As a keen fan of The Esbjorn Svensson Trio, I had been waiting for the arrival of this disc with much anticipation; would it prove that the Trio was a true meeting of equals & Magnus could show himself equally adept at Band leadership as ES himself or would he struggle a bit under the weight of the past, with a totally new Band & undertaking all composition and production duties himself?
Well, I'm very pleased to say "Thread of Life" not only carries on the EST tradition for high quality, melodic rock-inflected jazz (or is that jazz-inflected rock or just plain fusion? whichever way it's great) but Ostrom doesn't allow himself or the music to wallow in overpowering melancholia, electronica or distortion. This is seriously heady, groovy yet intense stuff which I defy any jazz, pop, rock, indie or alternate music lover not to like at least in part. A particular track highlight is "Longing", a groove-filled, dynamic, intense (I even teared up at one point whilst still nodding my head to the groove so I had to chuckle at myself;)), even orgasmic, heady cocktail (a little like Premonition - Earth on EST's "Leucocyte" but nowhere near as "heavy" or back-beat driven). Also, despite the title, "Piano Break Song": is a great fusion ensemble piece.
As for other (selected) tracks - "Ballad for E" (with Pat Metheny on guitar & the other ex-EST member Dan Berglund on bass) is a bit more "Pat" than "Esbjorn" but still very good, "The Haunted thoughts......" is a little bit too electronic-effect driven for my ultimate taste & while the titles "Weight of Death" & "Hymn for the Past" suggest out & out dirges, they are not - laced with melancholia & not "soaring" to the same extent as the tracks mentioned previously maybe, but they are both highly engaging and thoughtful.
Another great thing about this disc? it clocks in at over 70mins & there's not a second wasted (well, maybe "Hymn" does go on a tiny tad too long!).
Anyway, if you're a serious music listener, do yourself a favour & give it a try.