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2 stars The band sounded tired by this point. They made a couple of half-assed attempts at epics ("Grenzen", the rather lugubrious "Keiner kann gewinnen"), but for the most part their energy seemed spent. The closing instrumental, "Sinus", is rather nice, though it struck me as a poor-man's "Blauer Morgen" more than anything else.

Thin keyboard tones make matters worse. I'd swear that Lutz Rahn's main axe at the time was a Polymoog. Just compare the screechy synth tones on "Kleinwenig mehr" with Rick Wakeman's Polymoog parts on Yes' TORMATO album if you don't believe me.

Report this review (#42674)
Posted Saturday, August 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
Prog-Folk Team
2 stars The once beautiful butterfly of NOVALIS is now a drab grey moth, only of scientific or historical interest. The group had clearly decided to join the masses, but failed to propose much to distinguish themselves. Hence we have a second rate new wave band on most of "Sterntaucher"; in fairness, there really were very few first rate bands of this ilk.

I can live with the mildly edgy rockers like "Fährmann" and "Ich will hier 'raus" far better than I can with the dismal power ballads "Abschied" and the disingenuous epic "Keiner kann gewinnen". One could always count on Novalis for a few instrumentals of reasonable or better quality, but "Sterntaucher" has only one, which is the closing cut "Sinus", a spacey and slowly unravelling tune that ultimately resurrects the listener. The title track is a decent UB40-styled number and the other long song "Grenzen" shows the group could still take on the emotional ballad, even if our gratitude is largely due to the sinisterly caterwauling guitars.

"Star Diver" plumbs bathymetric depths yet unexplored by NOVALIS, and offers little beyond surface pleasure.

Report this review (#246883)
Posted Wednesday, October 28, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars This was a sad review to write. Declines use to continue unfortunately. Novalis' ninth studio album "Sterntaucher" from 1983 was not an especially pleasent thing. It is not totally bad and it contains track that could be worth hearing. The musicians are Hartwig Biereichel, Detlef Job, Fred Mühlböck and Lutz Rahn as earlier so nothing particular has happened with them. The cover picture is, I think, the best thing with this record. An astronaut that is floating around in space and the artistic Novalis' logotype.

The sound of Sterntaucher seems to be an attempt to go back to a more rock based sound. That is good and some tracks are worth hearing. "Keiner kann gewinnen" on the first side has especially in the end a powerful feeling with vocals and especially great guitars(6/10). The album's best track though is the final instrumental "Sinus"(7/10) which itself almost uplifted the record to a three. That song has parts that have similarities to Pink Floyd but other parts that are to melodic for that. Fine guitars are present there too. I would also recommend you to hear "Abschied" a song with a lot of feelings(6/10).

What is wrong then with the rest? Well the two first songs for example are terrible. These two could make you stop listen. Boring melodies and vocals out of key(I use to like Mühlböck's voice) together with some hard rock yelling and just mediocre songs. When the cover is the thing that is best with an album, something is wrong. Not terrible, but terribly close...

Report this review (#1288876)
Posted Tuesday, October 7, 2014 | Review Permalink
3 stars Sterntaucher is by far not as bad as some would make you believe. I was a Novalis fan when it came out and I was young and interested in the music of the time as well as in 70s prog, so I didn't mind prog bands trying out shorter and more easily accessible songs, and I liked this album quite a lot. The first two songs are quite straight. "Faehrmann" has a good chorus and "Ich will hier raus" (actually both of them) are very well fitted to the lyrics (which are about the will to escape bad situations). I didn't like "Abschied" a lot in the beginning, but it is a haunting, very emotional song about the death of a friend, and I turn back to it regularly since then. "Grenzen" and "Keiner kann gewinnen" are the longest songs, both rather slow. "Keiner kann gewinnen" is a rather intense melody that works well for me, there is no complexity here but at least some development and some good guitar. "Grenzen" is about tearing down borders, after "Kein Frieden" on the previous album and "Flossenengel" another example of their somewhat naive but certainly authentic political engagement of the band. Again this is not really complex but intense. "Sinus" is the only instrumental, also rather slow in the beginning but taking off later, of usual Novalis instrumental quality and even rather above average. The title track has a surprising reggae-like chorus and while it is not anywhere near prog, it's a fun thing to try out. The only song I really don't like is "Ein klein wenig mehr", which sounds like a rather ill-advised shot at a "Schlager" (traditional German hit single). It is the shortest track and therefore doesn't hurt much, but unfortunately this of all songs is closest to the vast majority of their next, rather dreadful, Bumerang album.

I can still listen well to much of this more than 30 years later; I think that although I'm not normally very interested in lyrics, a major strength of this record is that the songs support the emotional, authentic and direct lyrics very well, qualities not often found in prog (and unfortunately hard to appreciate for those who don't understand German). On the other hand, Muehlboeck's voice is not at its best here and sounds somewhat tired at times.

Report this review (#1460145)
Posted Sunday, September 6, 2015 | Review Permalink

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