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Noekk - The Water Sprite CD (album) cover



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3 stars According to their own words the two musicians (Schwadorf and Helm) behind NOEKK created this album quite spontaneously without doing any takes before just by digesting their ideas and recording them. Taking this fact into account one has to say that "The Water Sprite" became a really remarkable debut album. Combining their melancholic mystic neo folk elements known from their former band EMPYRIUM with Mellotron dominated 70's styled hard rock the result is a sound not that far away from LANDBERK's. It's basically Baldachin's very characteristic and unusual voice resembling rather an opera singer's one not only due to its pathos which gives this band a quite unique appearance.

So what is to be expected by a prog fan from this album? Certainly not really high class quality and technical perfection but still a quite interesting and enjoyable album to listen to especially if one prefers the dark side of prog. The whole album is dominated by a melancholic atmosphere that is already expressed very well by the art work. Songs are ranging from calm, solemn moments with emotional vocals to dark heavy one with lots of Mellotron and changing moods and tempos, maybe not as intricate as ANEKDOTEN, but darker than URIAH HEEP to give some hint for categorising them. Highlights are certainly "Strange Mountain" with its epic and climatic character, the very well-done DEAD CAN DANCE cover and the highly versatile final track "The Riddle Seeker" . But overall there's not any song on here which is a complete failure. They're all very easily memorable after one or two listens without having the character of a typical catchy airplay tune .

This album isn't really an essential one in Prog generally but anyway I gave it already a couple of spins and still find it fascinating and that's for me the best sign for an album to be worth the money spent. Everyone who likes mentioned bands should give it a try, especially since it's available for an attractive price at least (quite oddly) outside of Germany. I'm curious already for their new album "The Grimalkin" that I just ordered today and I read positive reviews about!

Report this review (#78571)
Posted Thursday, May 18, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Ken Golden at laser's edge rated this album as his second favorite symphonic album of 2005 behind Wobbler's Hinterland, so I thought I'd give it a try. I liked Empyrium, but could never really get into them to much because I felt the lyrics didn't go well with the music. This band is a mix of 70's progand modern metal with some more modern effects and keys, and it works quite well. The lyrics are generally based on mysticism, fantasy, with a german poem and the writings of tolkien as influence for two of the seven songs. The songs are generally 5 to 8 minutes long and heavily dominated by dark, melancholic atmospheres courtesy of the mellotron and sung with clean vocals throughout. This album got to me after about 3 listens, and it still grows on me months later. I'm not really to sure of any bands I would directly compare them to, I have listened to all of Landberk's albums and the only thing I see that they have in common is a melancholic atmosphere that permeates throughout, but the overall sound itself is not similar to me.
Report this review (#81899)
Posted Saturday, June 24, 2006 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars 3.5 stars. This band has a unique sound, partly because of the the vocals that are pretty hard to describe, and partly because of the tone of the guitar.The songs are mostly slow, atmospheric and dark in nature, with lots of mellotron helping to achieve this sound.

"The Water Sprite" is an excellent track with the aggressive vocals and floods of mellotron that are contrated with the mellower passages. Well done ! "T.B.'S Notion" is a slow paced track with gentle guitar and reserved vocals.This one just doesn't work for me, mainly because the vocals just don't fit for some reason. "Strange Mountain" is great once it gets going after 2 minutes. The mellotron and drumming is outstanding.

There is something about "How Fortunate The Man With None" that stick's in my head long after the song is over. It's actually a DEAD CAN DANCE cover from their album "Into The Labyrinth". "The Fiery Flower" opens with flute and builds as mellotron arrives then a full sound with vocals. It's ok. "Moonface Is Dead" is a dark, slow paced track with mellotron and vocals."The Riddle Seeker" is the song I like the best, featuring guitar and organ with powerful and intense vocals.The guitar melody is a highlight. The song and album end with the tinkling of the piano.

This is a good record that I recommend, but their next one "The Grimalkin" is quite a bit better.

Report this review (#100293)
Posted Saturday, November 25, 2006 | Review Permalink

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