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MARTIGAN

Neo-Prog • Germany


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Martigan biography
This Cologne-based foursome from the mid-80's plays some fine neo-prog in the best tradition of IQ, JADIS, PENDRAGON, early MARILLION and SAGA, but with a subtle and very pleasant flavour of their own. They went through quite a few line changes and now feature Alex Bisch on drums, brother Björn Bisch on guitars, Peter Kindler on bass, Oliver Strahl on keyboards and Kai Marckwordt on bass, guitar, sax, flute and lead vocals (a cross between Phil Collins and Dave Cousins, his vocals are truly outstanding).

Since the mid 90's, the band released two full-length albums and a maxi CD before the excellent "Man of the Moment" (2002); this one is the most mature of the lot and contains no weak tracks. Although no one really stands out, the musicianship is always sharp, the songwriting well crafted and the vocals sincere and powerful. If you wish, you can hear the entire album on their website; the files are highly compressed, however, and the sound quality is very poor.

If you're into neo prog and the words 'strongly melodic', 'accessible' and 'lush/full sound' appeal to you, you definitely ought to give their 2002 album a try. We are talking major-league neo-prog here.

: : : Lise (HIBOU), CANADA : : :

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VisionVision
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Martigan
Audio CD$21.99
$28.86 (used)
StolzenbachStolzenbach
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Martigan
Audio CD$21.99
Man Of The MomentMan Of The Moment
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Floh Dur
Audio CD$21.99
$27.28 (used)

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MARTIGAN discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

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

2.09 | 4 ratings
Stolzenbach
1995
3.02 | 9 ratings
Ciel Ouvert
1996
3.56 | 27 ratings
Man Of The Moment
2002
3.85 | 114 ratings
Vision
2009

MARTIGAN Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

MARTIGAN Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.33 | 3 ratings
Live in Koln
2004

MARTIGAN Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

MARTIGAN Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.00 | 1 ratings
Simplicius (Maxi CD)
1997

MARTIGAN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Vision by MARTIGAN album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.85 | 114 ratings

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Vision
Martigan Neo-Prog

Review by mbzr48

5 stars This album is my favorite album of all times with Genesis's Gabriel years!!! Why did I never hear of German band Martigan before? I asked myself that question many times while listening to Vision. Let me first say something about the band's history. In 1994, keyboardist Oliver Rebhan founded Martigan. Besides Oliver, Alex Bisch (drums & vocals) and Kai Marckwordt (lead vocals & twelve-string acoustic guitar) are both band members from the very beginning. In 1998, Alex' brother and guitarist Björn Bisch joined the band. Their former bass player left in 2000; Peter Kindler replaced him. Kindler performed all the bass parts on Vision, but left at the end of 2008 for personal reasons. In the meantime, the band incorporated Oliver Baumann as their new bass player. Before their latest effort Vision, the band already released three full-length albums, a maxi CD with radio edits and a live DVD.

After this short introduction of Martigan, I would like to let you know why Vision in my opinion is a true masterpiece. First, the album does not contain any weak track. All songs reach a very high quality level with the best progressive rock music possible. You almost get eighty minutes of very enjoyable prog music without a moment of boredom. You can compare the band's musical style to Genesis, IQ, Pallas and early Marillion. It is mainly Kai Marckwordt's great voice, which is responsible for that musical style. His singing reminds me a lot of Fish, Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins. Without the fantastic instrumentation done by Oliver, Alex and Björn, however, Martigan would not have been able to make such a strong album. Oliver Rebhan is a real keyboard virtuoso. He plays very tastefully and with great skills on his synths. On a carpet of beautiful melodies, Björn Bisch lays down his lyrical guitar solos. Alex Bisch is a very talented drummer. Sometimes you think that he must have at least four arms instead of two. I think the bass parts are the weakest on the album, but still good enough and very functional. In fact, the music of Martigan is beyond words. I can rave on and on about this superb album, but superlatives fail to describe this outstanding album. Vision is a 'must have' for everybody who loves emotional music made by the above-mentioned bands. This album will certainly become one of my personal favorites of 2009. It is a true masterpiece and for that reason, I will give Vision the highest rating of five stars!!!

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 Vision by MARTIGAN album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.85 | 114 ratings

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Vision
Martigan Neo-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Martigan's Vision might be shamelessly Genesis-mimicing neo-prog, but - as I always find myself saying about The Watch - at least they're interesting about it. With vocal performances drawing mainly on Peter Gabriel's style (with a touch of Dave Cousins and Phil Collins sprinkled in, as others have preserved) and a musical approach which takes an unusually forceful and strident approach to the classic 80s neo-prog sound, it's not anything prog veterans haven't heard before, but it's nice to hear bands doing it so well. Shave a star off if you really can't stand Genesis imitation, but otherwise I think most neo-prog fans will think this is an exciting and entertaining second tier effort.

