Album reviews: As the New Dawn Awakes (2008)

Chain D.L.K – by Ivan Racheck:
Grade: 4,65/5

Lost Kingdom is the kind of band that easy could fly under the radar. If I had not written this review, the following would have happened: The album “As The New Dawn Awakes” would have been put away in my collection of CDs and after ten years I would find it. And then when listening to the album I would say: “What the hell is this? This is really good. When was it made?” When I then realize it was made ten years ago in the year 2008, I will be mad at myself that I back in the day (2008) did not take the time to examine the album more closely and write a review. Why did I not listen that second time?
So; now back to (from) the future. Or back to the present altered now, if you wish! Confused? Me too.
I didn’t put the album away (as I honestly was about to do after a very quick first look/listen) because I knew I would regret that later on. Jens on Waerloga Records is a man that I trust and he told me to listen to this album again and also check out the project a bit more closely. So, I did.
Ok, what did I know about this band? A Waerloga Records release (two releases on the same day) with a duo I only had heard on the first Radio Rivendell compilation. On that compilation the song from the band was really good. They sounded like what neoclassical music sounds like when not trying too much to do it like it was a film score. With other words they sounded like new classical music mixed with present possibilities. I also remembered seeing a very informative and good looking web page about the band. So I looked it up (you should too!) and I learned a lot. Daniel and Michael are two heavy metal nerdy looking brothers from Sweden in their I would say early 20s and with various degrees in music. They tour churches (!) playing flute and piano. They both live outside of the big cities in a very small society close to the vast and beautiful Swedish nature. I of course see beyond both age and clothing and the life of the maker. But to be honest it was not all that easy. They seemed so nice and like the guys from next door to me. Could they actually create music that would make me fly into my imagination and only escape as the goose bumps start to get a bit too much like a cold?
The answer after the first listening was no. But something, call it what you want, lured me back (+ Jens) for a second listening. The second time I heard the whole album I had started to love it. Lost Kingdom are very relaxed but always with a feeling of mysticism. A very solid and good debut album from Waerloga Records. Now I will listen to the album a third time!

Sci-fi Online – by Ray Thompson:
Grade: 9/10

Lost Kingdom releases a debut of avant-garde neoclassical music. The music lean towards Strauss but is also inspired by Schumann, Chopin, Liszt, Wagner, Verdi, Brahms, Dvorák, Tjajkovskij and Mahler. But it is not only classical music in the romantic style. It also hints of modernism like the masters Stravinsky, Francis Poulenc and Arthur Honegger. Yet with their own style and touch of course. The biggest inspiration for the album is nature…
As The New Dawn Awakes is the latest album from Swedish-based Lost Kingdom. This collection features 10 tracks that range from the piano based classical themed (Sleeping Land and Change In Colors – my personal favourite) to the more jazzy based piano and percussion piece (The Ridge) to the more lighthearted umpha band inspired (Morning Glory). The Bridge Over Gruhdok, which I highlighted as one of my favourite tracks on the Radio Rivendell Compilation Volume 2 – The Book of War CD, is one of those tracks that just seems to get better every time you listen to it. While it’s a shame that it’s so short (at just under 2 mins), you’ll cherish every second.
The only slight grumble is that it would have been great if some of the tracks on this CD had been given the full orchestra treatment. I know that orchestras are too expensive to employ for niche projects like this, but it would have greatly enhanced the recordings. Some of the computer generated instruments are becoming too familiar on recordings like this, and that greatly detracts from the end project. As The New Dawn Awakes is an incredibly impressive soundtrack. If mellow, relaxing sounds are what you’re after, then look no further, you’ve found it with this wonderful collection of beautiful tracks.

