Image © Progress Records 2003
Lizette von Panajott (lead vocals)
Image © Tomas Johansson 2003
(13 April 2003) The debut album by Sweden's Spektrum is a seven-track self-titled (Progress Records (Sweden) PRCD 010, 2003) progressive masterpiece. Despite a relatively short running time (42 minutes), the album builds vocally and instrumentally leaving the listener longing for more as it concludes. Spektrum's music offers allusions to great progressive bands like Yes, Genesis and Magenta (review). Click on the album cover to visit Spektrum's website.
Spektrum is fronted by the lovely Lizette von Panajott (lead vocals, additional keyboards). The band also includes Hansi Cross (electric guitar, acoustic guitar, vocals, additional keyboards), Olov Andersson (keyboards, acoustic guitar, turkish mini bells, vocals), Göran Fors (basses, vocals, taurus pedals) and Göran Johnsson (drums, vocals, electric guitar, additional keyboards). Lizette's vast background is presented at her Lizette& website. Watch for our review of her debut solo album and interview soon. Progressive rock enthusiasts will know that Göran Fors has his background with Galleon, Göran Johnsson and Olov Andsson have theirs with Grand Stand and that Hansi Cross logically hails from the band Cross.
As readers will no doubt conclude from the band member's keyboard contributions, Spektrum's music is symphonic. Their album opens with an extremely brief title track before breaking into the lushly arranged Genesis-styled "Land Of Longing." The gorgeous vocal harmonies that dominate are underscored by keyboard washes and rhythmic guitar excursions. Lizette's lead vocals emerge amongst lovely guitar solos in the epic "Now," a modern yet 70s style number most reminiscent of tracks the debut Magenta album and Christina Murphy's lead vocals. Multi-tracked vocal harmonies and symphonic keyboards add tremendous textures. A variety of tempo and style changes as well as further instrumental solos during the bridge contribute to the progressive edge of the material.
The album changes flavour in "Perpetuum Mobile," a powerful classically-influenced and lush progressive instrumental with a powerful guitar solo intermixed with layers of Lizette's gorgeous vocalise as the song reaches its climax. The first of the album's standouts is highly accessible rocker "The Quest" featuring Lizette's soaring crystalline lead and lush harmony vocals atop rich keyboard- and guitar-based arrangements. An extended instrumental bridge is followed by a lovely vocal reprise.
All band members contribute to the Yes-like opening vocal harmony in "Ivory Tower," before Lizette's evocative lead vocal takes over. Rhythmic guitar, crisp percussion and lush keyboards provide an excellent and bluesy foundation for Lizette's soaring lead and the backing singers' harmonies. A variety of guitar excursions and keyboard textures during the bridge precede the return of lush Yes-styled vocal harmonies and Lizette's soaring lead vocals.
The album concludes with the upbeat progressive tune "A Chemical Release." A variety of Lizette's vocal textures compliment the rich keyboard-based arrangement ranging from everso powerful processed sounds to lovely crystalline solos and lush backing harmonies. The extended keyboard and combined guitar solos and supporting arrangements within the piece are incredible. Lizette's powerful vocals return prior to the second and downtempo instrumental bridge at the conclusion of the track. It is clearly an album standout.
Spektrum's debut album is presently available from a variety of international specialist mail order and internet retailers (for example CD Services, GFT, Synphonic) as well as the label's online shop. We will advise visitors if and when it is available via amazon.com. Clearly worth a trans-Atlantic journey, and an album in the running for a spot in our "best of the year" list, Spektrum is a must listen!