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Hidden Lands - 'In Our Nature' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/08/b7/45/hidden-lands-in-our-nature-72-1373929306.jpg Hot

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One of the oddest, weirdest, strangest and most peculiar prog albums I have ever heard.

Reviews Ed Paul Jerome Smith sent me a very intriguing bunch of albums to review for this issue*. Elsewhere you'll find my thoughts on Mogador, Morph, Dianoya and Black Market Serotonin, which saw me espousing about each of those bands, their unique sounds and strange musical vistas. However, none of those acts has a vista as intoxicating and strangely brilliant as Hidden Lands and their album 'In Our Nature'.

Right from the outset this album had me thinking and re-evaluating just what you need to make a great prog rock record. This is because on 'ION', even though Hannes Ljunghall is listed as the band's guitarist (and keyboardist), there doesn't actually appear to be any guitars on the CD at all. Instead what we get are layers upon layers upon layers of keyboards dominating this very eclectic and fascinating album. Now as you can well imagine having virtually no guitars, might for some, make this a no go area but please, if you like to try different musical styles, then don't let the lack of said guitars put you off this release. Personally, I found the music to be captivating and very enjoyable and as such, I have found myself returning to its aural pleasures time and again. And I'm sure many of you will also enjoy this album's many qualities.
If, given the chance, listen to the nine minute 'In My Nature' and marvel at how this band conjures up such incredible sounds with really only a single voice and tons of keyboards.

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As this long track plays, it moves through different tempos and musical styles but it still, in the end, all works and you find yourself anticipating and wanting to know what is to come next. 'The Road To Halych' has an almost hypnotic keyboard and vocal melody, courtesy of Hans Ljunghall and Bruno Edling respectively, and this melody keeps your attention riveted on the song as it plays. This hypnotic style continues on the ten minute plus 'Incurable' where again Hidden Lands seem to use more keyboards than any band I've listened to in, well, ever! Starting with a piano and vocal line, the track then interlaces different themes and melodies as the sad sounding vocals tell their tale. Despite its length, it seems to be over almost before it has begun (Oh! and there is even some acoustic guitar on this song...)

With 'In Our Nature', Hidden Lands have recorded one of the oddest, weirdest, strangest and most peculiar prog albums I have ever heard. I think it is wonderful and I implore you to give this album a chance and make up your own minds...

Ian Johnson

(* of Fireworks Magazine #57)

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