The first four albums were all released two years apart, but it took three years for the fifth to see the light of day, and what wasn’t understood at the time was that this would be the last album until a return some seven years later with 2017’s ‘Emerger’. Edelönn, Fandén and Perkovic were all still involved alongside the duo of Flinck and Westholm, but there had been a musical shift between this album and the previous ones. There is now a bleakness, almost a desperation, while the music has also become heavier and more symphonic. There is definitely the feeling that the band has become much more of a quintet than just a duo, and while the orchestral feel from the earlier albums is still here, this is a band starting to move away from what they had been doing.
Between this album and the previous one, Westholm had released a couple of albums under the name of Jupiter Society, which were musically very different to Carptree and there is no doubt that at this point this band were moving into a much rockier direction than they had previously. Carl was to become heavily involved in HM acts, including the mighty Candlemass, and although this could never be thought of as a heavy album, it is indeed a step change from what had happened before. Niclas has a voice that I have seen compared to Hogarth, but in fairness to both of them he is much more like Gabriel, and while he has always seemed at home in the gentler material, when given the opportunity to put himself more to the fore, as on the dynamically changing and challenging “Land of Plenty” he relishes the opportunity.
Of the four albums I have heard from Carptree this is definitely the most diverse in its approach, while also the most interesting. I may be behind the times, but I am so glad that this 2010 album has finally come my way.
8/10 by Kev Rowland
Although I really enjoyed Carptree’s second and third albums, I somehow lost touch with what happened after that, and it is only now that I have heard their third album, ‘Insekt’, which was released in 2007. As with their earlier albums, the band is still a duo of singer Niclas Flinck together with keyboard player Carl Westholm, plus a few guests. Ulf Edelönn (guitars, bass), Stefan Fandén (guitars, bass) and drummer Jejo Perkovic were all involved with the previous few albums as well, while Edelönn goes all the way back to the debut, so although these three may not be seen as being full members there is no doubting there impact on the overall sound and the knowledge of what is required.
The No Future Orchestra, which first appeared on 2003’s ‘Superhero’, and continued through ‘Man Made Machine’ is still here on ‘Insekt’, while the use of the Trollhättan Chamber Choir on a couple of songs is inspired. This all assists in providing Carptree with a sound that really is quite unlike many others around. There will always be some who feel that the guys belong in neo-prog, but in reality they mixing the likes of Pink Floyd and Peter Gabriel together, while interestingly one can hear later period Big Big Train in what they are providing here, but of course ‘Insekt’ was released more than ten years ago so who influenced who? It may have taken me way too long to finally hear this album, but I am so glad that I have, as this is yet another great release from the Swedish duo.
8/10 – by Kev Rowland
I have only recently come across this 2013 album, the third from this Swedish project led by Carl Westholm (Carptree). This is very much in the progressive metal area, coming across as being fairly similar to Ayreon in many ways. It is bombastic, over the top, with the guitars providing a grinding bottom edge for the keyboards to lift over, and there will be many progheads who will find the intensity, energy and sheer heaviness just too much for them. But, given that I listen to extreme metal as much as I do to prog then I find it absolutely fine.
There are times when it is symphonic, and during “Invasion” the intensity levels just keep growing and one wonders if they are going to be able to hold it all together. The layers of sound just keep coming, like a wall of music, in a way that I normally associate with Devin Townsend but here with more variety and dynamics. There is a clear understanding from Westholm that music needs to be soft to also be hard, delicate to also be robust, and at times there is the impression that there is an orchestra of metal all being conducted to pull it all together. Those into symphonic metal and/or prog metal should seek this out.
– Kev Rowland