I have been writing reviews on Progressive Rock for about eight years since I’ve started Music from the Other Side of the Room. And there’s not a single stop sign for me. I’ve been a champion of bands from the different isles alongside from the States and in the UK including, Italy, Scandinavia, France, and Indonesia to name a few. I’ve always loved the Swedish Progressive Rock scene with bands/artist such as; International Harvester, Beardfish, Opeth, Samla Mammas Manna, Turid, Hansson & Karlsson, Anglagard, and the late great Bo Hansson.
One of the bands that are one of the Heaviest and Proggiest is Trettioariga Kriget. Formed in the summer of 1970 in Saltsjobaden in which is in the east of Stockholm it is translated as The Thirty Years War in which it was between from 1618 to 1648 in Central Europe between the conflict of Catholics, Political Rivals, and German Protestants in the three countries of France, Sweden, and Denmark who were opposing the Holy Roman Empire and Spain.
The band recorded their sole self-titled debut album between May and June of 1974 and was released in September of that year. Listening to this again, you could tell how much they were ahead of their time and it is at times heavier, dark, sinister, and just in your face. Most of the time it sounds like if Rush had recorded their debut in Sweden and give it a real kick of high voltage that would shake up the city with a big alarm clock waiting to hit at the right exact moment.
Listening to this album for me, is like that. But with an eruptive explosion to kick things off with Kaledoniska Orogenesen. From the volcanic guitars, crescendo drums, and electrifying bass lines, both Stefan Fredin, Dag Lundquist, and Christer Akerberg head into town. I can hear the essence of Close to the Edge-era of Yes between Stefan and Christer as it becomes dynamic at times before Robert Zima’s spooky vocal arrangements and then the mood changes into a haunting melodic in the rhythm section.
Roster Fran Minus Till Plus begins with dooming bass lines, xylophones, and guitar melody that has a nightmarish essence of the Rock In Opposition format before transforming into a spacey and spooky atmosphere featuring the Mellotron coming in to give it a chilling vibration. Fjarilsattityder brings the combination between Gentle Giant, Gnidrolog, and King Crimson with a brutal force as Christer and Stefan challenge each other to a sword-like duel on their instruments and they go nail each other in their lead sections as Dag helps out to give an epic battle on the drums.
Mina Lojen starts off a heavy intro before diving into a melodic yet folky-acoustic-electric rhythm section. Vocalist Robert Zima is at the top of his game to give it a cooling mesmerizing section before the time signature changes as Stefan is really giving the Bass a gigantic blast through various sections that really resemble Geddy Lee and Chris Squire at times. The band give Stefan a chance to free-rein himself as he shines and giving Christer more of the section for a helping hand.
Ur Djupen channels the MKII-era of Deep Purple’s In Rock sessions while the closer, Handlingens Skugga which was inspired by Democritus, the Greek philosopher of the 5th century B.C., gets back into the heavier side and it becomes a chaotic adventure as they head into the crunching mode.
There are three bonus tracks in which the album was reissued on the Mellotronen label thirteen years ago. Under the Pendent Roof in which it’s the first version for Ur Djupen is an eruptive guitar knockout by Crister himself. He channels both Ritchie Blackmore and Tony Iommi in the lead section that is jaw-dropping as he goes through both the lead and rhythm sections and it carries the twist between Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, and Judas Priest.
I’ve Got No Time starts with a ballad and you can almost imagine that Trettioariga Kriget show their softer side as Perspektiv in which it was the first song that Stefan wrote and the band worked and rehearsed in 1970. It was originally known as Amassilations which appeared on the Glorious War album which were recordings between 1970 and ’71 when the band was starting. It is a great unearthed gem as the band go into their improvisations that inventive and hypnotic.
This is one of these albums that I get a kick out of everytime I want to play this at maximum volume. The album did receive well in the music press as it was considered the first Swedish Heavy Rock LP. They were ahead of their time. They would later go back into the studio for a follow up which would be Krigssang (War Song) in which it was their second album.
But if you love the heavy rock sounds of Sabbath, Deep Purple, and Rush followed by the Prog touches of Gentle Giant, Yes, and King Crimson, then Trettioariga Kriget’s sole self-titled debut is the album worth exploring into. And play this very loud!