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Close to the Rain, Bergen Prog Festival, is back with its third edition. This time in the excellent venue USF Verftet, one of the most renowned venues in Bergen. Verftet is known for hosting concerts with acts such as Devin Townsend, Steven Wilson, Swans, Opeth, Katatonia and Anathema, and is equipped with top of the line PA and acoustic treatment. Being literary by the sea, it is the perfect spot for Close to the Rain. A total of 8 band will fill the program spanning the 7th and 8th of June, and we’re proud to announce two of the giants from the Norwegian prog-scene: Leprous and Airbag

With a calendar filled with sold-out shows in Europe and North America, Leprous is quickly becoming one of the lead acts of the Norwegian prog scene. 2017 saw the release of their 5th studio album “Malina” to critical and public acclaim. Since then the band has been touring non-stop, filling venues in North and South-America, Europe and Asia. After a 4 year absence, Leprous is finally back in Bergen, headlining the Friday at Close to the Rain.

Fresh back from the floating Caribbean festival Cruise To The Edge, AIRBAG returns to Bergen. This time with an exclusive set marking the 10 year anniversary of their debut album “Identity”. On CTTR the band will perform the album in its entirety.

Following the release of their second album “False Memory Archive”, OAK has taken a big leap towards the front of the Norwegian prog scene. In addition to being booked to Close to the Rain, the band is scheduled to play Night of the Prog 2019, one of the biggest genre festivals in the world. With a sound that can draw references to acts such as Talk Talk, Pink Floyd and Steven Wilson, and boasting members of the Airbag and Bjørn Riis live bands, Oak is definitely one to watch!

…have since their formation in 1998 become an institution in the Norwegian prog-rock scene. Due out with their seventh album “”Summarisk Suite” on the 3rd of May, the band describes their music as “Progressive Rock with a friendly face”, reminiscent of inspirational precursors such as Samla Mammas Manna, King Crimson, Henry Cow, Univers Zero and Frank Zappa, while at the same time sounding unmistakably… Panzerpappa!

…is a new band from Norway, continuously busy discovering their unique kinds of brew, mixing elements of rock, jazz, psychedelic, progressive etc. Founded in 2015, the band just released the debut album “The Key” (2019) on Apollon Records Prog to great reviews.

…is a Norwegian progressive rock band formed in 2001 in the outskirts of Oslo. Musically the band can best be described as symphonic neo prog, influenced by several bands from the golden years of the seventies, such as Genesis, Pink Floyd, Camel and others. The debut album “To be continued …” was released May 2010, and the followed up by “The Continuation” in 2013 to great reviews around the world. 5 years later, 2018 saw the birth of “Tribus” to great acclaim from fans and critics. In addition to seeing The Windmill at this years Close to the Rain, they can be seen at Summers End, the UKs longest running prog-festival.

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Close to the Rain, Bergen Prog Festival, er tilbake i tredje utgave, og for første gang på Bergens storstue USF Verftet. Totalt vil 8 band fylle programmet som går over to dager, og vi er stolt av å kunne presentere gigantene Leprous og Airbag som to av årets hovedattraksjoner.

Med en kalender fylt av utsolgte konserter i både Europa, Asia, Sør- og Nord-Amerika har Leprous blitt et godt kjent navn i alle kriker og kroker, og er et av Norges største og mest aktuelle progband om dagen. I 2017 kom studioalbumet «Malina», som har skutt dem til værs og med høye terningkast og fulle hus verden over. Etter en omfattende turne i Sør-Amerika returnerer bandet til Bergen for første gang på 4 år, hvor de headliner fredagen på Close to the Rain.

…fra Oslo er nylig tilbake fra den flytende festivalen Cruise To The Edge i Karibien. Bandet er nå klare for å returnere til Bergen, og denne gangen med en helt spesiell konsert eksklusiv for CTTR hvor de spiller debutalbumet “Identity” i sin helhet i forbindelse med albumets

I etterkant av slippet av OAKs andre album, «False Memory Archive», har bandet tatt et svvmilssteg mot fronten av den norske progrockscenen. Utover å være booket til årets Close to the Rain, kan bandet ses på årets Night of the Prog festival i Tyskland, en av verdens største festivaler i sjangeren. Bandet har et uttrykk som kan beskrives med referanser til band som Talk Talk, Pink Floyd and Steven Wilson, og med medlemmer av livebandet til Airbag og Bjørn Riis, er definitivt Oak et orkester å få øynene opp for.

