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Novalis - Banished Bridge CD (album) cover

BANISHED BRIDGE

Novalis

 

Symphonic Prog

3.58 | 68 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars 4.5 stars really!!!

Debut album from this Hamburg quartet (standard prog formation, even if the guitarist does not go electric), Banished Bridge is one of the earlier example of a German symphonic prog (the group preferred calling it "Romantic Rock" and their group's name was taken after one of Germany's best known romantic poet), and Novalis will be around until at least the mid-80's. Although their artwork is as bland (dare I say blank? ;-) as you can get, the least we can say is that the music inside the sleeve would've deserved a much better treatment.

Although the album was not groundbreaking (in an artistic way, because nationally they were precursors), this has been one of the most highly regarded album (with every right to) by specialists. The lengthy epic (17 mins) title track is one (if not THE) of their best track and is certainly the basis of Novalis' sound. Starting out on an almost tribal beat with birdsongs mixing the ones from my backyard, this slow starting epic is taking its damn sweet time (is that a flute? Let's hear it again ;-) with haunting organ ever crescendo-ing (never seeming to reach its apex) with its almost-whispered (female?) vocals. Pure marvellous joy and sine-chills garanteed.

After the side-long suite of the first side, could Novalis actually top that or at least equal it? Well they certainly come close with the short High Evolution and its superb organs greatly underlined by a Mellotron. The 9-min+ Laughing is a superb and tense epic, where keyboardist Rahn roams between Jon lord, Keith Emerson, Ken Hensley and Vincent Crane. Que du beau monde, mon cher!! Inside Of Me is relatively weaker but still hold its own.

It is a real shame that Novalis will never really repeat this album's success (artistic anyway), but the unstable nature of the band's line-up will hurt them throughout their career. No less than three change of personnel will happen before their second album will be released. On the whole, this album may be slightly less complex than Brandung or Sommerabend, but here the enthusiasm more than makes up for it, and the general feeling of ecstasy will not be quiote as prevalent on their following releases. Easily their best, IMHO, but then again, what do I know?

Sean Trane | 4/5 |

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