QFT – Live In Space

QFT stands for Quantum Field Theory. What that is, is a bit over my everyday skills to know about but it has something to do with physics. Google it if you want to know. But if you read the song titles below, it’s not a wild guess that QFT have got something to do with space. QFT is also a band which is the sole reason for me to be writing about QFT at all, see. This band is the brainchild of singer Linnea Vikström, daughter of Thomas Vikström with whom she shares vocal duties with in Therion and George Härnsten Egg, drummer in Dynazty (also in The Paralydium Project). With them they brought bass player Jonathan Olsson (Dynazty) and guitarist Mano Lewys (Violet Janine – he was also the touring guitarist in Dynazty for five minutes). Very little has been revealed about this project before the release of the album and even though I’ve googled the name, it’s pretty hard to find that much info about the band at all. So, I didn’t have one clue of what to expect musically when I let my teeth sink into the album for the first time.

Opener “End Of The Universe” is a bit of a shocker, to be honest. I know I really didn’t know what to expect of this album, but I sure hadn’t expected this. It’s a super-heavy tune, doomy and gloomy, very dark and slower in pace. Traces of Therion are noticeable but for the most this brings my mind towards Candlemass, Avatarium and even Black Sabbath. And it’s so awesome! It’s both robust and hard but with a striking melody that immediately hits between the eyes. Wow! Next one up “Big Bang” takes a different turn. It’s still heavy but also way lighter than the opener and it also bear traces of Symphonic Rock and Melodic Hard Rock with a slight Pop vibe to make it catchy and even accessible. Ex Dynazty and Paralydium Project guitarist John Berg shows up for a guest solo here which is brilliant as always. This too sticks right away – very good.

“Black Hole” moves in a faster pace and is more straight-forward Metal. It’s not a far cry from how Dynazty sounds on their last two albums but Linnea’s vocal style and melody is more spacey and dreamy. It also comes with a 70’s symphonic keyboard sound. A killer! “QFT” is on a slower note and a bit soft but never slick or cheesy. It’s quite bombastic and dynamic with a beautiful arrangement that brings the tune close to be symphonic and even musical-like – and the melody lines are just so memorable. The track speeds up towards the end where it takes on a bit of a poppier turn, something that fits the song brilliantly. Awesome! First single “Aliens” is quite the obvious choice for a single. Not that we’re given chart rock a la Bon Jovi at all but this mid-tempo rocker do comes with a more straight ahead outlook and it is somewhat Pop-laden with a hook in the chorus that’s impossible not surrender to. In my book, this is a hit!

“Time” is a bit trippy with a levitating flow but it’s also quite heavy and in-your-face. It’s ballsy but also a bit soft where the big cinematic arrangement takes them on a Therion meets Ayreon trek and even though it takes a while to get into, it damn well sticks as it grows on you. Berg is back with a striking solo on “Quasar”, a progressive, dark and heavy Metal track that sounds both structured and unstructured at the same time. At times it actually brings my mind to Power Metal but a project like Ayreon must have been an influence on this tune. It’s aggressive but with a very strong melody and the whole tune is unpredictable, you never know which turn it’ll take. Great! “Light Speed” kicks off with some killer Metal riffing and the rhythm section is also very Metal. So, this is a Metal tune. It’s straight-forward but also somewhat progressive – very good.

Then it’s time for the title track, a big piano-led ballad that’s bombastic, heavy and very melodic. It comes very close to being a power ballad but it really have nothing to do with the early 90’s Arena Rock ones. Current Dynazty guitarist Mikael Lavér provides a brilliant solo on this punchy and striking but very, very memorable track. This is a song that definitely should be released as a single at some point, the way I see it. As a closer QFT brings on a cover of Björk’s “Jóga”. Now, I’m the first to admit that I have never been much of a Björk fan which means that I’m not familiar with this ballad at all. In the hands of QFT, it becomes a Rock ballad but also on the more jazzy side. It sports a floating arrangement which makes the tune different and a bit out there but at the same time it holds a very in-your-face and catchy refrain. The tune comes across as a very logical way to close an album like this. And I must look up the original version.

So. For an album that really held no expectations style-wise, it sure feels a bit unexpected – but so good, so good. Lennart Östlund’s (Led Zeppelin, ABBA) production is organic, down-to-earth and alive but at the same time it sounds like the band had endless of studio hours for the recordings. There are times when I feel that the rhythm section could be a bit heavier though. Song wise, this is an unpredictable album – and very interesting as you’ll never know what to expect next. It’s Metal, Doom, Hard Rock, Symphonic Rock, Melodic Rock and even Pop baked into a very fine mix without the album ever gets schizophrenic, it sounds like QFT no matter which turn the songs might take. That the musicians here are top-notch is no surprise for us who knows them from their previous bands. The rhythm section of Egg and Olsson are a ruthless, tight union, Lewys is a versatile guitarist who always plays what the song needs and Viksröm is an amazing singer with a huge range – but with a dad like Thomas Vikström, that’s not really a shocker. For everyone who has been looking for a band that reaches out and does something different and out of the box, throw an ear towards QFT – I can’t imagine anyone getting disappointed by this. Highly recommended!

9/10

Tracklist:

1. End Of The Universe
2. Big Bang
3. Black Hole
4. QFT
5. Aliens
6. Time
7. Quasar
8. Light Speed
9. Live In Space
10. Jóga

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