Hallas
Excerpts From a Future Past


4.0
excellent

Review

by Erwann S. CONTRIBUTOR (37 Reviews)
January 14th, 2021 | 75 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Traverse into forests and wastelands vast, and ask the oracle of the future past

Some bands have an underlying concept, a very precise idea before starting any musical sketch. Others just create lore from their music, and, in some cases, said lore is worthy of a Netflix adaptation. It's upon hearing the main riff of opening track "The Astral Seer" that Hällas' idea about an all-knowing astrological seer who can control the stars starts to shape up. The creature's immeasurable power turns into a curse as he becomes trapped between dimensions after being sentenced to death by the always-right society. Chased by knights, one of them being the main protagonist Hällas, we listeners are invited to witness a story that goes beyond our simple conceptions of space and time.

If there was one period in time during which rock bands massively tackled sci-fi and fantasy tropes, it's got to be the early-to-mid 70s. If mega-stars Led Zeppelin often constitute the epoch's most conspicuous influence, Hällas feed above all on Wishbone Ash and Hawkwind, but also on Uriah Heep (and even some Deep Purple). Here, progressive rock collides with psychedelic music, proto-heavy (without being that heavy), and synthpop - not the Carly type though - with an obvious focus on melody and catchiness. The whole project testifies to their love of the era, as Hällas did not hesitate to get their hands on vintage gear to recapture the ol' generation's sound. Fortunately for all 70s progcheese haters, the genre's pitfalls are - mostly - avoided. The two guitars are devoid of any kind of wankery, rather focusing on intertwining their endemic notes into one cohesive set, sometimes in harmony, and sometimes in counterpoint. These guitars are reinforced by an imperturbable drum and bass duo, and are enriched by synthesizers, which at times step out of their supporting role to rise to prominence, like during LSD-driven "Shadow of the Templar".

These synths work wonders with the at-first-cheesy-but-then-apt vocals. Truth be told, vocalist Tommy Alexandersson has got to have the most appropriate voice for such a band. His baritone voice is far from perfect, but he gives in enough soul that his troubadour-like performance fittingly complements the folky touches. Still, his performance is not rooted on earth, as slight vocal effects grant him an airy poise. Indeed, as the story borrows from both fantasy and sci-fi folklores, the music at play also displays duality by confronting a folkish vibe with the synthesizers' spacey touch.

Sure, 70s veterans might find some sections to be nothing more than nice reenactments of a dead sound, but there's one tune that completely oozes originality. Before moving to the album’s highlight, let's take a closer look at the band’s origins. Hailing from Sweden, Hällas represents the country in all its different musical aspects. The country is known by the general public for being a pop machine thanks to timeless bands like ABBA, but also for its contributions to different subgenres of metal. The final crossover is created on uber-hit "Star Rider". Carried by an immediately gratifying riff, "Star Rider" proves that Hällas are also capable of writing a tune that contains the same elements as a pop song. The 4/4 beat and verse/chorus/verse/chorus structure differ from all the other tracks, but it’s so effortlessly catchy that "Star Rider" promptly established itself as the band's absolute banger, the one song that could please all types of crowds.

The record's only noticeable fault lies in its concluding pace. Despite its short runtime (forty-two minutes ain't a mighty long time), the album sees its two longest tracks conclude the journey by being placed back-to-back. The main problem is that the penultimate track already feels like a proper conclusion, which renders the last tune extraneous. It would have been more judicious to place this final piece elsewhere, as its meandering nature induces a final couple of minutes to ever so slightly drag. In a way, it's fitting that the final piece closes in limbo, as the story ends with the knight Hällas struggling in the underworld's shadows, only to be stabbed by an unknown shadow.

Our hero lies on the ground, left all alone in the darkness. Will he fall into the endless pits of nihility, or will he be saved by an unknown and bizarrely just-in-time deus ex machina? To be continued in the next episode: Conundrum!



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user ratings (43)
3.8
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
dedex
Contributing Reviewer
January 14th 2021


8306 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

STAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAR RIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIDEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEER



Huge thanks to Dewi for kicking me in the butt!



Stream this sweet babe here: https://haellas.bandcamp.com/album/excerpts-from-a-future-past

parksungjoon
January 14th 2021


33553 Comments


at last

Digging: Morgoth - Feel Sorry for the Fanatic

garas
Contributing Reviewer
January 14th 2021


6238 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

At last [2]



The STAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAR RIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIDEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEER thread is here.

Digging: Oublieth - l'Ombre du Royaume en Cendres

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
January 14th 2021


24871 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

We here!!

Digging: King Woman - Celestial Blues

dedex
Contributing Reviewer
January 14th 2021


8306 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

yes the only reason this review exists is so we can spam STAR RIDER

parksungjoon
January 14th 2021


33553 Comments


shoutbox casavir

parksungjoon
January 14th 2021


33553 Comments


pfft yeah the ending to astral seer is so child in time

dedex
Contributing Reviewer
January 14th 2021


8306 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

ok boss

Nocte
Staff Reviewer
January 14th 2021


14538 Comments


where's the 2021 album reviews at? jks, nice little ditty bro.

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
January 14th 2021


24871 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I swear Hallas has the best artwork, hot damn

dedex
Contributing Reviewer
January 14th 2021


8306 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

2021 reviews coming soon y'all!



Hard yes Dewi, and it perfectly fits the content

DDDeftoneDDD
January 14th 2021


17773 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

STAAAAR RIDEEER!

Digging: King Woman - Celestial Blues

dedex
Contributing Reviewer
January 14th 2021


8306 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

TANANANA TAN

parksungjoon
January 14th 2021


33553 Comments


definitely see where you're coming from re: the last two tracks

Divaman
January 14th 2021


11888 Comments


Happy to see this reviewed. And yeah, the recs make sense.

Digging: Sweet Trip - A Tiny House, In Secret Speeches, Polar Equals

Pangea
January 14th 2021


6778 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

this is quite fun

Digging: A Bunny's Caravan - Draining Puddles, Retrieving Treasures

farmerobama
January 14th 2021


468 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

STAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAR RIIIIIIIIIIIDEEEER

Trifolium
January 14th 2021


25529 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeeeeesssssssssssss!~







STAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAR RIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIDERRR!

Trifolium
January 14th 2021


25529 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Hällas is amazing.

DungeonBoy
January 14th 2021


8341 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

great review my dude, definitely digging this one

Digging: Musk Ox - Inheritance



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