and meticulous melodic research .
May 27, 2023
By Gianluca Renoffio
Bell'ensemble, questo dei Highproject, ennesima proposta svedese. Formato da sei musicisti di grande e variegata esperienza, è riuscito ad assimilare ogni differenza arrivando ad un suono che evolve, che sembra hard, si muove in pop, sconfina nel metal, accenna al folk-blues e si ritrova prog.
Con questo non si pensi ad un album confusionario, ma ad un lavoro ancora 'in progress' di ricerca di un suono "definitivo" ricco di spunti e momenti felici.
Si parte con un'altalenante 1000 people introdotta da un suono spaziale di synth-tastiere privato di ritmica che poi esplode con l'inserimento degli altri strumenti accompagnati da una linea melodica in bilico tra sonorità alla Camel e strappi di hard rock classico, tipo Europe, spesso rallentati in cupi intervalli sonori.
Altro esempio eclatante di questa commistione tra prog anni '70 e '80, tra sinfonia e folk-blues, è il brano Prime time, con un intro di armoniche alternate a strappate classicheggianti che sfocia poi in una chitarra dalle sonorità heavy che percorre tutto il brano, accompagnando la linea melodica heavy-prog. Linea melodica che spesso viene arricchita da inserti della sezione ritmica e della chitarra quasi funky per poi riaccomodarsi ai toni lirici dell'hammond.
Belle anche Trust in Me con il suo inizio ritmico tribale che subito si apre a sonorità canterbury e ad una linea melodica in crescendo particolarmente gradevole che richiama spesso ballate inglesi e medioevali interpretate alla Blackmore's Night, e Silent Treatment: un tocco di Pendragon, qualche atmosfera floydiana e tanti strappi ed inserti di hammond che ne fanno la più canonica in ambito neo-prog anche se forse un po' già sentita, ma senza dubbio suonata benissimo. Interessante anche la conclusiva Veil, dalla raffinata ricerca melodica.
Nell'album è anche presente una cover dei Camel, Rhayader Goes to Town, che da un lato è una dichiarazione d'amore per le radici che la band sente per la propria musica ma dall'altro non aggiunge molto perché troppo 'cover' e poco personalizzata se non per certe sonorità ed per la linea armonica della chitarra.
Un disco interessante, ben suonato e ben registrato per essere una autoproduzione. C'è ancora strada da percorrere ma, come si dice, chi ben inizia è a metà dell'opera.
English translation by Google
Beautiful ensemble, this one by Highproject, yet another Swedish proposal. Formed by six musicians of great and varied experience, he managed to assimilate every difference arriving at a sound that evolves, which seems hard, moves in pop, borders on metal, hints at folk-blues and finds itself prog.
With this we don't think of a confusing album, but of a work still 'in progress' in search of a "definitive" sound full of ideas and happy moments.
It starts with a fluctuating 1000 people introduced by a spatial sound of synth-keyboards deprived of rhythm which then explodes with the insertion of the other instruments accompanied by a melodic line poised between Camel sounds and classic hard rock snatches, like Europe , often slowed down in dark sound intervals.
Another striking example of this mixture of 70s and 80s prog, between symphony and folk-blues, is the song Prime time, with an intro of harmonics alternating with classic-style snatches that then flows into a heavy-sounding guitar that runs through the whole song, accompanying the heavy-prog melodic line. Melodic line that is often enriched by inserts of the rhythm section and the almost funky guitar and then settles down again to the lyrical tones of the hammond.
Also beautiful is Trust in Me with its tribal rhythmic beginning which immediately opens up to Canterbury sonorities and a particularly pleasant crescendo melodic line which often recalls English and medieval ballads interpreted at Blackmore's Night, and Silent Treatment: a touch of Pendragon, some atmosphere floydiana and lots of snatches and hammond inserts that make it the most canonical in the neo-prog field even if perhaps a little already heard, but undoubtedly played very well. Also interesting is the concluding Veil, with a refined melodic research.
The album also features a Camel cover, Rhayader Goes to Town, which on the one hand is a declaration of love for the roots that the band feels for their music but on the other it doesn't add much because it's too 'cover' and little personalized if not for certain sonorities and for the harmonic line of the guitar.
An interesting record, well played and well recorded to be a self-production. There is still a long way to go but, as they say, a good start is half done.
