Walking up that Valley

Label: BJK Music/Stickman Records
Three similar bands: Soft Machine/ELP/Camel

Rating: HHHHHHH (5/7)
Reviewer: Daniel Källmalm
1. Rules of a Mad Man
2. I Offered You the Moon
3. Web of Worry
4. So Far Away
5. Where the Ocean Meets the Sky
6. Carry Me Away
7. Another Day
8. Walking Up That Valley

Bjørn Klakegg - lead vocals, guitars, violin, flute, cello
David Wallumrød - Hammond organ, clavinet, Fender Rhodes, harpsichord, upright piano, Prophet-5, ARP Odyssey, ARP Solus, Minimoog
Nikolai Hængsle - electric bass, backing vocals, guitars (1,4)
Olaf Olsen - drums

The Woods Are Not What They Seem (2010)
Outside the Screen (2012)
Aimless Mary (2015)
The Diary of Robert Reverie (2018)

Erik Nylander - percussion
The Carry Me Away Choir:
- Indra Lorentzen
- Camilla Brun
- Maria Vatne
- David
- Nikolai
- Bjørn

Words and music by Bjørn Klakegg
Arranged by Bjørn Klakegg and Nikolai Hængsle
Produced by Nikolai Hængsle
Recorded at Sugar Road Studios, April-June 2020
Engineered by Roar Nilsen and Nikolai Hængsle
Mixed by Mattias Glavå at Kungsten Studio, July 2020
Mastering by Greg Calbi at Sterling Sound, August 2020
Artwork by Rune Klakegg

Released 2021-01-29
Reviewed 2021-03-22

stickman records

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I thought that this was a pretty funny cover, the cover made me chose this one over the other choices I had when it came to the CDs. And it was probably a good choice to go for the progressive rockers from Norway. They have a pretty interesting selection of progressive bands there in the least civilised and polite Scandinavian nation. Maybe there is something in the mentality of the Norwegians that makes them good at progressive rock and black metal, or maybe not, I guess you will need to research it if you really want to know. So, I check out this album instead, and my first question is: is it as good as it looks?

It might just be, the style is progressive rock, with jazz elements, with very melodic sound. It has a classic and slightly nostalgic sound that brings classic artists like ELP or Camel to mind, but not without taking some paths of their own. The sound is both classic and fresh, a really strong production with strong melodies and strong emotional resonance. I think that soundscapes are pretty adventurous, and the vocalist is very strong with great emotional resonance. Add to that good variation and sensible playing time, also with just one track reaching beyond the ten-minute mark, all that combined makes this a really strong production.

This is a really good album, excellent in many ways. It is great how they combine the nostalgic with the fresher and the familiar with their own ideas to find their own sound. The vocals are the real highlight of the album with great emotional resonance and sung by one of the best vocalists in the progressive rock genre. There isn’t really any weakness to be found when listening to this album, the strengths are many more with the first track perhaps the finest example of this. I also like how they avoid those lengthy eternal tracks that sometimes can plague progressive rock albums, they have a ten-minute-long track to end it all but that is far from those that are around twenty minutes long.

It is a memorable, interesting, exciting, nostalgic, and fresh album that should appeal especially to those into the progressive style of rock, but also likely to other music fans as well. It is definitely an album well worth checking out, possibly one of the highlights of the genre for this year.