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Novalis - Brandung CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.29 | 96 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Add a little, subtract a little and you're left with another decent but not outstanding album. Fred Mühlböck's studio debut was helped by Lutz Rahn's strongest keyboard work since their fabulous second album. On the minus side, Hartwig Biereichel's drumming, never the most colourful anyways, had totally ossified into a total foursquare, predictable format. Indeed, lots of German bands at the time seemed to be freezing up into this spare-yet-stiff drumming style. A friend of mine suggested that they were adversely affected by Nick Mason's drumming on WISH YOU WERE HERE.

...but I digress...

Musically, it starts off in a rather "sing-songy" mode with "Irgendwo, Irgendwann", which was nonetheless a big success for them. The folky "Wenn nicht mehr Zahlen und Figuren", another text based on Hardenberg, is a vast improvement. The lengthy "Astralis", adapted from Hardenberg's epic poem on the beauty of nature, should have been a highlight, but it's rather scarred by Biereichel's stiff drumming and a rather repetitious compositional style.

Much better is the four-part "Sonnenwende" suite that takes up the entirety of the B-side. I'm one of the few that prefers this suite over "Sommerabend", not merely because of the superior production (Achim Reichel had learned a thing or two since his first outing in Rüssl-Studios) but also because the varied moods seem more sympathetic. Rahn's richer keyboard palette and Mühlböck's powerful singing voice certainly don't hurt, either.

So, really a bit of a two-sided coin. The A-side's a bit of a wash, frankly, but the B-side's about as good as this lineup ever got. You decide.

Progbear | 3/5 |


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