Most music fans generally think of either Abba or extreme metal when thinking of Sweden. However, Sweden has become increasingly associated with another sub genre of rock in recent years thanks to the likes of The Flower Kings. The Flower Kings is just one band that is beginning to change audiences’ perception of music from Sweden. On the heavier end of the prog spectrum is a band by the name of Beardfish. Fans of Dream theater or its former drummer Mike Portnoy might recognize the name of Beardfish as he actually recently gave the band a shout out on his personal Facebook page. He had quite the positive things to say of Beardfish. And it’s no wonder why he had such good things to say.
Beardfish’s new album, “The Void” is an extensive prog-metal experience. It opens somewhat abruptly with the narrator led ‘Introduction.’ But once it launches into ‘Voluntary Slavery’ listeners know they’re in for quite the hard rock experience. The best comparison one can make with Beardfish on this album is to Tool. Vocalist Richard Sjoblom’s vocals are just as powerful as those of Tool front man Maynard James Kenan. When the band launches into ‘Turn To Gravel’, audiences really get a taste of that vocal ability. Strangely enough, there’s even a touch of Glen Danzig and James LaBrie in his voice here, too. Sjoblom’s band mates get their chance to shine here, too. Guitarist David Zackrisson, drummer Magnus Ostgren and bassist Robert Hansen play like a well oiled machine throughout the song’s five and a half minute run time.
Fans of Dream Theater will enjoy ‘This Matter of Mine.’ Zackrisson’s guitar work is similar to that of Dream Theater’s John Petrucci here. And Ostgren’s work behind the kit is as strong as former DT drummer Mike Portnoy. That being noted, it’s no wonder why Portnoy himself recently sang the praises of this band on his own Facebook page. For all the intensity of the band’s new album, there is a lighter moment. ‘Seventeed Again’ is an interesting little piano based prog/jazz hybrid that will keep any listener’s ear despite its near eight minute run time.
Fans of really classic rock and classic prog rock will also find themselves jamming out to ‘He Already Lives In You.’ There are hints of so many classic prog acts in this song that it will leave listeners’ heads spinning. Whether for this song or any of the others on this album, it goes without saying that Beardfish may very well have another of this year’s sleeper hits. “The Void” is available now in stores and online. The band is currently slated to perform in Tallinn, Estonia on October 7th. To keep up with the latest tour dates and news from Beardfish, fans can go online to http://www.beardfishband.com, http://www.facebook.com/beardfish, http://twitter.com/beardfishband, http://www.myspace.com/beardfishband, and http://www.youtube.com/user/beardfishband.
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