Hallas
Conundrum


4.5
superb

Review

by Dewinged CONTRIBUTOR (91 Reviews)
September 14th, 2020 | 54 replies


Release Date: 01/31/2020 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Hear the final chapter of the story that shaped the galaxy as we know it.

Our hero, Hällas, lays unconscious on the cold stone of the Underworld. In a twist of fate, a cosmical event known as who knows what, the Moon starts orbiting out of control, changing the course of night and day and coming close to Earth. This allows its moonlight beams to reach Hällas, awakening him from his slumber, and hence another chapter of his saga begins.

A very serious but admirably (and presumably) stoned Tommy Alexandersson (vocals, bass) explains the events of Conundrum to a bemused Nicklas Malmqvist (synths, keyboards). Spoiler alert: Star Rider is, actually, a robot, well not really, but yes. After some more bits of unintelligible lore and other minor band skirmishes, Hällas, the Swedish prog-rock necromancers are ready to seal and ship their second studio album, which follows the steps their fantastic 2017 release, Excerpts from a Future Past.

Conundrum oozes 70s progressive rock goodness in the manner of bands like Hawkwind or Wishbone Ash, but Hällas know how to make it sound modern and, to put it in simple words, really fucking cool. "Ascension" functions as a quick intro describing the events mentioned above. In less than a couple of minutes, you will be riding your interstellar steed across the galaxy with "Beyond Night and Day". "Strider" plays like a space blues epic while first single "Tear of a Traitor" blends early NWOBHM with every hidden stash of LSD available in Sweden, resulting in the bastard son of Church of the Cosmic Skull and Abba.

"Carry On" is the perfect 80s flick intro song that has been in the back your mind since you were a kid and that suddenly you are able to sing along to without even having heard it once. And here's where things get serious. As the first half of Conundrum sunsets, three songs remain before the album completely vanishes. These three songs show a more committed, more ambitious, less tongue-in-cheek approach than any of the songs that played before. In this second half, Hällas goes all out with their prog arsenal. If the first half of Conundrum shows how the band is more than capable to write soft-hearted shot bursts of sticky rock melodies, in the second half their love for intoxicating progressive deliriums and enrapturing jams emerge in full swing.

The highly evoking artwork painted by Adam Burke of Nightjar Illustrations comes to live and drags you in while Hällas unleash a perfectly balanced mix of psychedelia and progressive rock like they've been in cryo for over 50 years and just brought back a few months ago. Nicklas Malmqvist's job on keyboards is superb, Tommy Alexandersson's vocals, while not being a jaw dropping showcase of technicality, they embellish every song when he recites the carefully written pieces of lore like a cosmic bard. Alexander Moraitis and Marcus Petersson make their guitars wail and sing in perfect unison with Tommy's bass, not too heavy, not too soft, just hitting that sweet spot of melody without being overtly noisy. Add Kasper Eriksson's steady drumming and a very suitable production and the results are everything one could desire from a prog band in the year of our Lord and Savior.

With Conundrum, the trilogy that tells the tale of this galactic Solaire of Astora comes to an end, but who knows what the story beholds! Will the Astral Seer turn into a Selenite giraffe while it creates a massive black hole than only Star Rider, after reviving Hällas with a solar beam that feeds on the energy of three thousand supernovas, can prevent? Stay tuned!



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user ratings (25)
3.7
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
September 14th 2020


21288 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I discovered this album really late, it was released in January, but I've been obessessed with it lately, it's soooo good.



Watch/hear "Tear of a Traitor": https://youtu.be/bdBAKz_RTTY



Hope you enjoy it!

Digging: Iress - Flaw

dedex
Contributing Reviewer
September 14th 2020


4864 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiice man



you got a BB code thingy at the end of para 4 :]

Digging: The Ocean - Phanerozoic II: Mesozoic | Cenozoic

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
September 14th 2020


21288 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

fuuuuck well spotted dexbro, fixed.



I know you are a big fan of Star Rider as per your sound off haha

garas
September 14th 2020


4944 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Daaaaamn, Dewi did it first! (I was working on a review for this too.)



But it's perfect! 🤍

Digging: Slagmaur - Von Rov Shelter

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
September 14th 2020


21288 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I gave you 9 months! ;)

Scheumke
September 14th 2020


1862 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review dewi! Got me interested, this sounds right up my alley!

Digging: Pain of Salvation - Panther

garas
September 14th 2020


4944 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

>I gave you 9 months! ;)

Fair enough. I couldn't write anything worthy for this :[

dedex
Contributing Reviewer
September 14th 2020


4864 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

*epic riff* STAAAAAAAAAAAAR RIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIDEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEER

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
September 14th 2020


21288 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

dedex you gotta move on man, lol



and tx Scheumke! hope you dig it!

dedex
Contributing Reviewer
September 14th 2020


4864 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

NEVER

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
September 14th 2020


21288 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"Fair enough. I couldn't write anything worthy for this :["



garas your 4.5s made me check them in the first place

TheNotrap
Contributing Reviewer
September 14th 2020


14948 Comments


Great work ;) I'll dive into this galactic odyssey this week

Digging: Gorephilia - In The Eye Of Nothing

Scheumke
September 14th 2020


1862 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah this was very nice. Wasn't sure about the vocals but throughout the album they grew on me. Musically this is wonderful.

dedex
Contributing Reviewer
September 14th 2020


4864 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Get on the first album too man

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
September 14th 2020


21288 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Same, his voice irked me at first but then it somehow clicked and now I love them.

garas
September 14th 2020


4944 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

>garas your 4.5s made me check them in the first place

Hol' up, you actually care about my ratings? :0

Scheumke
September 14th 2020


1862 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"Get on the first album too man" Yeah will do!

garas
September 14th 2020


4944 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Also:



CAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOON!



Hällas is the best.

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
September 14th 2020


21288 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Carry on carry on!! haha definitely my favorite track off this

DDDeftoneDDD
September 14th 2020


13393 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

A rev....oh so sweet...band rules





fadiiiing heroooooo

on a holy missiiioooon

Digging: Demonic Death Judge - The Trail



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