Bjørn Riis is the guitarist for one of my favorite modern prog bands, Airbag. I’ve always called Airbag “Porcupine Tree meets Pink Floyd” or at the very least PT with David Gilmour on guitar. Riis is an INCREDIBLE guitarist. His leads always suit the song and while Gilmour is certainly a point of reference, he also reminds me of Steve Rothery and of course Steve Hackett. All of these guys are favorites of mine.
So my main question going into Riis’ solo album “Forever Comes To An End” was how much would it sound like Airbag versus something completely different? There is no doubt that this album has MANY tracks that could have been Airbag songs. It’s not just Riis’ playing but his song writing and even his voice! He sounds quite a bit like Airbag vocalist Asle Tostrup, who is on the album but not as a vocalist. Rather he contributes programming.
Also, Airbag drummer Henrik Fossum is also on the album so yes “Forever Comes To An End” sounds very much like another Airbag album at times. The main difference comes on instrumental tracks like “Absence” which has more of a soundtrack feel to it and “Getaway” which gives Riis plenty of room to spread out. That one is probably my favorite track on the album!
Honestly, there’s not really a bad track to be found. The title track, “The Waves” and the epic “Winter” could be Airbag tracks, though Riis does showcases some heavier riffs to go alongside more soaring moments. I LOVE those big, meaty riffs of course. If I am being honest, I actually prefer this album to all of the Airbag albums. And I love ALL of their albums!
It’s quite clear that Bjørn Riis is a massive talent and in someways he reminds me of Steven Wilson. He could definitely have a solo career and probably not miss Airbag. With all due respect, I am not sure that the band could survive without him. Luckily, we can have BOTH. “Forever Comes To An End” is so good I wish it didn’t end. It’s an absolute masterpiece.
1. Forever Comes to an End
3. The Waves
7. Where are You Now