Reviews on
GALLEON "Engines of creation"

" Swedish Galleon is already present on the musical scene for nearly 20 years, they started as a trio influenced by Rush. However, when Ulf Pettersson joined the band on keyboards, their music would soon become more symphonic and tend to seventies bands like Yes and Genesis. Meanwhile, they have already released their ninth studio album, nearly 4 years after the release of their widely praised double CD "From land to Ocean '.

The opener AI may have taken a bit longer, because it shows that typical symphonic atmosphere with nice laid back guitar, where Swedish bands seem to stand for. Galleon was in the past not really known for super complex music, but with songs like The Assemblers and Signals they have delivered beautiful symphonic works with strong compositions. Although keyboards still play an important role, you get the impression that the guitar is far more present than on previous albums. The drums also sound a little more dynamic, perhaps the presence of the new drummer Goran Johnsson is causing this, it is perhaps surprising that the latter plays keyboards with Cross. And it seems as if they return to their roots, "Engines of Creation" is clearly inspired by Rush, both musically and vocally. In State Insane the guitars sound just a little harder and you hear even a hint of "progressive metal", but as it seems obvious for progressive guys, they alternate it with an acoustic passage.

Towards the end of the album, the songs are also slightly longer and more vintage keyboards comes to the foreground, Men & Monsters is a very progressive piece with jazzy influences, here, I inadvertently must remind of The Flower Kings. This album also contains some excellent guitar solos, the sound of the guitar tends more to the hard rock of the seventies than to neo-prog, the style where Galleon might be wrongly placed by many reviewers. Mother Machine also shows the best of all musicians, first solid guitar rock alternated with synthesizers, voices through a megaphone in old-style vinyl accompanied by piano gives this issue an extra dimension.

Lightworks closes the album perfectly and simultaneously proves that the group has indeed evolved compared to previous albums. You can actually still find traces of groups such as IQ, Marillion and other progressive leading bands. But they have developed their own particular style, which sets them apart from mediocrity. This is one of the better albums of the group and is certainly recommended."


"After working on their very ambitious last album From Land To Ocean for three years (two years were spent on the 52 minute The Ocean) Galleon found it extremely difficult to keep those creative juices flowing. Throughout 2005 nothing was happening. Then on top of that, drummer and founding member Dan Fors announced at the beginning of 2006 that he would quit the band due to lack of inspiration and wanting to spend more time on other things in life. Goran Johnsson, formerly of Grand Stand was recruited. Bass player and lead vocalist Goran Fors knew Johnsson from the Spektrum project. He also plays keyboards with Cross. During 2006 Fors and Johnsson started to brainstorm on new ideas and suddenly the creativity came back and the recording of what would become Engines of Creation started in July 2006 and it took a year to finish the album.

The sleeve design is again by keyboard player Ulf Pettersson (he also did the beautiful sleeve of From Land To Ocean) but this time it’s a bit different design from other Galleon album sleeves. It’s a perfect match with the difference in the music and lyrical content of the album. The main theme of the album has to do with technology and all the (wrong) things man does with it. Big brother, artificial intelligence, plagues and oppression are the main subjects. They paint a very bleak picture of mankind.

‘We are the creative race. When it comes to pain, men and monsters are the same’ (from ‘Men and monsters’).

All the albums lyrics are by Goran Fors. On previous albums he already showed his concerns about the way our society is developing. He leaves room however for some light at the end of the tunnel in the closing Lightworks.

‘For future better ways. No more corrupted silly games. We have to set it right this time’.

Musically things have changed. Maybe it’s because of new member Johnsson but the album has a lot more energy and driving force than previous albums. The album is heavier and has a more modern sound (it’s the first Galleon album that only uses digital equipment). Johnsson has a different way of drumming than his predecessor Dan Fors. He seems to hit the drums harder but also uses a lot of different cymbals and small percussion to keep things varied. However this driving force and higher energy levels are noticeable with all band members. Especially guitar player Sven Larsson really seems to have found his place and sound within Galleon because he really shines on this album.

