Beardfish: +4626 Comfortzone

For my first review of the new year, I’m going to take a look into a band I had never heard before despite many recommendations from friends of mine. Swedish prog outfit, Beardfish, have been for almost 25 years now, which surprises me that it’s taken me this long to finally see what all the fuss was about. That being said, now that I have had a taste of Beardfish, I simply can’t get enough; these guys are nothing short of genius in my book.

+4626 is the band’s eighth album to date and the follow-up to what I’ve gathered to be a hugely successful predecessor of an album (The Void). However, because I’m not well-versed in this band and by no means an authority on their back catalog, I’m going to assume it’s all very decent based off of what I heard on this album.

It’s really no surprise that there is a theme for this entire album. According to the band, “The Comfort Zone is the invisible protective suit of negativity, almost like an entity of itself. It’s been with you since birth; your parents and your teachers and your friends and your neighbors all teaching you the way the world works – this is how it is and will be and there’s nothing you can do about it…”

A pretty broad and complex topic to be able to spin into an album full of complicated yet catchy and accessible songs illustrating these fears and apprehensions and confusions.

“The negative vibe is like a voice living inside you, a companion through life. With time you start to like that voice and the place it takes you to: your comfort zone. I’m so sick and tired of it and I want to address it and maybe in that way start to work out of it.”

Truer words have never been spoken. I’m a firm believer in facing those apprehensions no matter how negative it can get. Addressing it and bringing it out into the open is the only way to truly solve it.

Again, while most albums that are tethered around a “concept” generally end up being vague and off topic at times, this album is very exposed in its intentions, yet fraught with a myriad of musical designs and hooks to keep the listener engaged well after the album has finished. The album artwork also does a spectacular job of depicting some of those themes as well. Truly a great start to the year even with so much to look forward to. I can’t wait.

Luke Helker

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