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Beyond The Bridge - The Old Man and the Spirit CD (album) cover

THE OLD MAN AND THE SPIRIT

Beyond The Bridge

Progressive Metal


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memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Review originally posted at www.prog-sphere.com

A strong debut!

This new German outfit has entered to the musical realm with a debut album entitled 'The Old Man and The Spirit' which was recorded from 2008 to 2011, and finally released via Frontiers Records this January of 2012. The album consists of eleven compositions that make a total time of 69 minutes of very good prog metal. The band offers great instrumental passages, but contrasted and complemented by the ones with both male and female vocals.

It kicks off with 'The Call' whose first two minutes are the introductory instrumental ones, and then male vocals join with a powerful and emotional range. There is always a keyboard background, while guitars, bass and drums create the rhythm and structure. After four and a half minutes there is a major change, the music slows down, then spoken word appears and creates a nervous and thoughtful moment, then it vanishes and the music explodes with a powerful sound,

'The Apparition' is a wonderful track, I love the tension created and the sound reminiscent to middle east lands, here there is also spoken word and when it disappears, cool guitar riffs appear along with great keyboard notes. Just before the second minute the female voice appears for the first time in the album, it last for some moments and then the rhythm changes, helped now by male vocals that create a heavier and more powerful sound worth mentioning is that we can listen to backing vocals in the most part of the song, so here we have a very cool symphonic prog metal song. Minutes later we can listen to a great instrumental passage with acoustic guitar that put a Spanish flavor, so this song can take you to several places.

'Triumph of Irreality' starts with keyboards and later drums and strings join in order to create a friendly sound that reminds me a bit of some Ayreon's moments. A minute later female spoken word appears and then a new structure is being created, with faster keyboards that put the almost inherent symphonic sound of this band. The most of the track is instrumental, and great by the way. 'The Spring of it All' is the shortest track and probably the mellowest. Two minutes of a soft and catchy sound made by piano, drums and both vocals.

'World of Wonders' starts with the same soft and mellow sound created by keyboards, some seconds later acoustic guitar and female voice enter and continue with that catchy (but great) sound. A cool guitar riff comes later. 'The Primal Demand' is another short track, here we will have like a moment of reflection, with some far voices and a strange, tense and nervous sound made by keyboards for more than a minute, then guitars enter and do their job.

You may think you are still listening to the previous track, but then you will realize 'Doorway to Salvation' has started. The metal sound is back here with powerful guitars, later the music slows down and female voice enter for some seconds, but then male voice appears and put a heavier tune. I like here how both voices work and complement each other, both creating different colors and emotions. After five minutes we will have a feast of guitar and keyboard solos, that let us know the skills of the musicians.

'The Struggle' starts with male voice singing a repetitive but addictive line, later the music enters now with female voice and creates a soft and melodic metal sound. In this track we will also listen to some jazzy moments implemented by keyboards. There is a part I like a lot after three minutes, where both vocals join, each one sing the correspondent part, but create a wonderful communion, so the listener can actually listen, enjoy and understand what both say. 'The Difference is Human' is a longer track, that is a clear example of the type of music Beyond the Bridge creates. I like how it is progressing and adding elements little by little. I like the backing vocals and the intercalation between male and female ones. Cool rhythm and mood changes here, making a strong and solid track.

'Where the Earth and Sky Meet' has a softer sound with delicate male voice and a friendly keyboard background. The rhythm does not drastically change, actually it is practically the same during the whole song; the thing here is that the music is becoming more and more emotional, until at minute five reaches the climax with a disarming guitar riff. The final minutes are pretty great, emotional due to the backing vocals.

The album finishes with 'All a Man Can Do' which is the longest track. In spite of its duration, they don't surprise us with several or drastic time and mood changes. Here the song flows in its soft and mid-tempo sound, with some moments of intensity and emotion. This track can be a summary of Beyond the Bridge's sound.

A very good and strong debut, I am sure they will have recognition soon. My final grade will be 3 solid stars, almost 4.

Enjoy it!

