Samas Antaral



In The Labyrinth: Samas Antaral

Progressive Rock from Sweden, with classical and oriental overtones, finally completed and released after 25 years!

I go through the music and I have a feeling that can justify my premonition that up in the frozen north where human existence is interlocked with darkness and angst, things take place in order to activate the cells of the brain. And so suddenly, instead of an exodus from hibernation in spring, this happens to occur in the winter's fall.
The absence of outdoor musicianship appears to be the trigger for inspiration and the incentive behind musical creativity. Musicians often do not have the right timing with one another as they do not have time to "meet". So lots of times a story of this kind can take years to achieve, which in this case, first of all encompasses the leading mind of the project IN THE LABYRINTH.
He embraced his maze and subsequently it took him 25 years to find the exit, which he eventually found through Transubstans Records.
An exuberant album that clocks in at 77 minutes, this is Samas Antaral, overflowing with a large number of different musical instruments from all around the world. Yes, you could call it world/Ethnic. It's a beautiful sound that can carry you away from the present, taking you to a fantastic world full of wondrous events. And if you cannot pinpoint these events, you can always envision them and place them in your imagination as you wish.
In fact, IN THE LABYRINTH is the experimental project of Peter Lindahl (mellotron, flutes, electric / acoustic guitars, bass, mandolin, zither, synthesizers, viola da gamba, woodwinds, percussion, strings) in collaboration with various friends and musicians. In this case, his friend Stefan Ottman plays a very important role (Acoustic guitar, synthesizer, background, vocals, narration.)

The evolution of Lindahl's album and how it came to be is symptomatic in the way that it all became very time consuming, as regards to several decades required to complete and release it for the market and well exceeding the expected time limit. For twenty-five years he (sporadically) worked on Samas Antaral, which is his fifth album with In The Labyrinth.
Really, what patience, what discipline!


Samas Antaral is based on an epic written by Stefan Ottman and Mikael Gejel in the 1980s and published as a series in a fantasy magazine titled "Drömskrinet". So the music reflects the atmosphere of  this story, which fits well with Tolkien's epic "The Lord Of The Rings".
The tracks - most of which are instrumental - were recorded mainly in the early 1990s. But there are also some that have been written and recorded as way back as 1973 and '74, while some parts have more recently been added.
 Beauty is diffused here. ‘Elk Warriors’ is the most enchanting moment for me. You can feel ev
erything. Nature in its totality. The air, the water, the rustling of the leaves of the trees, the birds, the desert.
You will sometimes feel a sweet melancholy, a mystery.

To "dress" a story, to complement a fairy tale this way and to have an audio-visual enjoyment at the same time is very beautiful, of course! But listening to this musical masterpiece (while at the same time having no idea about the history behind it) and evoking a soundscape with your own imagination, that means the composer has done very well in achieving what he had set out to do.

It is also worth visiting the In The Labyrinth website. As is fitting a fairy tale, when you enter the main page, you will be prompted to "open" the door (by clicking on it) to find out more! You will get into the world of Peter Lindahl, see all of his fairy-tale paintings which will help to connect you with the album's many themes.
In the artwork of Samas Antaral we have access to a beautiful piece of his art with the Dragon's Gate (in the first version with a young warrior supposedly chosen for some story he had written back in the early 70's!)


Middle East, Greek Rebetiko, Indian classical, Psychedelic & innovative Rock; these are few of the musical influences of the artist, all of these tied delicately together to form this concept. Enjoy!


Eleni Liverakou Eriksson

To read the same review in Greek!



In The Labyrinth:
Samas Antaral
(
Released by Transubstans Records, 2018. Progressive Melodic Rock)

Just before the end of 2011, the CD "One Trail To Heaven" was released on the American Trail Records label featuring the Swedish band In The Labyrinth, which from 1996 onwards have had several albums released on CD. The driving force behind this outfit is multi instrumentalist Peter Lindahl, who has been making music ever since the mid-sixties and also bass guitarist Hakan Almkvist (Ensemble Nimbus, Orient Squeezers, Flying Food Circus and Tweendeck 2) who handles instruments such as the sitar, tabla and E-bow guitar.
In 1996 In The Labyrinth released  their first CD  titled "The Garden Of Mysteries", which was re-released in 2012 by the Transsubstans  label.
In 1999 the successor "Walking On Clouds" came on the market and in 2002 "Dryad". And both CD's were released by Record Heaven.
On "One Trail To Heaven" there are several songs from  the above  mentioned albums,  supplemented with unreleased songs and alternative versions. But the band's fifth album is called "Samas Antaral" and is finally finished after a delay of more than 25 years. Most songs from this album were recorded in the beginning of the 90s, but there are also songs and parts of songs dating from around 1973-74, while there are also pieces on it cut more recently.

In 1980, Peter Lindahl, Mikael Gejel and Ulf Hansson formed the band Aladdin's Lantern, which in the 10 years thereafter sporacially changed direction as well as line up, with Peter being the constant factor. One of the musicians, who at that time played in the band - which from 1993 was called Labyrinth and a year later In The Labyrinth - was Stefan Andersson while another was Karin Langhard-Gejel. The music they played was Middle Eastern oriented and also had influences from Greek, Turkish popular and Indian classical music, but also from The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Bo Hansson, Mike Oldfield, Ennio Morricone, Goran Bregovic and Pink Floyd and other sources of inspiration.

