Legendary prog rock, fusion, folk, symphonic metal, jack of all trades Swedish phenomena returns with Sattyg (translated to devilry, devilment, or some form of that), their 12th studio album and boy is it a doozy! This album is thick with Tolkein-length songs (three of them at least), and a journey all within themselves so let’s take a look at them individually.
Do you get a fuzzy feeling inside when you listen to “A Map Of Your Secret World,” a 15-minute mega opener to Sattyg? Remember those nights when you sat up drinking and watching films like “Gor” or “Dragonslayer” and thinking just what made these films seem so badass. Oh yeah, that’s right . . . it’s the soundtracks that are branded into our head. This song reminisces on those kinds of soundtracks and gives us a musical number that is so cheesy you cannot look away. There are portions of this song where it sounds like Carlos Santana is trying to seduce you while another portion makes you feel like you just walked into a Broadway musical. The song carries on and on and on that when it is finally over, you feel like you just listened to the entire album when in reality, it just began.
“Screwed-Upness” may be three minutes shy of the magnitude of an opener we experienced. This song works better as a magnum-opus for the album going through the laundry list of talent Kaipa is known to distribute. The song balances between Queen, Yes, and King Crimson with strange medieval-like melodies as if they are channeling a classic rock structured parallelism of Andreas Vollenweider as the guitars bounce off of lively off-kilter time signatures and operatic style vocal directives.
“A Sky Full of Painters” gets even better. You have the foundation of this song, but things get really good when the band drifts away from the basis of what the song is and explore, a trait Kaipa is best known for. Their sense of wonder through musicianship really shine out, and you can hear it in every note. They work together to present a progressive masterpiece. The solo feels like infinity, and the artistry is very conceptive. When they stop sounding like a band who wants to be on The Voice and turn into a band willing to take risks away from popular trends, it is when they rock out the most. I could sit here all day and listen to the meanderings this song gives us.
Of course, there are smaller more edible chunks on this album, and they are greatly important to the movement of this album, but nothing quite says world builders like these time-consuming prog-rock fantasy stories that will consume you and everything around you. As playful as these songs are, time seems to disappear when listening to Sattyg.