I Borjan Och Slutet- in the Beginning & End
After 1 year of writing and half a year in studio the band has completed the new album which is called 'I BORJAN OCH SLUTET' (In the beginning and the end). Writing started beginning of 2006 and the band entered the studio December 2006. The album is recorded and mixed at Decibel Studios in Stockholm, Sweden by drummer Dag Lundquist who also produced the album. Music is by bassist/singer Stefan Fredin and lyrics as always by the bands lyricist Olle Thornvall. The album was released on the 20th of August 2007. Stefan Fredin- bass guitar, rhytm guitar, vocals Dag Lundquist- drums, percussion, backing vocals Robert Zima- vocals Christer Åkerberg- electric & acoustic guitars Mats Lindberg- keyboards Olle Thörnvall- lyrics REVIEW of album from the 'The Ripple Effect': Music is a universal art form. I realized this a couple of years ago when I first stumbled on these prog-rockers from Sweden. Do me a favor, O Loyal Reader. Put aside any predisposed feelings about lyrics sung in a foreign language. In fact, open your mind and grasp what is really at the heart of why you listen to music in the first place. The melody. The groove. The soul. Baby . . . this is music and it's beautiful! I eagerly awaited the release of Trettioariga Kriget's "I Borjan Och Slutet" (Thirty Year War - In the Beginning and the End), as if it were the most important album of the year. And, in some ways, maybe it was. Early in the year of 2007, I marked the release date on my calendar and referred back to that date to ensure it didn't get by me. In so many ways, this is a disc that pulled me back from the proverbial precipice edge. It's inspired me. I immediately went home to pick up my own guitar and play. To create with sound and emotion. Something that helped me see the bigger picture. Ya' know? My first impression was the crispness of the individual instruments. The drums have a serious "pop" to them. The bass is always present, but never over powering. The guitars have a voice unto themselves and guide the tunes through the various emotional shifts. The keyboards and vocals flow into the remaining nooks and crannies to complete the overall picture. Hats off to Dag Lundquist, not only for his spectacular drum work, but his production skills have been brought forth an epic piece of art! The disc starts off with the band slowly entering the scene and gradually building up the emotion. Each instrument working together, yet speaking in it's own voice, avoiding the pitfalls of dynamic shifts and time changes. With the first song being an instrumental, it's a great way to introduce first time listeners to the band. Just as said listener is getting settled into the swing of things, TK effortlessly slide into the second track with Stefan Fredin's droning bass tone and Christer Akerberg's ornate guitar work layered over the groove. The disc continues in this fashion for the next hour, adding flourishes of honky-tonk guitar riffs, middle eastern influences, ebbs and flows. Robert Zima's vocals have the perfect timing of melding tone and melody to the context of the songs. He never attempts to sing beyond his abilities. Mats Lindberg adds the right amount of texture, especially in the center section of Lovsang and it's dramatic build up. Dag . . . well, he's just the hero of the day. A little Pink Floyd influence with an '80's pop sensibility makes this band one of the more interesting bands around. I credit the collaboration of Fredin's musical prowess and Olle Thornvall's lyricism, as well as the aforementioned production work, for what is a seamless album. Though every track stands alone with it's own feel, listening to "I Borjan Och Slutet" is best done straight through. Not that it's traditional concept album by any means, it's just that the songs are arranged so well and flow into one another effortlessly. It's a complex album with dynamic shifts, so the listener is never bored, but it's also straight forward enough that damn near anybody could enjoy it. And, to help us non-Swedish speaking folk, TK included the English translation to the lyrics, which helps us appreciate Olle's work that much more. This is one of those rare discs where every song is practically flawless, but I do have personal favorites that touch my soul. Barndom opens my eyes and has me looking forward with great expectations. Benke, Lovsang, Oknen, have me excited about living and deeply focused on the tasks at hand. And most importantly, the title track makes me joyous and proud of my accomplishments. After breaking this album down, one can see that it's really a story about the various cycles of life. From the opening notes of I Krigets Tid I, we are born and entering the world of the living. By the end of the disc, we have lived our lives and are looking towards the next journey. Brilliant work, gentlemen . . . now I eagerly await the follow up! --Pope JTE From DPRP.net: Swedish veteran proggers Trettioåriga Kriget prove that 2004's comeback album Elden Av Ar was no flash in the pan by releasing this excellent concept album. All the usual Kriget trademarks are present here: crunchy hard rock riffs; melancholic folky moods; gloriously atmospheric Mellotrons; ringing melodic guitar leads; commanding lead vocals; superb crystal-clear production; top quality packaging. This time around they step up a level by producing a unified conceptual piece, complete with recurring musical themes and lyrical motifs. Lyricist Olle Thornvall matches his usual poetic excellence with some (seemingly) autobiographical reflections on a life lived in rock. Although the songs are sung in Swedish, the booklet provides English translations which greatly enhance one's understanding of the ideas behind this thoughtful and rewarding work. Difficult (and perhaps unfair) though it is to pick out highlights from a disc which cries out for your complete attention from start to finish, I would like to highlight a few favourite moments. Firstly, I love the superb instrumentals which bookend the piece - excellent shop windows for the band's instrumental prowess. I am often reminded of modern day Rush here, but with the added proggy textures of the Mellotron to increase my enjoyment. Next, much praise for singer Robert Zima, who is in fine voice throughout, but particularly impresses on Lovsang and Ryttaren where he has to complete with some particularly fiery accompaniment. Stefan Fredin contributes lead vocals to Benke, a wistful recollection of an old friend, and the superbly atmospheric and infectiously melodic Oknen. This highly polished and accomplished work is one which will continue to grow in one's estimation with each successive listen. T K is a band intent on continually exploring new areas and refining their techniques. Long