Published on Wednesday, 05 November 2014 22:51
Album title: Dream Awakening
Release date: 12 September 2014
Label: Prophecy Productions
01. Empty And Marvelous
03. In Dreams We Never Die
04. Dark World
05. Flight Of Aeons
06. Dream Awakening
07. I Can Touch The Sun With My Heart
09. Secret Flyer
10. Machines That Dream
11. Age Of The Moon
One of the most mysterious acts coming from Norway, formed back in 1994, is Oberon. This one-man band released in 1996 a self-titled mini album and I remember it like one of the biggest surprises that came around in that time. It was mystical, epic, dark, simply otherworldy and cold in its essence. Then the story of Oberon got some positive turns when guys at Prophecy Productions spoted this act and re-released the EP for wider audience. In 1998 the first full-lenght album named Mysteries was released and showed a slight turn into progressive waters, synths were mostly replaced by guitars and other "real" instruments, but still keeping all those mesmerizing extras mentioned before. Before going silent for many years Oberon released in 2000 a 7" single Big Brother, the experimental ambient record titled Anthem in 2001 and album named Future Whirl in 2002.
Now after twelve years Mr. Bard Oberon is back with a new album and believe me that when I heard about his comeback I was all in anticipation and wondering if Oberon will bring back those soothing dark epic ambiances that had its origin in Scandinavian pagan tradition and were present on his debut, but no, at least not in such amount. Oberon continues where he left with the album Mysteries, but made it more linear and down to earth. Grandiose atmospheric cold Nordic feeling is not present anymore, everything is based on acoustic guitar lines with occasional trips into more upbeat rocking waters and I believe that it will appeal more to fans of melancholic prog music than to anybody else.
Dream Awakening's conceptual structure is based and characterized by the image of Phoenix and takes the listener through the musical landscapes full of mystical symbolism, emotional convergences and imagination. Bard Oberon is a musician par exelence and he mastered perfectly how to blend elements of let's say artrock, 70s prog, psychedelia, avantgarde pop and neofolk. Even though I'm not entirely convinced if I like or not this musical output; it depends on the mood, like on almost each release that comes out of Prophecy Productions, these 11 songs bring kind of taste provoking musical experience.
While most of the songs deal with gloomy acoustic folk guitar lines and mellow, rather plain vocals, there are some outstanding titles that must be exposed like it's energetic "Escape" with kind of Opeth vibe present in there, then the upbeat "I Can Touch The Sun With My Heart" with exquisite heavy riff and floydian chorus and kind of Katatonia alike guitar play. "Phoenix" with its delicate melody, charming dark ambiance, soaring vocals and slowly building ambiance brings shivers down the spine, then dark and spacious "In Dreams We Never Die" keeps pushing the bariers of emotional sonic psyched-out explorations and everything gets a high peak in the finishing one, "Age Of The Moon", where fans of Pink Floyd will fall for the cosmic guitar riff and some electronic pulses. There's still much more of mesmerizing moments in Dream Awakening, fans of Antimatter will also find something for themselves where the melancholic flow takes over, but the problem is that the final impression when you get through the whole thing is leaving kind of a bad taste because of too much mellowness. Still Oberon made a fine comeback with this album and if I could shell out those best moments then I could talk about a true masterpiece.
Review written by: T.V.