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VIOLET DISTRICT

Neo-Prog • Germany


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Violet District biography
Formed in 1988, German outfit VIOLET DISTRICT, at first called INCUBUS, started out as a band supporting various local bands at concerts. YES, MARILLION and PINK FLOYD were their most important musical influences; all of which they wanted to incorporate in their own material.

The band soon found out that it would be an advantage to record a CD to be able to expand outside of their local area, and in 1992 their debut album "Terminal Breath" saw the light of day, and was generally well received. Indeed, German label BMG Ariola got interested in the band, but sadly not interested enough to sign the act it turned out.

Various line-up changes combined with the band not being able to expand any further saw to it they eventually disbanded in 1997. Two of the members from the final line-up; Karlheinz Wallner (guitar) and Chris Postl (bass) would later resurface with RPWL a few years later, along with amongst others Jürgen "Yogi" Lang, who was a guest musician and producer on "Terminal Breath".

The other musicians involved with VIOLET DISTRICT were Thomas Falkner (bass), Christian Brenninger (drums) and Mischa Schleypen (vocals, keyboards).


WHY IS THIS BAND LISTED AT PROGARCHIVES:
The sound pursued by VIOLET DISTRICT, blending the spacey atmospheres of PINK FLOYD with the modern symphonic leanings of bands like MARILLION, resulted in a sound and style that fits the guidelines for addition to the Neo Progressive genre, and they were added to the database by the team catering for this genre.

Olav Martin Bjørnsen

Violet District official website

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VIOLET DISTRICT discography


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

3.00 | 20 ratings
Terminal Breath
1992
3.63 | 22 ratings
Terminal Breath (Remaster - 2 CDs)
2000

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VIOLET DISTRICT Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Terminal Breath  by VIOLET DISTRICT album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.00 | 20 ratings

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Terminal Breath
Violet District Neo-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Violet Breath's sole album can be regarded to a certain extent as a dry run for RPWL - as well as having a guitarist and bassist in common, the two groups also take similar motifs and ideas from Pink Floyd for the progressive ingredient in their light neo-prog. The difference with Violet District is that they apply a very 1980s aesthetic to things - indeed, the cover of the remaster of Terminal Breath looks like a 4AD release from the era - and that includes the production style. Interesting stuff if you are into RPWL, but I can't say it's aged well though.

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 Terminal Breath (Remaster - 2 CDs) by VIOLET DISTRICT album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.63 | 22 ratings

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Terminal Breath (Remaster - 2 CDs)
Violet District Neo-Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I wasn't expecting much with this album only because I knew that 3 of the 4 guys who started up the band RPWL were a part of this recording. And RPWL has never done much for me with that "Momentary Lapse Of Reason" style of PINK FLOYD music. After one listen to this though and i'm thinking this is pretty good, and well it's just gotten better after that. I'm a fan of good Neo-Prog music and this definetly fits that description with the excellent vocals and guitar. Also that emotional element that I love so much about great Neo bands is here.

"Lustreless Fright" opens with someone changing stations on the radio then the music takes over with acoustic guitar and vocals. A beat follows then electric guitar. A guitar solo after 3 minutes. It picks up before 4 1/2 minutes and the synths roll in. It blends into "Ego (The Hidden One)" where vocals are added quickly in this short one minute piece. "Anguish Of A Scoundral" starts with guitar, synths and a beat. Great sound here.Vocals and a more powerful sound a minute in. Emotion right here as the contrasts continue. Love this song. It blends into "Hommage To The Irretrievably Lost" which builds with drums before settling back when the vocals arrive before 2 minutes. Huge bass lines 3 1/2 minutes in. Cool sound here. It turns fuller after 5 minutes then settles back again with more chunky bass.