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 Ciel Ouvert  by MARTIGAN album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.02 | 9 ratings

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Ciel Ouvert
Martigan Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars Martigan met music-producer Rudolf Nepix from Cologne soon after the release of ''Stolzenbach'', who was actually the one who encouraged the band to work on a second album.With the same line-up Martigan entered the studio and the result was the ''Ciel Ouvert'' CD in 1996, again released on the Cologne-based label Floh Dur.

The album shows some noticable improvement over the very weak ''Stolzenbach'', as Martigan play some more interesting and focused musicianship on this album with memorable and demanding material, not meeting the high standards of other Neo Prog bands, but moving certainly on the right direction.The dull and cheesy moments of the debut are almost gone and the gifted vocalist named Kai Markwordt now performs under more dramatic and progressive arrangements.His slightly GABRIEL-esque tone meets series of melodic, groovy compositions with some fine guitar solos, passionate atmospheres, powerful rhythm section and balanced keyboard work.The vocal arrangements are also more interesting and expressive, a couple of more mellow ballad tracks are now more needed than ever to soften the heavier tracks and the inspired keyboard/guitar solos along with the fair amount of breaks are more than welcome.On the other hand the somewhat cheap digital keyboards, the clear but mechanical mixing and a few moments recalling the low quality of ''Stolzenbach'' are present as well, scribbling down a bit the new face of Martigan.

Finally Martigan can be considered a band with a brighter future and potential for something trully essential.For the moment ''Ciel Ouvert'' is a good Neo Prog album along the lines of FINAL CONFLICT, MAGRATHEA, COLLAGE and SATELLITE with enough interesting material to be regarded as a recommended release.

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 Vision by MARTIGAN album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.85 | 114 ratings

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Vision
Martigan Neo-Prog

Review by Brendan

2 stars Oww, I felt squeezed rating this. It REALLY IS 2.5 stars, OK! Ok, good you understand now. Anyway, I'm not an honourary collaborator, I'm a commoner, so my rating doesn't have that much of a weighting on the whole issue.

So, what is there to know about Martigan? Well, this is their fourth album, many years since their first etc. And, yeah, they're another one of those 'neo-prog' bands, and ya know what that means?? That's right, you guessed it, lots of Peter Gabriel vocal imitations, guitars that try and mimic Steve Hackett and other 70's prog heroes, etc. And some much-needed 'long- songs'.

Okay I had a short-atention span. I admit it, I'm the guilty party. But more my problem with these long songs by these modern prog bands is they feel, I dunno... kinda obligatory, perhaps? Dare I say it, forced! do I really think that they went into the studio and one them said 'Hey! lets do a 20-minute song... No Wait! lets do TWO of them' and the others were like 'that's a great idea!'

Actually, you get the feel it was more like 'Okay guys, we're a prog band, we better sit down and write a 20+ minute song, you know, so we're PROG man!' And WHILE we're at it, let's not let this album end after a miserable 40 or 50 minutes, NO! let's use up the whole 79 Minutes and 59 seconds at our disposal.

Well try sitting through it for a shy little amount off 80 minutes! Yikes! If it's going to be THAT long, for a single album, it'd wanna be good! Otherwise, it might just end up being a 'chore' to listen to, rather than the listener having a 'ball'.

Well, the first half an hour is the best. The close-minded pop-music fans of this world, BEWARE! Some of those REALLY long ones, like 23 minutes, they good. They're MORE than good. 'The Vision' is a thoroughly enjoyable song, for most of it's duration, even if there's a bit of 'padding out'. I'm sure there's a rough demo somewhere of it at 18 minutes long, and the guys looked at 17 minutes and were like 'you know, it really should be longer' oh yes! We wouldn't be PROG if it weren't over 20 minutes. But anyway, a bit of padding is forgivable, but "Close to the Edge" wasn't padded out to over 20 minutes, yet it's still a classic. And this song might just be as catchy as some of the best pop hits. Rally exciting stuff, actually.

And then there's "Craze this town" a genuine, concerted effort at writing an excellent pop song. A lot of these prog bands whose main attraction is the long song, have fairly disposable short songs, but this one is just as impressive as the opener. And to be fair, Martigan are one of the better 'neo' bands I have come across. They sound 'under the influence' of Genesis, and other classic prog, without being a carbon copy. And they perform with some emotional OOMPH, one thing they got from Gabriel a lot of others' didn't. (How come a review about a neo-prog band always comes back to Gabriel?)

