PER WIBERG — All is well in the land of the living, but for the rest of us . . . lights out

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PER WIBERG - All is well in the land of the living, but for the rest of us . . . lights out cover
3.00 | 1 rating | 1 review
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EP · 2021

Filed under Metal Related
By PER WIBERG

Tracklist

1. All is well (4:21)
2. In the land of the living (7:28)
3. But for the rest of us ... (5:57)
4. Light Out (6:20)

Total Time 24:06

Line-up/Musicians

- Per Wiberg / vocals, keyboards, guitars, bass

Guest/Session musicians:
- Tor Sjödén / drums

About this release

Released on May 14th, 2021 via Despotz Records.

Thanks to lukretion for the addition and Nightfly for the updates

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PER WIBERG BUT FOR THE REST OF US . . . LIGHTS OUT ALL IS WELL IN THE LAND OF THE LIVING reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

lukretion
Per Wiberg’s name will be familiar to many readers. He has been playing keyboards for stoner rock/metal outfit Spiritual Beggars for over two decades, and many will also remember him for his three-album spell (between 2005 and 2011) with prog metal gods Opeth, or for his session work with Arch Enemy and Candlemass, to name a few. Recently, Wiberg has also started releasing albums under his own name. In 2019 he released his debut full-length album Head Without Eyes, a powerful concoction of Scandinavian prog, psychedelia, space rock, gothic and industrial metal. The new EP, All Is Well In The Land Of The Living, But For The Rest Of Us… Lights Out, just released via Despotz Records, continues to explore similar musical territories, perhaps with an added dose of dark pessimism, as per the album title.

Written and played by Wiberg alone with only the help of drummer Tor Sjödén (New Keepers of the Water Towers), the new EP is comprised of four interconnected songs, whose titles, read together, form the long EP title, highlighting the strong sense of continuity that pervades this release. This is indeed how one should approach this record: as a long 24-minute long suite exploring different shades of the same hallucinated musical journey. The material is heavy, but not in the sense of hyper-distorted guitar riffs, heavy-hitting fast tempos, and screamed vocals. The album’s heaviness comes from its thick, hypnotic atmospheres, its layered sound textures and loopy structures, Wiberg’s nasal filtered vocals, and the copious use of fuzzy distortion and flangery effects that pervade the music.

The four tracks cleverly alternate the intensity with which they deliver their dose of heaviness. “All Is Well” offers a gentle start to the album, its soft piano and acoustic guitar arpeggios calmly emerging from a sea of effects and background noise. However, Wiberg’s stoned vocal delivery immediately injects a sense of sinister sombreness to the music, in a way that reminds me of Porcupine Tree and some of the darker solo material by Steven Wilson. The impending sense of doom is only accentuated in the next song, “In The Land Of The Living”. There is a strong 70s vibe in this trippy, guitar-driven track that brings to mind band like Hawkwind and the whole space rock movement, albeit with a more sinister feel which is further increased by the ominous dissonances that appear mid-song. “But For The Rest Of Us…” is probably the most surprising piece of the album. It’s a 6-minute cinematic piano improvisation enriched by wordless vocalizations, sparse percussions, and background ambient noise. Its otherworldly atmosphere gives some respite to the listener after the fuzzy grooves of the previous track, but without dialling down the sombre, spooky atmosphere of the album. The album closes with “Lights Out”, a track whose cold piano arpeggio, groovy bassline, and dark sound effects instantly remind me of Ulver circa Perdition City. After an electrifying bluesy guitar solo, the track slowly descends into dissonance and doom, giving an appropriate conclusion to this hallucinated musical journey.

All Is Well In The Land Of The Living, But For The Rest Of Us… Lights Out is a great EP that serves as a fitting soundtrack to these strange, dark times. Its thick, otherworldly atmospheres represent a gloriously dark and hallucinated take on Scandinavian prog that weaves together Wiberg’s many musical influences and takes them to the next level of dark melodic exploration. If you have liked Wiberg’s debut LP, or if you dig any of the bands mentioned in this review, you ought to check out this EP!

[Originally written for The Metal Observer]

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