AIRBAG – Disconnected (2016)
Norwegian band AIRBAG can trace its history back to sometime in the ’90s, but didn’t actually release an official debut album until 2009. Since then they have released new material at a fairly steady pace, and have become one of the better known of the contemporary progressive rock bands in the process. “Disconnected” is their new studio recording, an elaborated yet accessible piece including truly great moments.
Airbag is as Progressive as Prog Rock can be, long lingering guitar solos with chords that stretch past the count of an individual musical bar blends with softly played synthesizers and keyboards, while the subtle vocals (think Steven Wilson,) which are earnest, and in top form.
The music of “Disconnected” is hauntingly beautiful, moving, strange, and cosmic.
The opening “Killer” prepares the listener for a rich, full-layered Neo / Crossover output, embroided with influences by the greats from the ’70s to the ’90s (melodic) progressive rock.
The quartet seem like they have studied sound production and produce a very warm feeling through detailed orchestration, melodic guitar solos and delicate-but-intricate drumming.
They blend mostly secondary influences from “traditional” progressive rock i.e. “Slave” shows a keenness to David Gilmour solo works, while the rest of the album borrows from Riverside-alike soundscapes, very reminiscent of Hogarth, second era Marillion.
The title track is one of the more dynamic pieces of the bunch, in parts is soft, in others loud, at others heavy, while music that is bizarre but passionate as hell plays havoc with your sense of what is real and what is made up. The vocals suit perfectly the music particularly on the low-octaves.
Also worth a listen is “Sleepwalker” that will leave you spellbound, and the sensational guitars of the love song that is the closing track, “Returned,” is a gorgeous beyond belief song that tells of a person who would do anything to be back in the arms of that loved one.
“Disconnected” should be one of the best produced records of the year.
The mixing is incredible, the sound astonishing, with every note coming up crystal clear. The vocals are audible and easily understood. The lyrics make sense, and the musicianship pretty breathtaking.
Songwise, all the six compositions are varied, no fillers to have to worry will come along and ruin the progression of sensations that are felt during this CD’s playing time.
Of course, mainstream radio will let this almost perfect collection of prog music come and go with not so much as a mention, but for lovers of the intense, the heartfelt, the reflective, and the sincere type of Progressive Rock that Airbag plays – and plays so perfectly – this is a must have.
If Hogarth-era Marillion, Porcupine Tree, David Gilmour solo, Steven Wilson and alike are your thing, then you will love “Disconnected”.
01 – Killer
02 – Broken
03 – Slave
04 – Sleepwalker
05 – Disconnected
06 – Returned
Asle Tostrup – vocals, keyboards, programming
Bjørn Riis – guitars, keyboards, backing vocals
Anders Hovdan – bass
Henrik Fossum – drums
produced by Asle Tostrup & Bjørn Riis
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