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Neuschwanstein - Battlement CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.92 | 199 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
2 stars 2.5 stars really!!!

In some ways this very anecdotic (if not historically insignificant) release is probably stylistically fairly important, because it links the late 70's symphonic rock to the mid-80's neo-prog. Artistically, Neuschwanstein's lone record is hardly a success, as they are more a clone of Genesis with a few borrowings to BJH and at times later 70's Strawbs (the singer's voice is cross of Gabriel style, Fish intonations and Dave Cousin's delivery), giving us a shameless ultra-symphonic prog that fits well what was done in those years in Continental Europe (France's Pulsar and Atoll, Germany's Epidaurus, Belgium's Nessie and Isopoda) and elsewhere (Quebec's Eden).

Not wanting to sound too harsh on the group because clearly the work involved and the playing are more than acceptable, but clearly this album is not looking to innovate but rather hoping to capitalize on already broken grounds. And these guys are unashamedly romantic, from their name (taken from a medieval castle) to their artwork (a castle ruin overlooking a grandiose solitary scenery) and their ultra symphonic sound (Mayer loads the album with his flute and when not, he overloads the strings synths), they are not afraid to lay it on thick, a bit like if the jam layer was thicker than the bread slice it lay upon. Oversweet? Certainly to this old dog, which would prefer to listen to something more offensive to the ears in order to stay awake and alert. Some have rumoured this album to be folky (as in medieval rather than Celtic, I guess), but I assure you that this Folk Prog Specialist heard NOTHING of the genre. This is strictly a symphonic beast, and not a rare and invaluable species either. And there are no major highlights on this album with all tracks of a relatively even quality (well the first two tracks, I found them limit-irritating, but that is colours and tastes) and good emphasis on the instrumental parts.

If this was not an obscure German record (well two members were most likely French, one from Alsace and the other of Flemish descent seeing their names >> Weiler and Joos) that sunk without much trace (given the era's musical context, but the album's overall relevance or innovation as well), you would swear that Marillion heard this record and were cloning Neuschwanstein and if you are into this form of music, chances are you love this one. So if you are a sweet music junkie, melt this one into syringe and shoot it intravenously and you should have your dose for the next year. Maybe the only prog record that comes with a doctor's ordinance. Pleasant nevertheless once every decade, but more than that, the overdose is bound to make you a diabetic proghead.

Sean Trane | 2/5 |


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