First let me start this off by mentioning Tommy Karevik is one of my favorite singers and yes I totally fangirled here (this will be important on later reviews I do). OK background time. The Great Escape is the fourth album by this Swedish power/prog band. The album's thirty minute title track is based off of the Swedish poem "the Aniara". The opener (Wizeman) is connected as well like a sort of prequel.
You get all the proggy goodness that you'd expect from theses guys. Oddly enough the length of these songs isn't really noticeable though. They maintain enough variety to hold your interest all the way through. Each instrument is given plenty of time to shine and the production is good enough to make each one distinguishable. The only minor problem on the instrumental side of things is there are moments they seem to be recycling themselves, especially on solos an the bass parts. Each song has a mix between mid to slow-tempo sections which gives a bit of diversity to them.
Lyrically this is an odd one. There are moments where the lyrics are beautiful and poetic then there are times where they get to be cheesier than a dairy farm. Despite that, they are still very convincing and don't seem to get in the way of the enjoyment factor.
And now my favorite part. VOCALS! Sorry, fangirl moment. Tommy Kareviks voice mostly feels like your expected prog singer however he occasionally delves into an almost Rock N' Roll rasp. There's a very dramatic feel to him when the time calls for it which makes you feel the emotion he's trying to sell. This is highly apparent on tracks like "Wizeman" and "Long Way Home''. The melodies he conjures on this record make each song incredibly catchy and memorable.
The lengthy epic title track may not be the most accessible but is super rewarding for it's portrayal of the "Aniara" (given I've never read it but the lyrics makes it understandable as a story). Along with Karevik's wife or sister(?) Jenny guesting on it who is equally as talented. As for the rest of the songs go each is memorable and distinct in it's own right. The only song that is less than (seventh) wonderful is "Move On Through" which isn't a bad song in any way but just doesn't keep up with the rest of the record. This album stays in pretty constant rotation in my listening choices and for good reason. This album isn't really heavy in anyway so that might deter a lot of metal fans but any progressive fan really should have this one in their collection.
RATING: 9 OUT OF 10
"Long Way Home"