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Melanie Mau and Martin Schnella - The Oblivion Tales CD (album) cover

THE OBLIVION TALES

Melanie Mau and Martin Schnella

 

Prog Folk

2.23 | 3 ratings

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Matti
Prog Reviewer
2 stars Four years ago I received this album for reviewing it on the Finnish prog site. Now as I read that review again, I feel quite differently about the music. Would I still mention Blackmore's Night as a reference? Hardly so. I did underline back then, that the Renaissance music flavour is pretty absent here, in addition to the huge difference between the female vocalists, but in fact I now see the whole album being further from pure folk-rock than back then. Yes, it's relying a lot to the acoustic guitar, you hear tin whistles (perhaps the folkiest ingredient of all), and the wide set of percussive instruments can be thought of as folk. There are no electric keyboards at all (even piano appears on one song only). But in the end the overall atmosphere is in my opinion closer to pop-rock with hints of country, Americana and hard rock -- in addition to folk. I mentioned acoustic guitars but electric guitars are involved too. The music and its arrangement is guitar oriented as much as the songs themselves are vocal oriented.

We're dealing with a real life couple from Germany: Melanie Mau is the lead vocalist and Martin Schnella the guitarist, and the two write the songs together. This is their self-released but rather well produced debut album containing eleven tracks in 67 minutes. Accompanying them on this album are a hand percussionist, a drummer and a bass player, plus a wide selection of guests on individual tracks. Melanie has a strong, penetrating voice which I'd rather compare to pop/rock vocalists such as Alanis Morrisette than to anything heard within the folk rock realms. I personally don't like a piercing voice like hers.

I was pretty kind to the album four years ago but I wasn't much impressed by any single song this time, I'm afraid. My least fave is easily 'Wild West' for being a pure country rocker. Sadly it's the only piece to feature piano, what a waste. The nicest piece for me is the acoustic guitar instrumental 'Melanie's Theme' that ends the album. There are no notable prog elements, to be honest. There are two songs sung in German: the longest track 'Die Zwerge Vom Iberg' (8:16) is also the heaviest and features rather ridiculous spoken word parts, while 'Erinnerungen' is a decent ballad.

If we weren't on a prog site, I might rate this album with friendly three stars. This is not a bad album if you happen to like this kind of rock. I don't. Sadly the band (or duo) haven't yet made another album of original material, instead they have released a couple of covers albums drawing from various kinds of rock and pop (some prog included) with an acoustic approach.

Matti | 2/5 |

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