VARGTON PROJEKT – ProgXprimetal (2011)
The seeds for Vargton Projekt started in 2006 based around some very talented Swedes; guitarist Mats Hedberg, Grammy winning drummer Morgan Ågren and vocalist Björn Jansson.
First intended to be an instrumental album, Hedberg invited Jansson (Tears Of Anger, Ride The Sky) to put some vocals on selected tracks. Keyboardist Hans Lundin (Kaipa) was asked to play on 3 tracks and percussionist Giovanni Imparato (Paco de Lucia) from Naples was also added to the recording.
Alessandro Gwis contributed additional basic keyboard parts and some electronic stuff, which added a further dimension to the music whilst wizard Lars Eric Mattsson performs some guest guitar solo duels with Hedberg.
Opener “Jaipur” has some of the most crazy guitar work you’ll hear this year, underpinning an eastern flavored track -complete with sitar solo- propelled along by fantastically fluid drumming and mammoth bass lines, showcasing as well potent vocal parts by Björn Jansson.
“Uggarderojr” is a bluesy, heavy-funky guitar workout that will have Steve Vai fans -indeed lovers of all guitar based music- smiling for a while. And that hard rockin’ voice. What can I say? Jansson is a revelation.
He also performs convincingly vocals on the somehow midtempo “II – Rendition”, a track with an unusual pattern, and on the twisted prog metal/hard rocker “III – Defender & Believers”.
The real power experimentation of Hedberg and Agren begin with “Outrott” and continue to the end. The vocals are gone, and both musicians seem to allow more freedom of creativity and expression in the arrangements.
Largely the music of ProgXprimetal is quite intellectual, more geared to the technician than to the sofa relaxing listener. Yet Vargton Projekt can be accessible as on the friendly and spirited “Allegro Vivace” or the acoustic beauty of “Norrsken”.
There are a number of shorter, more esoteric ‘bridging’ pieces dotted about the album, but when it comes to the meatier tunes every single one is a complex trip of musicianship. So much variety, so much quality.
“ProgXprimetal” as the title may suggest is a varied release that will satisfy those who like elaborated prog metal, as well as fans of hard rock in general on the vocal tracks, and those who prefer more experimental, avant-garde soundscapings.
Basically, the typical things that characterize thechnical prog metal and experimental rock are found on this album, such as mindboggling odd time signatures, unusual song structures and showcasing of musical prowess as well as genre transgression.
Thus you can expect crushingly heavy guitars, mellow jazzy/prog rock solos, groovy riffage, funky bass figures, latin beats, bluesy hard rock guitars, elements from non-western music … and dialogue in Swedish.
To give you some kind of reference, think Liquid Tension Experiment (Dream Theater’s members side project), Steve Vai’s most crazy work, Mattias IA Eklundh’s Freak Guitar albums, King Crimson, Frank Zappa, etc.
At first glance I should say that “ProgXprimetal” is not for everyone, but if you like to be challenged as a listener, check out this album pronto – you won’t regret it.
One thing is for sure, the guys in Vargton Projekt are insanely talented musicians who, as the title of this album indicates, are not afraid to experiment with the sounds of metal and combine this with elements from other genres.
What is it about Sweden, that there’s such a breadth, and depth of musical talent on offer?
01 – Jaipur
02 – Ujevkoszonto
03 – Uggarderojr
04 – Rjoredraggu
05 – I – The Gathering
06 – II – Rendition
07 – III – Defender & Believers
08 – Norrsken
09 – Lvorna
10 – Capriccio
11 – U Playin On My Drum
12 – Outrott
13 – Allegro Vivace
14 – Digerrojr
15 – Vargton
16 – Naudljaus
17 – Tokeri 1
18 – Tokeri 2
Mats Hedberg – Guitars, Sitar & Ebow
Morgan Ågren – Drums & Percussion
Björn Jansson – Vocals
Giovanni Imparato – Percussion & Animal Voices
Hans Lundin – Organ & Nord Lead
Alessandro Gwis – Keyboards & Laptop Sampler
Fabrizio Sciannameo – Bass
Lorenzo Feliciati – Bass
Marco Caudai – Bass
Lars Eric Mattsson – Guitar solos 1, 3, 5 and 7
BUY IT !