Monday, July 15, 2013

MIKLAGÅRD – Miklagård (Edge, 1979)


International relevance: ***
Swedish vocals

Miklagård (the old Norse name for Istanbul) were an obscure Gotland based symphonic trio without a guitar player. It's tempting to call them keyboard led, but due to an oddly diffuse production, no instrument seems to take the place up front. Not even the vocals, but regardless of the vague production, they are surprisingly weak for a symphonic album anyway. The line-up is fleshed out by some violin and trumpet, but they too fail to make the music distinct enough.

As suggested by the album cover, Miklagård moves in the territory mapped out by the likes of Genesis, Le Orme, perhaps even Klaatu. Then, throw in a bit of Kaipa and a tad Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Thankfully, Miklagård steer clear of the most annoying quasi-classical moves, focusing on mellow songs and not very complex arrangements. This is symphonic prog at its simplest, for both good and bad. The longest track is ”Soldaten”, almost reaching the 13 minute mark, but that is just more of the same albeit over a longer time.

Truth is, they weren't a very skilled or talented band, and the music seems to lack ambition. The lyrics are often silly, something that will hardly bother any foreign listener as all songs are sung in Swedish.

Sweden had several gifted symphonic bands in the 70's, but Miklagård weren't one of them. As there seem to be no other albums released on the Edge label, I assume that Miklagård's sole album, recorded during three months in 1979, was a private release. It's said to have had an original run of 1500 copies, but it's still fairly easy to find pretty cheap. There is also a Japanese CD reissue from a few years back on the Tachika label.

 1. Kastraten

2. Trälen 

3. Astrologen

4. Narren

5. Häxan

6. Mellanspel (Erotic Views Approaching)

7. Soldaten

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