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Novalis - Sommerabend CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.77 | 187 ratings

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2 stars Make no mistake about it ... Novalis's Sommerabend is for the large part, a boring album. This music is occassionally pleasant, but rarely anything more and on the basis of this album alone, I'd say that there are hundreds of prog groups out there that deserve your attention before you try Novalis.

While one can detect the influence of Mannfred Mann's Earth Band, Pink Floyd and Tangerine Dream's mid 70s albums from time to time during the course of this record, Novalis never approach the power of those three bands, lacking the compositional skills and in the cases of a couple of members, the instrumental skills too. To me, they attempt to plough the same territory as compatriots Eloy but are far less successful. (I should probably inform potential listeners that I'm not really fond of the neo-progressive sound and on the basis of this album, Novalis seems more like a forerunner of that genre than a true symphonic progressive band.)

This album comprises three lengthy pieces ... a dull opening instrumental called Aufbruch, a balladic piece called Wunderschatze (which sails far too close to The Scorpions' territory to be of interest to most prog fans) and the 18 minute long title track, which probably contains most of the album's best moments but also has its share of tedious passages.

I should probably say that I do prefer keyboardist Lutz Rahn's pallette of sounds to that of guitarist Detlef Job's. His usage of spacey synths, warm organs sounds and the odd (and all too brief) Moog-like leads work better than his counterpart's orthodox rock playing. There are a few moments of excitement over the course of the album ... like a recurring melody which kicks off the first piece and comes in towards the end of the third, the start of a classically-influenced piano solo in Wunderschatze (before the guitarist takes over and ruins it!) and a few minimalist synth solos and one powerful moment 13 minutes into the title track when synth and organ play off each other ... but they're not really worth sitting through the whole album for. ... 28% on the MPV scale

Trotsky | 2/5 |


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