RÅG I RYGGEN, a little-known Progressive Rock juggernaut from Sweden, layed this record to tape several decades ago. The had only just begun and ended quite shortly after, never raising many eyebrows due to a lack of exposure. Their eponymous recording hid, dormant since 1975, only to be re-released by Record Heaven and Transubstans in the year of 2005. And even thirty years after its initial release, the work of RÅG I RYGGEN still sounds pretty damn awesome.
A lot of Transubstans' output lately has been a sort of retrofied Prog Rock and this definitely fits the bill. What makes RÅG I RYGGEN different, however, is the fact that this isn't retrofied - no no, this is the real deal. Old school Prog Rock from when the times were exciting, the sounds were new and Progressive still meant Progressive. With this record, we don't get a bunch of anachronisms pretending that it's still the 70's; instead, we get the 70's in all of their authentic glory. Knowing this somehow adds to the honesty of the whole deal, making this album feel a good bit more sincere than the throwbacks and nostalgics.
Catchy and very heavy for its time, this record captures bits of PINK FLOYD, KING CRIMSON, URIAH HEAP and other Prog greats but with a bit more aggressiveness and a lot more bite. The guitars are super-fuzzed and the riffs are downright neat-o. Moogs and hammond organs flow in and out of the arrangements, popping up here and there just like one would expect from any self-respecting Prog outfit. Lyrics alternate between English and Swedish and are intoned with a good deal of force and integrity. Sure, in the end it might not be as surreal as anything FLOYD and CRIMSON ever did, but when it comes to putting the Rock in Prog Rock, RÅG I RYGGEN deserve a big gold star. (Online March 8, 2006)