Album: All Will Be Golden
Label: Svart Records
Genre: Progressive/Psychedelic Rock
Release Date: September 21st, 2018
I don’t think anyone can deny the effect the rock scene of the late 70’s had in shaping music industry as we now know it, especially the modern prog scene. The shift from short, self-contained songs to longer ones that were often parts of concept albums or short series can be seen in albums such as “Animals” by Pink Floyd or “2112” by Rush. Stories within music were starting to become more abundant and instrumentation had to change in order to convey all the ideas and emotions portrayed in the music. With their sophomore album “All Will Be Golden”, Finish band Superfjord are able to go back to the roots of the modern rock prog scene with an album that would feel at home sometime between the Summer of Love and the end of the Vietnam War while maintaining a modern aesthetic.
The album begins with the palm muted riffing of the first song, ‘Cut and Paste’. A guitar solo with a heavy-rock ethereal quality takes over the song at the halfway mark as the bass, drums and added bongos frantically keep up with the pace before converging again into another temp change. The song finishes as keyboard sounds give way to a Porcupine Tree-esque sound where a guitar riff with a slight reverb/delay sound and a saxophone bring things to a close.
Off to a very strong start, the album continues with the bass riff opening of the second song, ‘Master Architect’. An atmosphere of curious serenity is established as droning sounds and ghostly guitar effects are used before the full band comes in with the groovies beat of the album. A saxophone riff repeats several times before the only vocal line of the song comes in telling you to “remind yourself, this is a dream”. The dream ends much like it began, with the main instrumental chorus and droning as you eventually drift off to sleep.
Now, the previous part was only a metaphor. Don’t fall asleep yet because the third track ‘Rainbow’ kicks in fast with possibly the most straightforward music writing in the album. As the shortest song in the album, the focus here is not just on the atmosphere but the rock music quality as power chords mix with harmonized vocals. The music builds up into one of the best guitar solos I have heard in a rock song. The solo changes in style as it builds up with a wah-pedal effect but with a hardrock feel. The solo passes of the baton as the keyboard takes over for its own solo section before bringing the song back to the main riff.
At this point, the band has shown a wide diversity of sound that will continue for the rest of the album. ‘No Rest for the Wicked’ is a song that starts with a full band riff before taking things down to focus on the atmosphere created by the rhythm instruments. This continues to a full band crescendo before settling things back down to finish with a saxophone heavy outro. This format is more or less consistent with the next song ‘Parvati Valley’ except here the focus is to start slowly and gradually build up to the end. A fuzz heavy guitar riff comes in and eventually harmonizes with another guitar as the keyboards, drums and vocals are used to give the song a very spiritual feel. The song builds up even more with a keyboard solo and fuzz laden guitars that give the song a sense of frantic happiness.
The final song of the album ‘Rainha da Floresta’ (‘Forest Queen’ in Portuguese) has a very interesting dynamic feel to it. The song begins with the sound of birds chirping. This, couple with the bass riff and intermittent guitar sounds make it seem like you are taking a stroll down a forest road until it start thundering above (2:30 minutes into the song). Then, all of a sudden, the downpour starts. The use of saxophone and beating drums serve to add a sense of urgency as you seek to take shelter from the rain. No place will provide full cover, but it does not matter, since you are not in any danger and you get to witness the beauty of nature at its best.
Superfjord manage to create a very dynamic and organic album through the use of dynamics and instrumental textures. This is what music should be when your focus is to convey emotion using mainly instruments. From longer psychedelic pieces to more measured hard rock sounds, if you grew up listening to late 60’s – 70’s music, this album should hit just right. My only drawback would be with some of the song development. Sometimes, I felt that the music repeated itself more than it should and several instruments, such as the saxophone, should have been given more commanding roles/chances to explore in certain spots. An amazing sophomore album, this is music that is easy to get into but becomes more dynamic with more listens. With this album – all, is indeed, golden.
Stand Out Tracks:
No Rest for the Wicked
1. Cut and Paste
2. Master Architect
4. No Rest for the Wicked
5. Parvati Valley
6. Rainha da Floresta
Total Playing Time: 48:53