Highproject - 2022 - Beyond the Veil, People Stand Silent. Trusted and in Their Prime
(45:14; JackHill Records)
1. 1000 People 8:48
2. Trust in Me 9:38
3. Prime Time 6:18
4. Rhyader Goes to Town 5:44
5. Silent Treatment 6:58
6. Veil 7:48
Anders Altzarfeldt - organ, keyboards
Stefan Andersson - bass
Bjarne Forsbom - guitars
Mikale Grönroos - drums, percussion
Robert Johansson Lind - vocals, guitars, percussion
Lovisa Pingani - vocals, percussion
Swedish band Highproject showed its first signs of life as a venture, at least on the internet, all the way back in 2014. A lot of work appears to have been done more in silence since then, before activities started to become more visible to the outside world from 2021 and onwards. In the fall of 2022 the band released their debut album "Beyond the Veil, People Stand Silent. Trusted and in Their Prime" through the label JackHill Records, which I presume is the band's own label.
Progressive rock is the realm explored by this band, and they appear to have more of a retro-oriented take on the style and the form as such. The compositions tend to incorporate a small handful of somewhat different elements, and while not among the type of progressive rock that is overtly challenging this isn't a band set in one specific subset of the genre either. There is versatility at hand, and the songs appear to indicate a band with a fairly wide taste in music.
The common denominators in just about all the songs are atmospheric laden passages with perhaps a bit more of a neo-progressive rock orientation, more dramatic and expressive sections with a much closer relation to symphonic progressive rock, and at last harder edged sections with the organ and guitar central and with a relation aligning just as much with classic era hard rock as vintage era hard progressive rock. The fact that the band have chosen to cover Camel on this album, and on the following track have placed an original composition exploring a landscape of a similar nature for a greater extent of the song, is perhaps an indication of where an important part of the heart and soul of this band lies. One outlier of note is the use of folk music inspired guitar details on the opening song, used in a manner here I haven't encountered since Norwegian band Nordagust released their sole album quite a few years back.
For specific reference points as far as Highproject are concerned, I'd say that they operate in a related field to Norwegian band Magic Pie. One might say that Highproject explore a more easygoing and atmospheric laden variety of the music Magic Pie have become renowned for. While perhaps not a totally accurate description, it is one that should give the proper indications as to who would find this album to be interesting I suspect.
Highproject have delivered a promising debut album with their first studio effort, where the perhaps major criticism is that they could have given the album a name a tad easier to remember. Apart from that, the blend of atmospheric laden, expressive and harder edged progressive rock is one I suspect should have a fairly wide appeal, especially among progressive rock fans, and those who love their Camel just as much as the referenced Magic Pie strikes me as something of a key audience for this production.
Olav "Progmessor" Björnsen, January 2023