Wobbler
Dwellers of the Deep


4.3
superb

Review

by manosg STAFF
November 3rd, 2020 | 79 replies


Release Date: 10/23/2020 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An emotional journey to catharsis.

Is it possible for a classic album to exist in today’s music? Something that will stand the test of time and be revered by more than a select few, 20 years from now? I have to admit that I’m not very optimistic, and that doesn’t have to do with the quality of music per se, but more with the circumstances surrounding the music business. Uli Jon Roth, one of the people who wrote the “How to be true guitar hero” manual, in an interview a few years back, stated the obvious: it is impossible for albums like Led Zeppelin IV, Machine Head or In Trance to exist today; not because kids lack the talent, but because there is no monetary incentive. Yes, “the love of music should be enough”, but guess what, it’s not. It’s not enough when your stomach is the loudest instrument in the room and music does not constitute a realistic gateway to a brighter future.

That being said, Wobbler’s fifth LP has classic value written all over it. Or to put it in another way: if Dwellers of the Deep had been released 45-50 years ago, today it would be at least an obscure gem.

It’s hard to wrap my mind around how a group of young-ish dudes dared to even try and release a symphonic prog rock album that could stare into the sun and not get burned. It goes without saying, that the Norwegians are apt students of the genre, but that’s not enough. They are amazing players who can perform at the highest level and still, it’s not enough, as music schools are filled with talented individuals who can perform at a robotic level.

And the funny thing is that this is not the first time these guys are doing it, From Silence to Somewhere was equally mind-boggling.

Dwellers of the Deep is as demanding as it is effortless. Demanding, because you really have to immerse yourself to fully enjoy it, but at the same time, it flows so effortlessly. Its bookends are 14 and 19 minutes long, but somehow it doesn’t matter, as they seem to fly. This is some glorious ‘70s-inspired symphonic prog that brings to mind the likes of Genesis, Camel, Van der Graaf Generator, and Gentle Giant. Compared with the Norwegians’ previous efforts, their fifth release feels a bit more complex and dense, leaning more towards Yes’ Relayer rather than King Crimson, something which makes you discover nuances with each listen. Speaking of Yes, you will definitely enjoy some sweet audible Rickenbacker bass playing on here which contributes to the warm, pastoral sound.

One important aspect of Wobbler’s music is that the transitions between various parts make sense, they sound natural. Check the 9:30 mark of “By the Banks”, for example, where the track slows down to enjoy an atmospheric passage before it picks-up again two and a half minutes later. Those passages are fundamental to Dwellers of the Deep, as they allow the music to breath and create much-needed dynamics, not only during songs but also between them. Take, for example, “Five Rooms” and “Naiad Dreams”. The former is quite energetic, while the latter relaxes the listener with its acoustic guitar and serves as a nice passage for the album’s most ambitious suite, “Merry Macabre”. In its 19 minutes, it creates a roller coaster of emotions and serves as a cathartic finish to an introspective journey.

Going back to the opening question of this review, the answer seems to lean towards “yes”, but with one important asterisk. As far as quality is concerned, today’s bands can release a classic album. However, what has changed is everything surrounding the music itself, including us, the listeners, and the time we’re willing to dedicate to actually experience music, rather than just consume it. If you allow yourself to immerse in Dwellers of the Deep, you will enjoy what is one of the best rock LPs of 2020.




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user ratings (91)
3.9
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
manosg
Staff Reviewer
November 3rd 2020


12088 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

This is impressive. Don't miss out, if you're in a symphonic prog mood.

Elynna
November 3rd 2020


685 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yesss, I friggin love this record. The quintessential dad rock album of the year.

Digging: Flute Duo Recolte - Bountiful Harvest of the Flute?

manosg
Staff Reviewer
November 3rd 2020


12088 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

Can't argue with that.

Inoculaeted
November 3rd 2020


513 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

A rad album and a great writeup. I can really feel your point about the whimsy of the modern day music listener. On one hand it's a wonderful time for someone with an open mind and a streaming subscription to dive into whatever they want at a moment's notice. On the other, we've become so accustomed to having unlimited options that the truest gems are sometimes abandoned too quickly.

