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Novalis - Neumond CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

2.32 | 26 ratings

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2 stars Survival is the biological imperative. Adapt or die, to quote P.W. Botha out of context. I therefore appreciate prog bands' efforts to roll with the times back in the increasingly bleak 1980s, provided their compositions remain at least partly true to the progressive spirit, if not the letter of the law. CAMEL proved it could be done. NOVALIS was a more qualified success; they never produced anything awful, but by 1982 they were a very different group, with less of a defined sound.

With "Neumond", the group finally surrendered to the Digital Deities, which casts a clinical shadow over cuts like the admittedly interesting "Anakonda" and the drab title track. Moreover, pop excesses inundate whatever prog tendencies one might have found in "Oft sagt man mehr, wenn man schweigt" and "Du bist schön", although the latter does make for a hypnotic German take on ATLANTA RHYTHM SECTION. Even where the group stretches out as in "Nachttraum", it seems like a watered down recycling of the already somnolent "Sommerabend".

The best cuts here are actually those that conjure up other German bands of various pedigrees. "Frühsport im Sachsenwald" sounds like something out of the AMON DUUL II playbook circa "Vive la Trance", while "Kein Frieden" could double in for "Performance"-era ELOY (I know, this album predates the Eloy work, but you will see the reference) except with Frank Bornemann finally singing in his mother tongue, which many felt he should have done out of the gate. The closer "Blauer Morgen" the best of several approximations to the nascent TANGERINE DREAM soundtrack era. It's no wonder NOVALIS was trying out these styles, as Eloy and TD in particular were enjoying significant success even at this late date. I might add that ANYONE's DAUGHTER was still pumping out quality German language product at this time, and in fact their shining "Neu Sterne", which means "New Stars" was released the same year as NOVALIS' "New Moon".

"Neumond" does represent a notable drop in quality from the excellent "Augenblicke", but it's actually somewhat better than mediocre, and 2.5 stars would be the accurate rating. A waning moon.

kenethlevine | 2/5 |


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