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NEUSCHWANSTEIN

Symphonic Prog • Germany


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This is German prog from the late seventies. Instrumentally, acoustic guitar, flute, harpsichord and a variety of keyboards lock together to make an extremely rich and beautiful musical backdrop, with some absolutely gorgeous themes. The music is melodic with detailed arrangements and interesting orchestration. The vocalist sounds remarkably like Peter Gabriel; lyrics are all in English. The sound could be described as "Planets" period ELOY meets "Moonmadness" period CAMEL, with a touch of MACHIAVEL. The reissue on CD of a real "must", a mythical disc from unknown musicians.

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Fine ArtFine Art
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NEUSCHWANSTEIN discography


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NEUSCHWANSTEIN top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.92 | 199 ratings
Battlement
1978
3.70 | 58 ratings
Alice In Wonderland
2008
4.05 | 21 ratings
Fine Art
2016

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NEUSCHWANSTEIN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Battlement by NEUSCHWANSTEIN album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.92 | 199 ratings

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Battlement
Neuschwanstein Symphonic Prog

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Second album from this interesting German band!

But let's face the truth. Just like many other prog-rock bands in the second half of the 70's, Neuschwanstein were trying to emulate the Genesis sound with more or less success, offering a collection of fine symphonic prog rock songs much in the vein the aforementioned group but maybe a bit more folk given the intensive use of flutes.

Nevertheless, the most interesting fact about this album is the curious bridge that it makes between the symphonic prog of the 70's and the more modern neo-prog of the 80's. Just like other neo-prog bands, they took lots of Genesis elements, but the synthetizers's sound are just in between the more classic early 70's ones and the typical from the 80's of bands like Collage and Pendragon.

Best Tracks: Loafer Jack (a very up-tempo song, funny and charming), Battlement (great rhythms and beautiful keyboards) and Z'rtlicher Abschied (fine instrumental song)

Conclusion: Neuschwanstein are faithful Genesis imitators, but at least they made it in the right way. And having appeared in the decadence of the classic 70's symphonic prog and before the birth of 80's neo-prog, I consider them a true and stimulating connection between the two genres.

My rating: ***

 Alice In Wonderland by NEUSCHWANSTEIN album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.70 | 58 ratings

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Alice In Wonderland
Neuschwanstein Symphonic Prog

Review by TenYearsAfter

3 stars Musea mentioned that the CD release (1992) of Neuschwanstein's Battlement was one of their best selling items. In the booklet of Battlement you can already read about the epic composition Alice In Wonderland (based on Lewis Caroll's famous book) that has been put on this CD: in 1974 it was premiered at a musical competition at the Saarbrucken playhouse and Neuschwanstein won the first prize. Later th band members were wearing monk suits during the performance of Alice In Wonderland, supported by an elaborate light-show and dry ice. Those were the progrock days but how about the music on Alice In Wonderland, finally on CD after more than 35 years.

Well, let me tell you that on one hand it's unfair to compare the highly acclaimed classic album Battlement (1979) with the concept story Alice In Wonderland (1974). But on the other hand I cannot avoid doing it, because I am sure that most progheads, including me, are expecting music like on Battlement, so high expectations!

Listening to Alice in Wonderland I notice that at some moments Neuschwanstein sound like 'an embryonal version of Battlment'. But in general it's more in the vein of Seventies Camel and Focus and less obvious mid-Genesis inspired. And the music is also less elaborate, more laidback and remarkably is the omnipresent flute play (reminding me of Camel, Jethro Tull and Solaris), often accompanied by sparkling Grand piano work. And coloured with very tasteful vintage keyboards, ranging from warm string-ensemble and powerful Hammond organ to fat synthesizer flights and swinging Fender Rhodes electric piano. This along some sensitive electric guitar in the vein of Steve Hackett. Most of the 8 tracks contain short German narration and even some German vocals, it's funny to hear words like 'Wer bist du denn?', it reminds me of other German bands like Novalis and Grobschnitt that also made albums in the German language.

My highlights on Alice In Wonderland are the long compositions Old Father's Song (varied and dynamic with lush vintage keyboards, swirling flute and beautiful interplay, very harmonic) and Palace Of Wonderland (again lush vintage keyboards, a wonderful Hackett-like guitar solo and lots of bombastic eruptions).

