Vulkan returns for a third round of heavy prog with Technatura, a story of nature versus the made-up world.
This band from Sweden band has released two earlier albums, Observants in 2016 and Mask of Air in 2011. What do they sound like? Well, they are a prog band, and that means … it could mean a lot of different things. I always have Emerson, Lake, and Palmer jump into my head when I hear the category “prog” mentioned. If Vulkan is ELP, then their earlier albums are like Love Beach and the new one is more like Black Moon. I hope that helps. [Note: They don’t really sound much like ELP.]
The band is Jimmy Lindblad (vox and percussion), Johan Norbäck (drums), Christian Fredriksson (guitars), Oscar Pettersson (bass), and Olle Edberg (keys, synthesizers). The music is indeed overall on the guitar side of town, and yet the keys do get a lot of work throughout. Technatura does sound heavier to me than the earlier two albums, and I like that aspect. The album is arranged on five pillars of long songs surrounded by about that same number of shorter pieces, plus a smattering of interludes. Long-form music does not lend itself well to singles, but the band did release a shorter piece, “Marans ritt,” as a single and you might have seen it on a playlist here or there.
It would be crazy to pick a favorite track, but I am going to give it a try anyway: “Redemption Simulations,” because of the killer percussion and bass lines that start the song off and the arc of the composition overall. Yeah, but see then the very next song, “Bewildering Conception of Truth,” has great guitars, innovative shifts and changes, and a dedicated through-line; “Rekviem” has a wicked vamp at the front; the closer has stomping giants and a wall of heavy riffs. I take it back. I don’t have a favorite. There is too much here to like to hold one piece above another.
Technatura is out now at all your favorite places. Listen on Spotify to see what you think and if you like what you hear, support the band with a download or a merch purchase. If I am in a prog mood, this is the kind I want to listen to.