Anyway, after that the album goes to almost 80 minutes, and is never as interesting as those first tow songs, which amass about half an hour, so the remaining FIFTY minutes (over ten minute longer than the original Close to the Edge album) isn't that an enjoyable listen.

The REAL drawback is probably the vocals. While they have passion, the singer doesn't always pronounce his words that well, and (this applies to a lot of prog, even revered classic stuff as well) the vocals aren't always fit into the album well. Oh well, we aren't all perfect. But we all can try to improve. ** 1/2

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 Vision by MARTIGAN album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.85 | 114 ratings

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Vision
Martigan Neo-Prog

Review by Gatot
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars I have been conditioned to like this album by some of my progmates who regularly visit my blog. They said that this album by Martigan will remind me to Marillion's Fish era. Well, I was not interested at all, actually, with that kind of statement because I thought Fish' voice is so unique (I disagree that Fish is emulating Peter Gabriel exactly) so I did not really believe that there would be band(s) that is similar with Fish era of Marillion. Finally I got the album and I conclude that ...

Quality does not correspond directly to outcome

Well, yeah ...I believe you would say that the musical quality of Martigan in this album is good or in fact excellent and in some ways I agree and some other ways I don't. Let me elaborate my reasoning, in particular with this album.

It does not sound original in terms of music style as the first time I listened to this album I did not find something unique delivered by this band. The style is totally copy cat to any bands in neo progressive bands - mellow and keyboard based with some efforts to make the tagline melody is going to sound in memorable way. To put it in simple way, I was not impressed with the opening track as it demonstrates more on its mellow style and is trying to make the song melodious but it sounds like being forced to become melodious. What makes me feel something like bored is when there is part where it copies the style that Pallas made in its "The Cross and The Crucible" album. Oh man .. it bores me... Why these gentlemen copy the style very easily from Pallas? It scores the music down - in my view. So the epic "Boatman's Vision" which consumes 23 minutes in duration does not stir my emotion at all and I really get bored.

Nice music segments. Despite its lacking on creating good nuances due to its copy cat to previous bands (Pallas), I have to admit there are excellent segments throughout the music especially those with electric guitar or keyboard solo. The music segments that in some way to another make them associated with the kinds of neo prog music are the things that I can enjoy the music. I have seen the guitarist plays good parts in providing his solo shot in some important segments of the music. The instrumental segments in "Much More" is quite good, really.

Melody is quite melodious in a away but it does not sound quite natural to my ears. It's probably the vocal quality is not something that I expect from neo prog music like this. I can imagine if the vocal is something like in Arena, it would sound excellent to me my ears. In my opinion the vocal part does not sound blended with the music and in some segments the vocal sounds awkward like those parts in second track "Craze This Town".

In conclusion, musically this is a good album as you would find in nice segments where it has solo guitar. But unfortunately the music fails to stir my emotion it sounds just flat to me. Keep on proggin' ...!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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 Vision by MARTIGAN album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.85 | 114 ratings

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Vision
Martigan Neo-Prog

Review by poslednijat_colobar
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Vision by Martigan is typical example of contemporary neo-prog. This band from Germany makes real breakthrough on prog scene with the release of Vision. It contains some good ideas and interesting way of playing of instruments. Especially guitar player, who's highly influenced by Steve Hackett's style of playing. As many of neo prog albums, it concentrate our attention on first track - Boatmans Vision. It's indisputably innovative, full of fresh tempo changes and well-constructed tunes. After this wonderful song the album turn aside to an unvaried rhythm and continues like that to the end of the album. There are some pleasant (Genesis-like) sounds, but nothing more unexpected and provoking, than good radio mainstream songs you won't get here. 3 stars.

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 Vision by MARTIGAN album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.85 | 114 ratings

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Vision
Martigan Neo-Prog

Review by Epignosis
Special Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

3 stars Chock full of colorful music, Martigan's Vision is a grand affair, with a fair bit to like, and at the same time, a fair bit to not like. Each instrument wields tones that find favor with me, especially during instrumental sections- in lead roles, the guitarist and keyboardist are astonishing. There are several memorable passages (the refrain of "Boatman's Vision" is remarkable), and the rhythm section does a fine job holding things together. However, much of the album is droningly cheesy, almost embarrassing at times. The "Slipperman" vocals wear out their welcome quickly, and, aside from the grossly generic neo-progressive arrangements and sound, ultimately serve to drag the whole album down.

"Boatman's Vision" Two stately epics appear on this album. The first one properly begins with bright, almost frosty tones, and a majestic chord progression. The refrain is highly enjoyable, as the lead singer's voice (which sounds like a cross between Cat Stevens and Peter Gabriel with a cold) is suited to the majestic melody. Some portions of the piece drag badly, particularly those theatric, Genesis-like segments, and there's nothing groundbreaking with regard to the lengthy instrumental passages. However, none of that keeps this from being one of the best pieces on the album.

