|Mike McLatchey||13-July-2001||From Within|
Anekdoten have not wandered far from their roots as a King Crimson cover band. It's probably safe to say that their approach combines both the mellotron-laden melancholy of Crimson's early period and the aggressive and dynamic methods of the infamous mid-period. Personally, I've never been that much of a King Crimson fan, and it's perhaps this that somewhat hinders my enjoyment of Anekdoten's music. Most of the same characteristics that were on their debut and subsequent albums are also here on From Within. There is the generous portion of mellotron (for many a symphonic rock fan, this is more than enough), the angular and somewhat predictable patterns of Nicklas Berg's guitar playing, and the John Wetton-like approach that Jan Erik Liljestrom takes to both his vocals and bass. In many ways, Anekdoten are taking the same evolutionary pattern that their musical cousins Landberk did, by taking their style and refining it over a series of albums. Are there any differences on From Within? A few, but not many. Occasionally, they'll develop an almost space rock vibe on a few of their riffs, but all this does is make me yearn for a guitar solo, something severely lacking in the majority of Anekdoten's output. I can imagine that From Within will be quite the draw for most symphonic rock lovers, it's well produced, has some really nice melodies, and is possibly their most accessible to date. For those hoping for development or a major evolutionary step, it's possible that this will seem, disappointment being too strong a word, somewhat lacking.
|Rob Walker||17-May-2001||Overview (through Vemod)|
In February of 1990, guitarist Nicklas Berg and bassist/vocalist Jan Erik Liljestrom began discussing the idea of forming a band together. They had both played in various local groups around their hometown of Borlange, Sweden for years, but were interested in exploring more deeply the area of progressive rock. Percussionist Peter Nordin, who had played with Nicklas through most of the '80s, was also keen to delve into progressive rock, so the three of them formed King Edward, playing primarily King Crimson covers.
Cellist Anna Sofi Dahlberg had been playing strictly folk and classical music when she saw a King Edward performance in early 1991. Having been interested in playing in a progressive rock band for some time, she approached Nicklas about the possibility of joining the group. The band welcomed the new musical possibilities brought by Anna's cello, and in the fall of 1991 began rehearsals under the name of Anekdoten. They began writing their own material, and that winter recorded a five song demo which included the songs "Karelia", "The Old Man And The Sea", and "Thoughts In Absence".
Throughout 1992 they rehearsed and played gigs, occasionally with fellow progressive bands Anglagard and Landberk. In the winter of 1992 they recorded a second demo containing the balance of the songs which would appear on their first album, "Vemod". The demos received an enthusiastic response from several progressive labels, so the band began looking for a suitable studio to record the album. They finally settled on Studio Largen after hearing Anglagard's debut Hybris, also recorded there. With the help of Landberk's Simon Nordberg, the band completed a month of recording sessions in early April 1993. As the summer passed almost a dozen labels showed an interest in releasing the CD, but inspired by the success of Anglagard's Hybris, which the group distributed themselves, Anekdoten also chose to release Vemod on their own. Jan Erik and Tord Lindman of Anglagard had made contact with distributors throughout the US, Japan, and Europe, so by the time of the release of Vemod in early September they had more than 1000 CDs on order. A release party in their hometown on the 24th of September was a great success, and within three days the initial pressing of 1500 copies had sold out.
In the summer of 1994 Anekdoten undertook a mini-tour of Europe, which included a two day progressive rock festival in Altomonte, Italy. There they were one of two headlining acts, along with Project Osanna, consisting of members of Osanna and Citta Frontale. After Progfest they embarked on a 15 date US tour with the band Discipline, and made an appearance at Progscape in Baltimore.
(originally reviewed as part of Progfest '94 Preview, Exposé #5,
p. 14, Edited for Gnosis 5/12/01)
Jan Erik Liljeström - bass, voice
In May 1990, Nicklas Berg, Jan Erik Liljeström and Peter Nordins formed a King Crimson cover band under the moniker King Edward in the town of Borlänge, Sweden. Cellist Anna Sofi Dahlberg joined the group in August 1991. As the band began focusing on original material the name was changed to Anekdoten, first suggested by Nicklas. In December 1991, Anekdoten's initial demo tape was recorded, which included the songs "Karelia," "The Old Man & The Sea," "Thoughts In Absence," "Darkness Descends" and "Sad Rain." A second demo was laid down the following year, which contained the songs "Where Solitude Remains," "The Flow," "Longing," and 'Wheel." These songs comprised the material for Anekdoten's debut CD Vemod, which was professionally recorded at Studio Largen in Sweden in the spring of 1993. Vemod is translated as "melancholy, sadness", an apropos title. The dark, brooding, but beautiful soundscapes full of angular Crimsoid guitars, haunting cello, mellotron, and plaintive English vocals, made Vemod an instant latter-day progressive classic.
Anekdoten's freshman disc garnered exceedingly positive reviews, and invitations to perform live all around the world. During 1994 the band played to enraptured audiences in Europe and North America, culminating in a headline performance at Progfest '94 in Los Angeles. Recording for a second album began in earnest in the summer and fall of 1995. The heavier sophomore effort Nucleus was the fruit of these sessions. This CD was as well-received as the first, and Anekdoten gigged all over Europe and Japan in 1996 and 1997. The four-song live EP from a Swedish concert, and the double live album Official Bootleg-Live in Japan, was released in 1997. The Japanese live set included five previously unreleased tracks. This pristine-sounding recording is the definitive document of a typical powerful Anekdoten performance.
In summer 1998 Anekdoten performed at the week-long ProgEst festival in Quebec City and came south of the border for a few US club dates. In October 1998 Nicklas Berg and Peter Nordins teamed up with Stefan Dimle and Reine Fiske of Landberk to form Morte Macabre. This side project produced the bone-chilling but gorgeous Symphonic Holocaust CD, mainly consisting of soundtrack themes from 1970's era horror movies.
October 1999 saw the release of the long-awaited third studio album From Within. Nicklas Berg has more lead vocals on this new CD as the band felt his voice better suited the material. Introspective and dark, but musically and emotionally powerful, From Within shows further development in Anekdoten's composition and lyric writing. Immediately after the album's release Anekdoten played gigs in Italy, Germany, France and Belgium. After a few weeks rest, the band embarked on their first-ever South American tour. In June 2000 Anekdoten played at the second annual North East Art Rock Festival in Pennsylvania.
|Links for further information|