‘Wobbler’, a peculiar name? But not so odd when utilised by a rock band, because it certainly helps for a name to be snappy, and memorable and not necessarily a name that in the first instance makes much sense. For example, consider ‘Yes’ or even perhaps the ‘Who’ and lots more of a similar ilk. And so in the case of ‘Wobbler’ this most excellent of progressive rock bands it is a perfectly fine ‘progressive’ moniker. In British slang ‘Wobbler’ is a sudden or unexpected outburst of anger or rage; a tantrum. ‘Throwing a wobbler’ you might exclaim. Or in the advertising world, ‘wobbler’ is a small publicity notice which appears to float at eye level, being attached to a fixture by a flexible arm.
Hønefoss’ situated north of Lake Tyrifjorden is 63 kilometres northwest by road from the Norwegian capital of Oslo and is the home town of Prog Rockers ‘Wobbler’. It is here, during the year 1999 that Lars Fredrik Frøislie (keyboards) Martin, Kristian (drums and Woodwind) and Morten Andreas Eriksen. (Guitar) formed their band ‘Wobbler’. With a certain desire to create music in a similar vein to those bands from the past, so-called, ‘Golden Age’ of progressive rock. Music that was prevalent between the years 1967 to 1975, an age too where the utilisation of antilog equipment was all that was pretty well available.
For those interested in reading about ‘Webbers’ early years and past album releases there is an extremely comprehensive write up on their web site –check out https://www.wobblerofficial.com/about-wobbler
Twenty years on and ‘Wobbler’ are still going strong, with a sound still true to their original dictates. What is exciting news, at this point in time, is their new association with ‘Karisma Records’ a label dedicated to quality music particularly ‘Progressive Rock’, such a fine pairing will surely bring us some excellent music packages for many years to come.
Wobbler’s fifth album entitled ‘Dwellers of the Deep.’ the subject of this review, is a breath-taking four-track foray into the depths of classic symphonic progressive rock. Music with structure, style and intensity. Music where every note and melodic sequence has been honed and polished to perfection. The character of the music is so absolutely drenched with a complexity of mini symphonies such that the entire affair literally blows you away. The compositional skills injected by the band to assemble each fragment of the score can only be fully revealed by dissecting and closely listening to how each of the composite parts are formulated.
In the true sense of the word symphony, the band, in so many instances, cleverly combine their individual musical contributions to create an overall choral like sound, an illusion rather like a vast orchestra in full flight. Even the vocal arrangements are layered with two and three-part harmonies which together with the instrumental arrangement form an extensive wall of sound.
Certainly ‘Wobbler’ have achieved their objective of creating a classic progressive rock sound that joins, notice I did not say copied, the likes of ‘Yes’, ‘Flash’ and ‘PFM etc. But it has to be emphasised that there is a huge combined participation with ‘Wobbler,’ more of a concentrated band effort, rather than sustained outbreaks of instrumental showboating often seen in top league progressive bands.
Summary: This is a superb album in all respects, a delightful little trot down memory lane, but with some of the best music of 2020. Totally my cup of tea in all respects and so an easy top score album.
Andreas W.S. Prestmo - vocals/guitar
Lars Fredrik Frøislie - keyboards/vocals
Kristian Hultgren - bass/bass pedals/woodwinds
Marius Halleland - guitars/vocals
Martin Kneppen - drums/perc./recorders
Andreas Wettergreen Strømman Prestmo - lead vocals, guitars, bass guitar (Naiad Dreams), recorder (Naiad Dreams)
Marius Halleland - 6 & 12 string electric guitars & backing vocals
Kristian Karl Hultgren - bass guitars
Lars Fredrik Frøislie - keyboards & backing vocals
Martin Kneppen - drums & percussion
Åsa Ree - violin & backing vocals
Composed between 2011 & 2019
Recorded at LFF Studios, Vilthagen Studios & Studio Paradiso summer & winter 2019 & spring 2020. Engineer Studio Paradiso: Jørgen Småland Larsen
"By The Banks" by Lars F. Frøislie & Andreas W. S. Prestmo
"Five Rooms" by Wobbler
"Naiad Dreams" by Andreas W. S. Prestmo
"Merry Macabre" by Wobbler
All songs arranged by Wobbler
Lyrics by Andreas W. S. Prestmo
"By the Banks", "Five Rooms" & "Merry Macabre" engineered, produced & mixed by Lars F. Frøislie. Co-mixed & co-produced by Wobbler
"Naid Dreams" engineered & produced by Andreas W. S. Prestmo, mixed by Lars F. Frøislie & Andreas W. S. Prestmo
Mastered at Tinfoil Audio by Jens Petter Nilsen
Cover illustration by Athanasius Kircher: