I have a confession: I’ve always wanted to listen to progressive rockers Wobbler, but haven’t. Their 2011 album Rites at Dawn has been sitting in my iTunes wish list folder for six years now, but life/time/priorities kept me from ever clicking on “Buy.” So naturally when I saw them pop up on our feed as having a new album coming out, I grabbed it. And then I had to go back and listen to their older stuff as well. All of which is a good thing if you’re into 70s prog rock done right, because that’s what Wobbler are all about. This gathering of Norwegians specializes in epic-length tracks in the vein of Yes’s Relayer or Tales from Topographic Oceans, combining lush, expansive musical arrangements with alto tenor vocals. So if that’s your bag, read on and enjoy of deep prog.

From Silence to Somewhere is not for the faint of prog heart: we’re immediately thrown into the deep end, as was the wont all those decades ago, with the 21-minute title track. Busy drums, layers of keys and guitars, and Chris Squire-style bass lines permeate the intro, leading into multiple dynamic movements ranging from pensive to frantic. The performances throughout are stellar, never dragging. Not counting the short interlude “Rendered in Shades of Green,” there’s really only three songs here, all of which are excellent. The best is “Fermented Hours,” which features an absolutely killer arrangement, balls-out on all fronts to start, a prog rock version of a Maiden gallop before dropping down into a swing rhythm momentarily before featuring what I believe is a glockenspiel solo – and more of that great rolling bass. It’s ten minutes of proggy bliss.

This is one of the best-sounding albums of the year. The aural depth is drool-worthy. The music thrums and resonates as if it’s an entity unto itself, with wonderful balance and an organic nature that’s perfect for the style. Drum sounds are full and powerful while not losing their finesse. Bass and keyboards retain more than ample bottom-end and never get lost in the mix. The placement of the vocals varies, which is a wise decision. During vocally strong passages Andreas Wettergreen Strømman Prestmo’s voice is prominent, and in those moments where he struggles (and he does), his voice is lower in the mix. Founder/keyboardist Lars Fredrik Frøislie has a massive vintage keyboard collection, and it’s put to excellent use throughout, from Mellotron to Moog, Hammond to Rhodes.

If there’s a downside to From Silence to Somewhere, and Wobbler in general, it can be found in the vocals. Prestmo’s voice is comparable to that of Jon Anderson, but a step below in quality. Smokier, but lacking a certain degree of finesse. Nowhere is that more clear than the tentative first lines of “Foxlight,” where he struggles to stay in tune. The moment is fleeting yet off-putting: if Prestmo was just a little more polished it would do wonders for the band. Another small personal nitpick is the abundance of flute throughout. It might just be me, but I can’t keep from envisioning Ron Burgundy. One day I’m going to start a petition to have the flute banned from rock music.

Really, one could list every prog rock band that was active pre-1975 and you would have a comprehensive list of Wobbler’s influences. Yes, Genesis, Gentle Giant, ELP, even a pinch of King Crimson: it’s all here in crystal-clear glory. But nothing on From Silence to Somewhere comes off as ham-fisted copycat music. Instead, it’s clear these guys put their own mark on 70s prog. This album is a joy to listen to, start to finish, and is one of the best progressive rock releases of the year.


Rating: 4.0/5.0
DR: 11 | Format Reviewed: 256 kbps mp3
Label: Karisma
Websites: wobbler.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/wobblerofficial
Releases Worldwide: October 20th, 2017

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  • Eli Valcik

    Wobbler, the most metal name ever?

    • HeavyMetalHamster

      Gobbler would be worse.

    • Brutalist_Receptacle

      NO.

    • HeavyMetalHamster

      Also…Mastercastle is pretty terrible as well…..

  • Lou Daz

    Can’t say I’ve seen names like Iron Maiden and Gentle Giant dropped in the same review on this site before.

  • Chris Benadie

    I like this. Progman Rob also gave this a high score. Great review, agree on the vocals.

  • Iain Gleasure

    If there’s a downside to Wobbler in general its not the voice, its that they expect people to listen to 10-21 F’ing minute songs.

    • Brutalist_Receptacle

      IT TAKES ME THAT LONG TO CLIMAX

      • sir_c

        Exchange your Cher poster for something else

        • Jon Hartley

          Blasphemy.

        • Brutalist_Receptacle

          BELIEVE.

      • HeavyMetalHamster

        Still got Robin Williams eating KFC sitting on the can in the ole spank bank eh?

        • Brutalist_Receptacle

          NO.

  • It’s hard to come up with words to describe how excited this makes me. The mix and master are phenomenal, each musician shines and the song writing is great in the ability to write such long pieces without becoming tiring. I actually like the flutes and would / will fight to the death to keep them.

  • Yolo Swaggins

    Definitely hear the strain on the vocals; it’s a shame as with a stronger vocalist this release would be fantastic.
    .

  • Frost15

    You can’t expect me to skip this after dropping King Crimson, Yes, Maiden and a wild 11 DR score… Jeez… I’ll have to sleep less today again..
    Edit: Oh dear, that intro was so “Yes-ish!!” I think I’m gonna like this a lot.

    • drug_genosh

      hope you checked out Hällas as well!

      • Frost15

        I did not! Thanks for the recommendation. Btw, I confirm this album is excellent. I’ll get it soon.