"Samas Antaral" is based on a saga by the same name, written by Stefan Ottman and Mikael Gejel in the 80s as a series for the fantasy magazine "Drömskrinet". The musicians who took part in these recordings were: Stefan Ottman - narrator, choral, chants, acoustic 6 and 12 string guitar, kazoo, keyboards and recorders, Peter Lindahl - vocals, choirs and chants, solo guitar, 6 and 12 string guitar , Turkish saz, bass guitar, synrgesizer bass, mellotron, recorders, keyboards, church organ, percussion, zither, okarina, shennai, schalmei, bass violin, mandolin, baroque traverse, quena, curved guitar and sound effects, Hakan Almkvist - sitar, bass guitar, Indian tabla and E-bow guitar, Helena Selander - angelic voice and choral singing, Robert Eklund - pedal guitar, Celtic harp, old and bow lute, Alejandro Vega - Pan flute, violin and charango (guitar from the Andes), Marcos Chagallo - violin , Micke Lövroth - violin, Fereidon Nadimi - Daf,Miriam Oldenburg - accordion, Carlos Yoyi - trumpet (1 number), Styrbjörn Bergelt - willow flute (1 number), Stefan Lakatos - trimba (1 number) and Kaijsa Vilhuinen - chants (1 number).
And it is worth noting that the paintings and drawings were made by Peter Lindahl, while Hakan Almkvist provided the graphic design.

The album, released on CD on the 27th of April 2018 by the Transsubstans label, is also to be accessed as digital download and it contains all in all 20 songs, kicking off with "Glindar", in which I get a beautiful, rather quiet, melodic Oriental sounding song, in which heavenly choral singing is provided, then followed by the title traack "Samas Antaral", a deliciously exciting, catchy mix of folk, Eastern and Russian music which is very danceable and accompanied by a spoken text at the beginning and end. Then this track is followed by " The Raven Prince ", an excellent melodic progressive rock song that has some excellent tempo changes.
Then the band presents to me "Vormakk Of The Marshlands" and I hear a short Oriental piece, which contains a slightly threatening effect, which is then followed by the equally short "Gar Skuorras" where I anticipate a nice swinging traditional sounding oriental folk song, which is then followed by "Jambekko", a beautiful Irish folk song, which boasts some tempo changes as well as light classical influences, after which appears the full remastered version of "Nargal", which is a slightly threatening Oriental song, once again boasting various tempo changes. In "Undimon (In The Deep)" the band puts out a magnificent progressive rock song, which contains spoken text and that is somewhat mysterious and threatening, while in "The Eagle Dreamer" the band plays me, once again, a beautiful melodic Oriental sounding song before “Return Of The Hermit" picks up, in which I get to hear a similar type of song, this one also carrying a very danceable rhythm. Then comes "Elk Warriors", a nice quiet dark sounding song, which is followed by "Perrisendrach", which begins with spoken words, then continuing in a nice and subtle way. And also in "The Heart Of The World" "the band plays a delightfully quiet, classical-sounding kind of song. Then I get "Samirala", in which the influences of the music from the Andes are clearly audible and this song has a very catchy rhythm, which is followed by "The Road From Raudalin", an excellent melodic ballad, also with influences from the Inca culture, after which I hear "Gates Of Cornat" in which in The Labyrinth once again performs such a great Oriental sounding type of music, which also has a danceable rhythm but also sounding slightly mysterious, to then be followed by "The Fall Of Tombuk", a fantastic swinging up tempo song, that sounds cheerful and encourages dancing.
Furthermore I hear "Balindargoth", which begins with spoken words, after which the band once again gives me a nice quiet song, which contains heavenly choirs and then "Gormoth's Dance" this being a wonderful Oriental sounding song, that swings and sounds cheerful, followed by "Logrila", that contains spoken words, while being accompanied by beautiful quiet Irish folk music, with which the band closes the album in an appropriate way.

"Samas Antaral" from In The Labyrinth contains mainly beautiful quiet songs, which are a pleasure to listen to and I can warmly recommend this album to all lovers of Oriental music, as well as music from the Andes and Irish folk, but
also those who love progressive melodic rock will certainly come into their own.

* The music of this band / artist can also be heard on Monday evenings between
8:00 PM and 10 PM (European time) in the radio program Carry's Music Machine
via www.osuradio.

Carry Munther, March 2018

4 stars

To read the same review in Dutch!



In The Labyrinth: Samas Antaral

 

The fifth album by the band In The Labyrinth, ‘Samas Antaral’, has finally been completed after a delay of more than 25 years! It's extraordinary that the songs were actually recorded mostly around the early 90s, in parallel with their debut album The Garden Of Mysteries.

The album of the year is varied and completely instrumental apart from wordless vocals. Some of the tracks or parts of tracks were actually recorded in the early 70's, while the concept of Samas Antaral borrows its inspiration from a saga once written by Stefan Ottman and Mikael Gejel in the Fanatasy magazine ‘Drömskrinet’. Consequently, the context is not different from the Lord of the Rings.

As always, Peter Lindahl is the central figure of the band, with his musicianship spanning up to 20 more or less exotic instruments. Lindahl has also been responsible for the production, mastering and mixing of Samas Antaral. Several guest musicians have contributed with various instruments including Indian tabla and daf! The two mentioned instruments are percussion instruments and daf is really an Indian tambourine. Lindahl has received good help from former In The Labyrinth member Stefan Ottman who also plays an array of varied instruments.

The song Nargal was initially made as part of Samas Antaral but ended up on the CD album Dryad. Now Nargal reappears in a partially remixed and completely remastered version.

Also it should be said that Stefan Ottman and Håkan Almkvist helped co-produce the album.

 

Samas Antaral offers a distinctive music and it would surprise me much if not many who like prog and related music styles, but also music that is unlike most of what has been heard out there, will like this album ?! ‘Progarchives’ also count In The labyrinth as prog people.

Permafrost Today, March 2018

To read the same review in Norwegian!