Pershagen – Hilma: Album Review

The third Pershagen studio album Hilma,  combines Nordic-folk roots and  Sweden’s take on head-spinning instrumental cosmic rock. 

Release date:  29th April 2022

Label:   Lövely

Format:   CD / Digital

A feature of many Nordic prog groups is the influence their environment and folklore has on the music.  Pershagen is no exception as they have been branded with the label ‘Pine Forest Rock’, with their music flowing “through deep forests and high mountain peaks, music with presence and nerve that guides the listener through soft hypnotic sonic soundscapes and dynamic grinding sections.”

Klangskok sets the template for the album on which every track has a trance-like melodic quality, ringing guitars, twisting rhythms, pounding repetitive percussion which is more Masonic than demonic. This is music you can immerse yourself in, nestle in the graceful melodies, shuffle through pulsating rhythms and meander amid the vibrant guitars. 

The title track Hilma gets the cosmic juices flowing before an instrumental single taken from the album Långt borta nära, which is a popular piece from their live set since 2018  has a melting pot of psychedelic and traditional musical styles. Karelia has a corkscrewing mash-up of frenetic sound reminiscent of Floyd’s experimental Ummagumma period. Simplicity is the key early on with some deep resonant guitar before things get swirlingly cosmic.

Ofag i djavulens sallskap, (it takes nearly as long to write and spell correctly as the track lasts) sort of takes over where Karelia left off; a musical storm but forever fascinating with enough chilling effects to keep you well clear of any pine forest. 

Crashing, fuzzy distorted and echoing guitars but retaining delightful folky melody follows in Ekoparken while the final track  Arcangel is where I really get the ‘pine forest analogy’. One can imagine the atmosphere of a wintry snow-laden forest and with the joyous chiming guitars, there’s almost a celebratory seasonal feeling. 

For just a 4 piece band of  Jimmie Nilsson, guitar, Theo Stocks, pedal steel, guitar, Andreas Sahlin, bass and Johan Kalla, drums they concoct an amazing immersive range of sounds and  It seems that they want you to not just enjoy the plethora of tonal and sonic creations but to have an enthralling experience and allow your mind to drift to places your not accustomed to (without ‘help’ of course!!!) so if you are wandering through a forest listening to Pershagen’s     Hilma be  “Careful with that axe! “

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