Musical Zone Japan – by David Purdie

Jazz and folk music combined with hints of dark ambient is what Lost Kingdom is all about. Waerloga Records released the debut album on the first of April this year (read more in the interview) and it fit in perfectly among the other bands on the label.
Each track on this fabulous album has its own intricate phrasing as the instrument parts are carefully designed from occasional improvisations but more often a very much thought out written composition. The orchestral parts drift along in flowing ebbs and waves of subtle color shifts. It’s easy to understand why Waerloga wanted to release Lost Kingdom in the first place.
Special mention must be made regarding Sleeping Land, In Heaven and the title track. There are other really good tracks such as The Bridge Over Gruhdok, but the aforementioned are the ones that stands out. Sometimes I lack a human voice even though the music obviously from time to time mimics the sounds of birds and nature in general.
Lost Kingdom’s songwriting skills adhere to melody, where an organic correlation between folk music, film music, dark ambient and jazz strike a nicely balanced chord. It’s easily one of the top albums of this genre. The quiet beauty of the opening track, Sleeping Land, establishes the basic premise for the disc. The harmonic foundation of each track is very similar to the opening track even though some tracks are more orchestral. The opening track has a great mix of drums and bells that remind you of film music composed by Tôru Takemitsu and Fumio Hayasaka. What makes it very special is that to the Asian sounding film music you have Nordic folk music melodies played by piano which sometimes like Jan Johansson and Bo Hansson breaks out into jazz.
Even though I only bring up composers which were most active from 1950-1990 I feel the album is fresh as a mountain stream. Prepare yourself for a ride down a musical highway full of twists and turns and with a good try to expand a new and interesting genre. This is without a doubt an avant-garde album with some great tracks. I will be following this band very carefully. I think they maybe will have a hard time reaching out to people as the genres that are mixed could be thought of as a bit vague, but believe when I say that this album is not vague at all.
Good work Lost Kingdom!

Kogaionon – Underground Music Magazine
Rating: 91/100

Tjernberg brothers thought about going on marks of legendary classics, so they’ve done an album out of percussion, keyboard and programming, oscillating between Beethoven, Strauss, Schumann, Mahler, Verdi, Chopin and Wagner.
Therefore, what we’re dealing with is avant-garde neo-classical, without vocal interpretation, a symphonic music in the end, following the same classical path, one that is by no means to be interpreted here. It is not metal, neither rock, nor ambient… just pure classical music! Sure I could try to pose into a connoisseur of such sonorities, yet I think it would be more correct and simple to stop commenting such a beautiful music.
The tracks are diverse, each one has a dynamic of its own, and so we can mention it all as an album fully diversified in classicism.

Gothtronic
Grade: 8,5/10

Lost Kingdom is a project of the brothers Daniel and Mikael Tjernberg and their album is out on the fantasy label Waerloga records. Melancholic classical flavored piano sounds introduce the album As The New Dawn Awakes of Lost Kingdom, followed by sounds in Birth Of A Sun which are more playful and hint towards fantasy.
The atmosphere is romantic and reminds of a world in far gone times where elves and orcs feel at ease. In The Ridge the classical atmosphere in the music of Lost Kingdom gets a slight jazz feel, without losing the light footed touch it has. It is music to dream to and it makes you forget all notion of time for a moment. As The New Dawn Awakes, dominated by frolic violin, sound very pleasurable too. Further gems are The Bridge Over Gruhdok, In Heaven and Under A Clouded Sky, in which the medieval influence gets more obvious. Lost Kingdom makes the perfect soundtrack music for fantasy games such as Morrowind and Oblivion, but I would not be surprised if the music at some point will be used in a movie too.
Classical music influenced by romanticism and baroque is brought to the listener by the Tjernberg brothers in an accessible way; rich in fantasy. As The New Dawn Awakes is a beautiful collection of relaxed sounding compact neo-classical compositions.

Dark Room Magazine – by Roberto Alessandro Filippozzi:
Grade 7/10

Born in 2000 at the hands of brothers Daniel and Mikael Tjernberg, the project Lost Kingdom had already reported to our attention with the song In Heaven, presented on the first volume of the outstanding sampler “Radio Rivendell Compilation”. After two demo-CDs and eight years of expenses to perfect their style, the Swedish duo finally docks their full-length debut thanks to the support from Waerloga, that already had the merit of printing the compilation mentioned above, and that increasingly is imposing with their releases of magical, ancient and fantasy music.
Despite special use of synthesizers and keyboards, the sound of the Swedish siblings draws towards the classical and old. It is fabulous and sumptuous orchestral music; a little in the manner of Autumn Tears but with no vocals, since the Swedes express themselves fully instrumental. A sound that is perfectly in line with the choices of Waerloga, it unfolds through ten great songs (including two on already published volumes of “Radio Rivendell Compilation”). Sleeping Land opens all the work and sets the atmosphere, while Birth Of A Sun introduces what is the real style of the duo: a classical sound with mighty, growing orchestrations that moves smoothly between various different contrasting and consequential moods within the same track. A vague aftertaste of jazz follows in The Ridge which works against the arches of solar in the playful title-track. The marching Morning Glory and the already known In Heaven (conclusively graceful) are both capable of moments of great fantasy effect and a crescendo of remarkable intensity. A touch of melancholy comes from Under A Clouded Sky, which evolves more or less like mentioned tracks (final crescendo included) just a moment before the graceful piano melodies of Change In Colors put an end to the work.
The work of brothers Tjernberg shows taste, genuine passion and a wonderful gift of writing and arranging music. It is only right to applaud this wonderful debut. For the second album however, I would like to see more structure and even more nuances, perhaps carried out with aid of a good singer?

