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Pell Mell - Moldau CD (album) cover


Pell Mell


Symphonic Prog

2.87 | 14 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars Pell Mell's "Moldau" is a truly remarkable record. When I saw that it was recorded in 1981, and read in the band bio that "the old magic was gone", I wasn't expecting much, but boy, am I ever pleasantly surprised with this album.

First off, "Moldau" is in part a homage to Pell Mell's debut album "Marburg" that contained a deeply moving instrumental number "Moldau", based on the famous section of composer Bedrich Smetana's "Ma Vlast" work. On the 1981 album, the Moldau transcription is longer and more elaborate, and in two sections. Thomas Schmitt's violin playing is as wonderful as ever, and the keyboard and guitar work is quite good as well.

Secondly, this record is unusual as it doesn't sound like it was recorded in 1981 at all, but musically would fit in with the mid- seventies prog period. And the band went out on a limb and made this record all instrumental, which really works well, as the playing on every number is interesting and refreshing in it's scope and feeling. There is the track "Gliding", which is the album's most atmospheric piece.(the listener can imagine gliding while hearing this section) Then, there is the multi-part "Dark Valley", which almost sounds like "Variations on a theme", very creative and colorful in it's structure, the final part to Dark Valley sounding like it might fit in with PFM's "Jet Lag" album, and just another example of why this album is not run of the mill, but full of surprises, and so unique in this time and place.

No doubt there is a misconception that Moldau the album is about a band that had lost their previous focus and appeal, but I don't really think so. I can't think of many a European seventies symphonic band in 1981 that despite some personnel changes, was still so in focus and doing something so refreshing, yet connected with past greatness.I give it four stars.

presdoug | 4/5 |


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