Whether by accident or design, Norway’s Karisma Records has gained quite a reputation for itself amongst Prog fans for its ability to source, and release, long-unavailable, and much sought-after, classic works from highly respected bands such as RUPHUS and ARABS IN ASPIC, to name but two.
Or, as WOBBLER, the label’s latest subject for a foray into back catalogues, would attest:
It’s fantastic for both a band and its fans to be given a chance to revisit (and for some to visit for the first time) albums that have been sold out and basically impossible to get for years now (unless you are lucky enough to find copies on the internet and are prepared to pay hundreds of dollars).
Formed in Hønefoss in 1999, WOBBLER’s current lineup features Lars Fredrik Frøislie on keyboards and backing vocals, Martin Nordrum Kneppen on drums, percussion and recorder, Kristian Karl Hultgren on bass, Andreas Wettergreen Strømman Prestmo on vocals, guitar and percussion, and Marius Bergom Halleland on lead guitar and backing vocals.
Having released the band’s fourth and fifth albums, Karisma Records, will be releasing WOBBLER’s first three albums on the 28th January 2022 and they will be available either as individual releases in both CD, Limited Edition Vinyl formats, as well as a three-album, limited edition box set.
The three albums in question are:
“Hinterland”, WOBBLER’s 2005 debut full-length served to bring the band to the attention of Prog scene, and, virtually overnight, garnered them a sizeable international audience thanks to its authentic sound and complex and beautiful song writing. The Limited edition vinyl will be available in yellow vinyl with red & white marbling, and tracklisting for “Hinterland” is as follows:
1. Serenade for 1652
3. Rubato Industry
4. Clair Obscur
The band’s second album “Afterglow” came with a more “retro” feel, not surprisingly so, given that it was a full-band re-recording of WOBBLER’s early demo. A strong black metal influence can be heard both in the surprising power and aggression of some sections, as well as the structure and tonality of many of the riffs. Paradoxically, “Afterglow” was also a more dyed-in-the-wool proggy prog rock album, with its epic-length compositions and detours into renaissance and baroque music. With the limited edition available in transparent vinyl with blue & black marbling, tracklisting for “Afterglow” is as follows:
1. The Haywain
2. Imperial Winter White
4. In Taberna
Which brings us to 2011’s “Rites at Dawn”, the third of the re-releases. This was the album that saw WOBBLER up their game considerably, both musically and sonically, with the arrival of Andreas W. S. Prestmo on vocals. It was his skills as a songwriter and lyricist that would raise the band to a whole new level where vocal melodies, lyrics, arrangements and performances came together in a cohesive whole.
“Rites at Dawn” reflected Andreas’ preoccupations with nature and spirituality in words and music that took on a luminous, mystical nature. It was also an album where Lars’ production skills came to the fore, with a mix that was crystal clear, showcasing each individual musician’s newfound maturity. Martin’s drums had never sounded better, and the intricacies and grooves of his playing were perfectly married to Kristian’s Rickenbacker, that wove its way between Lars and Morten’s labyrinthine chords and leads in a remarkably melodic, yet inventive way.
The limited edition of “Rites at Dawn” will be available in transparent yellow vinyl with blue & black marbling. Tracklisting is as follows:
2. Lá Bealtaine
3. In Orbit
4. This Past Presence
5. A Faerie’s Play
6. The River
7. Lucid Dreams
The box set will be a limited edition, one-time pressing, and will include exclusive coloured vinyl versions of all three albums, along with a slip mat and an illustrated booklet.
All versions are now available to pre-order from:
WOBBLER had this to say about the upcoming re-releases:
These albums are what we refer to as “the Morten years”, since Morten Andreas Eriksen was our guitarist on these first three albums, and a very important part of what we were about. “Hinterland” and “Afterglow” also features Tony Johannessen on vocals, making the third album, “Rites at Dawn”, a sort of a transition album between the old Wobbler and the new Wobbler, as it features Andreas on vocals. Musically, these albums are quite diverse. They show different aspects of Wobbler; being the roots of what eventually became “From Silence To Somewhere” and “Dwellers of The Deep”.
A video, filmed and edited by Mike Drop, for the track “Five Rooms” from WOBBLERS 2020 album “Dwellers of the Deep” can be seen