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Novalis - Konzerte CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.01 | 60 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Hamburg's Romantic Rock ensemble may have been settling into bad habits in the recording booth, but on stage the band was still capable of putting on a rousing show in 1977. Unlike their current studio album "Brandung" (not yet released when these gigs were taped), the emphasis in concert was on the instrumental performances, with a setlist devoted to earlier, stronger material from their self-titled 1975 album and its splendid 1976 companion "Sommerabend". New singer Fred Mühlböck would soon usurp the songwriting duties and steer his comrades into shallower waters, but he sounds completely at ease in the band's more symphonic back catalogue (he may have simply been trying too hard on his upcoming studio debut with the group).

The music itself on the live disc is more or less conventional Prog Rock, a description sadly becoming less of an oxymoron in 1977. But don't dismiss the album too quickly. Yes, it represented a waning style of music captured at that awkward moment just past its cultural expiration date, complete with obligatory classical walk-on music (Ravel's "Bolero") and, outside of the brief instrumental "Dronz", no song shorter than nine minutes. But thankfully the rumors of Prog's death-by-misadventure hadn't reached suburban Hamburg yet, and even with its flat, detached production the album crackles with energy and enthusiasm.

Judging by the sound of the crowd (large and ecstatic), the band was nearing the apex of their popularity as well, before starting to buckle under the pressures of commercial success. Be prepared, however, to accept a little mustiness when opening this bluntly-titled musical time capsule. But as anyone who has ever haunted an old vinyl emporium can tell you, the dusty whiff of yesterday's faded treasure is not an unpleasant experience.

Neu!mann | 3/5 |


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