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Novalis - Novalis CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.78 | 161 ratings

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Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Granted the first cut on this band's sophomore release could double as the theme song to a cheesy cop show from 1974, but what the hell, I'm game. I mean, as cheesy TV music goes it's first-rate. At times considered a 'krautrock' band (to the extent that they played progressive rock and were from Germany), Novalis had been around since 1971 as amateurs making a lot of original music as well as fans along the way. After some success with their debut, the quintet began furiously jamming, creating, composing and improvising their way into this terrific second effort while holed-up in a windowless room, as recalled by drummer Hartwig Biereichel: "Far away from life and daylight, this was the place where we probably had our most creative and courageous phase as far as our music was concerned. Since we were completely cut off from what was going on outside, we felt free to celebrate musical excesses and jammed the nights away until we were completely exhausted."

I think it was worth it, at least for us. I don't know if comparisons quite work here, as the sound of music composed under such conditions is not easily spotted. One is reminded now & then of Rick Wakeman, distracting and probably unnecessary Floyd references, and fellow countrymen Triumvirat. As stated, opener 'Sonnengeflecht' is upbeat period flash-rock with Lutz Rahn's piercing synthesizers layered well and sounding bright, his Hammond H100 carrying nine-minute 'Wer Schmetterling Lachen Hort' as it spreads out with German angst and somberly crawls from its dungeon lair. Detlef Job and Carlo Karges handle some fine twin-guitar lines throughout and a brief Deep Purple impersonation occurs just before this track returns to its crypt. A familiar warble from Rahn quietly opens 'Dronsz', a classic German space bit that builds into a cosmic campaign. A theme continued for very good 'Impressionen', perhaps the zenith of the record and all very cleanly recorded. And a kinderorgel playfully begins the 8-minute closer, a grand one with towering synth sounds, soulful lead guitar and tolerable if odd vocalizations.

Pretty much indispensible for those interested in European symphonic/space rock, and a flavorful treat for the rest. Just under 4 stars. A live cut is included on the Revisited Records issue of medium sound quality.

Atavachron | 3/5 |


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