"Craze This Town" A slow, synthetic song, this rather sounds like the opening theme tune to a prime time police drama back in the 1980s. Otherwise, it's closer to a Bruce Hornsby number.

"Snapshots" Open synthesizer and clean guitar, coupled with dark vocals, make this short snippet similar to something from 1980s Pink Floyd.

"Touch In Time" Electronic tones pepper this piano-led piece. As it grows darker and heavier, the singer migrates quickly between hideous growls and high-pitched falsettos. Largely, the song is very similar to early Marillion.

"A Great Concern" Piano, acoustic guitar, and husky vocals make up this 63-second bit.

"Much More" The almost orchestral beginning is the harbinger of even more exciting music, with lovely lead guitar and a fabulous synthesizer solo.

"Red & Green" After a lush introduction, the music takes on electronic and exotic layers that make it a wee bit cheesy. That said, this, like the first track, turns out to be quite a memorable ride, despite sounding like a shameless mid-tempo dance track.

"The Contract" Airy synthesizer and light piano drip onto the blank canvas of the second large piece. After the introduction, a bubby bass and trembling organ bounce in, followed by crunchy guitar and heavy drums. That too, ends inexplicably, to allow for a piano segment By this point, things really become cliché, not just in terms of sound, but with respect to the lyrics. As a consolation, there's some fabulous lead guitar work. Halfway through, the song resumes its piecemeal tedium, never to divest itself of it again.

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 Vision by MARTIGAN album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.85 | 114 ratings

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Vision
Martigan Neo-Prog

Review by mscbox

2 stars Vision is bringing nothing new compared to the previous album. Where I hoped that Martigan could become one of my favorite bands, again this album is dissapointing to me. The band misses orginality and creativity. I get the feeling that they listened very good to other bands in the same style like for example Arena. Apart from that, musical lines used in songs have been used before.

Another fact that disturbs me when listening to Martigan in general is the lead vocal. Normally I do not get distracted by a voice that is not particullary to my liking, that is a matter of taste, but the vocals in Martigan give me a hard time. Indeed there is some resemblance with the voice of Peter Gabriel, which I like very much, the lead vocal of Kai Marckwordt is uncontrolled, lacks emotion and seems out of tune now and then.

In general, the music is not bad. When you hear the album for the first time it sounds promising. The promising part however is never filled in.

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 Stolzenbach  by MARTIGAN album cover Studio Album, 1995
2.09 | 4 ratings

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Stolzenbach
Martigan Neo-Prog

Review by Marty McFly
Special Collaborator Errors and Omissions Team

2 stars When listening this, I feel nothing. Not touched at all. Maybe only feeling that is here would be disappointment, because I obtained this one because of their latest (2009). Because this is not prog at all, this is pop. And unfortunately, even as pop it fails to get me. From unpleasant singing (which sound as bored voice), to cheap keyboard (it may sound harsh, I couldn't do anything from these instrument, nor I would be able to compose anything like these songs, but because of this, I'm trying to do breakthrough like this). When first listening this, I was preparing to scream more and more with each song. My rating fell in 3 category instantly, but then it was worsening. With each song and each listening, I was hearing less and less interesting things. Finally,

2(-), for not necessarily unpleasant, or ugly album, but for plain nothingless. For something, where I'm not able to see its meaning, its message for listener. The reason why to listen these songs, which offers nothing.

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 Vision by MARTIGAN album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.85 | 114 ratings

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Vision
Martigan Neo-Prog

Review by Marty McFly
Special Collaborator Errors and Omissions Team

3 stars One of these albums, where after listening it, you decide whether to give 4, or 5 (and anything lesser than these two seemed irrational). First important thing, it's packed to maximum extent, lasting 79 minutes of genre, that is gaining a lot of popularity today, Neo- prog. After first listen, I would give 5 star instantly, with clear conscience. But now, I hesitate.

It's like Arena (but don't worry, a lot of musical acts from Neo genre reminds me Arena), but I have one problem here. When guitar solos are on, I feel that the chords and melody is repeating. There's also one similarity, first track, Boatman's Vision reminds me "Red Sand" in certain parts (such as first quarter and last two minutes). But even during this song, my enthusiasm dropped to minimum, because this just didn't fit in for me. I don't know if it's this German accent that is clearly to hear (I don't like "rrr"), or that all elements are in place, it should work and it normally works (in other Neo-bands), but not here. Because something is bad here, I don't have so good feeling from this. So

3(+) for good album, but not so good (for me at least)

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