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Novalis - Banished Bridge CD (album) cover

BANISHED BRIDGE

Novalis

 

Symphonic Prog

3.60 | 70 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

kenethlevine
Special Collaborator
Prog-Folk Team
3 stars Novalis' debut is an anomaly in their catalog. The organ is given utmost prominence, the vocals are in a rough cut English, and no electric guitars can be identified, the bass and acoustic rhythm guitar occasionally filling in. It is also more spirited than anything they were to present until the late 70s.

While comparisons to earlier progressive pioneers are not unjustified, the roots of Novalis more closely intertwine with the branches of 60s psychedelia, especially in the organ and bass lines. Early PROCOL HARUM and PINK FLOYD also come to mind. I would prefer to speak about their enormous influence on the German symphonic progressive scene of the 70s, and groups like JANE, RAMSES, TROYA, and MINOTAURUS. This debut seems to have had the biggest direct impact on those and many others.

Hints of the narcoleptic tendencies of subsequent albums can be found here and there, especially on parts of the nonetheless fascinating title cut, but generally the group minimizes the ambient quotient. "High Evolution" is the most direct and shortest piece, with a clean melody, jubilant chorus, and organ at turns crunching and church-like. "Laughing" is 9 minutes long and is really a suite of barely connected fragments that barely holds together with organ, acoustic guitar, bass, and some CREAM-like vocals. It is probably the weakest of the 4 tracks on that basis. The closer "Inside of You" is somewhat more coherent, with a signature bass line and organ theme. The vocals do tend to be a bit overwrought.

NOVALIS would go on to become one of the most popular German progressive groups of the 70s, and many readers here would be in raptures over the group, particularly this debut. While I respect their influence and enjoy this disk from time to time, on the whole I find the Novalis sound to be a bit more dated than most from the period. My attention tends to drift as their compositions don't really draw me in like the best prog should, so for the most part the group is banished to the second tier.

kenethlevine | 3/5 |

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