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Eden - Erwartung CD (album) cover

ERWARTUNG

Eden

 

Prog Folk

4.42 | 69 ratings

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Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
5 stars Taking in German symphonic band Eden's 1978 debut `Erwatung' for the first time without any prior knowledge of the group, listeners would instantly note how joyous and spirited the male/female vocals are throughout the entire LP. Research into the band reveals that the group were Christian, and suddenly that joyful and uplifting warmth that emanates from the voices suddenly makes perfect sense! `Erwatung' turns out to be a true symphonic gem, and a very rare example of a German album that actually shares many similarities to classic RPI/Italian prog works with its use of choral voices, flute and violin creating a rich orchestral-like grandness, perhaps with Latte e Miele, Celeste and Quella Vechia Locanda instantly coming to mind. It also reminds in parts the music of German acts such as Novalis, Eloy, Hoelderlin and Epidaurus, and the band offer lyrics based around biblical texts performed in their native language.

Several themes - some sprightly, others reflective - weave in and out of opener `Spätregen' by way of sparkling piano, humming Hammond organ, stirring violin, shimmering synths and a commanding dignified male vocal. Some flighty flute alongside peppy drumming and crisp electric guitar runs instantly calls to mind Camel and Asia Minor, and there's nicely darker wafting sax and heavier grooves in the final moments. Pretty acoustic guitar strums, breezy flute and delicate electric piano tiptoes drift among `Erwartung's sobering narrated passages that remind of Eloy's `Ocean' era, punctuated by incidental ripping electric guitar bursts and groaning sitar, and the most placid of builds from a soothing male and female choir take the piece into heavens of the grandest symphonic majesty. A shorter piece then wraps the first side, `Eden, teil I', with constantly reprising prancing violin, flute and electric piano themes dancing whimsically around alternating male and female verses and subtly grumbling bass.

The second part of `Eden, teil II' fades in to welcome the second side but takes a darker turn, where a narrated passage grows in manic intensity over eerie organ and stark clarinet, and devilish treated voices and brooding synths grow in menace between punchy urgent blasts. A sole female voice trills around sombre violin and heartfelt piano, and ultimately the piece lifts into a triumphant choral fanfare (and one fleeting little moment almost drifts into King Crimson's `In the Court of the Crimson King', keep a listen out for it!). `Ein Anderes Land' is the sixteen minute epic closer, full of plenty of cascading synth runs, an uptempo momentum, snarling heavy guitars and roaring sax. Portions led by male vocals and alternating dreamy and heavier guitars remind of Novalis, the spacey synths and starker female voices are similar to Epidaurus, and in addition to some flamenco-like acoustic guitar spots, there's brisk funky diversions and a classy assortment of swooning orchestration that careens through the entire piece. An extravagant array of choral voices are favoured over too many lengthy instrumental runs, and it culminates in a big fanfare finale.

Some may find `Erwatung' just a little too vocal heavy when it could have done with a few longer and more frequent purely instrumental sections, but it still remains an impeccable work. With not only a silken production and memorable instrumental themes but some of the loveliest singing to ever appear on a German prog-related disc, `Erwatung' is a symphonic classic, and one well in need of some new belated extra attention.

Five stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 5/5 |

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