Sweden’s Gösta Berlings Saga are one of the newer signings by InsideOut Music but they are far from a new band. They have been together about 18 years now and their first album for the label “ET EX” is their fifth album overall. At first, I wasn’t sure that I even liked the album. But I decided to keep trying it.
Sometimes persistence pays off. This was one of those times. But before writing anything about Gösta Berlings Saga, I needed to hear the previous albums. “ET EX” didn’t really sound overly prog to me. Granted it’s more prog than new label mates Bent Knee, who are just pseudo hipster prog wannabes. It would seem that Gösta Berlings Saga were more “typical” prog on past releases while tweaking their sound as they’ve aged.
“ET EX” has as more to do with post rock than prog which is fine. At times, I do wish the drums did more than just loop thru the same patterns. The hooks are strong though which helps. The band gets more fiery on “The Shortcomings of Efficiency” which is one of my favorite tracks…were it not for the unnecessary screaming toward the end. Gösta Berlings Saga are an instrumental band so perhaps they should stick to that!
The album finishes with another one of my favorites “Fundament” which is all about vibe and mood and less about the notes or number of notes. It’s hard to categorize the music on “ET EX” which I think is the point. Gösta Berlings Saga have done the standard prog album and now they fit more closely with bands like Goblin, maybe not as creepy but certainly dark and cinematic.
That might be what “ET EX” is, a soundtrack to a non-existent movie! Regardless, this is NOT an album that will hit you on the first listen. It might take many listens and even then you might still question why you are still listening. Yet you are still listening and that’s why Gösta Berlings Saga are good at what they do. It’s also why “ET EX” is hard to pin down.
1. Veras tema
2. The Shortcomings of Efficiency
3. Square 5
4. Over and Out
6. Capercaillie Lammergeyer Cassowary & Repeat
7. Brus från stan