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Faun - Wondrous End CD (album) cover

WONDROUS END

Faun

 

Neo-Prog

3.75 | 5 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

tszirmay
Special Collaborator
Crossover Team
4 stars This is a slow burner that becomes phosphorus.

I must admit that I just recently hooked this mysterious album thanks in no large part to the reviews I have read about its uniqueness, a one-shot posthumously released wonder live album from a group of unknown Germans. What an adventure this is, perhaps enlightening that aspect of progressive rock that makes fans so different: we are constantly on the lookout for distant horizons, lost treasures and magical discoveries. This 2 CD set has a lot of music on it, mostly a bevy of heroic pieces within the 10 to 14 minute range but it must be viewed rather as a remarkable legacy of something that didn't happen in any commercial sense at all, inherently ultra-pure by nature. A conscientious critic must therefore appreciate the context here and apply a certain amount of latitude in not comparing this work to anything or anybody else. This is also about as un-Teutonic prog as it gets, no where near Krautrock, Tangerine Dream or Triumvirat, Novalis, Eloy and co?but rather an organic Celtic-tinged, flute-laden style that prefers to create rustic moods and mythological atmospheres as opposed to tight modern rock pieces. The music is therefore extremely personal, with untamed brilliant musicians exalting in their own vision, a fabulously expressive vocalist (accentless by the way) courtesy of keyboardist Christoph Roth, a sprawling, at times powerful guitarist in Marko Brenzinger and an ultra solid polyrhythmic drummer in Steffen Schuerkens . The bass guitar keeps everything tightly in check, daring to infuse some dazzling flurries into the mix.. But Brigitte Groll's flute remains the main agitator of emotions and seeps seductively into every sinew of each composition. There are too many tracks here to warrant a precise countdown-analysis but suffice to state that there are lots of surprises here, from the incredibly animated title track that sets the tone early on with crystalline piano and wailing guitars, as well as the impeccably melodic, I daresay symphonic expanse of a "Flute in the Fog" (a massive classic highlight here). The same can be said for the epic "Thousand Days Before", a launch pad for some memorable soloing by all the protagonists. On occasion, the short pieces for contrast purposes, the mood turns highly medieval as on "In Vain" and unapologetically into neo territory such as on the agonizing moans on "Micemakers", the anthemic "Weaponless" or the bass blinding assault "The Stone" where they sound like a much mellower Saga; damn I promised not to compare, entschuldigen! . The colossal "Warm September Rain" is achingly striking, a shuddering vocal delivery that induces compassion and understanding, caressed by some fine piano accompaniment (great keyboardist to boot!). This has classic stamped all over it, arguably even a landmark prog song, a no denying expression of emotion of the purest kind. The last song CD1 and the first piece on CD2 are the Born Bad 1 and 2, (23 minutes of hyperbliss) a lurid suite that encompasses all their artistic scope and textural breath, proving conclusively that this could have been a legendary band, with a long life in the underground. Prog scene. The interplay is solid, yet creative, loosening any grip on the flute to wander and paint the sky. This posthumous recording is perhaps one of the finest examples of what could have been had these magnificent musicians stayed the course. This is a prog collector's dream acquisition 4.5 half-human, half-goats

tszirmay | 4/5 |

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