"Assurance" is laid back with reserved vocals. It starts to pick up before 2 minutes without vocals.Vocals are back 5 1/2 minutes in. "Together We Fall" is a good instrumental that kicks in rather heavily with synths then guitar playing over top. Great tune. "Necessary Goodbyes" is mellow as the vocals join in. It starts to pick up at 1 1/2 minutes. It's heavier a minute later and I like the synths that follow. "Age Theme" sounds really good with that beat and atmosphere. "The Age" is very 80's sounding Neo-Prog.Yes it's fantastic ! It's catchy with vocals.We get funny sample after 2 minutes. "Down And Away" opens with the guitar soaring then it settles with vocals.The tempo picks up around 5 minutes but not for long as the guitar soars again. Great sound before 6 1/2 minutes. Soaring guitar again 8 minutes in then it turns spacey 9 1/2 minutes in to end it.

This will fit in well with my other Neo-Prog favs. Easily 4 stars.

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 Terminal Breath (Remaster - 2 CDs) by VIOLET DISTRICT album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.63 | 22 ratings

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Terminal Breath (Remaster - 2 CDs)
Violet District Neo-Prog

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The interesting point of this pre-RPWL band (two out of four members will form the later quartet) is that this remastered double CD, holds a full bonus live one.

And there are two unreleased (and long) songs which are really worth. Capilary Action (strange title) is very close to Pendragon. Great guitar, aerial keys and a bombastic finale. One of the (two) best songs from the band. Maybe not as emotional as Nick Barrett can be but still, this song is excellent and should please lots of fans from the neo-symphonic-prog genre; if I may use this term to describe their music.

The second unreleased song is the longest one available (almost thirteen minutes of which the two last ones are an encore clapping). This time, Principles Of Alternation is more Marillion oriented (especially with the guitar work sounding so much to the Rothery one). But there is an undeniable Pendragon flavour as well.

This song is still less polished than Capilary.. The different parts don't flow too well into each other but the whole is rather enjoyable.

The third last piece is here is dedicated to their best studio song. Down & Away. I'm just a bit disillusioned by this rendition. The studio track sounded better to my ears, but still the guitar moments here are such a marvellous gift from Karmheinz Wallner.

The original album was just average but I have to say that the addition of this live set, is rather enhancing the offering (even the poor Hommage To The Irretrievably Lost has been revisited rather well in this live version).

I have made a detailed review of the studio work in the appropriate entry. Feel free to have a look if you are ever willing to get some hints about it.

Three stars for this remastered and expanded version.

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 Terminal Breath  by VIOLET DISTRICT album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.00 | 20 ratings

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Terminal Breath
Violet District Neo-Prog

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

2 stars When you listen to this CD, there are undeniable connections with RPWL of course. Two band members form Violet District will actually found RPWL several years after the disbanding of Violet District. These were the lead guitarist and vocalist Karlheinz Wallner (the W from RPWL) and the bassist Chris Postl (his L counterpart).

Same Floydian influences (Gilmour era), nice vocal melodies and strong instrumental parts are a pleasant combination and should ensure an enjoyable listening to some neo-prog lovers.

On the other hand, there are not too many songs to write home about. The band tries to combine spacey mood with pure neo-prog sounds (Assurance) and Karlheinz is performing some very good guitar breaks (like he will use to do in RPWL as well) but these are too scarce to make this offering a good album.

Some tracks above the general level ? Anguishes Of A Scoundrel with its fully Wright oriented keyboards and the short and melodic Together We Fall.

The worst one? No doubt : Hommage To The Irretrievably Lost. It should have remained lost.

There is one highlight on this album. The long (over twelve minutes) and closing number Down & Away. Fully Floydian and bombastic, it also features the best guitar work of this album. A very good song by all means.

My rating is five out of ten, but raising it to three stars would be exaggerated.

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 Terminal Breath  by VIOLET DISTRICT album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.00 | 20 ratings

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Terminal Breath
Violet District Neo-Prog

Review by Gatot
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars This is the only album by Violet District and in general the music is in neo prog style with nearly no surprise. Those who like Floydian guitar work combined with keyboard synthesizer at background, nice vocal in relatively medium tempo music would love this album.

