"Chapters" (K-Scope; 2009)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

Originally formed in 1991, Anekdoten have evolved into a contemporary progressive rock band that plays high quality music that makes “contemporary progressive rock” an enjoyable listening experience.  Somehow Anekdoten have managed to escape the collective conscious of the music world – or at least the broader music listening public.

“Chapters” serves as an anthology of sorts, not quite a greatest hits record – these sorts of compilations are more properly known as career retrospectives. As a career retrospective, “Chapters” selects songs recorded as far back as 1993 through the present – and the selections are equitably picked from the band’s official releases. This fair sample of Anekdoten songs provides the proper lens to view and understand the band’s style and development.

The first disc has songs from 1999 through 2009 which covers essentially all of the band’s properly recorded history. The band is consistent enough that the tracks are hardly distinctive from an early/late era view – so that speaks to the fact that the band found their style early in their evolution. Yet, I can’t help but appreciate the overall *catchiness* of their more recent material – there’s always a certain air of confidence in a band’s performances as they gain experience and become more comfortable with the translation of ideas into final products.

The second disc features mostly demos from the 1993 through 1995 era as well as two songs from 2006 recording sessions. The “birth” of a song or a band’s overall sound is certainly interesting and affords the listener a glimpse into a band’s progression. Such is true for Anekdoten, too.  Remarkably, the demos are of a high quality – apparently the songs themselves in demo form are different arrangements but retain essentially the foremost ideas found in the final products.

Given the fact that the lineup for Anekdoten has not changed since the band’s embryonic days indicates that the band’s progression can be charted on its own merits rather than the influx of new/different talent – and that’s a rarity these days.

In the end Anekdoten provide the listener with sturdy progressive rock – and in the contemporary sense the band provides an engaging listening experience. What the band lacks in overt technical skills compared to the orneriest of prog bands, Anekdoten more than makes up for it with stellar compositions, arrangements, and moods. The easiest comparison would be to The Gathering circa 1995 – 2000 with a progressive edge from an arrangement point of view.

Most fans will find that it takes some getting used to the vocals which are not necessarily immediately catchy – however, the vocals fit the mood of the music just fine.

Fans of Porcupine Tree and The Gathering will find much to like in this retrospective.

“Chapters” features tracks that were produced by Anekdoten or Anekdoten with Simon Nordberg.

Anekdoten is Nicklas Barker on guitars, mellotron; Anna Sofi Dahlberg on organ, Moog synthesizer, keyboards, mellotron; Jan Erik Liljesrom on bass and vocals, and Peter Nardins on drums and percussion.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright © 2009 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 07 Aug 2023 21:18:44 -0400.