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OVER

Frequency Drift

 

Crossover Prog

3.90 | 156 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

tszirmay
Special Collaborator
Crossover Team
5 stars Music, what a beautiful world, never ceasing to amaze, stun and caress. This inherent capacity to medicate and involve the mind in a positive and pleasurable manner is what makes it so celestial and necessary, as I cannot imagine a day without prog, what a tepid penitentiary that would entail, condemned for evermore to wander in the din of modern life, aimlessly and soulless!

Both 'Ghosts' and 'Laid to Rest' were monumental recordings, laden with spectacular jewels that only enthuses further upon revisits, burrowing deep into the music starving psyche and staying the course. This is perhaps their dreamiest yet heaviest release yet, heavy not in metal terms but perhaps in 'ominousness'. The spectral quality has always been present, especially on the aptly indicative 'Ghosts' album, but here things go spiralling into the misty ether. This German band keeps continuously evolving, musical chairs filled by a stream of newcomers, especially when talking about the microphone stand. Firstly, RPWL's former drummer Phil Paul Rissettio and current guitarist Kalle Wallner are featured here as the rhythm section, with the latter providing the 4 string direction. After the incredible Katja Huebner, the sensational Antje Auer and now, new lead lung Isa Fallenbacher showcases her talent, all quite similar in style and range with slight variations. Isa is closer to Magenta's Christina Booth and she fits in perfectly with the spookier themes developed by the Hack brothers Andreas on keys and Christian, the guitarist. The instrumentation continues to be lush and grandiose, less drums and more percussion, brooding viola and cello adding emotional depth and strong classicism, as well as some Celtic harp tinges. There will be no unanimity with Frequency Drift prom the prog pundits, as it's a polarizing form of band proposing a highly cinematographic/soundtrack-ish backdrop for their intense craft, something that has to be accepted and acknowledged, in order to appeal. Some critics may find it a bit sedate and infused with a 'sameness', but it's their style! A very typically un-German style, by the way! These musicians rely on dense atmospheres, colliding organic sounds with modern twists, intoxicating sonic hypnosis that requires a willingness to be seduced. Fans of FD actually aspire to achieve that seduction throughout the recordings, as this music needs to be heard in its entirety, in order to permeate the melancholic soul.

Some pieces are immediately attractive, such as the whirlwind "Saggitarius A" with its repetitive chorus of "invincible and insatiable", but the glittering electric harp adds an intensity that just keeps giving. Then place the haunting "Suspended" right behind with its muted and magical guitar rasp, the screeching high vocal (hey there Kate!) dancing between the drum beats and veering into harsher domains, that's when you really get what FD is all about! The completely unexpected mixed in with their brooding spectral instrumentation. Christian lets a blistering solo fly through his fingers, giving this arrangement a lot of bravado and texture.

The vocal brilliance of "Wander" jumps right out from the speakers, offering a very Magenta feel , fused with FD trademark quirkiness (yeah, the harp again giving a tingling feel to the arrangement), as well as some marimba-like percussion played by Jesper Joris , bloody brilliant! Pause for reflection, a Japanese-style finale only befuddles further. Just plain incredible creativity.

The next four tracks keep the pressure on unabashed, the foot firmly on the pedal, constantly introducing fun elements like the fluttering synths and the insane drumming on "Driven" or the neo-Arabic droning chorus on "Release" that features the use of a 'duclar' (a German wood clarinet), tin whistle and a chromatic harp (is it made out of chrome? Nah!). But the apotheosis is reached with the phenomenal epic 10 minute "Memory", a sultry and captivating slice of sheer beauty, crystalline perfection and complete capitulation. Isa really kills it here, showing us a voice that captures a musical moment perfectly, pushed along by a magical flute and kick-ass riffs that chug like some forgotten Tull album. This is perhaps FD's crowning achievement, a mesmerizing piece that has all the prog goods, in whole and in its parts, adorned with a whopping synth solo straight out of the Tony Banks academy. Bombastic, evocative and breath-taking, this is some music! Screeching guitar solos supplied by guest Martin Schnella, amid a mellotron-infested sonic jungle, I mean, can it get better than this? Me thinks Nein!

FD has a knack of leaving a glorious final impression and here they do not disappoint, with the shivering fragility of a voice, a piano and a harp. The medieval-tinged song is called "Disappeared" and I, along with many other fans hope that Frequency Drift never disappear from our collective minds and continue to offer such dazzling music.

5 heavenly terminations

tszirmay | 5/5 |

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