Anekdoten are considered as one of the leading bands in contemporary progressive rock. Their intensive, dark, dynamic and for each subsequent release more original music have also made an appeal among metal-, goth- and post-rock fans all over the world.
Gravity review Sid Smith the authour of the book "In The Court Of King Crimson" (Helter Skelter Publishing), which chronicles the origins and development of King Crimson.
"The opening track, Monolith, spanks along in a chill rush of breath-taking ‘tron that is as bracing as a fresh autumn day. Impassioned themes briskly rise and fall against grunge-laden guitars as the band rock out big time. With hardly a pause, the second track, Ricochet, delivers more of the same. It’s akin to a short ride in a fast car with barely any time to take in the details. Despite its brevity the trip is surprisingly exciting.
Not surprisingly they slow the pace down with The War Is Over – a light innocuous soft-rock idyll which steers dangerously close to being MOR. Any worries that this is heading to blandland is quickly dispelled by the pensive menace of What Should But Did Not Die.
True the dark, brooding pedaling on the octave is reminiscent of the early parts of Floyd’s Careful With That Axe Eugene but in this instance, that can be taken as a compliment. The track builds into a trance-like rapture of smoldering intensity.
It’s possible that prog purists will have a bit of trouble with this album, preferring instead the abrasive angular qualities of their previous releases.
Instead there’s a greater focus on the song and less instrumental pyrotechnics. On Gravity, with its plusher production values, the focus seems to rest on the integration of voices and bitter-sweet melody. The cascading showers of echoed guitars, whooshing cymbal-work at the end of the sublime SW4 is particularly recommended.
The eight tracks benefit from a tight construction and deceptively compact arrangements leaving little or no room for any extraneous soloing. Everything presented is utilized in a no-nonsense manner leading to a punchy fast-paced album.
If you think that all Anekdoten have to contribute is a smarty-pants pastiche or a dewy-eyed backwards glance to the glory days of prog then you’d be wrong. Their roots are visible to be sure but they’ve long outgrown the charge that they are merely a bunch of Crimso-wannabee’s.
Sid Smith/KCNN Diaries
Anekdoten was formed in 1991 by Anna Sofi Dahlberg, Nicklas Berg (now Barker), Peter Nordins and Jan Erik Liljeström and the line up has remained intact since the beginning. Anekdoten has released 5 studio albums on their own Virta-label and 3 live albums in Japan. The Anekdoten album sales have exceeded 75 000 copies.
Their debut album ‘Vemod’ was released in 1993 and was an instant classic. Their reputation as a great live act was established after their performance at Progfest in Los Angeles, which was the most important festival for new prog bands at the time. Since then they have been touring in Europe numerous times, played in the USA three times and Japan twice. Anekdoten has also performed in Canada, Argentina and Brazil.
The follow up ‘Nucleus’, released late 1995, was an uncompromised, grungy and distorted affair. Some found it too heavy and diabolic, others found ‘Nucleus’ to be a leap forward for the band. ‘Nucleus’ confirmed the band’s status within the prog community and is considered a cult album by many of the fans.
In 1998 Nicklas and Peter teamed up with Stefan Dimle and Reine Fiske from another of Sweden's acclaimed progressive bands at the time - Landberk - to record an album under the moniker Morte Macabre. The album ‘Symphonic Holocaust’ mainly consisted of soundtrack themes from 70's era horror movies. Stefan is nowadays playing with Paatos and Reine is one of the two founding members of the acclaimed underground sensation Dungen.
Anekdotens third studio album ‘From Within’ was released in 1999. On ‘From Within’ the band moved slightly away from the 70's influenced progressive rock of its predecessors and towards a more contemporary sound.
Their fourth album ‘Gravity’ is perhaps their most accessible. It was released in 2003 and divided the fan base into two camps - those who thought that Anekdoten had sold out and those who found that they were getting better and better.
The Japanese Arcángelo label have released 3 live albums by Anekdoten:
- a 4 track mini-CD called ‘Live EP’ (1997)
- the 2-CD ‘Official Bootleg, Live In Japan’ (1998)
-the CD ‘Waking The Dead, Live In Japan 2005’ (also released as a 2 LP by the band)