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Wobbler - Dwellers of the Deep Award winner

Wobbler
Dwellers of the Deep
by Emily Schneider at 09 November 2020, 6:31 PM

From the 'straight out of a fantasy film' scenery of Hønefoss, Norway, WOBBLER reigns as a torch-runner of modern day '70s style Prog and has for over 20 years. Their first studio album was created in 2004 and they have since released three more albums. Their fourth album “Dwellers of the Deep” has been cultivated over a long amount of time, some songs were sprouting even before their third album “From Silence to Somewhere” came to light. The multi-instrumental five piece recorded this four song wonder in 2019 into 2020 and it was released in October, just in time for the rapid changes of autumn.

The opening track “By the Banks” begins with a organ and synth heavy intro. Intricate waves and flowing notes paint the scene of the River Styx and the Underworld from Greek mythology. There's this captivating dark whimsy with the contrasting hum of the mellotron and the dancing organ melodies. The second part is full of soaring bass lines and dreamy vocals that not only tell the story of Hades and Persephone, but bring it to life in music form so beautifully. The goddess of spring is shown with vibrant keys, the god of the underworld is in contrast with low toned organ and it blissfully merges by the end of the track.

“Five Rooms” has some stellar, fluttering guitars and keys, like the flapping of fairy wings. This song is like opening the pages of a fantasy book, full of pixie dust and magic unknown to everyone but the wielder. I can imagine a lush forest, illuminated by fireflies and arcane light with the playful melodies and timing. The vibrant magic lights are extinguished in a decrescendo about 6 minutes into the track. All I could picture is the forest tarnished, but the sprouts of new life burst from the charred earth showing the coming of spring once more with the hopeful organ that closes the song.

“Naiad Dreams” has a folk song feel with a quaint forest breeze like guitar throughout, plus some bells, flutes, and a myriad of other folk instruments that trickle in as the song goes along. This song is a like a lucid dream with colors so vibrant and full, waking up (meaning when the song ends) is a jarring return to reality.

“Merry Macabre” is another dark whimsical track revolving around Greek mythology. There is this lavish feel to the beginning of the song with a low and smooth bass line paired with velvety guitar riffs during the first part. It leads into some ominous organ and layered vocals, like condemnation is coming. The horns and utterly chilling piano really paints a nightmare-like bit at the end of part 1. Part II has a lurking danger feeling to it. The military-like rhythm paired with guitars builds an almost vengeful, chaotic setting. The way the flutes and guitars build and die back down, like a slow burning fire really creates a feeling of foreboding in part III as well. The way the vocals are blended into this part is so haunting and you can imagine the dark abyss of the Underworld whirling around you as you sink into the track. It soon swirls into a divine instrumental portion. Then it all pauses and a melancholy nostalgic piano portion carries you out of the pool of souls. This follows with Elysian Fields painted by perfect heavy synths to close out this whirlwind of a track and album itself.

All and all, this album is a classic Prog lover's dream. There's bits of early GENESIS along with the high flying bass lines of YES, but plenty of stand out portions that are authentically WOBBLER. As a massive fan of synth heavy Prog, this was such a pleasure to listen to. The massive variety of instruments every member played within 4 songs was an impressive feat as well. They used this variety of instruments to create a whimsical wonderland with lush forests and dark magic, and brought some tales of Greek Gods to audible life with it.  To sum it all up, this album is refreshing while still creating a nostalgic feel of the decades of Prog that came before it.


Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10


5 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. By the Banks
2. Five Rooms
3. Naiad Dreams
4. Merry Macabre
 
Lineup:
Andreas Wettergreen Strømman Prestmo - lead vocals, guitars, bass guitar, recorder
Marius Halleland - 6 & 12 string electric guitars & backing vocals
Kristian Karl Hultgren - bass guitars
Lars Fredrik Frøislie - keyboards & backing vocals
Martin Kneppen - drums & percussion
Record Label: Karisma Records
     


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