(All Album Reviews by avestin)
The band returns with the last part of their trilogy and the third album since their reunion. Named Efter Efter, meaning After After, I hope this name and the album being a trilogy closer don't imply the band is done with. Thinking about it, it seems not likely at all, as they have been getting media coverage and enthusiastic responses to their last albums and they've been touring and will continue to do so, in and outside their homeland of Sweden. And so I hope that After After this trilogy will be getting More More of this band's music.
I mentioned in a previous review that while I like their 1970s output, I much prefer their current incarnation and the music they're releasing now. That is uncommon for most, if not all bands I listen to that have reunited, particularly looking at other prog bands like the Italian prog revival currently ongoing as well as the VdGG reunion (I do like and listen to these bands' current music, I'm not dissing them). There is just something that speaks to me more about Trettioariga Kriget's music today than their first time around.
On Efter Efter, Trettioariga Kriget make rock music like it should be: Melodic, powerful and varied. They have their formula, their sound and style and they don't steer away from it too much, but manage to create catchy and warm sounding music, in large part due to that lush mellotron sound but also their cool guitar tones and the other keyboards. They also manage some intricacy and variety to come into play in their compositions, spicing things up.
The music, ambitious hard rock with soft edges courtesy of lush keyboards, is accessible and charming. While being somewhat straightforward in their writing and song structure and a little naïve-sounding at times (and that is part of their charm as they come up with wonderful riffs and melodies), their arrangements introduce intricacies, complexity and exploration into their songs, such as the proggy middle section of “Barnet”, the ending of “Tavlan” and the solos in “Efter Efter” for instance. The results are songs that start in a straightforward manner and gradually introduce twists and shifts that capture the ears.
Their instrumentals are where they really shine. In the three studio albums released since they returned to activity, they had captivating instrumentals. With a poignant and catchy melody, wonderful layering instrumentation and gorgeous climaxes. These show the band's enthusiasm at its highest and their musical skills, the most fulfilled. Listen to “The Dance” on this album and you'll hear the band's emotions as well as their epic side.
The title song, “Efter Efter” combines their epic side and their skill at creating a catchy song. The song's main riff can get stuck in your head for a while. The keyboards and guitar solos in the middle are a little different than what I heard previously from the band and they're a welcome addition to the band's palate.
Of the current trilogy of studio albums by the band, I still find I Borjan Och Slutet to be the standout album, the one I'm most excited about and gets my enthusiasm spring out as I listen to it. But slowly and gradually, Efter Efter is growing on me; there certainly are several pieces on here that have become my favourites by them. Like in previous albums, this one comes with the lyrics in Swedish and the English translation.
What will be after this album? I just hope for the 30 Years War to remain active.