From '60s surf rockers like the Ventures and the Surfaris to the hard rock shredders (Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Mads Eriksen, among others), instrumentalists have made some valuable contributions to rock over the years. Nonetheless, instrumental rock is still a hard sell; a variety of rock fans are reluctant to listen to instrumentalists. Even some progressive rock aficionados feel that way, which is regrettable because this self-titled album by the Sweden-based quartet Makajodama is an intriguing example of what instrumental progressive rock has to offer. Consisting of founder Mathias Danielsson (guitar, electric bass, organ, percussion), Karin Larsdotter (acoustic and electric cello), Johan Klint (acoustic and electric violin, organ), and Mattias Ankarbranth (drums, percussion), Makajodama bring a variety of influences to this 2007-2009 recording -- including Krautrock, psychedelic rock, jazz, Pink Floyd, King Crimson, and traditional Scandinavian folk. Anyone who has spent a lot of time listening to traditional Swedish, Norwegian, or Finnish folk will notice the effect that Nordic string players have had on Klint's violin and Larsdotter's cello. And even though Makajodama aren't metal by any stretch of the imagination, fans of European black metal, European death metal, and European folk-metal will be quick to notice those Nordic folk elements simply because so many extreme metal bands from the Scandinavian countries have also been influenced by the traditional folk music of Sweden, Norway, or Finland (Finnish huumpa, for example, has been a major influence on the Finnish folk-metal band Finntroll). But as experimental as Makajodama's album is, their material isn't all that hard to absorb. Probing instrumentals such as "The Train of Thought," "Buddha and the Camel," "The Girls at the Marches," and "Wolof" aren't simplistic, but at the same time, Makajodama aren't the type of prog rockers who go out of their way to be as abstract and difficult as possible. Makajodama achieve a healthy balance of intellect and accessibility on this 56-minute CD.
AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson