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on May 24, 2011
Rites at Dawn is the brand new release from this retro-prog band from Norway. At least the wait wasn't as long for this release as it was with Afterglow (there was a nearly four year gap between Hinterland and Afterglow). The band brought in a new vocalist, Andreas Prestmo, who I feel is quite a bit easier on the ears. Lars Fredrik Frøisle gives us tons of great Hammond organ, Moog, and Mellotron, and this time around, he acquired himself a Chamberlin M1 and puts it to good use here. That makes this, along with the 1976 debut album by Indiana-based prog rock band Ethos called Ethos (Ardour) (released on Capitol Records, of all things) one of the rare examples of an album that uses both Mellotron and Chamberlin. Apparently the Chamberlin Lars bought (from an American seller) is one, of maybe three Chamberlins on Scandinavian territory (Mattias Olsson of Änglagård fame has a MusicMaster 600, and a Rhythmate at his Roth Händle studios), if not all of Europe (Chamberlins were not sold commercially outside of the United States).

Wobbler creates yet another fantastic album, this time a more melodic approach. Vocals are much more dominate, but emphasizing Yes, Gentle Giant, and even Crosby, Stills & Nash-like vocal harmonies. In fact, Yes is a valid comparisons, but unlike Yes, this group will often shift into minor chords, and while I can't point a finger at it, there's a Nordic vibe in the music (maybe that's no surprise, given they're Norwegian). What you get is more great, creative prog passages, and nothing but analog gear. Lars Fredrik Frøisle completely avoids digital gear like the plague. I can't believe I'm hearing a CD recorded between 2009 and early 2011, because it sounds so genuinely '70s. Play this to some unsuspecting proghead, one who never heard of Wobbler, don't show them the CD or even tell them anything, and they'll swear they're hearing a '70s recording! What's more unbelievable is the band members were born at the end of the '70s/early '80s (I know that Lars Fredrik Frøisle was born in 1981), and they have a full knowledge and love of '70s prog, and successfully created that '70s sound and style!

I really love "La Bealtaine". Here the lyrics have strong Pagan overtones, references to Spring. Beltaine is, after all, a springtime Sabbat. This cut is full of great melodies, you can actually hum some of these, something you wouldn't have been able to do on Hinterland. Many of the other songs often start mellow, with acoustic guitar, and then they get in a more rocking mood. "This Past Presence" features some great classically-influenced piano passages, while "A Faerie's Play" has a more rocking, almost Gentle Giant during their more rocking phase-feel. I notice how the vocals sometimes remind me a little of Jon Anderson, at other times, Derek Shulman. Although a real flute is used on the CD, there are plenty of passages that uses the Chamberlin flute. Both "Lucid" and "Lucid Dreams" are bookends. It seems that "Lucid" is really "Lucid Dreams" played in reverse. "Lucid Dreams" features vibraphone and some rather dreamy keyboard textures, giving a more ambient feel.

While I don't feel the CD cover is much to look at, dig the band photo in the CD booklet! It so much reminds me of the back cover of Jethro Tull's Heavy Horses that I am convinced the band was thinking of that album when that photo was taken. Even one of them was doing that similar pose Ian Anderson was on the back of Heavy Horses.

Another thing worth pointing out, is the length. If you thought Hinterland was overlong, and Afterglow was too short, Rites at Dawn is just right, at 46 minutes. The music never gets a chance to outstay its welcome, and can easily fit on an LP.

Did these guys find a time machine and record this in the '70s? It sure sounds like it. Of course, it wasn't, since time machines don't exist. Regardless, I highly recommend this to fans of old-school symphonic prog!
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on July 6, 2011
This album it's a Classic

I dont Want a be exaggerated but this is the best record of progressive rock since the mid 70's in sound and in musical interpretation stand right by side with the best of Yes or Genesis,Focus,Nektar maybe King Crimson records.
This is the third album of the Norweigan band Wobbler follow Hinterland 2005 and Afterglow 2009.
In Rites at Down they found the trail of inspiration not only in musical performance, for the first time the band sounds like Wobbler (not like the Previews work they sound like a number of acts).
Rites at Down The Album indeed Its a Huge selection of great songs with a perfect interpretation of the band, great Voice and harmonies and great lyrics ,Groovee Drums with feeling, Rickenbaker Bass, atmospheric guitars originall arpegios, a huge Collection of Vintage Keyboards real keyboards not emulators or Nord Keys. Thats Bring the perfect Harmony in Rites at Dawn a new classic.
The record sound Does not compare to anything modern. If you love the old and warm sound you gonna be amazed for the good taste in sound.

If you Want a see something more about the band and the record try to find at youtube a video documentary of 22 parts about the making of the record and the simplicity of this great musicians.