may their quest continue. Verdict: Fabulous! Conclusion: 8.5 out of 10 From Seaoftranquility.org: For a band that's been around since 1974, Sweden's Trettioåriga Kriget still show that they can dish out the prog rock goods on their latest I Början Och Slutet. Though they have released a fair share of albums over the years, the band had a habit of never really sounding exactly the same each time out, a tradition they continue here. I Början Och Slutet is filled with dark instrumental passages littered with guitar lines and various keyboards & synths, and the vocals, though in Swedish, are well sung and highly melodic. The line-up for this album is : Stefan Fredin (bass guitar, vocals, rhytm guitar), Dag Lundquist (drums, backing vocals), Robert Zima (vocals), Christer Åkerberg (electric & acoustic guitars), Mats Lindberg (keyboards), and Olle Thörnvall (lyrics). As with 2004's reunion album Elden Av År, the band focuses on guitar driven songs bolstered by Mellotron, Hammond organ, piano, and synths, as the band meshes a little bit of their early blues-rock style with the full-blown prog sound they took part in during most of the 70's and early 80's. Tracks like 'Lovsång', 'Öknen', and the two part 'Ungdom' show a veteran band that is reaching a creative spark, as each are steeped with rich melodies and exciting instrumental interplay, especially between Åkerberg & Lindberg. 'Floden' has some great vocals from Zima that are easy to get into despite the fact that they are in Swedish, and the ominous Mellotron and biting electric guitar leads add a wonderful dramatic effect. Think of a more aggressive Pink Floyd and you have an idea of where they are going on this one. Now that Trettioåriga Kriget have shown over the last couple of years that they are back and a force to be reckoned with, let's get them on some of these progressive rock festivals so we can see what they can do in a live environment. This is very good stuff here and well worth seeking out if you like classic Swedish prog. From Progarchives: I Början Och Slutet is the eighth studio album released by the influential Swedish band Trettioåriga Kriget (Thirty Years War). It's different from the others, but from the first to the last minute the group's unique identity can be heard: music usually simple but not banal, the musicians are very talented but not exibicionist, and a constantly powerful sound without the need to go the bombastic way. The songs have the strong presence of bass and guitar riffs, and the keyboard is used normally only for harmonies, not melodies. The singer's timbre is quite peculiar and, in the case of this band with almost 40 years of history, it has aged well: the voice is still the same, only a little lower-pitched. We start with a signature track, showing all these qualities except for the voice. The music goes on a continuous crescendo, leading directly to the first song. In this album the tracks keep a certain relation between themselves, the sound is usually continuous, with no breaks between the songs. The album title means 'In the beginning and the end'; it has a vague concept, some of the songs tell about the story of a poet/musician, with titles like Childhood (Barndom) and Youth (Ungdom). These tracks are in the first half; in the second half, the character is a grown up and some of the lyrics may have been written on the road, with references to Mexico (Desert - Öknen) and Berlin (S-bahn). While the album has a constant sound, the music is always in movement, with lots of variety. There are three instrumental tracks: I Krigets Tid parts I and II, sharing a common theme, opening and closing the album; and Ungdom II, which is a continuation of the previous track, Ungdom. The band also shows some new sounds, particularly from the keyboard. The package is a luxurious digipack covered with band's artist Johan Gullberg, keeping the same quality shown in the last few releases. It includes a 20 page booklet with band photos, the original lyrics and - for the first time - their English translations, a very welcome addition. The Kriget vocals always have a good dose of emotion, so it was easy to forget about the lyrics and concentrate on the quality of the music. However, with the translation, one can finally fully appreciate all the aspects of Kriget's music. In the previous 2004 brilliant reunion album Elden Av År, Trettioåriga Kriget showed the same strength they had in the '70s, putting other reunion albums to shame. It was as if the band had never disbanded in 1981. In this new album we can confirm the previous one's quality wasn't just the adrenaline of the reunited group: I Början Och Slutet shows a vibrant band, in continuous evolution. It's a solid work, with not a single bad moment. It's 54 minutes and 12 tracks are gone before you know it, and you'll want to reach for the play button and listen to it all over again. More from Progarchives: I Början Och Slutet is Trettioåriga Kriget's second album since they returned to the music industry with 'Elden Av År' in 2004. I regard that album as their best ever, so I approached the new one with a little anxiety. The CD starts with the majestic instrumental ('I Krigets Tid'), a track that includes all the well known Trettioåriga Kriget attributes like Stefan Fredin's very legible and upfront bass and Christer Åkerberg clear guitar tone. The production, done by the band's drummer Dag Lundquist is simply superb, giving the album a very transparent sound. A good example of that is 'Barndom' and 'Ungdom', two slightly psychedelic and Doors sounding tracks. 'Ungdom II' is yet another instrumental, this time dominated by Christer Åkerbergs guitar. I'm a guitar freak but strangely enough I think this is the least successful number on the CD. Next up is 'Benke', an atmospheric piece of work with a fine melodic touch. 'Lovsång' starts slow and soft but the intensity gradually increases largely due to Mats Lindberg's massive pan-pipe sounding keyboards. 'Öknen', a fine if unspectacular number leads directly into the superb 'S-bahn' one of my favourite and heaviest tracks on this CD. After a quiet opening, 'Floden' slowly grows into a powerful crescendo and on this song Christer Åkerberg shows what an immaculate guitarist he is. 'Ryttaren', the next song has some magical and beautiful instrumental parts and once again the guitars are in the forefront. After that it's time for the catchy yet majestic and powerful title track 'I Början Och Slutet', a song that must rank as the band's best ever. The album fittingly ends with part two of the instrumental 'I Krigets Tid'. No other band (that I know of) sounds like Trettioåriga Kriget, and that is no mean feat these days when conformity is the name of the game. Do yourself a favour and get hold of this album.