The opening track, "Lustreless Fright" proves to be a good track with slow to medium tempo music in ambient nuance. Keyboard and guitar play important roles to provide the style of music. The music also combines the elements of space psychedelic which remind me strongly to Pink Floyd. After a short bridge of "Ego" the band continues its journey with fourth track "Hommage to The Irretrievably lost" which maintains the previous segment style. The music seems to flow naturally from one to another with good guitar solo mixed thinly throughout the song. The key to this album is the way guitar and keyboard combine the sounds together and produce floating music style with good guitar work.

"Assurance" explores the virtuosity of Karlheinz Wallner in playing the acoustic guitar work. The vocal enters the music smoothly and the beats are in medium tempo. The interlude showcases guitar solo backed with floating keyboard work. The next track shows faster tempo with much dynamic music but still maintaining the long sustain keyboard sounds. "Necessary Goodbyes" is a good and melodic track featuring the guitar fills and nice vocal work in mellow style.

Overall, this is a good album for those who love neo progressive music with some spacey music. The similarity of this album is close to Pendragon, Pallas, IQ and in fact some elements of Ozric Tentacles but in its simplest form. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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 Terminal Breath (Remaster - 2 CDs) by VIOLET DISTRICT album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.63 | 22 ratings

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Terminal Breath (Remaster - 2 CDs)
Violet District Neo-Prog

Review by Gatot
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars This is the only album by Violet District and in general the music is in neo prog style with nearly no surprise. Those who like Floydian guitar work combined with keyboard synthesizer at background, nice vocal in relatively medium tempo music would love this album.

The opening track, "Lustreless Fright" proves to be a good track with slow to medium tempo music in ambient nuance. Keyboard and guitar play important roles to provide the style of music. The music also combines the elements of space psychedelic which remind me strongly to Pink Floyd. After a short bridge of "Ego" the band continues its journey with fourth track "Hommage to The Irretrievably lost" which maintains the previous segment style. The music seems to flow naturally from one to another with good guitar solo mixed thinly throughout the song. The key to this album is the way guitar and keyboard combine the sounds together and produce floating music style with good guitar work.

"Assurance" explores the virtuosity of Karlheinz Wallner in playing the acoustic guitar work. The vocal enters the music smoothly and the beats are in medium tempo. The interlude showcases guitar solo backed with floating keyboard work. The next track shows faster tempo with much dynamic music but still maintaining the long sustain keyboard sounds. "Necessary Goodbyes" is a good and melodic track featuring the guitar fills and nice vocal work in mellow style.

Overall, this is a good album for those who love neo progressive music with some spacey music. The similarity of this album is close to Pendragon, Pallas, IQ and in fact some elements of Ozric Tentacles but in its simplest form. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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 Terminal Breath  by VIOLET DISTRICT album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.00 | 20 ratings

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Terminal Breath
Violet District Neo-Prog

Review by Progladyte

4 stars This is yet another band that crept up on me unexpectedly as I discovered them through learning of the existence of RPWL. Discovering this album was indeed very rewarding as the quality of some Neo bands from the 90's can always be hit or miss. The thing I enjoy about this release is the uncompromising willingness by the band to incorporate a wide variety of sounds and instruments and to do so in a very imaginative manner. They have managed to introduce some great keyboard and guitar work and yet make it all sound so fresh and interesting.

Forgetting the slight inflection in the voice, you could consider this band as a modern version of Kayak.

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 Terminal Breath (Remaster - 2 CDs) by VIOLET DISTRICT album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.63 | 22 ratings

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Terminal Breath (Remaster - 2 CDs)
Violet District Neo-Prog

Review by Grendelbox

5 stars VIOLET DISTRICT's "Terminal Breath" is one of my ALL-TIME-CLASSIC MASTERPIECES in the neo-progressive scene. 100% top-level-musicians playing neoprog at it's best with strong and powerful high-energetic melody-lines.

STRICTLY RECOMMANDED for fans of Marillion, Twelfth Night, IQ, Pendragon and Co. This album has the "magic touch" and a wonderful flow @ listining !!! No fillers , only killers.

The 2CD-remaster comes with a highly recommanded live concert on the 2nd CD containing 2 more brilliant tracks never released on a studio-album. "Capillary Action" and "Principles Of Alternation" are wonderful songs you won't miss !!! Normally studio-version are a MUST for the remastered version of "Terminal Breath" but unfortanetely they never find a way on the CD....what a pity !

