Prog rockers Beardfish are back with a new album, “+4626COMFORTZONE”, and their patent sound intact. The last 2 albums, Mammoth and The Void featured some of the band’s best songs. “The Void” even showcased a slightly heavier sound complete with death vocals by singer Rikard Sjöblom which of course caused a stir with fans. “+4626COMFORTZONE” dials some of the heaviness back a bit (no death vocals) but still has some meatier tracks like “King” or “Daughter Whore.” Neither track will make you think of Metallica but when Beardfish rock harder, it’s more akin to Uriah Heep which is actually quite cool.
“+4626COMFORTZONE” is more in the tradition of classic Beardfish albums like the “Sleeping In Traffic” set, with lush harmonies, tight instrumentation and the Chris Squire like bass of Robert Hansen. They do get almost Jellyfish-like with the decidedly poppy “Can You See Me Now” which if this were 1975 instead of 2015, it might be a hit. One of the more memorable yet proggy numbers is the almost title track “Comfort Zone” which has a guitar lead that reminds me QUITE a bit of “Starless” by King Crimson. I suppose if you are going to quote a song ever so slightly, that’s the one to do!
While I wouldn’t consider “+4626COMFORTZONE” to be some quantum leap for Beardfish, I was not expecting that either. “The Void” pushed their boundaries a bit and this album reaffirms the band’s progressive center. The album does have a near 20 minute epic to please longtime fans. “If We Must Be Apart” is a tale of unrequited love which musically flows so well, you don’t realize how long the song is. Unlike bands like Transatlantic who think epics can be duct taped together like an awkward jigsaw puzzle, Beardfish are masters of transition and flow. They know how an epic is done.
“+4626COMFORTZONE” is another solid release from Beardfish and stands nicely alongside albums like “Destined Solitaire” or “Sleeping With Traffic: part two.”
The tight arrangements and the clever lyrics that are the hallmarks of each
previous Beardfish album are once again present. It might not be the triumph that I felt “Mammoth” or “The Void” are, but it’s another great effort from one of today’s best progressive rock bands.