    • sir_c

      Check their back catalog too, there’s much to like here, I found out

  • Jim Bob

    Had me at King Crimson

  • Nukenado

    Amiable Prog Guy strikes again!

    I’ve found so much prog goodness from this site… Madder Mortem, Pseudo/Sentai, Beardfish and now this…

    • sir_c

      If you like Kingcrow, then Karnya may also be something. Also Italian, but they have been quiet lately.

      • Nukenado

        Interesting, I’ll check them out. Thanks.

      • Nukenado

        Reporting back; is cool.
        No little boy vocals, so that’s great.

  • beurbs

    Even the great Jon Anderson has loads of choked-off high notes all over Fragile (especially on Long Distance Runaround), which doesn’t stop it from being a classic. The vocal imperfections are charming to me and remind me of great albums of the 70s and 80s with vocal “quirks” all over them. If vocal perfection means a thick shellac of autotune a la Haken’s “Affinity” or the last two Devin Townsend albums, I’ll take this unpolished fellow, thank you very much.

    • Huck N’ Roll

      I like unpolished as well, just better unpolished. :)

    • sir_c

      Agree, it’s vocalists like Geddy Lee and Cedric Bixler that make their bands interesting, but also sometimes annoying to listen to. I both love and loathe them. This Wobbler guy is much less pronounced though, but seems fitting from what I heard so far,

  • Wilhelm

    Wobbler teaching the metal dudes how to properly fucking master an album

    • Exactly, the master is so good that even if I wasn’t a prog fan I would listen to this.

  • John Mosley

    Pretty good prog. Akerfeldt should take notes.

  • Luca Popescu

    Dang this is great, I love Yes and apparently these guys do too. However, how do you review a retro-prog album that’s laden with flute without even mentioning Jethro Tull?

    • Huck N’ Roll

      Ron Burgundy trumps Jethro Tull.

      • Luca Popescu

        Got me there, the yazz flute trumps all.

  • Tofu muncher

    I’d prefer these to any BM songs that run for more than 4 minutes. A beaut indeed.

  • So it clearly does not fall down, but does it weeble?

  • Jesperten

    http://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/4149da37ba4957de6d969ee633333feb1210693de74b1cfd7560676901c5f8ab.jpg

    Ian Anderson approves.

    On a density-of-flute scale going from DF0 to Ian Anderson, this would get a clean DF6.
    We can only wish for more flute in great future prog. releases such as this.

  • drug_genosh

    first Hällas now this?! whats in that Scandinavian water?? All we get is fluoride & lead :(

    • Jesperten

      It’s so clean and refreshing that we even got a band named after it (Aqua).

      To extend the list of Scandinavian prog. names I would like to recommend the Danish band Black Book Lodge. Their first release (Tûndra) is such a great album, I’ve been listening to it frequently since it was released in 2014.
      It is a bit more plain, slower and heavier than Hällas and Wobbler. But I really think that this should get more attention, as it is a very well written album

      Their second album is quite bad though…

      • Jesperten

        As a second thought… Black Book Lodge would probably be categorized as Hard Rock, and not Prog. Rock.
        But, I would still recommend giving it a listen or two :-)

    • h_f_m

      Lower your expectations as the attack on the arts and creativity is turned to 11 for the next 3 years.

      • drug_genosh

        Some would argue that during periods such as this we get the best art…but this does feel a bit different

  • AnnieK13

    Wow you mentioned all the bands I listened to throughout college…Yes, King Crimson, Genesis, ELP, Gentle Giant – guess I’m going to have to check this one out.

  • Nice find Huck!

    EDIT: Oh man, this does sound glorious. Ah, production done right is so refreshing.

  • Christopher

    Does it really count as prog if it does absolutely nothing new?

    • sir_c

      It did grow me some chest hair

  • Innit Bartender

    Prog bands bring umbrellas to photo shoots. Metal bands bring the rain.

  • sir_c

    I listened some older work of them on Deezer and I am quite impressed with their back catalog.
    It’s a bit in the same vein of the The Flower Kings, their Swedish brethren and equally as enjoyable.

    Nice find Huck, and many thanks!

  • Mollusc

    Not getting KC or Yes from this, the whole thing sounds like Genesis but without a sense of humour. I would maybe reference Caravan and Camel. There’s some 70s Kaipa plus Flower Kings influence, too. It’s quite pleasant though, particularly the bass sound.

    • Huck N’ Roll

      Those are great points of reference as well. :)

      • Mollusc

        They clearly know their 70s prog!

  • Nate Sweet

    That intro is all the best parts of Yes put together. Unfortunately they also took the vocals which I was never a fan of. Still digging the music a lot! They incorporate their influences very cleanly so the music sounds very fresh. Also these are the albums where I can actually hear and appreciate the high DR score. Thanks for the review Huck!

    I don’t hear them at all in the music but speaking of King Crimson I am so excited to see them next week!!! Edit: I hear Lizard-era KC now. Took me a bit but those soundscapes are very familiar

    • Huck N’ Roll

      Have fun at KC! Jealous, it’s been decades since I saw their Thrak tour. The linked song doesn’t really hint at it, but other songs have a bit of that off-kilter KC feel in spots.