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Stern-Combo Meissen (Stern Meissen) - Weisses Gold CD (album) cover


Stern-Combo Meissen (Stern Meissen)

Symphonic Prog

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Steve Hegede
5 stars STERN-COMBO MEISSEN were one of the big East German bands back in the 70s. The music here is very symphonic (lush), featuring strong German-romanticism. Many might be annoyed by the narration (it doesn't bother me), but it never goes on for too long. I believe that they have two keyboardists, so the focus here is on the interplay between the various keyboards (Moog, hammond, and harpsichords). "Weisses Gold" is an excellent album.

Report this review (#29065)
Posted Tuesday, March 23, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars A goody for lush symphonic rock fans! SCM is one of the better symphonic prog bands from Germany. "Weisses Gold" is their pinnacle recorded with a choir and an orchestra. A concept album about the accidental discovery of white china is filled with delightful symphonic compositions and tasty keyboard work. Their style is similar to SFF (another good German band) with added vocals. Sometimes the arrangements get very complex with interesting harmony. They're very different from bands like TRIUMVIRAT that try too hard to copy English prog. BTW I like those bands but I don't find them so original. SCM blend classical influence with krautrock in a unique and sophisticated way. "Weisses Gold" is a classic!
Report this review (#29066)
Posted Monday, January 10, 2005 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
2 stars STERN-COMBO MEISSEN were an East German band who played a keyboard driven brand of prog with a lot of orchestration and choirs.There is also quite a bit of narration in this album spoken in German.The vocals as well are in German.

"Ouverture" has some mellotron in it, but it's hard to tell with all the orchestration.The keyboard playing is very flashy and fast paced. "Der Traum" is a pastoral tune, while "Des Goldes Bann" features more uptempo keys to open and vocals."Der Goldmacher" is pretty much all monologue.

Organ, synths and drums lead the way in "Die Flucht". "Zweifel" opens with more words as synths come in as well as the choir. More monologue followed by choirs. It gets dark with a haunting soundscape 4 minutes in.That was the best part. "Die Erkenntnis" has drums, organ, keys and vocals. "Weisses Gold" opens with pulsating keys as the choir comes in.

There is so much that I don't like about this record.The flashy keyboard play, the German narration and choir, and the orchestration. I know i'm in the minority here but I do not like this one bit.

Report this review (#124320)
Posted Friday, June 1, 2007 | Review Permalink
Prog-Folk Team
2 stars As a fan of German symphonic prog in general, I was of course eager to pick this one up based on recommendations from peers. The keyboard orientation, the majesty, the spaciness, all the ingredients are here, and it would seem to require only a rubber stamp on my part to propel this into the 3 star realm, with 4 stars being likely. This was a pretty early Stern-Combo Meissen album, and I don't know what developments occurred afterwards, but I regret to say that I find "Weisses Gold" to be a thoroughly bloated effort that combines the most pompous flaws of Emerson Lake and Palmer and Rick Wakeman with the calculating coldness that sometimes permeates German music.

Apart from the tedious narration and the keyboards firing on all cylinders through most of the album, its weaknesses are most evident on the longest tracks, "Ouverture" and "Zeifel", the first being a complete shlemazzle of semi-interesting hooks thrown together and the second sounding like an interminable theme for a thankfully unscreened television series. The lack of a guitar really seems to haunt the overly synthesized work, with only the relatively short "Der Traum" and the title track providing a recurrent theme of majestic proportion that stands on its own, twice. If I had to stretch, I would say that "Die Erkenntis is a decent song even if it does seem overblown.

So, Weisses Gold is hurt by too much precious and not enough metal, and can only be recommended to German prog completists or people who still think that unbroken keyboard monstrosities are worth seeking out 30 years on.

Report this review (#148740)
Posted Saturday, November 3, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars In June 1978 comes the first true studio recording of Stern Meissen and the second of their original releases overall.The band had recruited Lift's drummer Werther Lohse and completed a seven-piece line-up that led them to the ambitious ''Weisses gold'' album on Amiga.''Weisses gold'' refers to porcelain and this concept work deals with the timeline for discovering it in Dresden by German alchemist Johann Friedrich Boettger.The band was helped by the Symphonic Orchestra of ''Hochschule Für Musik Hanns Eisler" in Berlin and its conductor Horst Foerster.

Gone are all the psychedelic leftovers of Stern Meissen's previous recordings and the band headed now for a monster symphonic sound full of grandiose interludes, elaborate orchestrations and complex segments.''Weisses gold'' sounds much like a RICK WAKEMAN album, maybe crossed with a discreet Teutonic aura akin to NEUSHWANSTEIN, and appears to be a cohesive, flowing concept with extended instrumental themes, a slightly operatic mood and the typical German vocals displayed in Stern Meissen's works.The tracks are mainly keyboard-driven with full equipment (piano, harsichord, Hammond organ, synthesizers and propably string synth), supported by the ethereal orchestrations of the symphonic orchestra, the result is very good and at moments fascinating Progressive Rock with twin and triple keyboard workouts, creating grandiose climates and bombastic passages.German actor Ernst Kahler is the man behind the narrations, strongly connected with the history presented.As Stern Meissen were always a band with a nice sense of atmosphere and melody, the greatest part of the arrangements are characterized by dreamy textures and cinematic soundscapes, but be sure to handle the extremely virtuosic synth flashes during the process next to some E.L.P.-like fanfares on Hammond organ.

Very good story-telling album with dense, technically efficient and carefully composed keyboard themes.Fans of TRIUMVIRAT, E.L.P., LE ORME, RICK WAKEMAN and the likes will finds this work simply beautiful.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

Report this review (#1199470)
Posted Sunday, June 29, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars "Weisses Gold" is a studio concept album that tells the story of the development of world-famous porcelain in Meissen by the alchemist Johann Friedrich Böttger (1682-1719) who, in his attempt to produce gold in 1709, invented the first white porcelain in Europe, the so-called white gold. Listeners who really dig keyboard-centric productions, will undoubtedly love this album. Passages are rife with nods to Keith Emerson, Rick Wakeman, and even a little Jean Michel Jarre, but most of all it reminds me of the work by The Psychedelic Ensemble on "Tale of the Golden King" -- layers of lush keyboards and synths to manifest complex compositions telling a unified story from the first note to the last. There are theatrical bits, dreamy parts, triumphant vocal lines, thunderous explosions, metal hammering, and a lot of musical imagery and drama. Track 5 "The Flight" and track 6 "Doubt" are the strongest. It would really be nice to have the lyrics for this album, as what is available on the internet does not correlate with what is recorded. Highly recommended, especially for fans of The Psychedelic Ensemble! Four stars.
Report this review (#2269253)
Posted Sunday, October 13, 2019 | Review Permalink


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