In the summer of 1991 Tord Lindman and Johan Högberg were looking for musicians with an interest for the progressive and innovative music of the early seventies. Thomas Johnson and Jonas Engdegård replied to their ads and eventually they met and listened to each others material. They became friends very fast and started writing and arranging songs immediately. In September Mattias Olsson joined the group and influenced the music with his classical training as a drummer. Anna Holmgren joined Änglagård in the spring of 1992 replacing the previously engaged flute player.(Most parts were actually taken from the "Hybris"-inlay and from Sean McFee's no longer existing prog homepage.)
With their line-up completed the band played several appreciated concerts in their hometown Stockholm. In April they visited Studio Largen and recorded a demo. The following two months were spent rehearsing and arranging the material for their first album "Hybris". The record was the result of not only four months hard work in the studio but the harvest of a one year struggle of creating music far from the commercial, musical nonsense of today. The progressive rock scene raved about the album and eventually the band was invited to play at the annual Progfest in L.A. in May 1993.
The new track "Gånglåt från Knapptibble" was recorded in August 1993, because the English magazine Ptolemaic Terrascope wanted to release a single to come with the magazine. It was during a period of energetic flow that the song (which is an early version of "Skogsranden" from the "Epilog"-album) grew to something crazy and funny. In December the band toured the U.S. playing their own compositions as well as a couple of cover-versions.
"Epilog" was recorded in the summer of 1994. While "Hybris" featured some moments of somberness, "Epilog" finds this emotion intensified in an all-instrumental setting which is sometimes aggressive, sometimes contemplative and almost always heavy with wistfulness and stoicism. The music sometimes sounds closer to the band's Scandinavian roots than the more overt symphonic progressive of their first album. Flute and mellotron are both given prominent roles in defining the morose nature of the sound here, while electric guitar and organ are often at the forefront of the harder sections.
At this time the band was already falling apart. In November Änglagård headlined the first day of the Progfest in L.A., which would become their last concert. The band stopped rehearsing and writing. A year later they met again to edit the recordings made during the Progfest which were eventually released as "Buried Alive".
Well, not really. 2002 saw the band rehearsing again, without Tord Lindman, though. After countless rehearsals the band finally returned to the stage in June 2003, playing a highly anticipated headlining show in their hometown Stockholm. Eventually they appeared at the German Freakshow-Festival and at NEARfest in the United States, both a huge success for the band and an unforgettable experience for the audience. After a few more shows in France and Belgium, Änglagård took a break, focusing on their jobs, families and other musical activities. Meanwhile, "Hybris" and "Epilog" were re-released once again.
Well, not really. 2011 found the band back together again. They began recording a new album and, in June 2012, returned to NEARfest. The new studio album "Viljans Öga" was finally released in June/August 2012! It even reached the top ten of the Swedish charts!
Well, not really. In October, Anna, Johan and Tord announced that they will continue with the band in a (hopefully) more steady fashion. Erik Hammarström (drums) and Linus Kåse (keyboards) became new band members. 2013 and 2014 saw more live concerts along with the release of the live album "Prog på svenska - Live in Japan", which was recorded by the new line-up in March 2013. In October 2014, the band announced the return of guitarist Jonas Engdegård.
Anna Holmgren (born in 1969):
She has been studying at the school of music at Luleå University (in the very north of Sweden) for some years. Presumably she's received a bachelor of music degree now. Right now she's going for a master degree in music at the same university (but she's doing it in Stockholm).
Johan Brand (born Högberg) (born in 1969):
His signifcant bass sound was always a remarkable element of Änglagård's music. He was seen studying at a music-school close to Uppsala while working part-time at a record shop. These days he's working at a school.
Tord Lindman (born in 1968):
Whilst he handled the vocals on "Hybris", he focused mainly on his acoustic guitar playing on "Epilog". After the band split up he studied at a music-school in Stockholm. Later he went to India for four months and then went on to work for a Swedish ferry company. Now he's supposed to be working in the film business. He worked with the band again on the rerelease of "Epilog" in 2009. Tord officially returned to the band in October 2012.
Jonas Engdegård (born in 1974):
Änglagård's lead-guitarist who was also the main composer of "Epilog" together with Thomas Johnson. Later on he worked as an engineer for local bands in Stockholm. Nowadays he's an engineer with research and development of audio coders. The band continued without him after the release of "Viljans Öga", but he returned in October 2014.
He joined Änglagård in autumn 2012. His main band has been Brighteye Brison for many years. Linus plays keyboards and saxophone.
He also joined in the band in autumn 2012. He's in Brighteye Brison together with Linus and he also was a member of the Flower Kings back in 2008.
Jamie Salazar (born in 1965):
He took Erik's place starting in June 2013 as time Erik went on paternity leave. Jaime has played drums in various bands, for example, Bad Habit, the Flower Kings, Karmakanic and Last Tribe.
He took Thomas' place during the concerts in 2012 as time constraints prevent Thomas from joining the rest of the band on tour. David is famous for playing keyboards with Gösta Berlings Saga.
Thomas Johnson (born in 1974):
In the post-Änglagård years he played in the Swedish version of Jesus Christ Superstar together with Mattias Olsson. The pair also got involved in the Krake-project where they played music in the vein of Swedish jazz pianist Jan Johansson. For over a year he was a member of the band Reminder as well, but eventually he withdrew from playing music focusing on his scientific research instead. He is currently a Ph.D. student in theoretical fusion plasma physics, pretty advanced stuff that no one else understands. He played keyboards on "Viljans Öga" and co-wrote the material, but eventually stepped down from his place in the band.
Mattias Olsson (born in 1975):
He also became a member of Pineforest Crunch, whose debut album "Make Believe" was rather successful. For several years he played with Reminder (semi-acoustic melancholic pop/rock), appeared as a guest musician on various albums and founded the pop-projects Geller (formerly known as Andreas och jag), Nanook of the North, as well as Molesome. He produced Gösta Berlings Saga, Kit le fever and Texan Prog rockers Deadwood Forest, among others. These days he collects keyboards and strange sounds. He plays drums in White Willow and has several projects like Necromonkey and Värddjuret. Mattias and Änglagård parted ways in 2012. Right now he is either on his relentless quest to make instruments sound truly unique or he's brewing some more coffee.
Picture © Göran Stenberg