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Monday, July 11, 2011

Hasse Fröberg & Musical Companion

Future Past (Reingold Records/ProgRock Records)

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Fans of progressive rock that emphasizes “rock” over “prog” will find plenty to enjoy on Future Past, the debut from Hasse Fröberg & Musical Companion. Fröberg is the guitarist and sometimes-vocalist for the Swedish symphonic prog band The Flower Kings, and the similarities between his new outfit and his main band are obvious.

But because he possesses more of a rock singer's voice than lead Flower King Roine Stolt, Future Past presents a heavier, more commercial side of Fröberg, resulting in an album that at times casually echoes Yes' 90125. Fröberg sings like a more-masculine version of Jon Anderson, and hotshot young guitarist Anton Lindsjö draws comparisons to Trevor Rabin, circa 1983—especially on the Pink Floyd-meets-Dio track “Above,” which sounds heavier than Yes or The Flower Kings would ever dare.

Elsewhere, despite upbeat arrangements, songs such as “Fallen Empire” and “Only My Blood” are tinged with dark, hauntingly straightforward lyrics.