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Send comments to memowakeman (BETA) | Report this review (#658043)
Posted Tuesday, March 13, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars Beyond the Bridge hail from the home of the Berlin Wall, the hamburger and Ludwig van Beethoven. From what I've read, they've actually been around since 1999, although they were originally under the name "Fallout". I think they're new name sounds more imaginative. "The Old Man and the Spirit" is a concept album that had been in the works for five years until its first studio recording in 2008. It was not completed until 2011. The time it took was worth it. The instrumentals are fantastic, though never overdone. The vocals are wonderful, and the trading off between male and female singers adds a lot of feeling and color that helps to drive the plot of the album forward. This is an excellent album. I loved it at first listen, and then repeated it four or five times within the next few weeks. I found it hard to stop listening to it. The album's plot reminds me of Ebenezer Scrooge a bit. It's like a diary at times. There are two main characters, the old man, played by Herbie Langhans, and the Spirit, played by Dilenya Mar. The Spirit expresses lyrical wisdom to share with the Old Man in exchange for his feelings and experiences to answer all of his questions. Her wisdom eventually guides him to the meaning of life. The style is a wonderful mix of classic Prog, 80's metal, Thrash at times, and Classical. This is a masterpiece.

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Send comments to dtguitarfan (BETA) | Report this review (#662548)
Posted Saturday, March 17, 2012 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Beyond the Bridge play a brash and boisterous style of prog metal littered with technical flourishes but with tight enough compositions to avoid degenerating into tedious showboating. They may be all flash, but there's also a bit of substance to them, with Christopher Tarnow and Simon Oberender's keyboard interjections in particular managing to be simultaneously showing whilst remaining consistent with the mood the band are aiming for.

As the title implies, we're looking at a concept album revolving around an encounter between the titular old man and the titular spirit, who are played by vocalists Herbie Langhans and Dilenya Mar respectively. Mar's vocals, in particular, are a real treat, but both of them share the spotlight effectively and help get across the theatrical and narrative aims of the album. Apparently, Mar only joined the band in 2008, after they'd already been toiling away for 9 years (the first 6 of which under the name of Fallout), but she's clearly the missing link which made their sound really come together.

The band also show fine judgement in crafting the lyrics - rather than artificially working in lyrics for both singers in each song, instead each singer gets two or three solo songs each: Mar's solo songs consist of the Spirit's attempts to convey secret knowledge to the Old Man, whilst Langhan's take place before the Spirit arrives and after the Spirit abandons the Old Man to his fate. As well as showing sufficient maturity to allow the requirements of the music and narrative to guide their performances rather than demanding rigorously equal spotlight time, this also means that we get an idea of each vocalist's capabilities outside of the context of the more conversational songs. I don't know how the band intend to follow this up - will their next album feature another male and female character in conversation, or will they find a different way to exploit their dual vocalist situation? - but I'll be interested to see what they do.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#948591)
Posted Wednesday, April 24, 2013 | Review Permalink
b_olariu
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars 3.5 really

Beyond the Bridge is a german progressive metal band who were originally formed under the name Fallout in 1999 they only become Beyond the Bridge in 2004 when the line up was fully completed. Their first album saw the light only in 2012 named The old man and the spirit. This is a concept album about as title implies about an old man and his spirit, is quite complicated lyricaly so not very much to add about it here, only that the lyrics are extremly well written and quite intresting aswell. Musicaly speaking this is solid prog metal, with top notch musicianship and more then ok vocal lines provided Herbie Langhans and Dilenya Mar. The instrumental parts are awesome, some more then brilliant duels between musicians, crafty passages, remind me little bit of Symphony X but without that neo classical aproach. There are some middle east influences on The apparition, very strong, Doorway To Salvation is another highlight, powerfull pieces with nice keyboards and aswell some more mellower parts, very good are the female/male vocal parts. All in all a fairly strong debute, not quite original or outstanding , I've heared this type of prog metal many times, but at least beyond the Bridge has very acomplished musicians and the skills are high class. 3.5 stars for The old man and the spirit.

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Send comments to b_olariu (BETA) | Report this review (#1003262)
Posted Monday, July 22, 2013 | Review Permalink

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