For all fans: I found a 12:15 long studio-version of "Principles Of Alternation" on the CD "Progfever Vol. 1" see http://www.quixote-music.de/cds/progfever.htm for further details.

Finally, I was very sad about the group splitted up after this album. But some members rejoined to new group "RPWL" later, well worth to check out, even the style is not exactly the same anymore.

I give 5 stars for this - MUST HAVE - timeless essential master-piece.

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 Terminal Breath  by VIOLET DISTRICT album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.00 | 20 ratings

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Terminal Breath
Violet District Neo-Prog

Review by Trotsky
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

1 stars As far as I know, this is the only Violet District album out there (there's a remastered version with live tracks too) and I think that's a good thing. Released in 1992, Terminal Breath offers a strange European neo-prog/metal-lite hybrid with the faintest of progressive touches ... that's right, like The Scorpions would if they had a good synth player!

Together We Fall, Anguishes Of A Scoundrel, Homage To The Irretrievably Lost and the epic closer Down And Away are among the better songs here but even they suffer from a poor choice of sounds, while a majority of cuts just remind me of bad 80s metal. Seriously there's one track here called The Age that's so much like lightweight 80s pop/rock, it's unbelievable.

I can't see why anybody would want to waste their time with these laughable fellows when there are so many better bands out there ... Europe and Bon Jovi for starters! Guitarist Karlheinz Wallner and bassist Chris Postl eventually resurfaced in RPWL, which is one reason people tend to investigate Violet District. I suggest they don't. Listening to this album I really felt like someone was trying to pull my leg ... except I never got the joke! ... 16% on the MPV scale

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 Terminal Breath  by VIOLET DISTRICT album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.00 | 20 ratings

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Terminal Breath
Violet District Neo-Prog

Review by James Lee
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Take my review with a grain of salt, as Neo- Prog (along with Prog Metal) tends to be my least favorite side of the prog spectrum. Having said that, I must admit that "Terminal Breath" is good enough to keep me relatively impressed, if still not quite a convert. While replete with the crystalline tones of the mid-to-late 80's, VIOLET DISTRICT does more with the usual elements than almost any other band of the era; it could serve as a perfect example of what the Neo- Prog genre aspired to, and rarely achieved.

To put it into more 'mainstream' terms, the sound is roughly somewhere between "Power Windows" era-RUSH and "Momentary Lapse"-era PINK FLOYD. Sparse but textured verses trade time with heavier, metal-inflected choruses and instrumentals. The guitars switch from crisp effected arpeggios to smoothly distorted leads- all familiar territory to anyone who turned on their radio in the late 80's. The synths are typically of the digital variety, alternating between washes of bright string sounds and tinkling FM bell tones and effects, but the occasional sweeping analogue does appear from time to time. Mischa doesn't have a wide stylistic range, but his vocals are clear, solid, undeniably Teutonic (though delivering lyrics in English doesn't seem to be a problem), and sometimes surprisingly expressive. More 80's legacies include a bass which has a very plastic, almost synthetic tone (but is nevertheless well-played), and precise drums wrapped in digital reverb (less impressively played, but still more than competent). The performances are tight and each musician contributes to the whole, always focused on the song rather than showcasing their respective skills. Honestly, the real stars of the show are the subtle but ever-present details; there's frequently several little things going on, often in the way of synth effects and 'found sounds', that really give space and color to the mix without ever overdoing it.

The songs are well-structured and full of movement. The album goes by surprisingly quick but unfortunately leaves little impression on me afterwards- I had to give "Terminal Breath" a few listens before I could really distinguish passages of one song from another. "The Age" is perhaps the most immediately distinctive track; it's a great example of Neo- Prog's attempt to have the progressive rock mentality meet mainstream accesibility halfway. While it doesn't have the heart of MARILLION or the drama of IQ, I can see most fans of Neo- Prog really warming to VIOLET DISTRICT. Ultimately, the album sounds just fine to me, but I'm positive that others will be able to appreciate it much more.

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