Album recorded and mixed at Polyvox Studio, Stockholm, Sweden july-august 1975.
Engineer: Peter in de Betou
Bonustrack 7 recorded live at Mariahissen, Stockholm, Sweden November 1977.
Bonustracks 8 & 9 recorded at Grunden, Saltsjöbaden, Sweden spring 1977.
Original cover artwork: Johan Gullberg
Cover design: Ossie
Photos: Johan Gullberg, Jan-Åke Persson, Tomas Johansson
Remastered by Claes Persson & Dag Lundquist at CRP Recording, Stockholm, Sweden
Produced by Trettioåriga Kriget
Stefan Fredin- bass guitar, vocals
Dag Lundquist- drums, percussion, vocals
Robert Zima. Vocals
Christer Åkerberg- electric & acoustic guitars
Olle Thörnvall- lyrics
I was much more familiar with Krigssang, having owned an earlier CD version for a number of years, but the improvement in sound quality is revelatory! The whole thing really leaps into life, revealing many a nuance and subtlety previously buried in the mix. This was, and remains, my favourite TK disc, refining and developing the sound in no small measure, with the monumental Krigssang II shining brightly, with mucho mellotron, synth and bass solos amongst the riff-rocking guitars to please the greedy prog fan. Whilst retaining a uniquely Swedish character, there are also similarities with Yes Album era Yes. The shrieking falsetto vocals provide a distinctly different flavour, which still startle after repeated listens. Over 17 minutes, this epic track never fails to hold the attention. Marvellous!
The disc is worth getting just for that track, but there are plenty of other goodies too – from the moody title track with its unmistakeable Swedish character and throbbing bass, the more gentle pairing of Metamorfoser and Jach Och..., to the menacing riffing of Mitt Mirakel, and not forgetting Murar, which is surprisingly funky.
Krigssang is, after all this time, still a work of powerful intensity, conjuring strange moods and unsettling atmospheres with its tortuous riffs and complex metres. The Bonus cuts are early versions of tunes that would appear on the next album (1978’s Hej Pa Er) and show a further shift in the sound to reveal a slicker, more polished and commercial (if less adventurous) band, with the addition of keyboards and saxophone courtesy of Mats Lindberg. It’s still good stuff and makes a nice addition to the CD.
Without a doubt, it have got to be my favourite reissue of 2004.
8.5 out of 10
So Floyd emails me. Says he's got a stack for me to review....Great, I say. Can't wait. When the package arrives I'm faced with six albums by artists I've never heard. I decide to start with Trettioåriga Kriget’s Krigssång, from 1975. A little research reveals that the band is still active with its lineup intact and that they played Prog Day in Chapel Hill, just down the road from me. I figure this could be good. So after having a couple of listens to this, what do I think? I think this is one of the best progressive rock albums I've ever heard.
The keyboards are very understated, but when present, support the other instrumentation nicely. The stars of the show is the bass work of Stefan Fredin and the guitar of Christer Åkerberg, although Dag Lundquist's drum work is top notch as well. Robert Zima's vocals are strong as well, but listeners not familiar with the Swedish language may need a few listens to get adjusted to it, but once you do you'll discover Zima has a wonderfully rich, evocative voice.
The first five tracks are all relatively short and every song is near perfection in execution and composition. This is exactly how shorter progressive pieces should be done. Nothing ever stays around in the songs to get boring and yet, you never feel like anything is rushed or hurried for the sake of getting in an extra guitar figure or bass run. These songs are economical and exciting.
The highlight of the album is the 17 minute title track. I can't really find the words to accurately describe just how good this is. You'll just have to find out for yourself.
While Fredin, Akerberg and Lundquist will occasionally remind one of their Yes counterparts every now and again, they never sound anything like Yes. So while Åkerberg will play something that might remind one of Steve Howe or Lundquist will do something reminiscent of Bruford or White, the group's overall sound doesn't bring to mind Yes at all.
The production is perfect throughout the album. The particular copy I have is remastered and was reissued last year on the Mellotronen label. Three additional tracks are included, but as is the case in may reissues they sound a bit tacked on. All three are very good and almost as good as the songs on the actual album, but should be taken as what they are, extra songs.
Krigssång is one of those albums where everything works. A towering work.
Whether or not you can pronounce their name, the music of Trettioåriga Kriget (The Thirty Years War) has universal progressive rock appeal. The Swedish outfit's unique take on heavy progressive rock may not knock you out on the first, second or even the third listen but over time, these tunes will haunt you. Krigssång, Trettioåriga's second album, was originally released in 1975 and the remaster under review is superb both in terms of sound quality and packaging. An added bonus is the informative history (in English) on the making of Krigssång by lyricist Olle Thornvall in the attractively designed booklet.
Describing the music of Trettioåriga is no easy task because they don't really sound like anybody else! They have a dramatic vocalist in Robert Zima who sounds like a cross between David Byron and Robert Plant. There's some good falsetto voices as well, calling to mind some of the classic Italian progressive bands such as New Trolls, J.E.T. and Alphataurus. With regard to instrumentation, most of the music consists of electric and acoustic guitars, ringing fuzzy bass guitar and excellent drums courtesy of Dag Lundquist. There's some uncredited keyboards here as well, mainly a sprinkling of Mellotron and Minimoog.
Every song is a winner here, with the creepy gothic title track that opens the CD being a particular highlight. Most of the songs fall under the five minute mark and are truly intricate mini epics as "Metamorfoser" and "Mitt Mirakel" amply demonstrate. The band shows a softer side with the acoustic oriented "Jag Och Jag Och "Jag". But the real masterpiece here is the 17 minute "Kriggsång II". It goes through many moods and emotions, at times dark and oppressive while managing to be uplifting and triumphant. The CD concludes with three bonus tracks that, while not quite of the same caliber as the CD proper, give a good indication of where the band was headed next.
Anyone who likes the darker, heavier side of progressive rock would do well to check out Krigssång. The Swedish lyrics may take some getting used to, but don't let that stop you from investigating one of the classics of the European progressive rock scene.