Sunnyvale
November 3rd 2020


1898 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Love this album, one of the best modern spins on 70s-style prog that I've ever heard

Rolling Girl
November 3rd 2020


1734 Comments


I'll have to make time to check this and the new Flower Kings. The last record was very solid.

manosg
Staff Reviewer
November 3rd 2020


12088 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

Appreciate it, Inoculaeted! Exactly, and I am also guilty of that behavior as well. I used to jam an album at least a few times and now I tend to form an opinion after 2-3 listens, most of the times. Not fair to the artist.

Inoculaeted
November 3rd 2020


513 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'd guess at 2-3 listens you're probably still crushing most everyone else.

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
November 3rd 2020


5309 Comments


I was not aware of this band, but will check asap. Great review!

Digging: Front Line Assembly - Mechanical Soul

manosg
Staff Reviewer
November 3rd 2020


12088 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

Cheers, Raul! Hope you enjoy.

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
November 3rd 2020


12443 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This seems enticing, even though the Ice Climbers imagery I get from their band name is not. Nice review my man

manosg
Staff Reviewer
November 3rd 2020


12088 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

Much appreciated, Mars! Not familiar with Ice Climbers despite my old age, but the old versions look nice.

Observer
Emeritus
November 3rd 2020


8711 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

yes, glad this was covered.



From Silence to somewhere is better and honestly one of the best modern prog (doing retro prog) albums Ive ever heard but this is a worthy followup

Digging: Andrew Bayer - If It Were You, We'd Never Leave

dbizzles
November 3rd 2020


14580 Comments


'symphonic prog rock album'

It was at this point that I knew I had no interest in this, but I hope everyone else enjoys it as much as you. Cheers.

Digging: Boldy James and The Alchemist - The Price Of Tea In China

CalculatingInfinity
November 3rd 2020


9295 Comments


While this sounds fantastic from the song I heard and I shall jam it, that opening paragraph is baffling and doesn't communicate its point well to the extent that I read it 5 times and still don't understand what it is trying to communicate.


TVC15
November 3rd 2020


10688 Comments


I'm sorry but am I the only person who doesn't jive with the intro paragraph here? Plenty of modern classic albums if you aren't restricting yourself to guitar music. And no, Led Zeppelin IV, Machine Head or In Trance wouldn't really exist today because the zeitgeist of music is no longer rock and these albums wouldn't sell like they did in the 70's because of that. And look what monetary incentive gets you when Greta Van Fleet are perpetuating this mindset. There's plenty of guitar heroes on YouTube anyway, look at Rob Scallon, Ichika Nito, or Davie. This day and age you don't need money when you have YouTube

EvoHavok
November 3rd 2020


7852 Comments


Nice review, but yeah, that quote is super debatable as the two people above said, plus it implies money is what drove those bands to make classics, which I don't think it's the case, not to mention it is the general public/target audience that decides what is considered a classic, not the artist creating the album.

AtTheGates92
November 3rd 2020


131 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I thoroughly enjoyed this. I didn't know I missed classic prog rock until I heard the first few seconds of this album. Thanks for covering it! This is what I come to Sput for.

manosg
Staff Reviewer
November 4th 2020


12088 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

Thanks, AtTheGates92. Really glad you enjoyed this one so much!



Appreciate the criticism, guys. Actually, what I was trying to do with the first paragraph was to pinpoint that in the era where classic prog albums were released, music, besides a way to express themselves, was also a way for rock artists to get rich, because album sales were much higher than today. So, in a way it wasn't just money who drove these bands, but money was a strong incentive to invest more time and be full-time artists, something that is extremely hard today. So, that allowed them to focus more on their craft and improve their technique, songwriting, etc. That, combined with the fact that as listeners we invest less time on the same album because of all the free stuff that is on YouTube, makes it harder for today's albums to have the longevity of some older albums. Even so, there are LPs like this one that are almost as good as the classics. Sorry if that wasn't clear, I get what you guys mean.

bigguytoo9
November 4th 2020


910 Comments


Relayer? I like that album, I will have to czech this out for sure.



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