If I judge this album on its own merits (so no comparisons with Battlement), I conclude that Neuschwanstein has made a beautiful, very warm sounding album in the genuine symphonic rock tradition with a classical undertone (flute and Grand piano) and very pleasant vintage keyboards, the fans of Seventies Camel, Focus and Genesis will be pleased.

My rating: 3,5 star.

 Battlement by NEUSCHWANSTEIN album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.92 | 199 ratings

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Battlement
Neuschwanstein Symphonic Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars With lead vocalist Frédéric Joos doing a pretty amazing Genesis-era PETER GABRIEL impersonation, the band has the makings of a GENESIS clone, but they are not. The music is lush and often complex, drawing from a variety of influences and sonic palettes.

1. "Loafer Jack" (4:42) add GRYPHON to the early lineup of GENESIS and this is what you might get: some great prog with layers of acoustic and electric instruments woven together as if melding old traditions with the new technological advances in electronic gear. Then, of course, put PETER GABRIEL up front to tell his mythologic folk tales and you have this. (9/10)

2. "Ice With Dwale" (6:21) same solid layers of ancient folk instrumentation with the modern keys and guitars and Gabriel story telling and you have another wonderful Trespass-like composition--only better: more mature, sophisticated, and polished. (9.25/10)

3. "Intruders And The Punishment" (7:34) opens with a little more bombast than the previous two and then quickly settles into a very GENESIS-familiar pulsing rhythm and groove. The instrumental composition of this song is noticeably different from the previous two, as well, with far less use and prominence to acoustic instruments and much heavier reliance on layers of keys and other electronic gear. When Joos begins singing in the third minute he seems to be channeling Lord GABRIEL--but then, so are the drummer and keyboard player. It's new enough--not a pure ripoff of any single GENESIS song--but the number of instances of pure familiarity are a bit excessive. (13/15)

4. "Beyond The Bugle" (7:31) flanged guitar with picked 12-string woven into a kind of slow drumless "Entangled" run for a full two minutes before Frédéric joins in. At the three minute mark drums, bass, and more electronic keys join in. The whiplash up-and-down bass play is prominent. At 4:00 a new MOODY BLUES-like acoustic guitar strum signals the start of a whole new section--very wild circus ride-like with uptempo pacing and theatric voice. AT 5:00 there is another shift (how mathematically oriented these guys are!) The heavily treated/doubled singing in the second half of the sixth minute sound a bit like one of PETER GABRIEL's dramatic theatric song finishes--but the song still has a minute left. (All instrumental.) Weird disjointed song. (13/15)

5. "Battlement" (7:05) opens with a TANGERINE DREAM weave while ordinance explosions occur all over the soundscape. New bass line emerges at the end of the second minute to usher in some new instruments (Arp synth, percussives, pizzicato bass, organ) as a more metronomic KRAFTWERK-like section plays. Fuzz guitar solo in the third minute just before very regal instrumental chorus. Then it's back to the KW fuzz guitar motif and another chorus. At 4:15 all instruments save for a Fender Rhodes leave while Frédéric sings in a very delicate, quiet voice. Other keyboard instruments flit in and out as the singing continues until a new full band instrumental section unfolds in the sixth minute. Lots of synth solo and layering on display here. (12.75/15)

6. "Midsummer Day" (7:42) * a song added to the 1992 MUSEA Records CD re-release. The music is not quite as GENESIS-imitative more in the ELOY ball park--which makes me question the veracity of the decision to include this song as part of an album of music that should be representative of this band's 1978 compositions and output. The acoustic guitar work to launch the middle section is good, bass player sounds poorer, drumming is a little off, flute is awesome, and singing is the least GABRIEL-esque of any song on the original album.

