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Schicke & Führs & Fröhling - Symphonic Pictures CD (album) cover


Schicke & Führs & Fröhling


Symphonic Prog

3.96 | 96 ratings

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4 stars When you have an album entitled "Symphonic Pictures", you are not on the verge of hearing some bland pap and these German instrumental stalwarts from way back when, offer up a dizzying experience from a three man crew that has all the talent one needs to achieve symphonic heights. Gerhard Führs handles the various keys with serene aplomb, mostly with the venerable mellotron while guitarist Heinz Fröhling decorates the arrangements with deft soloing, also handling a wobbly Rickenbacker bass. Drummer Eduard Schicke completes the trio and handles himself like a real pro behind the opulent drum kit. These artists really prefer the vivid stylizations that show team work, like the Mannschaft in soccer, never falling prey to overtly egoistic musical masturbation. The reflective elegance of opener "Tao" proves the point, an 8 minute prance full of zesty symphonic ingredients that show restrained glamour and verve. "Solution" is a short melodic interlude with those gently soothing electronics the Germans are renowned for. The subtle blaring of synths evokes grandiose majesty within a lush context, a vibraphone like riff keeping things appealing. The bizarre "Dialog" is way more oblique and upbeat, showcasing whistling synthesizer swaths, weaving guitar, jangled piano musings and jazzy drum patterns, a slightly more experimental exercise than expected, dissonant at times and even disjointed at others, keeping the mood unexpected. The paranoid guitar phrasings are awesome and quirky to say the least. "Sundrops" is more of the same complex electro-symph prog that these lads excel at, mellotron working overtime throughout, with some invigorating twists and slanted turns. Mind music for sure but the highlight piece is the colossal 16 minute + "Pictures", a massive slab of doom-laden prog that has surely influenced a few bands, with overt choir mellotron paving the way, a slow burn slice of dizzying synth effects with added manic soloing on top when the rhythmic groove becomes apparent. We are near prime era KC here, as this would fit in nicely on Red or Starless and Bible Black. The operatic aroma is stealthily defined by the blasts of metallic voices and the playful drum/synth interplay, as the notorious clavinet weasels its way into the fray with utter success. The repeated exultations are most innovative as few bands dared to progress so deeply into the deepest symphonic abysses, this is no easy listening neo-prog by any stretch, demanding a serious ear and an open-mind. Again, the surging mellotron plays havoc with the senses only to be amused by the clownish synth soloing, as if in some kind of keyboard duel. The elegant piano then takes over the battle with the wispy strings and there is another sonic universe upon us, boggling the mind once again. After a brief pause, the 'tron gets another kick in, unwilling to cede passage to anyone, despite some more intense ivory-tinkling. The heavy bass-led KC-like theme returns for a harder edged guitar attack, intoxicating as usual, complete with massive cymbals crashing as if swimming in some melodic brew. This is a tremendous exhibition of intricate symphonic prog that will challenge your senses, taking its sweet time to seduce. The next one "Sunburst" will be their crowning achievement in my opinion though not shared by my pals here. The debut gets 4 orchestral portraits .
tszirmay | 4/5 |


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