May 24, 2023
By Erik Neuteboom
Highproject is a five-piece Swedish formation that started in 2010, not until 2021 the band recorded its first effort, released in 2023, entitled Beyond The Veil, People Stand Silent. Trusted And In Their Prime? This first effort was recorded by Anders Altzarfeldt (Hammond Organ, Keyboards), Stefan Andersson (Bass), Bjarne Forsbom (Guitar), Mikael Grönroos (Drums, Percussion) and Robert Johansson Lind (Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Percussion). Furthermore on this album Lovisa "Loa" Pingani is featured with background vocals.
On this first album Highproject delivers six tastefully arranged and varied songs (including a good version of Rhayader Goes To Town by Camel), the music alternates between Neo-prog and melodic rock. Most compositions contain nice musical ideas and twist and turns. Like a break featuring fat synthesizer drops and propulsive guitar play, along a pleasant Hammond organ sound and then sensitive electric guitar in 1000 People. Orchestral keyboards and wonderful strings in Trust In Me. An exciting instrumental break with propulsive conga beats, a wah-wah drenched guitar solo and a flashy synthesizer solo in Prime Time. A spacey intro with Pink Floyd kind of guitar parts, a swirling Hammond and a sumptuous final part in Silent Treatment. And finally the epic Veil that contains strong work on guitar and Hammond (hints from Deep Purple) and a break with electric piano, a moving guitar solo with again swirling Hammond. The vocals are in English, with an accent but inspired and slightly theatrical, like a powerful rock singer.
To me this band sounds promising, with lots of good musical ideas, but you have to be up to the slightly theatrical vocals.
***+ Erik Neuteboom (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
May 17, 2023
By Janne Stark
Highproject is a Swedish progressive rock band featuring former Zello keyboard player Anders Altzarfeldt. Opening track "1000 People" reminds me a bit of vintage Asia, but with a slightly heavier edge. This was a really nice surprise! The album was one of the many Corona albums where the members recorded each at their own home/studio. You honestly can't hear it. It all sounds very "together". Besides Anders, the band features Stefan Andersson (Sonic State Capital) on bass, Bjarne Forsbom on guitar, Mikael Grönroos (ARA) on drums and Robert Johansson Lind (ARA, Heathen's Eye, Ability) on vocals, acoustic guitar and percussions, plus guest singer Lovisa "Loa" Pigani. "Trust In Me" continues in the same vein, but also draws close to vintage classic prog bands like Nektar and Yes, and even a bit of early Saga here and there. Robert is an excellent singer with a broad range and a strong voice. Great melodic feel, too! The arrangements are quite intricate and there are a lot of different themes and passages in the songs which makes this a really interesting listen. "Prime Time" initially offers some pretty heavy and intense guitar riffing, but it soon switches gears into a heavy, yet dynamic vein with really cool keyboard patterns coloring the musical landscape. This is really brilliant, I must say! "Rhayader Goes To Town" is the only cover out of the six numbers, originally written by Camel. Even though I'm a big fan of progressive rock and bands like Kayak, Nektar, Yes etc., but I've never really listened to Camel. Listening to this song, I realize I probably should. I don't know how close to the original these guys do it, but this is a really intricate and interesting song, indeed. Quite playful and with some really cool twists.
This album REALLY deserves a proper release!! I know lots of prog fans who would drool over this!
Label: private release
Mars 19, 2023
By Jerry van Kooten
Common ingredients in an unusual combination. That's what I thought when I read the press info. Profiled as prog, it gave me more images of 1970s blues-based hard rock. But I also read about a singer who found his true voice singing metal. And then there was a cover of that famous Camel track. Of course, that was when Camel were in their more blues-based era, when Peter Bardens' input was bigger, but still very progressive.
Highproject (one word) are a relatively new Swedish band comprising some very experienced musicians.
The opening track takes its time to come in, and the song durations tell you the band are not in a rush. This is the most catchy track, having a Mostly Autumn or Blackmore's Night type of folk influence in the instrumentation and the chorus, but interlaced with both are some lovely progressive sections in the early Camel style and some Deep Purple-esque powerful breaks.
This song depicts an important element in the band's writing style, in that the songs contain many sections, showing all the band's influences. Everything has its place and time.
Robert Johansson Lind's vocals sometimes, in the subdued parts, remind me a bit of Dutch singer Han Uil in Tumbletown. The music offers Lind enough places where he can show what a voice he has, but he is never showing off.