A big Toast for Wobbler

Gratulerer til musikk av Norge

The Lineup

Lars Fredrik Frøislie - keyboards (and some vocals)
Kristian Karl Hultgren - bass guitar
Martin Nordrum Kneppen - drums, crum horn and recorder
Morten Andreas Eriksen - guitar
Andreas Prestmo - lead vocals

Just one problem there are no more copies on Amazon
I hope they send more.
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VINE VOICEon January 13, 2012
This outfit from Norway fulfills a need amongst those of us that used to listen to Yes on vinyl (records). I have to say I loved this 2011 release and find it to be a more accomplished and mature version of their 2005 release Hinterland.

Although admittedly contributing nothing new to progressive rock, these guys definitely have a signature sound - a sound that I can not get enough of to tell the truth. This sound is defined by Hammond organ, mellotron, and analog synthesizers including the mini-moog (provided by the White Willow keyboardist), soaring over a deft rhythm section. The guitarist is also very good and has his own style; interweaving clean and distorted guitar parts throughout. The vocalist is the biggest change to the group and he has a higher pitched voice than his predecessor - yes, it reminds me a tiny bit of Jon Anderson. Although Wobbler runs the risk of sounding like a Yes tribute band with this vocalist, they actually pull it off and make it all their own. Besides, the influences that I hear include a lot of the Italian progressive bands (especially Cherry Five) - maybe a little Gentle Giant too.

The ensemble work on Rites at Dawn is breathtaking to say the least - they have really gelled as a group and it shows. I was also glad to see that they backed away from the epics. The arrangement on a ten or twelve minute piece is a lot easier to pull together and the longer tracks on the album are clean and extremely well-organized.

The sound quality on this album is great, although I thought the bass was a little too loud. I also like the little details on the CD cover, including the track listing on the back, which is laid out like it would have been on a record cover. I also like the cover art - it is sedate and ethereal...birds flying through a misty forest at dawn etc...Total running time is about 45 minutes, which is just perfect.

All in all, I love this band and hope they continue to crank out this high quality stuff. Recommended along with Hinterland.
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on October 13, 2015
It's totally derivative, but that's the fun. I daresay that not one minute is original - but not one minute is bad. You're expected to know the 70s prog rock classics before you hear it. You'll note specific echoes of "Siberian Khatru", "Close to the Edge", "Parallels," plus bits of Genesis like the opening and closing of "Fountain of Salmacis" and the keyboard solo from "Cinema Show." Earlier Wobbler was like King Crimson combined with Gentle Giant and a little ELP. This album is most obviously a Yes homage, with Gentle Giant a distant second. The mood is entrancing. I felt like I was wandering over a pastoral countryside with fairies, or elves, or the occasional witch, poking out their heads and spying on me from behind the rocks and trees. As with other Wobbler, the musicianship and arrangements are the main appeals, with the vocals adding a little here & there.
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on August 29, 2011
You will hear lots of classic prog echoes in all three albums by Wobbler: Yes, ELP, King Crimson, Genesis, Gentle Giant.

The second album, especially, is dominated by Gentle Giant.

In this one, "Rites at Dawn," the third, there are also echoes--but that's all they are, echoes.

Wobbler is not a tribute-band or a clone of anyone.

The echoes are brief and helpful rather than derivative.

In this one, they took what was their chief weakness, vocals, and made it a major strength. In addition to the Gentle Giant plainsong, they have wonderful ensemble harmonies that verge on Yes. Not that these sound like Yes, but they have that soaring, ethereal transcendence that makes your spine tingle. Sometimes, briefly, the ensemble even sounds like Crosby, Stills, and Nash.

And even the solo singers are good. The singer on song #4 sounds much like Pete Townshend--a much underrated singer. He has that slightly flat but very moving earnestness that is hard to resist.

The instrumental work and the compositions are just astounding.

Wonderfully elaborate structures that are also fluid and moving and breathtaking.

These guys just keep getting better.
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on February 22, 2012
Essential. Imagine that Yes admitted that they had made another album in 1972/1973, but had lost it, and just now found it. Oh, and the quality of the recording is perfect. That's Rites At Dawn. It sounds like them, at their peak. I love Wobbler and wish it'd been a bit more... Wobbler than Yes, but holy moly it's good.
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on January 11, 2013
It's nice to know this genre' didn't die out after all. This is a fine recording, with good compositions and great musicianship.
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on February 10, 2015
If you liked Yes in the 'Fragile' era you will like the band 'Wobbler' who write in that vein and keep their sound strictly analog keyboards, mellotron, with real guitar, bass, and drums very much in the best traditions of Howe, Squire, and Bruford. But Wobbler's "Rites at Dawn" is written with it's own unique voice and does not slavishly copy Yes work. The result is a very musical and heartwarming CD which earns it multiple plays at my house when I want that particular charm of moving and accessible music that is symphonic in architecture but rocks with great harmony.
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on June 1, 2015
This album is very Yes.
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on September 9, 2014
This sounds a lot like Yes. My love of progressive music often finds me searching for new bands to listen to. I purchased this and have listened to it a couple of times now. I don't hear anything here fresh or overly inspiring. Still a better choice than most of todays music on the FM band, at least in my town.
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