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Airbag is hailed as one of the most important bands to emerge from the Norwegian prog scene over the past decades. Their four critically acclaimed albums reveal a band that masterfully blends diverse musical styles and sounds, with a strong narrative listening experience.

After the success of “A Day at the Beach” in the summer of 2020, Airbag really wanted to showcase the songs in a live setting. Alas, due to all the covid-19 restrictions, a normal tour or normal shows wasn’t a reality. Instead, the band went into Subsonic Society Studio in Oslo, where they recorded their last studio albums, to perform an acoustic set streamed in the early autumn of last year. Titled “A Day in the Studio / Unplugged in Oslo” features 3 acoustic versions from “A Day at the Beach”, and the classics “Colours” and “Sounds that I Hear”. The release also includes the previously unreleased song “Come on In”.

Link to digital streaming services for “A Day in the Studio”:

Airbag was formed in the mid-2000s by five high school classmates, including Asle Tostrup (vocals) and Bjørn Riis (guitars). The band released their first EP, titled “Come on” In in 2004 and a string of self-produced EPs was offered for free on their website receiving nearly a quarter of a million downloads within a few months.

The networking paid off and Airbag signed with the now prestigious Norwegian prog label Karisma Records in August 2008.

Airbag’s debut album, Identity (Karisma Records 2009) feature remixed songs from their previously released EPs. Identity received several album of the year awards, with the single, Colours, reaching top 3 on Polish national radio.

Their second album, All Rights Removed (Karisma Records 2011) saw a change in the line-up and a more mature and confident band, with Henrik Bergan Fossum behind the drums. The album features the epic seventeen minute long Homesick. A fan favourite showcasing the band’s ability to blend bombastic arrangements with ambient soundscapes.

2012 saw Airbag touring and opening for Marillion. Over the years, the band has shared the stage with several prominent names in prog, including Yes, Saga, Anathema, Pineapple Thief and Riverside. Airbag frequent some of the biggest venues in Europe and are twice returning guests at the annual Cruise to the Edge in the US.

The band’s next albums, The Greatest Show on Earth (Karisma Records 2013) and Disconnected (Karisma Records 2016) reveals a darker side of the band, with lyrics dealing with society’s destructive forces and the individual’s struggle to fit in. The ever current topics are underlined by heavier guitars and dramatic arrangements. Both albums received much praise for impressive production and musicianship.

The band’s 5th album, A Day at the Beach (Karisma Records 2020) was inspired by the resurgence of 1980s electronica, new wave and movie scores. Airbag created a powerful sound combining ethereal soundscapes with their signature guitar driven progressive rock. The result was a stunning selection of songs revealing a mature band looking forward, with an impressive legacy.

Airbag can do no wrong as far as I am concerned. It’s been a while since the last album but the good news is that they still sound like Airbag, a mix of Pink Floyd and Porcupine Tree…but perhaps wearing those influences less prominently. Airbag have honed
those influences into their own brand of modern prog. It’s melodic and powerful for sure.

Progressive Music Planet

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