From heavy riffs (The Assemblers, State Insane, Men and Monsters and Machine Mother) to beautiful acoustic work (on the short soundtrack like instrumental The Cinnamon Hideaway). Keyboard player Ulf Pettersson seems to have more of a supporting role but that’s deceiving because there is plenty of his excellent keyboard work to enjoy on this album. Lots of moog solos seemingly coming out of nowhere. Listen for example to the Brutal reign… part of Machine Mother. Pettersson really lifts that part of the song with some bombastic choir work. Later in the song he displays some beautiful piano playing. And then there is bass player and lead vocalist Goran Fors. I think his vocals on this album are much stronger than on previous records. More self assured. And more importantly; he certainly cut down the number of sentences in each song. In the past he sometimes seemed to have difficulty to fit all the words in the melody. There is a much better balance now. The best example for that is the excellent Signals. What a beautiful chorus! Also his bass work really is strong (on Monsters and Men for example).

The band claims that there is a more Rush-like energy present on this album. And I agree. Not that the music sounds like Rush but after listening to the album a lot I can understand what they mean. Although I must say that the second part of Lightworks (the Lightworks perfect way… part) reminded me very much of Mystic Rhythms from the Rush album Power Windows and the opening riff of The Assemblers has a little Snakes and Arrows feel to it (until Pettersson brings his Moog to the front of the mix).

Highlights of the album? The Assemblers is a very dynamic opener (after the short but beautiful instrumental A.I.) that sets the tone. The earlier mentioned Signals simply is perfect with a beautiful chorus and at the end a guitar/keyboard duel. State Insane has some riffs that Big Elf and Black Bonzo would be proud of that are not the names you expect to read in a ‘Galleon’ review. This song has also some very hard, down to earth lyrics about the government as Big Brother.

‘and when the so called authorities come kicking in your door. And microchip your body. Unconscious on the floor.’

Men And Monsters starts as the 'Galleon' as we knew them but soon changes into a heavy jazz rock kind of a song with some very atmospheric vocal parts in between. The vocals in combination with the piano reminded me a bit of Echolyn. The last three minutes of the song are heavy progressive rock stuff. Excellent! And lastly Machine Mother features one of the most exiting pieces of music of the album - I mentioned that already in this review. They seem to end the song with a beautifully sung part with just piano so when the song did continue I was a bit disappointed at first until I noticed that it was a reprise of that Brutal Reign… part.

Lot’s of things have changed in the last 10 years of Galleon's existence. They had some personnel changes, some touring setbacks and creative droughts but still they managed to get better and better on each new release. I was very positively surprised by Engines of Creation, especially by the album's drive and energy. It’s an album that I never expected Galleon would be able to make. IMHO it is one of the best albums of their career so far."
Conclusion: 8.5 out of 10

"It's been four long years since Sweden's Galleon released the excellent 2CD concept album From Land to Ocean, but the wait is over and the prog rock band is back with the equally impressive Engines of Creation. This release sees the band with a new member, drummer Goran Johnsson, who also happens to be a member of popular prog band Cross (ironically, he is the keyboard player for that band!). If you have gotten used to Galleon's brand of muscular prog rock mixed with vintage sounds, then you can expect no deviation from that formula here. Shades of Rush, Yes, Arena, Deep Purple,
early Marillion, and Genesis abound on Engines of Creation, as the band provide plenty of guitar and rhythmic firepower to go along with 70's styled keyboard sounds. While the album is more song based this time around, it's all still epic in style and scope.

There's a reason that Galleon has been one of Progress Records main acts over the years, and that's because they know how to deliver the goods time and time again. Dramatic songs like "Lightworks", with its bombastic guitar & keyboard riffs, the majestic, complex arrangements of "The Assemblers",
the symphonic "Signals", and the crunchy, almost prog-metal sounds of the title track, are fine examples of modern progressive rock with an aggressive edge. Ulf Pettersson's wide range of keyboard sounds lead the charge, whether he is throwing down some raging Hammond riffs or blazing synth passages, he adds the heavy duty prog element while guitarist Sven Larsson provides more
than a fair share of hard rock firepower. Goran Fors' melodic vocals and groove laden bass lines inject a certain amount of charm and character into each track, and his bass skills are especially heard on the punchy "State Insane" and the atmospheric, 70's inspired "Men and Monsters".

One might say that Galleon stick to a formula and rarely stray from it, but you have to admit that formula is quite good and works time after time after time. Engines of Creation is another solid and enjoyable slice of modern symphonic prog from these veteran Swedes."