Trust In Me is another good example where different styles like early 1970s prog, a folky acoustic part, and a neo-prog keyboard section can follow each other easily. Looking at the building blocks of Prime Time, even a short bit of just drums (Mikael Grönroos), then this the most progressive track. But when I listened to the songs in a different order, I could probably say this about the other tracks as well!
The Camel cover is performed truthfully to the original, and that was a little unexpected. The guitar has a sound of its own, so a small variation on the original, but for a cover version on a studio album, it is a little too respectful. In a live setting, it would be easier to feel the fire.
The recording sound is very clear and fresh, but I think the mix could have been a little less "clean" for this type of music, or at least to my ears. Having a "fatter" bass sound in the mix would have added to the atmosphere. But for a self-produced debut album this is an excellent start. The band is from a place just a couple of hours from where I live and I really hope I can get to see and hear them play live one day.
Progressive music, delivered with a knowledge of the blues and rock, really appeals to me. The heavy use of Hammond is especially enticing to my taste, and how keyboard player Anders Altzarfeldt and guitarist Bjarne Forsbom work together is simply gorgeous. Sometimes one is playing a ground layer for the other to solo, and sometimes playing double melodies. The way Highproject have managed to blend their influences and styles into these songs is just wonderful and touches a lot of buttons for me.
Mars 14, 2023
By Hans Ravensbergen
'Beyond the veil, people stand silent. Trusted and in their prime'. Vertaald: 'Achter de sluier staan mensen stil. Vertrouwd en in hun kracht'. Deze filosofisch getinte tekst siert pontificaal de hoes van dit eerste album van het Zweedse Highproject.
Het is vaag of deze tekst de titel van dit album is. Of wat de titel dan wél is. Net zo mistig als de naam van de groep, Highproject, High Project of HighProject. Eigenlijk is alles aan deze groep vaag, of beter nog mistig, zoals de Zweedse natuur. Want veel is niet op het www of op de website van de groep te vinden.
Highproject, want daar houden wij het maar op, komt uit het Zweedse Västerås, een stad in de buurt van Stockholm. Actief sinds 2010 werd het na het overlijden van oprichter en toetsenman Stephan Larsson met de huidige bezetting in 2021 serieus. Het motto van de groep: "spelen wat je leuk vindt en hopen dat anderen het leuk zullen vinden". De kern is dat elk instrument zijn eigen ruimte heeft om zo de frequentieruimte te vullen die een menselijk oor bij elk instrument kan oppakken.
Strikt genomen is dit album met zes nummers (waaronder een cover) oude wijn in een nieuwe fles. Alle nummers op deze cd zijn namelijk al eerder uitgebracht via diverse sociale mediakanalen. Maar de groepsleden wilden hun muziek gebundeld, op een meer tastbaar medium, uitbrengen. En zo geschiedde. Laten we het glas aan de mond zetten.
Het album start met 1000 People aarzelend en onheilspellend met langzaam aanzwellende orkestrale toetsen. Na een minuut slaat de vlam in de pan en wordt duidelijk dat we te maken hebben met 'old school' symfo. Smaakvolle rauwe gitaarpartijen en afwisselende toetsen, waaronder Hammond, vormen de hoofdmoot. Na een lange intro horen we de krachtige stem van Robert Johansson Lind. Met deze strot en enkele forse uithalen zou hij niet misstaan in een hardrock- of metalband. Maar het stoort mij niet, integendeel. Een fijne Andy Latimer-achtige gitaarsolo van Bjarne Forsbom doet de rest.
In Trust In Me maken breed uitgesponnen toetsenpartijen en enkele gitaarsolo's de dienst uit. Bijzonder virtuoos is het allemaal niet, maar smaakvol des te meer. Je hoort een groep die liefde heeft voor wat ze spelen. Met afwisselende en soms funky drumpatronen en percussie pakt drummer Mikael Grönroos nadrukkelijk de hoofdrol in Prime Time. Rhayader Goes To Town is een cover van Camel, afkomstig van het album "The Snow Goose". Knap gespeeld, maar echt boeien doet het mij persoonlijk niet. Silent Treatment kent een rustige start met veel gitaar in een Eloy-sfeertje. De zang van Lind is rustig met wat bluesy randjes. Het lijkt alsof de groep zoekende is naar een eigen identiteit. Een lekkere Hammond-solo is de overgang naar een meer opwindend einde. Het slotakkoord heet Veil. Een groovy intro met gitaar en Hammond voert je langs merkwaardige overgangen met tal van tempo- en sfeerwisselingen. De samenzang van Lind en gastzangeres Lovisa Pingani en wederom een Latimer-achtige gitaarsolo zijn lekker om naar te luisteren.
