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Novalis - Brandung CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.29 | 91 ratings

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Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer
3 stars After the magnificent Summerabend, the band decided to add a new singer. Fred Mühlböck (who algo plays guitar and flute) would join them for that tour and it was recorded for posterity on their classic Konzerte live album.However, this move would have much deeper consequences than it showed at first. And 1977´s Brandung would prove the point. Although still a fine album it showed a unexpected shift of styles. The songs are shorter, popish and, for a band known almost as a semi-instrumental outfit, with a lot of vocals. In fact, the only instrumental piece we have here is the first part of the almost 17 minute suite Sonnenwende. And it lasts for just a little over 3 minutes. The opener Irgendwo, Irgendwahn must have shocked a lot of the most radical fans. This rocking, yet melodic number, set the pace for much of the songs in here.

In hindsight is easy to say that the change of style had a lot to do with the acquisition of Mühlböck: the guy was not only a much better singer than anything the band had in this department before, but he also writes much of the songs himself here. And, let´s not forget that the year was 1977, the beginning of the "dark ages" for progressive music. Symphonic prog was on the wane for a couple of years already and now it was met with even hostility by critics and the new generation. And Novalis was kind of late comer of sorts. Besides, their music was always melodic and simpler than most of their german prog counterparts, so it was a bit logical that they would eventually do something like this sooner or later. And I should say they did it much more gracefully than a lot of prog acts that tried to deliver simpler stuff at the period. For the songs are of high quality and Sonnenwende is still quite powerful progressive epic.

Conclusion: this is obviously a transitional album, where much of their glorious past is present, although it is clear they were no longer interested in being labeled as prog anymore (something I doubt they even really ever aspired to be). Novalis had no intention to take the world by storm (as they refused to sing in english after their first album). It seems they were happy to be local heroes and do what they wanted. And, let´s face it, they did it well enough.

Rating: 3,5 stars.

Tarcisio Moura | 3/5 |


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