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Soniq Theater

Crossover Prog

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Soniq Theater This Mortal Coil album cover
2.48 | 7 ratings | 4 reviews | 0% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2004

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. This Mortal Coil (5:13)
2. Break the Frame (4:41)
3. Minas Tirith (5:58)
4. Flashpoint (4:43)
5. Pacific Coast Highway (4:19)
6. Menuetto (2:36)
7. Bridge to Eternity (9:02)
8. Screenplay (4:27)
9. Mariana Rift (10:25)

Total Time 51:24

Line-up / Musicians

- Alfred Mueller / composer, performer (keyboards, electronic percussion, sampled guitars & basses, vocals (2), vocal samples (4), virtual orchestral sounds, Fx), producer

Releases information

CDr Self-released (2004, Germany)

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SONIQ THEATER This Mortal Coil ratings distribution

(7 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(0%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(0%)
Good, but non-essential (43%)
Collectors/fans only (43%)
Poor. Only for completionists (14%)

SONIQ THEATER This Mortal Coil reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars It's RACHEL'S BIRTHDAY - the Germany's prog band that I have just reviewed couple days ago through its only one album "An Invitation to Rachel's Birthday" - that triggered me to explore with SONIQ THEATER. I just wanted to know where-about RACHEL's BIRTHDAY band that has produced that wonderful debut album. The search led me to the name of Soniq Theatre. Rachel's Birthday disbanded and the keyboard player - Alfred Mueller - formed a one-man band called Soniq Theater.

Musically, I expected something very close to "An Invitation To Rachel's Birthday" album with tight composition; theatrical and operatic singing style; symphonic prog music with excellent guitar and keyboard solos. But I found a totally different music style through this fourth album of Soniq Theater: "This Mortal Coil". As you might have guessed, it's more on exploring the use of modern keyboard and other electronic equipment. Nothing wrong at all, but I got some problem enjoying electronic drum sounds where I find that it usually function only as beat keeper and never produce dynamic drumming sounds - especially when the music is entering transition pieces. I also love bass guitar sound especially in prog music and I cannot find through this album. This album is too much electronic with a lot of programming and sequencing techniques; almost all sounds produced do not seem natural to me.

On composition, I don't think this is a bad one as almost all songs have relatively good structural integrity. However, do not expect that this album offers you with a complex structure as I observe almost all tracks have simple structure. Alfred has used the same or similar tagline melody / rhythm and build his keyboard work - solo and improvisations - on top of it. Some rhythms sound annoying to me as they sound like something called as classic pop instrumental music.

I leave it up to you to decide whether or not to purchase this CD-R as I cannot give you a firm recommendation on for which group of people this album would favor. Even, if you like Rick Wakeman's early albums or ELP or Triumvirat or Patrick Moraz (basically all keyboard-based music) you might still not like this album. But this is not a bad album at all! Keep on proggin' .!!!

Yours progressively,


Review by Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Soniq Theater is a German band consisting of one member, former Rachel's Birthday keyboardist Alfred Mueller, and since 2000 he has released his music as self-released albums under the Soniq Theater moniker. This Mortal Coil is his fourth album, and was released in 2004.

The music here is obviously dominated by keyboards and synthesizer; or as it is stated on the CD: Keyboards, e-drums, percussion, sampled instruments and virtual orchestra sounds. As with all releases I've come across by Soniq Theater so far, it is easy to hear that these are sampled instruments; and the overall sound on these compositions is a bit cold and sterile due to that.

The style explored on this release comes across as a mix of soundtrack music, symphonic rock and neo-prog; most times mixing elements of all styles in the individual compositions here. The structure on many of the songs are rather free; constantly moving from one segment to the next; and the various themes explored aren't revisited as often as one might be used to from more conventional tunes. This is especially so for the longer compositions Bridge to Eternity and Mariana Rift.

Personally I found the tunes to be a mixed affair - on this release as on many others by this artist. The general sound and approach on these albums do make songwriting more challenging; and it takes skill to make these kind of tunes sound good and interesting throughout. On this release I'd recommend the curious to check out the tunes Flashpoint and Pacific Coast Highway in addition to the already mentioned longer compositions Bridge to Eternity and Mariana Rift - all of them compelling compositions in their own right.

Fans of symphonic rock will probably be the ones best suited to enjoy this release; especially those among this crowd that finds the thought of listening to an album created on the premises mentioned in the start here as compelling.

Review by kev rowland
3 stars This was Alfred's fourth solo album, released in 2004, and after 'A Second of Action' and 'The Third Eye" I half expected to find 'Fourth' somewhere in the title but that idea only came back in for his seventh ('Seventh Heaven'). Unusually for Alfred there is an actual 'song' on here, normally when vocals are deployed within Soniq Theater they are used only for the odd line to enhance the music, but "Break The Frame" features a proper verse/chorus structure with Alfred taking on the role himself. All of the music is played by Alfred, but here there are obvious attempts to move away from the pure synth sound normally associated with him, with the use of sampled guitars and a more obvious guitar based approach. Of course, it is no substitute for the real thing but it shows another interesting facet and in some ways does hearken back to Rachel's Birthday.

Of course, producing a more 'guitar' based album means that the drums have to be higher in the mix and that is undoubtedly a bad thing for anyone who doesn't like drums machines. Oh, that would be me then. I can't help it, but the artificial sound just permeates through the album and I find myself almost wincing away from it. That is a real shame as there are some very strong pieces on here, especially "Minas Tirith" which combines symphonic and orchestral elements into something that moves from bombast to structure and back again. The album contains more Vangelis than JMJ elements, and will appeal to all synth lovers out there.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Come 2003 and Soniq Theater return with a brand new album, titled ''This mortal coil''.This was the second work by Alfred Mueller to include some vocal work, his collaborator Suzann provides voice samples on ''Flashpoint'' and Mueller himself sings in ''Break the frame''.

The material presented in ''This mortal coil'' is slightly better compared to the previous ''The third eye'', but insisting on sampled instrumentation eventually won't bring the awaiting progress.Once more Mueller prooves to be a good composer in the field of Symphonic and Electronic Rock, offering music with a deep sense of melody, a mood for bombastic orchestrations and a touch of Classical Music in the piano parts, but the drumming is unacceptable to say the least plus the guitar still bursts this totally fake aura and the sampled orchestral interludes sound completely thin.The addition of vocals in the aforementioned pair of pieces is definitely welcome, just decent and far from enganging, but every addition of natural sounds, even if this is just a human voice, can do only good to such a digital-dominated style.Stylistically the album is still grounded in the field of Neo/Symphonic Prog with electronic vibes and Mueller's flashy keyboard solos are pretty nice, while his compositions could have sounded quite great if performed by a normal band.The result kind of reminds me of BACKYARDS, ALIMAR or even THE INNER ROAD with ''Minas Tirith'' being the absolute highlight, finally with an acceptable guitar sound and a very bombastic keyboard performance.The rest of the album is ok, but far from trully interesting.

Visit Soniq Theater's website to download the album and display your own thoughts on the project's development from album to album.To my ears Mueller still struggles to come up with a trully recommended release, although part of his ideas is competetive and well-played...2.5 stars.

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