The Norwegian Panzerpappa, for me, are one of the most interesting band of the last decade. Their avant prog, auto-ironic, a little bit childish, sparkling and with enough doses of Cantebury, make their album really tasty, full of contents and not at all hard to listen.
The previous 'Koralrevens Klagesang', with the collaboration of Richard Sinclair, was the peak of their career. So, for me, it was really big the waiting for this album.
News of this album is the entrance of the new member Hans-Petter Alfredsen at the keyboards and the presence of two important guest stars as Michel Berckmans (Univers Zero, Art Zoyd, Von Zamla) and Ketil Einarsen (Jaga Jazzist).
Their sound is always characterized by an exciting fusion of RIO, Canterbury, Frank Zappa and a bit of Folk, but they always keep an unchanged melodic vein that make them attractive to a wide audience of listeners progressive. Furthermore the presence of Berckmans gives a touch of chamber music to the sound of the band and makes remember the Van Zamla also for the pastoral atmospheres.
Compared to the previous albums Astromalist is more staid, disciplined and less exuberant, actually following the path started by its predecessor. Were reduced the excesses and basically it is also more user-friendly even it still remain a disk is extremely complex with time changing and edgy sound. However, as already mentioned, everything sounds smoother thanks to the melodic taste developed by Panzerpappa.
For those have in the ear still the sounds of the earlier works, Astromalist may be a little' flatter, but this flatness is only apparent. It is an album rich in content, able to win you and to fully discover in all its shades after several listen. Itís an album able to achieve a stylistic perfection, where each note is weighted and in the right place,
In addition to Michel Berckmans and Ketil Einarsen, there is actually a third major purchase and it is the producer Udi Koomran, 'everywhere man' of each avant prog production and as always he is able to perfectly frame the sound of the band, highlighting their enormous talent .
Astromalist shows a mature band, a band solid and sturdy, a band aware of their own means,
even though it may lack the panache and a touch of healthy madness that characterized the earlier works.
Astromalist continue on the road of 'Koralrevens Klagesang' filing even more the extravagances.
Perhaps, because of my attitude, I still prefer the previous Panzerpappa,
maybe 'Koralrevens Klagesang' it was a good compromise, but the quality is absolutely unchanged.
Astromalist however it is a very high level release, to discover and appreciate in its entirety through the listening.
Astromalist is still an album that stands for quality in the progressive scene today.
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