Ik besluit met een andere quote van de groep: "De muziek komt uit het hart, hopelijk gespeeld voor mensen die met hart en ziel luisteren". Van dat laatste was ik al een tijd overtuigd, want Progwereld heeft een gepassioneerde achterban. De 45 minuten die dit schijfje duurt voegt de daad bij de eerste zes woorden van dat credo.
English translation by Google
'Beyond the veil, people stand silent. Trusted and in their prime' . Translated: 'Behind the veil people stand still. Trusted and in their power' . This philosophically tinted text pontifically adorns the cover of this first album by the Swedish Highproject.
It is vague whether this text is the title of this album. Or whatever the title is. As foggy as the name of the group, Highproject, High Project or HighProject. In fact, everything about this group is vague, or better still, misty, like Swedish nature. Because much can not be found on the www or on the website of the group.
Highproject, because that's what we call it, comes from the Swedish Västerås, a city near Stockholm. Active since 2010, after the death of founder and keyboard player Stephan Larsson, it became serious with the current line-up in 2021. The motto of the group: "play what you like and hope others will like it". The core is that each instrument has its own space to fill the frequency space that a human ear can pick up on each instrument.
Strictly speaking, this six-song album (including a cover) is old wine in a new bottle. All songs on this CD have already been released via various social media channels. But the group members wanted to release their music bundled, on a more tangible medium. And so it happened. Let's put the glass to the mouth.
The album starts with 1000 People hesitant and ominous with slowly swelling orchestral keys. After a minute the flame hits the pan and it becomes clear that we are dealing with 'old school' sympho. Tasteful raw guitar parts and varied keys, including Hammond, form the main part. After a long intro we hear the powerful voice of Robert Johansson Lind. With this throat and some strong outbursts he wouldn't look out of place in a hard rock or metal band. But it doesn't bother me, on the contrary. A nice Andy Latimer -like guitar solo by Bjarne Forsbom does the rest.
In Trust In Me, wide-drawn keyboard parts and a few guitar solos rule the roost. It is not all particularly virtuoso, but it is tasteful all the more. You hear a group that loves what they play. With varied and sometimes funky drum patterns and percussion, drummer Mikael Grönroos emphatically takes the leading role in Prime Time . Rhayader Goes To Town is a cover by Camel from the album "The Snow Goose". Nicely played, but it doesn't really fascinate me personally. Silent Treatment has a quiet start with a lot of guitar in an Eloyatmosphere. Lind's vocals are calm with some bluesy edges. It seems as if the group is searching for its own identity. A nice Hammond solo is the transition to a more exciting ending. The final chord is called Veil . A groovy intro with guitar and Hammond takes you along remarkable transitions with numerous tempo and mood changes. The harmony vocals of Lind and guest singer Lovisa Pingani and again a Latimer-esque guitar solo are nice to listen to.
I conclude with another quote from the group: "The music comes from the heart, hopefully played for people who listen with heart and soul" . I had been convinced of the latter for some time, because Progwereld has a passionate following. The 45 minutes that this disc lasts adds the deed to the first six words of that creed.
January 02, 2023
Swedish band Highproject showed its first signs of life as a venture, at least on the internet, all the way back in 2014. A lot of work appears to have been done more in silence since then, before activities started to become more visible to the outside world from 2021 and onwards. In the fall of 2022 the band released their debut album "Beyond the Veil, People Stand Silent. Trusted and in Their Prime" through the label JackHill Records, which I presume is the band's own label.
November 26, 2022
I've always liked Scandinavian prog bands (I got a soft spot for them) and this time wasn't gonna be different. With a great sound production (check Spotify), an exquisite taste for melody and instrumentation, a powerful hard-rocking voice, and some folky touches, Highproject is really aiming high with their self-titled debut album. And they totally deserve to be on the top spots.
The music is what it is, they play what they like, and hope others will like it...