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Neuschwanstein - Battlement CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.92 | 200 ratings

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4 stars With lead vocalist Frédéric Joos doing a pretty amazing Genesis-era PETER GABRIEL impersonation, the band has the makings of a GENESIS clone, but they are not. The music is lush and often complex, drawing from a variety of influences and sonic palettes.

1. "Loafer Jack" (4:42) add GRYPHON to the early lineup of GENESIS and this is what you might get: some great prog with layers of acoustic and electric instruments woven together as if melding old traditions with the new technological advances in electronic gear. Then, of course, put PETER GABRIEL up front to tell his mythologic folk tales and you have this. (9/10)

2. "Ice With Dwale" (6:21) same solid layers of ancient folk instrumentation with the modern keys and guitars and Gabriel story telling and you have another wonderful Trespass-like composition--only better: more mature, sophisticated, and polished. (9.25/10)

3. "Intruders And The Punishment" (7:34) opens with a little more bombast than the previous two and then quickly settles into a very GENESIS-familiar pulsing rhythm and groove. The instrumental composition of this song is noticeably different from the previous two, as well, with far less use and prominence to acoustic instruments and much heavier reliance on layers of keys and other electronic gear. When Joos begins singing in the third minute he seems to be channeling Lord GABRIEL--but then, so are the drummer and keyboard player. It's new enough--not a pure ripoff of any single GENESIS song--but the number of instances of pure familiarity are a bit excessive. (13/15)

4. "Beyond The Bugle" (7:31) flanged guitar with picked 12-string woven into a kind of slow drumless "Entangled" run for a full two minutes before Frédéric joins in. At the three minute mark drums, bass, and more electronic keys join in. The whiplash up-and-down bass play is prominent. At 4:00 a new MOODY BLUES-like acoustic guitar strum signals the start of a whole new section--very wild circus ride-like with uptempo pacing and theatric voice. AT 5:00 there is another shift (how mathematically oriented these guys are!) The heavily treated/doubled singing in the second half of the sixth minute sound a bit like one of PETER GABRIEL's dramatic theatric song finishes--but the song still has a minute left. (All instrumental.) Weird disjointed song. (13/15)

5. "Battlement" (7:05) opens with a TANGERINE DREAM weave while ordinance explosions occur all over the soundscape. New bass line emerges at the end of the second minute to usher in some new instruments (Arp synth, percussives, pizzicato bass, organ) as a more metronomic KRAFTWERK-like section plays. Fuzz guitar solo in the third minute just before very regal instrumental chorus. Then it's back to the KW fuzz guitar motif and another chorus. At 4:15 all instruments save for a Fender Rhodes leave while Frédéric sings in a very delicate, quiet voice. Other keyboard instruments flit in and out as the singing continues until a new full band instrumental section unfolds in the sixth minute. Lots of synth solo and layering on display here. (12.75/15)

6. "Midsummer Day" (7:42) * a song added to the 1992 MUSEA Records CD re-release. The music is not quite as GENESIS-imitative more in the ELOY ball park--which makes me question the veracity of the decision to include this song as part of an album of music that should be representative of this band's 1978 compositions and output. The acoustic guitar work to launch the middle section is good, bass player sounds poorer, drumming is a little off, flute is awesome, and singing is the least GABRIEL-esque of any song on the original album.

7. "Zärtlicher Abschied" (5:42) opens with harpsichord-sounding acoustic guitars, deep bass thrum and then flutes before morphing into a kind of CAMELish PINK FLOYD "Hey, You" (or, better, HARMONIUM, CELESTE, or MAXOPHONE). Fast guitar strumming at the end of the first minute serve notice of the TONY BANKS keyboard-loaded section to ensue. At 3:45 we downshift a bit, allowing room for an electric guitar solo before amping back up into the flute-and-Moog solo work. Very nice instrumental. (9.25/10)

* Absent from LP release

Total Time: 46:37

88.33 on the Fishscales = B+/4.5 stars; a near-masterpiece of neo progressive rock music.

BrufordFreak | 4/5 |


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