Kingnomad – Sagan Om Rymden Review

My fine friend El Cuervo is an old soul. Not an olde soul, mind you, but getting there. We both enjoy deeply of the 70s prog scene, and one release we both dig is the late Bo Hansson’s debut from fifty years ago, Music Inspired by Lord of the Rings, or Sagan om Ringen in Swedish. Who cares? Well, we do, and so do the four Swedish individuals who comprise the psychedelic prog-doom act Kingnomad. You might notice a similarity in the name of their third full-length release, Sagan Om Rymden. It’s an overt homage to Hansson, and roughly translates to The Story of Space. Bandleader and key songwriter Mr. Jay was heavily inspired by old Swedish prog rock, and has stated that the album title is “a big hats off to Bo Hansson.” You won’t find ElC or myself arguing, but rather hoping that the band creates something authentic and captivating.

Kingnomad’s previous work, while interesting, was somewhat grounded in the traditional instruments of today; drums, bass, guitar. Here on Sagan Om Rymden, the musical game has been elevated considerably, with Mr. Jay composing many of the songs on classical acoustic guitar, piano, and vintage keyboards. Not only does the band adore and evoke old Swedish groups like Hansson and Kaipa, but also the outstanding Norwegian prog outfit Ruphus, whose albums are being rereleased this year1 This is evident from the get-go, with “Omniverse” comprised of perhaps the most upbeat and infectious hook of the year, a bouncy 70’s-style keyboard-heavy melody that glistens with optimism. It immediately drags us into the album, immersing us in authenticity rarely found in these young bands.

This psychedelic take on old prog rock is the main course throughout, but Kingnomad inject a fair amount of doom into their music as well, as on past releases. “Small Beginnings” and “On the Shoulders of Giants” are both slinky, eerie tracks that bring to mind Opeth’s recent output, especially how the vocals and guitars/keyboards are often in unison. Fans of In Cauda Venenum will most likely love this album. “Tillbakablick / The Usurper King” might be the most adventurous track on an album heavy on pushing the retro limits. The first half features some wonderful (and still doomy) guitar/keyboard counterpoints, while the transition to the more jazzlike and meandering second half is glorious and climactic. Elsewhere, “The Fermi Paradox” and “The Creation Hymn” bring a soft, intimate folk feel to the album, languid and alluring.

Throughout Sagan Om Rymden, Kingnomad demonstrate fantastic feel and a genuine understanding of the musical era they are mining. Mr. Kay’s vocals are earthy and lacking in pretension, while the vintage keyboard work and guitar playing by he and Marcus is spot on. The hidden strength of the band, though, has to be the rhythm section of Maximilian on bass and Mano on drums. These two are locked onto each other, with closing song “The Unanswered Question” being a great example. My favorite bass riff of the year opens the song, and the groove they lock into is absolutely stellar.2 Top it all off with fantastic, subtle, clean production, and you’ve got one of the early 70’s great records here.

I don’t often heap praise on these kind of retro offerings. I enjoy them, but more often than not they just tempt me back into the bowels of my record collection. Sagan Om Rymden is different, though. Kingnomad have somehow managed to evolve backwards (devolve) in wonderful fashion, delivering a top-notch, heartfelt and authentically antiquarian prog rock offering. I feel like I need to get this one on vinyl and play it scores of times, until it’s as worn out as my older albums, crackling with age, maybe even skipping here and there. Easily my favorite 3.5 of the year.

Rating: 3.5/5.03
DR: 10 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps MP3
Label: Ripple Music | Bandcamp:
Websites: |
Releases Worldwide: July 10th, 2020

Show 3 footnotes

  1. And just happen to be loved by El Cuervo and myself.
  2. Not to mention the sexy voiceover that you may think is Barry White, but is in fact the Ripple Music label owner.
  3. Really, about 3.9.
« »