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Blank Manuskript - Himmelfahrt CD (album) cover

HIMMELFAHRT

Blank Manuskript

Symphonic Prog


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4 stars Pandemic-Inspired Spirituality

How's That Again?

This Austrian sextet (or is it quintet?) finds inspiration both from the immediate and heart-stopping world-gripping tragedy unfolding as I write this (COVID 19 anyone?), and also from previous works of depth and eclectic majesty- theirs, and '70's Swedish band DICE.

Literary Conceit

And by that I do not mean arrogance and inflated sense of self-importance.

Rather, I refer to the key themes and ideas which are interwoven in this extended and eclectic work by BLANK MANUSKRIPT.

As mentioned, the band drew from DICE's album "The Four Riders of the Apocalypse"- itself an eclectic and challenging piece of progressive music- and especially the section called "Death".

So Yes, I Listened to 'Death'

And found it astonishing and not a little intimidating.

The second well of inspiration for "Himmelfahrt" (and more about this provocative title in a moment) comes from the 2013 EP produced by BLANK MANUSKRIPT called "A Profound Path".

Let it be known and let it be said that BLANK MANUSKRIPT does not piffle about with trivia or inanities. Not in their music which is a maelstrom of styles ranging from the most solemn and majestic classically based symphonic progressive music, to free-form jazz replete with sax and trombones wailing, to eclectic stylings and skirmishes with a range of instrumentation freely bouncing off each other, to artistic and cinematic sound effects from hell.

Not in their themes either- "A Profound Path" for instance deals from the basis of Dante's "Divine Comedy" (which is not at all funny), and of course the earlier mentioned gossip-rag topic of "Death".

'Himmelfahrt'

Let's just address this elephant in the room. The 'fahrt' part of this title does not refer to pungent emissions of anal orifices. I don't think.

Rather, together it seems to me to refer to a skyward journey, a spiritual odyssey from hell (COVID 19 anyone?), to paradise or heaven or bliss.

The Triumph Here

For me the triumphal achievement in 'Himmelfahrt' is the way BLANK MANUSKRIPT works with these two sources of inspiration- 'Death' and 'Divine Comedy', and uses the vast tapestry of musical styles and evocative lyrics and creative arrangements to convey their themes.

Set in two "Sides"- as for instance on a long-playing vinyl album- and in seven sections (numbers hold significance too of course), BLANK MANUSKRIPT conveys as well a vast tapestry of emotions and sensations diametrically opposed to inanities and trivialities.

And I don't know about you, but I've had more than enough of those.

Pandemic Polarities

So let me just wrap this up.

The pandemic at present has unleashed (at least here in the USA) a blinding blizzard of lies, misinformation, indoctrination, and insanity. Why on earth one would seek to trivialize and equivocate about this death-dealing scourge, only Satan him/herself could explain- and she/he won't.

With that as a backdrop though, we listeners are encouraged by BLANK MANUSKRIPT to listen, to ponder, to enjoy, to wince, to evolve, yes, and to grow toward the light.

My rating

4 very bright luminosities.

Report this review (#2475667)
Posted Saturday, November 14, 2020 | Review Permalink
4 stars Blank Manuskript is back just one year after their latest release Krásná Hora with Himmelfahrt and it's an album that consists of two 20 minute parts. First one is a really confusing, but interesting eclectic journey. It is a dark piece with a very nice trombone and later on guitar parts. After it continues with an interesting part that greatly reminds me of King Crimson. Last 10 minutes are the best fragment of this song and they are more melodically oriented. Side B is 21:28 minute prog epic, the highlight of the album and it's a fantastic piece of music. Great riffing at the beginning and a fantastic instrumental play-along, from the entire band. Then comes in the calming piano part and guitar solo only to descend into the abyss. The last part has been announced by Hammond and the songs builds up in more positive path. This is a really cool album and highly recommended for the fans of eclectic prog.

Report this review (#2479297)
Posted Monday, November 23, 2020 | Review Permalink

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