7. "Zärtlicher Abschied" (5:42) opens with harpsichord-sounding acoustic guitars, deep bass thrum and then flutes before morphing into a kind of CAMELish PINK FLOYD "Hey, You" (or, better, HARMONIUM, CELESTE, or MAXOPHONE). Fast guitar strumming at the end of the first minute serve notice of the TONY BANKS keyboard-loaded section to ensue. At 3:45 we downshift a bit, allowing room for an electric guitar solo before amping back up into the flute-and-Moog solo work. Very nice instrumental. (9.25/10)

* Absent from LP release

Total Time: 46:37

88.33 on the Fishscales = B+/4.5 stars; a near-masterpiece of neo progressive rock music.

 Battlement by NEUSCHWANSTEIN album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.92 | 199 ratings

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Battlement
Neuschwanstein Symphonic Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Let's face it: if you're going to clone and update the classic Genesis sound, you'd best bring your "A"-game, because there are plenty of people happy to do the exact same thing, and the original Genesis albums themselves are some pretty excellent releases all told.

One of the best bands to pull off this sort of borrowing is Neuschwanstein, whose 1978 album absolutely nails the trick of playing material clearly inspired by Genesis but also updating and progressing the sound a little. A big part of the album's success can be laid at the feet of lead vocalist and acoustic guitarist Frédéric Joos, whose Gabriel impression is outright uncanny: it's perhaps no coincidence that the title track, which veers slightly away from the Genesis sound to something more like Camel, has vocals from bassist Rainer Zimmer instead.

On the musical side of things, keyboardist Thomas Neuroth, guitarist Roger Weiler, and the synthesiser wrangling of Klaus Mayer (who also provides some nice flute here and there) combine to add a dark electronic edge to the Genesis sound, a certain harshness which was mostly absent from Gabriel-era Genesis but fits the album's more foreboding tone nicely. The whole package is not quite a five-star classic - in particular, I'm not entirely taken with Zimmer's vocals on the title track - but it's certainly one of the better overlooked gems of 1970s prog.

 Alice In Wonderland by NEUSCHWANSTEIN album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.70 | 58 ratings

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Alice In Wonderland
Neuschwanstein Symphonic Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This is a bit of prog archaeology on the part of Musea. See, for a good long while Neuschwanstein were seen by much of the prog world as one-album wonders, with only the Battlement release to stand as evidence of their existence. However, the lucky few who had seen Neuschwanstein live back in the day knew that there was more to it than that - that they'd also developed a conceptual stage show based around the classic Alice In Wonderland story, and had indeed first come to the notice of the German prog scene by winning a competition with this creation. This album consists of demo recordings made in 1976 of the music and narration of the stage show.

Much like Happy the Man's Death's Crown or Soft Machine's Spaced, then, this is an archival release of material originally intended to accompany a visual performance on stage - and as with those releases, it's a little flawed as a result. Listeners will likely find the recording quality very frustrating; there's clearly some very nice Genesis-esque pastoral prog being played here, but with that appalling background hiss in the way it simply doesn't sound as good as it might have had it been recorded to a professional studio standard. And the occasional narration breaking up the instrumentals is a bit obtrusive and hurts the flow of things.

Uiltimately, listening to a piece like this you are only getting half the picture; like the albums I've mentioned (or, for that matter, Pink Floyd's The Wall), this was created with a particular visual experience in mind, and without those visuals the material is somewhat hampered. On top of that, the recording quality just cuts the album's legs out from under it. It's a testament to Neuschwanstein's talents that it still sounds pretty good despite all that, but this is very much a shiny curiosity rather than a long-lost classic.

 Battlement by NEUSCHWANSTEIN album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.92 | 199 ratings

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Battlement
Neuschwanstein Symphonic Prog

Review by Obersturmbannprogger

3 stars A bit overrated late 70s german symphonic prog album. Stylistically its a bit in early 70s Genesis style, but with some marks typical for other mid and late 70s German groups like Novalis, Eloy or Anyones Daughter. Singer is pretending to be much Gabriel like, although with a bit cheesy german accent (but not so tragic like in case of Eloy) and sometimes is a bit out of key too. Another small flaw for me is the somehow sterile production, there is too much hall added in the mix and overall the dynamics is a bit lacking in the sound. Otherways the sound of the album is very bold and warm. But overall its a pleasant and melodic album to listen, with many nice moments, but not very intriguing and without originality like many other german symphonic progrock groups from this era. Especially the old analogue synths are very present everywhere, so keyboard afficionados will sure like this album. Other musicians dont stand very much out. Nice album, but only for folks who have all other more essential 70s symphonic rock albums. 3 stars...
 Alice In Wonderland by NEUSCHWANSTEIN album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.70 | 58 ratings

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Alice In Wonderland
Neuschwanstein Symphonic Prog

Review by herrkaiser

5 stars Well, I simply love it

In fact, is currently within my Top Three albums, which are Kayaks bard of the unseen and Genesis Foxtrot.

