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Neuschwanstein - Battlement CD (album) cover

BATTLEMENT

Neuschwanstein

 

Symphonic Prog

3.95 | 204 ratings

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VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Review Nº 350

"Battlement" is the second studio album of Neuschwanstein and was released in 1978. It was released independently. It sold all the 6.000 copies that were made, at the time, when progressive rock music was in decline, surpassed by music styles, like the new wave and the post-punk music. Besides the good reception at the time, the concept of the album became stronger, with time, and today, it's considered a mythical album. The music produced by the band is melodic with magnificent arrangements with detailed and an interesting orchestration. The vocalist sounds like Peter Gabriel of Genesis and the lyrics are all in English. The instrumental part could be described as a mixture of Genesis era Gabriel with Eloy, period of the album "Planets", and with Camel's period of "Moonmadness", with a touch of Machiavel.

Relatively to the musicians that participated on this album, there are some slight differences from their previous and first debut studio album "Alice In Wonderland", but only released in 2008. After "Alice In Wonderland", Neuschwanstein made several international live shows, and in one of them, in Moselle, France, the band knew the French vocalist Frédéric Joos, which would become their lead singer on "Battlement". As a guest musician Herman Rarebell, the drummer of Scorpions, in those times, also participated on drums on the first song of "Battlement", "Loafer Jack".

So, the line up on "Battlement" is Frédéric Joos (lead vocals and acoustic guitars), Klaus Mayer (flutes and synthesizers), Roger Weiler (guitars), Thomas Neuroth (keyboards), Rainer Zimmer (vocals and bass), Hans-Peter Schwarz (drums) and Herman Rarebell (drums).

"Battlement" has seven tracks. All music was composed and arranged by Neuschwanstein and all lyrics were written by Weiler, except "Battlement", which was written by Zimmer. The first track "Loafer Jack" opens the album in a very happy and catchy manner. It shows clearly the vocal similitudes between Joos and Gabriel. This is a very melodic track with a magnificent work by Mayer on flutes and synthesizers and Neuroth on keyboards. Still, it's the keyboard work that shines with some lovely melodic touches. The second track "Ice With Dwale" shows a song with a more introspective mood. It's a track mainly composed on acoustic guitar chords and flute lines. It also contains some delicate piano notes. It goes to more languid places, displaying a more introspective mood. This is a very Genesis' song with some great pastoral moments. The third track "Intruders And The Punishment" is a serious highlight with some stunning keyboard lines, a much more complex instrumentation and where the vocals are extremely dramatic. The aggressive keyboards and the guitar performances are some of the best made on the entire album. It displays a captivating epic sensitiveness without losing the touch of the melodic richness. The fourth track "Beyond The Bugle" is a song with a melancholic intro with a fluttering flute work and a magnificent vocal section. This is a track that displays a very captivating epic sensitiveness with a very melodic richness. The closing synthesizer solo is magnificent and shows that Neuroth is simply brilliant. The fifth track is the title track "Battlement". It allows for plenty of instrumental breathing room, featuring some truly melancholic guitar solos and, after the obligatory vocal part, features, once more, some fantastic keyboard and piano works. It comprises also some of the best musical segments on the album with great dreamy passages. The sixth track "Midsummer Day" brings back some of the romantic vibe of "Ice With Dwale". It features the strongest vocal segment, sounding more like a version of Eloy's Frank Bornemann, than Gabriel. The middle portion of the track even sounds briefly as a similar style to early Eloy. This is another great atmospheric piece of music that features another lovely vocal performance. The seventh and last track "Zärtlicher Abschied" is the only instrumental track on the album. This is a track dominated by great acoustic guitar and flute works perfectly supported by a glorious keyboard work. It proves to be another highlight of a fantastic album. It's a perfect way to end this album.

Conclusion: I remember to see the cover of this album on the window of a record store, in my youth and in my country, when the album was originally released. However, I never bought it because in those days, I didn't have much money and I would rather spend it in other more known things. So, it was only few years ago that I bought my CD version of the album. "Battlement" is, in reality, a great album. The seven very melodic and harmonic compositions on the album feature a warm sound, pleasant shifting moods, some sensational breaks, lush keyboards, beautiful flute, a sensitive electric guitar, twanging acoustic guitar, a very decent rhythm section and good English vocals with a truly charming accent. This is a very exciting and impeccably performed album with a sound very similar to early Genesis. Compared to early Genesis, Neuschwanstein's instrumentation and recording capabilities were considerable higher, and this German group got rather close to writing music that was equally as good as those early Genesis' classic years.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 5/5 |

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