"If you are familiar with the music of Galleon, then you for certain will enjoy their new album."
Rating: 4 stars

"Superb symphonic progband Galleon from Sweden, has released yet another fine album,
following a string of great releases since their debut “”Lynx” from 1992.

The (too?) short, but brilliant instrumental : “A.I.” are a great opener to this new outing from
these excellent musicians.

“The Assemblers” follows quickly with an up-tempo (intro wise) tune leading to that typical
(in a positive way) Galleon material!

Track#3 : “ Signals” a superb track which starts (and ends) with morse code signals, hence
the title and lyrics! GREAT STUFF!

Galleon way back, were originally a Rush influenced trio and it shows especially on this track
“Engines of Creation” with the power chops of guitarist Sven Larsson.

“State Insane” initially has this heavy and dooming aura about it, but midways changes to a soothing acoustic ballad like great effect, rounding it all up by returning to that heavy theme. SUPERB!!

“The Cinnamon Hideaway” are another brilliant short instrumental, its laidback, intriguing and beautiful.

“”Men & Monsters” a dramatic (if you will) tense thematic downtoned tune, that after a few listens no doubt will haunt your “lets hear that again” censor, ending with some powerplay by the band, led by
the excellent solo guitars of Larsson!!

“Machine Mother” a heavier rougher tune (again Rush springs to mind) fine excellent play from all involved, with Larsson (guitars), Petterson (keyboards) to the fore and solid backing by Fors (Vocals, bass) and Johnsson (Drums).
A high powered track, which near ends with a megaphone like reciting voice and great piano on top of what sound like an old 78´..scrathes an all, of course at the last minute the guys return for a final power outlet, great stuff!

Epic track: “Lightworks” ends this fine and recommendable album, with some serious highpowered hardprog in superb different variations and arrangements.

So another superb release from GALLEON and another notch in the belt of the excellent record company: Progress Records. I heartily recommend this album to any serious progcollector (friends of Galleon, will own it allready!) and while i'm at it, do check out the fabulous Progress Records, for other brilliant progbands and releases!

"From the Swedish label Progress Records comes yet a new Galleon cd, admittedly, I have not heard a lot from this Swedish band, other than some songs from a Swedish Progressive Sampler I had from years ago. Admittedly I had always shied away from the Neo prog stigma when reading about certainartists, so that was the case for my interest in Galleon, yet I have received this cd for review, and so I indulged in the opportunity to hear the band in a proper listening environment for the first time as I began to study about the band's history. One thing became clear, with 9 releases to date, they are both dedicated musicians and have created a following, so I popped in the cd to really listen to this band.

At their website, they wanted the readers to know that this would be their best effort to date, and while I have no other Galleon music to compare this to, I can comment on what I have gleaned from my listening sessions with the cd. Galleon is most definitely a Neo Prog band, but as I have discovered, that is not always bad, in their defense, they are good at everything, from musicianship, songwriting, to the production and cohesiveness of the material. I am reminded of the allure of middle era Pink Floyd, and the more intense aspects of IQ/Marillion, so as a point of reference, I can see why Galleon has been as prolific as they have been, they are not merely a band that has a pretensive formulaic writing style, but they have a sincere sound that is very personal in sound. Keyboards and guitars are very well done, both in technique and sound, vintage and modern are combined to give both a nod to the golden era of progressive music, and to entertain the contemporary fans as well.

Galleon are not playing a hugely complicated music, yet it is sophisticated enough to keep you on
your toes, they may write a familiar chorus, and some verse by verse songs, only to add some unique
instrumentations between them, bringing all of the creative ideas into the fold making for some very
provocative moments. I have to admit, that in hearing this cd, I feel the need to hear their back catalog
to hear the progress that they have made up to this point, as this cd is very solid start to finish.
Galleon are about moods and lyrical content, at times the singer reminds me of The Tangent's, Guy Manning. Meaning very easy to understand, and easy on the ears as well.

This is a nice piece of music no doubt, I can see why they are nine recordings into their careers, as
they are able to balance their writing skill with deft and slick musicianship. They may not appeal to
the snobs of 70's prog, but they are a band that are aware that there are progressive fans new and
old that are looking for this kind of quality music."

More reviews coming soon

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