Oberon - Dream Awakening (Prophecy Productions)

Beguiling, life-enhancing proggy folk from Norwegian mystery man...
Release Date: 
15 Sep 2014 - 11:30pm

Norwegian mystic Bard Oberon has maintained an intermittent presence in the shadows since Prophecy released his first album under the Oberon imprint some seventeen years ago. This third album, the project’s first since 2001 is really rather splendid.

As the tastes of extreme metal fans broaden to absorb the many folk, jazz and alternative rock influences now being displayed by the likes of Opeth and Alcest, so the relevance of acts like Oberon becomes clear. Dream Awakening is a glorious mix of things, with the most prevalent aural presence being that of post-Barrett but pre-Wall Pink Floyd on tracks such as the extremely beguiling In Dreams We Die

Elsewhere simple folk arrangements lay bare the stark beauty of songs such as Dark World, a song which, English lyrics aside, could well have found itself snuggling into the running order of the most recent Solstafir album without to much trouble.

Pleasingly for an album that fits into the prog bracket so well, Oberon never becomes self indulgent or rambling with the settings of his pieces. Nothing on Dream Awakening reaches five minutes in duration, and no songs are allowed to outgrow their sparse frameworks, thus becomeing unweildy or tedious as an inevitable result. In this way the beautiful lament Flight of Aeons beguiles the listener for its three and a half minute length before leaving almost before it arrives. You’re left wanting more, yet somehow also sated by what you’ve heard.

But whilst the aforementioned Opeth, Solstafir  and Alcest still have a little metal close to their hearts, Oberon rarely tread far from the bucolic folk/prog path. At their rockiest, on the politely driving I Can Touch the Sun With My Heart, the band barely get into the red, preferring instead to pound out a rhythmic thump that’ll certainly wake you up after the earlier pastoral musings of the title track, but won’t get you out of your seat of pumping the air, face contorted with ecstasy – this is late evening mood music, nothing more nothing less.