Maybe I am totally cought and "spoiled" by the somewhat naive charme and originality of this album.

I also very much like their more adult next (and untli now last) album, "Battlement", but really prefer this one.

The flute and keyboard dominate the album, but there are also some uptempo guitar parts. About 5% is spoken in german (The "Narrator"), which somehow adds to the charme.

Many of the melodies, or rather "themes" are simply beautiful. You might compare the music to the very best Camel, Focus and Jethro Tull, but it is still very original and charming.

If like your prog on the heavy, jazzy, or eclectic side, this is not for you. If you like symphonic prog like early Genesis and the above mentioned, give it a try!

Yes, there are weaknesses. There are some (not many, really!) dull moments, and the sound quality is (understandably) not so great.

But, oh those catchy themes ....

Can't give it less than 5 !

P.S. There is a reunion going on with the band (two original members) and they are planning to release a new album this year! I am really curious how that will turn out :)

 Battlement by NEUSCHWANSTEIN album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.92 | 199 ratings

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Battlement
Neuschwanstein Symphonic Prog

Review by seventhsojourn
Special Collaborator RPI

5 stars Battlement (1978) by German band Neuschwanstein has drawn many comparisons with Genesis. I personally think such comparisons are a little unfair, although there can be little argument that main singer Frederic Joos sounds like Peter Gabriel. Uncannily so. Whether or not the Genesis comparisons are justified, the music here is of such quality that I'll happily overlook any similarities. Neuschwanstein includes twin keyboard players and guitarists, which ensures the sound is richly endowed with more tones, textures and timbres than I can do justice to in my descriptions. Throw in a whopping great dollop of woodwinds and an imaginative rhythm section and you've got all the ingredients for a classic '70s Prog album. Plus, of course, some great songs. There are seven in total here and all but one are in the 6- to 7-minute category.

The album opens with the rather jaunty Loafer Jack, a very commercial sounding little song with sing-along melody and catchy woodwind flourishes. As with much of the material here the synthesizer features prominently, although we also hear tasteful electric guitar and organ that seem to have Genesis written all over them. Now here's an example of where I'm often guilty of something. In my introduction I question whether so-and-so sounds like someone else, then I immediately go on to compare them to that very artist! However, I don't believe Neuschwanstein are clones of Genesis (or Marillion for that matter, who they pre-date in any case!). Anyway, it's another 'don't do' for my future reviews. Ice With Dwale begins in pastoral manner, again with flute and acoustic guitar. Fizzing electric guitar and rippling piano then pick up the baton to introduce the main part of the song. This is another very accessible tune, with vocalist Joos sounding so much like Gabriel it's kinda freaky. Mellotron and drums erupt at the start of Intruders And The Punishment, soon joined by berserk synthesizers (with Klaus Mayer playing like the man possessed!). Thanks to the presence of the two keyboard players the overall sound is very lush, with Mellotron and synthesizer pouring out of every orifice. Beyond The Bulge has a brooding intro that once again showcases Mayer's wonderful flute playing. This song is heavily laden with Mellotron- strings, but it's the all-too brief Mellotron-choir around midway that has me hitting the repeat button every time I listen. What an incredible sound, both scary and beautiful at the same time.