Mentenebre – by Juan Antonio Jordan
Grade 7/10

Creating music halfway between the medieval and the neoclassical, adorned with contemporary influences and sounds; veteran Swedish duo Lost Kingdom is presented before us with its first official work, a journey through the memories of the past.
The two Swedish brothers began to create music in 2000, although it would not be until 2003 that they released their first demo, Under A Clouded Sky, which mixed keyboards and percussion with some sporadic vocalizations, everything in a somewhat minimalistic arrangement. Two years later, in 2005, Daniel and Mikael recorded their second demo, Shrouds Of Victory, in which one can observe a heavy enrichment of sound and influences, opening up to contemporary as well as folk music and even jazz. After the release of this second demo, the two brothers came in contact with the label Waerloga Records, with whom they teamed up for the release of the excellent compilation Radio Rivendell (2007). The response they got was astonishing, and so the collaboration is now taken to a new level with Waerloga publishing As The New Dawn Awakes, a full-length CD containing several pieces written by Lost Kingdom from 2005 to 2008.
A tour of the Middle Ages
The ten tracks are of the same spirit that has characterized the brother’s music since the beginning. It is manifested by soundscapes inspired by medieval and fantasy worlds, sometimes more epic, and sometimes more intimate, in which neither the classical influences nor those of other contemporary musical styles are rejected. The result of these mixtures is elegant, attractive and very pleasant to listen to. The album is absolutely not dark, so don’t expect to hear the sound of an apocalypse carried out by rampaging dragons crossing the sky while a cruel and bloody battle is taking place below. As The New Dawn Awakes far better illustrates the routine character of things, either if those are of a real world or of a fantasy one.
Listening to some of the tracks while at the same time observing the album’s pretty cover artwork can easily transport you five centuries back in time; placing you in a medieval market with falconry exhibitions, minstrels, vendors and all sorts of nice scammers. A good example of this is the lovely Morning Glory, a fantastic evocation of that type of medieval celebration that still to this day are being held in some villages. In Heaven, As The New Dawn Awakes and Birth Of A Sun also maintains that same character, but with the addition of more atmosphere making them more relaxed and calmer; they are very much like a soundtrack to Mother Nature (both brothers are great admirers of film music and works of the Nature). The Wind Howls Reverse adds some charming touches of epic melodies and percussion, which makes it one of the most outstanding works of the album. Something similar happens in the song Under A Clouded Sky; the variety of outstanding arrangements and orchestrations makes it really enjoyable.
In contrast to these songs are a few other much more soft and intimate, like Sleeping Land or Change In Colors, in which the piano is the main instrument, accompanied by some smooth and soft keyboards in the first or completely by itself, as in the case of the second. The piano indeed also plays the leading role in The Ridge, a song that brings a touch of jazz to the album. Another song that stands out is The Bridge Over Grudhok, that has got a melancholic theme that would make a perfect fit in a solemn, palatial ceremony. One cannot fail to recognize the intense work behind the multitude of arrangements, melodies and several details that encloses this album. The quest for perfectionism and the desire and interest Lost Kingdom have put into this work is remarkable. The album does however lack a clear link between the songs. With this I mean that this is not an album created as such, but rather a collection of isolated songs. But this is not a negative thing – far from it – when it is done with the good taste, talent and elegance that Lost Kingdom has become known for. So come on, take your boots and coat of the cabinet and prepare to be lead by the echoes of the past that transmits this record…

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