Jethro Tull, RökFlöte (Inside Out 2023)

Classic rock band Jethro Tull release their 23rd (!) studio album, RökFlöte.

What is the first thing you think of when you hear Jethro Tull brought up? “Aqualung?” Good chance. Or maybe just that they were the first (and mostly only) rock band to make ready and regular use of a flute. If you are a metalhead, you might remember how they won a grammy in a heavy metal category one time – they are a classic rock band, hard rock, sure, but never, ever a heavy metal band. What I think of first is Heavy Horses (1978), because that was the first album of theirs I ever heard.

I am big fan of Jethro Tull. After I heard Heavy Horses, I collected everything else of theirs and bought all the new stuff that came out after that for a long time. I stuck with them until Roots And Branches (1995), and dropped off after that. There is so much good prog hard rock in their albums up to that point that I never felt like a shortage of JT tunes existed so I didn’t follow the albums after that. Now we have RökFlöte, and I thought I would give it a listen because a lot of time has passed and I don’t really know what the band sounds like now. There have been a few lineup changes over the years, naturally. The current list of musicians, according to the band’s website, is Ian Anderson (flute, guitar, bouzouki, mandolin, harmonica, vocals), Joe Parrish (guitar), Scott Hammond (drums), John O’Hara (piano, keys), and David Goodier (bass).

There are a dozen tracks on the new album. First up, “Voluspo.” It is a kind of intro piece, with sound effects and a person speaking not-English. The flute floats in after a minute or so, joined by rhythm instruments in a very Jethro Tull way. More speaking, this time in English and by Ian Anderson. The guitar is quite good. “Ginnungagap” is next, one of the songs that was released in advance as a single. It is a quiet, unassuming song with a nice lilt to it. The singing leans toward talk-singing, which is fine and perhaps a compromise. “Allfather” is in a similar vein with a bit more pep. It sounds like Jethro Tull.

The album overall is a relatively quiet collection of songs. I wouldn’t call it watered down, because there are many exceptional moments in composition. It is just that the songs are pretty much all on the quieter side, even tracks like “Hammer on Hammer” or “Wolf Unchained” or “The Navigators” which do have more active guitar parts. For long-time fans, this is a great album. Also, I would think, for new listeners who don’t have strong memories of the old albums – I suspect they might like it quite a lot. I like it, too. I just wouldn’t rank it among the band’s finest.

RökFlöte is out now, and available everywhere. Check out the band’s website (link below) for varieties and merch.


Jethro Tull website,


Inside Out Music,

© Wayne Edwards

Jethro Tull, RökFlöte (Inside Out 2023)