Bass player Rainer Zimmer does the singing on the title track, which is also the only song on the original disc not to feature Mellotron. Zimmer wrote the lyrics for this one, which is the reason he gets to sing them I guess. For the record, Weiler wrote the words on all other songs. Zimmer's voice is pleasant enough, subdued and certainly lacking the drama of Frederic Joos. However given the subject matter of the song it's entirely appropriate: 'The Duchesse of Kirkcaldy sings a song for the Scottish Queen, Who is dying on the scaffold, dying on the scaffold, Bagpipes singing a dead song over the battlement'. These lyrics refer to a fictional character taken from a song on The White Album. This song includes lashings more synthesizer, but it's the Thomas Neuroth electric piano and Roger Weiler electric guitar duet that dominate the track. The next song, Midsummer Day, is an example of that most uncommon of beasts, the worthwhile bonus track. I'll go as far as to say this is the best track on the album, so 'thank you' to whoever was responsible for the song's inclusion. Anyway, Midsummer Day is colossal. Guitar and synthesizer take the melody in turns and it claws at your guts, but in a beautiful way!! After a few minutes the song speeds up, with flute and bass exchanging phrases, before it fades out. After the briefest silence we hear something resembling a child's musical box, then the song reprises with some gusto! Frederic Joos spits in Paddy's eye with an aggressive vocal and the synth/guitar melody repeats to a finish. Awwwsumm! The final track could have been an anti-climax after this song, but it successfully manages to avoid falling into that trap. Zartlicher Abschied is an instrumental constructed around different tempos and moods and seems to feature every instrument in the Neuschwanstein armoury. You won't hear any complaints from me though. Sometimes more is more!

This is my favourite album to come out of Germany and it's also my favourite from the year 1978. The songs are all very approachable, carefully crafted and wonderfully orchestrated with a lush sound that contains lots of what my wife calls 'twiddly bits'. 5 stars.

 Alice In Wonderland by NEUSCHWANSTEIN album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.70 | 58 ratings

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Alice In Wonderland
Neuschwanstein Symphonic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars A huge name of the symphonic scene in German, NEUSCHWANSTEIN were formed in 1971 in the city of Volklingen in the district of Saarbrucken.The big forward step for the band came in 1974,when they won a musical competition in Saarbrucken,adapting on stage a rock form of Lewis Carroll's ''Alice in wonderland''.The album was re-issued on Musea in 2002.

A stunning story-telling prog rock release,''Alice in wonderland'' contains dreamy Symphonic Rock,interrupted in a few moments by spoken parts,which try to get the listener into the tale-atmosphere of the album.The sad thing, for those unfamiliar with the German language, is that all lyrics are written and sung in NEUSCHWANSTEIN's native language...but musically you will be rewarded to the maximum by the album's pure beauty and symphonic splendour.From the dominant moog solos and driving organ (NOVALIS similarities are evident) to the classical piano ans light harpsichord,all musical soundscapes are created by the heavy ans inspiring use of keyboards by the Klaus Mayer/Thomas Neuroth duo.The guitar echoes are trully melodic and inspiring yet carefully presented and mid-70's ELOY and even better ANYONE'S DAUGHTER are good reference points.However it's the flute work of Neuroth in here which will leave totally speechless!From the melodic interplays with the keyboards to the strong driving parts,Neuroth ''catches'' the best periods of CAMEL ,GENESIS and FOCUS (at least in the flute parts) and throws them into the mix to make the sound even richer and more symphonic.

''Alice in wonderland'' is oversaturrated in melody, interplays and calmness and it is marked by my side as one of the most important releases from a German Symphonic Rock band.Absolutely essential,followed by 4 shining stars!

 Battlement by NEUSCHWANSTEIN album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.92 | 199 ratings

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Battlement
Neuschwanstein Symphonic Prog

Review by comp of nss

4 stars Thank you all for your enthusiasm in our music we made in 1978, naturally influenced by all these wonderful music during this period. Some people may say and said: "Hey, this CD sounds like Genesis." But the CD is not the original music, the musicians recorded on tape. The CD is a remix. Remixed by a nice producer and a Genesis fan. Without the intention, the charme and this unmistakable sound of the seventies. So, if you can, hear the vinyl. Only on vinyl "Battlement" is truthful.

And here are the news: In 2009, composer and keyboarder Thomas Neuroth and flutist Klaus Mayer revitalized the band. With a new lineup they are working on a new album, which will be released in spring 2010. Inspired by life and death, happiness and tragedy. Lyrical, rock, symphonic.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to NotAProghead for the last updates

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