…har siden oppstarten i 1998 blitt en institusjon i den Norske progrockscenen. Bandet er aktuelle med «Summarisk Suite» som slippes 3 mai, og kan beskrives musikalsk som progressiv rock med et vennlig ansikt. Utover å låte genuint kan en finne linker til inspirasjonskilder som Samla Mammas Manna, King Crimson, Henry Cow, Univers Zero og Frank Zappa i bandets musikk.

…er et nytt band fra Norge. Bandet mikser elementer fra rock, jazz, psykedelia og prog og ble grunnlagt i 2015. Debutplaten «The Key» ble sluppet på Apollon Records Prog i 2019, og har mottatt strålende kritikker.

…ble grunnlagt i 2001 i utkanten av Oslo. Musikalsk kan bandet beskrives som symfonisk neo-prog, inspirert av band fra det gylne 70-tallet som Genesis, Pink Floyd og Camel. Debuten “To be continued…” ble sluppet I 2010 og fulgt opp av «The Continuation» i 2013. Fem år senere slapp bandet “Tribus” til strålende mottakelse fra kritikere og fans. I tillegg til å se The Windmill på årets Close to the Rain er de booket på Summers End, den lengstlevende festivalen for progressiv rock i Storbritannia.

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Bjørn Riis - A Storm Is Coming

Fans of Atmospheric Prog Rock will have something to look forward to on the 3rd of May, because that’s the date that Karisma Records will release “A Storm is Coming”, the latest album from BJORN RIIS,  also known as the co-founder, songwriter and lead guitarist of Norwegian Prog Rockers AIRBAG.

And, as a taster of what’s to come, Karisma have today released “Icarus”,  a single of a track from the album, and about which Riis had this to say:

Icarus” is based on a chord progression that I had lying around, and which seemed to fit the more stripped down, rock production that I had in mind for the new album. The title refers to the old Greek tale about Icarus flying too close to the sun and getting burned. This hubris is translated to a relationship between two people where one is constantly being burned for trying too much.

I’m very proud of the vocals on this one and I think we managed to create a sound that’s, at least for me, a bit different to what I’ve done on previous albums. “Icarus” features Henrik Bergan Fossum (AIRBAG) on drums and Kristian Hultgren (WOBBLER) on bass.”

“Icarus” can be streamed or downloaded at the following:

Photo by Anne-Marie Forker

A follow up to 2017’s critically acclaimed “Coming Home” MLP, “A Storm is Coming” will be the third full-length album from Riis, and promises to be heavier, but at the same time more tender, than his previous releases. It is formed of six epic songs, clocking in at 51 minutes, and is built around the central themes of human relations and loss, written as a dialogue between two people.

Recorded at the Subsonic Society in Oslo, and majestically combining the art of rock, prog and atmospheric pop, “A Storm is Coming” was mixed by long-time collaborator Vegard Kleftås Sleipnes, and mastered by Jacob Holm-Lupo (WHITE WILLOW, THE OPIUM CARTEL). 

In addition to Bjørn Riis on vocals, guitars and a wide variety of instruments, the album features performances by Henrik Bergan Fossum (AIRBAG) on drums, Simen Valldal Johannessen (OAK) on keys, Ole Michael Bjørndal on guitar, and Mimmi Tamba on guest vocals. 

With artwork by Asle Tostrup,  tracklisting on “A Storm is Coming” is as follows:

1 When Rain Falls
2. IcaruS
3. You And Me
4. Stormwatch
5. This House
6. Epilogue

“A Storm is Coming” will be available in Digisleeve CD, Digital, and two different vinyl formats, which include a limited edition, one-time-only pressing on marble vinyl with an alternative portrait album cover, and a standard black vinyl version.  All formats are now available to pre-order from the following:

All formats:
CD & Vinyl:
US Webshop:

BJORN RIIS’ next live appearance will be on the 17 May at the three-day Terra Incognita Festival in Quebec, Canada, where fellow Karisma Records label-mates AIRBAG and OAK are also scheduled to perform.

Photo by Anne-Marie Forker

More information about BJØRN RIIS can be found on the guitarist’s Facebook page at   and on his website at

Those interested in guitar tutorials and equipment related matters may like to check out Bjorn’s  YouTube channel at

Photo by Anne-Marie Forker