BEARDFISH – Destined Solitaire

  • 8/10
    BEARDFISH - Destined Solitaire - 8/10


InsideOut Music
Release Date: 2009-07-27

User Review
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Influenced by 70s Progressive Rock bands like Yes, Gentle Giant and King Crimson, the band Beardfish have released five Psychedelic/Groovy Progressive Rock studio albums that are heavily influenced by that particular era of Progressive Rock. Beardfish were originally going to participate in the North-American part of the Progressive Nation tour this summer, but as their distributor SPV claimed bankruptcy both they, and Pain Of Salvation, lost their financial support to tour, and had to pull out.

The Swedish quartet formed back in 2001, and released their debut album, Från En Plats Du Ej Kan Se (Swedish for From A Place You Cannot See), in 2003. With the exception of 2004 and 2006 they’ve released one album each year since then. Now they’ve released their album of the year, entitled Destined Solitaire.

The album opener, the psychedelic, 70s inspired instrumental “Awaken The Sleeping,” sets the mood for the rest of the record, and is the perfect introduction for the album. Once you hear this track you know exactly what kind of music the album contains. It’s a great way to start the album, and how many albums do you know that actually starts with an instrumental track (if you don’t count cheesy intros)?

The title track has got some really groovy parts, and the riffs are happy organ based riffs, not unlike early Yes songs. You’ll get a feel of real “flower prog” with this song, but suddenly, out of nowhere, vocalist Rikard Sjöblom, who up until now has been singing with a clean voice suitable for any 70s based Progressive Rock band, starts to growl. Unless you have heard them before or read this review beforehand, this part will hit you straight in the face, but in a good way. It’s like you asked for a whooping and got your wish granted. This is also the only time there is growling on this record.

One big difference between Beardfish and 70s Progressive Rock bands is the usage of the word “fuck.” You can hear this on occasions in the fifteen minute long song “Until You Comply / Entropy.” The songs often go into long psychedelic, groove based instrumental parts that are just terrific. The vocal lines often follow the complex and fast melodies played on the keyboard. This may be due to the fact that the vocalist is also the keyboardist; it’s always easier to sing what you play. Nevertheless, it works out great, and though it isn’t used all the way, it kind of becomes a trademark for their sound.

Beardfish should also get some credit for breaking up the structure of the album a bit with songs like the short acoustic song “At Home… Watching Movies,” and for adding different kinds of instruments like on the accordion based, porn groove on “Coup De Grâce.”

The cover art for Destined Solitaire is a cartoon-like drawing. It’s got the 70s Progressive Rocker sitting on the left while a face of despair, located to the right, represents the now. This really captures the spirit of the band, and reflects the band’s sound in a great way.

The music found on Destined Solitaire is definitely not straight forward music, and it might be a bit difficult for some to grasp, even with several spins. In fact, they’ve chosen a very narrow Progressive path, and Beardfish ends up being one of those bands you either like or you don’t. There’s no middle ground here. Nevertheless this album is a recommended purchase for anyone that likes 70s Progressive Rock.

Beardfish are

Rikard Sjöblom – vocals, keyboards
Robert Hansen – bass
Magnus Östgren – drums
David Zackrisson – guitars


  • Kristian Singh-Nergård

    Kristian is one of the partners at Metal Express Radio. He is Metal Express Radio's Marketing and Communications Manager, and on occasions also reviewer and photographer. Based out of Oslo, Norway, Kristian is a bass player and owner of the independent record label Pug-Nose Records. He has been a proud member of the Metal Express Radio crew since 2006.

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