Beardfish - 4626 Comfortzone 01Somewhere on the outskirts of progressive music, amidst waves of 9-string trendhoppers and unbearable Dream Theater knockoffs, exists the entity known as Beardfish. This Swedish quartet has been cranking out thoughtfully complex music and left-field lyrics for over a decade, though I must admit that my own experience with them is limited to what I’ve heard in my friend’s car. Their new record is cryptically titled +4626-Comfortzone.

The album starts off with “The One Inside, Part One,” a melodic theme that will reoccur in different arrangements throughout the rest of the album. Up next is “Hold On,” a 7-minute jam that recalls Yes with its dominant bass work and tricky harmonies. This is some clever shit, and as a fan of prog in a general sense, this album is checking all the appropriate boxes for me.

But it’s not until the third track,”Comfort Zone” that I begin to understand what the band is getting at. The lyrics are pretty dark on this record, and despite the use of humor to blunt the edges, the message is painfully familiar: small towns and smaller minds. As a resident of the midwestern U.S., where most of us will die exactly where we were born and not even mind, the sentiment hits home.

This general theme comes up on occasion throughout the album, in subtle ways. For instance, on “Daughter/Whore,” Sjöblom rails against outdated anti-woman attitudes, as his band tears through some pseudo-thrash metal beneath. And the vaguely funky “Ode To The Rock ‘n Roller” laments the closed-mindedness and limited palettes of typical rock music fans. (Bonus points are given for referring to the aforementioned fans as “buttholes” in song.) Culturally, I find it amusing that across the globe, whether in middle America or Beardfish‘s hometown in Sweden, small-town ignorance equates with misogyny and watered-down music.

Beardfish - 4626 Comfortzone 02

But the obvious centerpiece is “If We Must Be Apart (A Love Story Continued),” a 15-minute epic about lovers that have drifted apart. The band throws in everything including the kitchen sink for this one, including folky acoustic passages, Genesis-esque organ work, and some fluid lead guitar work. In a trick ending worthy of M. Night Shamalayan, it’s revealed that Satanism is somehow behind it all, and the band ramps up the heaviness accordingly for a big finalé. Finally, “The One Inside, Part 3 – Relief” builds the theme from Parts 1 & 2 into a full-fledged song, and brings the album full circle nicely.

To make a long story short, this is a damn good progressive rock album. And if this review has favored the lyrics slightly, rest assured that the musicianship and songwriting is also top notch. It’s rare to find an album this complex and long-winded that is also memorable and, y’know, has a fucking point. Beardfish has succeeded on all counts.


Rating: 4.0/5.0
DR: 10 | Format Reviewed: 192 kbps mp3
Label: InsideOut
Websites: BeardfishBand.com | Facebook.com/Beardfish
Release Dates: EU: 2015.01.12 | NA: 01.27.2015

Tagged with →  
Share →
  • I’m gonna need time to get used to the idea of a band actually having the name Beardfish. Now, I’ve been weaning off Prog Metal for some time, but they have the chops to interest me back in.

    • Fisting_Andrew_Golota

      Yeah, their band name sucks.

    • Helicase

      This is the same genre that gave us Destiny Potato (whos record i’d hoped somebody at AMG would review).

      • Oh jeez, it’s like they get their names from crossword puzzles.

  • whiteadi

    OMG sounds so good and like some stuff I used to like as a student

  • Their 2012 release ‘The Void’ was really good.

    • Mark Nagy

      I much preferred The Void to 4626. There’s still some metal in parts on this one, but it’s drastically reduced from the previous album, and there’s really not a new element in it’s place. So they’re still really good songwriters, and there are some awesome songs for sure, but the album as a whole just hasn’t clicked for me yet.

  • Wilhelm

    I’m hearing mostly King Crimson and a bit of Genesis. The sound is magnificent; that bass tone is so nice and warm.

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    Of topic, Is there an AMG review for the upcoming Lord Dying record? The sampler that relapse are spruiking is very catchy and promising…

    • Carlos Marrickvillian

      ‘on the way’

    • Soon.

      • Grymm

        Oh, it’s coming… :)

  • Alexandre Barata

    Hrm it’s only me or this sounds like it’s going into some Summer Fests in the alternative rock area??? It almost sound radio friendly, a bit more glitter and i can imagine some radios comparing it to bands like Lumineers and Artic Monkeys.
    Not that I don’t like it, but that Pink Floyd-Genesis-Deep Purple area is not really my beach.

    • Fisting_Andrew_Golota

      Yeah, there’s a slight whiff of Bonnaroo-core going on here. Not really my thing either, although at least it’s well-executed.

      • Alexandre Barata

        Yep I could listen to this, but wouldn’t pay to watch it or buy the cd. It’s well executed, but don’t rock my world

  • lacsativ

    The first solid release of 2015, at least for me. And it’s just the beginning.

  • El_Cuervo

    I’m liking this. Good review

  • OzanCan

    Another sphere? Staahpp!!! :(

  • Angel R. Suarez

    The sphere glares menacingly upon the onlooker, promising a world of suffering if its presence is questioned.

  • Tanuki

    Nice review, but I just cant seem to get into post Destined Solitare material. They lost their sense of humor and playfulness and I’m just not sure what they’re about anymore. Lyrics have always been a highlight of their work though. I remember 1 old song they had (sleeping in traffic?) that was about Jesus being an arsehole who gets setup and sleeps with a guy, enjoys it, and discovers he’s gay.

    • ghost2031 S23

      Well the playfullness is definitely more prominent than the last 3 releases. I would say sound wise it’s a Sleeping in Traffic part 3 or at least more near than Void, Solitaire and so on.

  • ghost2031 S23

    Loved the review.

    listening to the Album atm and i’m surprised how i keep listening without switching through other songs on my computer. One of their best album beside sleeping in traffic part one.