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Haggard - And Thou Shalt Trust.....the Seer CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

4.09 | 39 ratings

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5 stars NOTHING LIKE IT .!!!

Let me clarify my position on giving rating to prog bands in this site. I have used certain criteria on reviewing any prog album, ie. : composition (structure and songwriting), musicianship, production (sonic quality, mixing, packaging, etc), and performance (delivery). I have used certain standards by which each criterion can be categorized as masterpiece, excellent, good etc. A masterpiece is a masterpiece and an excellent is an excellent, etc. I don't mind if at the end of the review I have given many five stars (masterpiece) if they really fulfill the criteria. Just be it, because they deserve five stars. I don't want to limit using a kind of "forced ranking" in typical corporate world of categorizing employees performance. I don't want to limit my review with "five stars must be very few" paradigm because it's gonna kill music. That's my stand-point. If the album deserves five stars, I will firmly say so.

This album from Germany's band HAGGARD deserves full five stars as when I reviewed using all the criteria, they fulfill all of them as masterpiece work. It has a very tight structure and powerful songwriting combining metal and classical music perfectly. On judging this criterion, I may have been biased as this blend of music is the kind that I have always wanted to hear: a balance between heavy (metal) and soft (classical) music. What an excellent harmony. On musicianship I have found the band has a perfect balance between modern electrical instrument skills as well as those acoustic ones: cellos, oboe, flute, piano, violins, etc. Production is also excellent. The musicians perform their contribution flawlessly. The other real fact: I never get bored listening to this CD and also their live video. The first time I got this CD in 1999 - it was hooked to my CD player for nearly four weeks. The first time I spun the CD, I got problem with the growling style of male singer. But, I tried to respect musician's freedom in this case. Just be it and I finally enjoyed this album in its entirety.

The album comprises five chapters with eight digital tracks:

Chapter I comprises one track "The Day as Heaven Wept" (5:46) starts off with presumably a classical outfit featuring classical guitar, flute and clavinet works with catchy melody, nice harmony. Violin and cello follow as background music. Female voice enters wonderfully in alternate with low register notes male voice and wonderful orchestra followed with stunning piano work. Oh my God . what a catchy classical music melody this part is! The theatrical voice of male singer follows nicely, backed with excellent light orchestra. The male voice turns growling with dynamic drumming and guitar riffs reminiscent of Tony Iomi's (Black Sabbath). This part demonstrates a nice blend between heavy and soft aspects of music with some sudden style change. The female voice (reminiscent of Renaissance's Annie Haslam?) has created gothic metal nuance. This Chapter I flows seamlessly to Chapter II with little attention from listener that it's already in Chapter II.

Chapter II comprises two parts "Origin of a Crystal Soul" (5:57) and " Requiem in D-Minor" (2:09). The first part opens with an electric guitar work augmented beautifully with melodic flute sound and piano, while keyboard fills in the background music. It flows with a female voice line, continues later with music riffs and dazzling drums. Classical music and metal are blended and mixed wonderfully through this track. Those who favor nice melody with classical touch would enjoy the middle of this track where classical piano solo followed nicely with guitar riffs and growl. WOW! Really great! Part 2 "Requiem in D-Minor" as the name implies is basically an instrumental piece; purely classical music featuring flute / oboe and light orchestra. Wonderful composition!

Chapter III comprises two digital tracks: "In a Pale's Moon Shadow" (9:38) and "Cantus Firmus in A-Minor "(2:32). The first part starts with an excellent choirs combined with guitar riffs and pondering drums augmented with some beautiful breaks with piano and light orchestra. Oh my God .. this is truly an adrenalin exploding track! It kills me really! I even enjoyed the combination of growling and classical music with heavy guitar riffs. The harmony produced from a marriage between violin, cello, flutes / oboe and heavy metal riffs plus growling is wonderful and has stimulated me to repeat this track over and over. Especially, when the orchestra part plays staccato using violin and cello. Female and male vocals are used proportionally in this track. The second part "Cantus Firmus in A-Minor " is another classical music exploration by the band. A very good one and it serves nicely as a break after heavy stuffs.

Chapter IV "De La Morte Noire" (8:02) begins with a beautiful marriage between classical piano and heavy music riffs. The melody is steered by piano with some augmentation of oboe and light orchestra. The music turns into faster tempo by the time the male voice line enters the music augmented with female backing vocals. It suddenly turns into quiet passage where simple piano touch fills the music followed with melodic light orchestra. Acoustic guitar also plays during transitions. Oh man . you got to experience yourself with this track! Yeah, GET THE CD now! You won't regret at all! Awesome.

Chapter V comprises two parts: "Lost (Robin's song)" (4:25) and "Outro: A Midnight Gathering" (2:59) . The first part is a another nice combination of heavy and soft where classical guitar plays as rhythm section featuring male and female singers - all are backed with melodic light orchestra using violin, cello and oboe. Sometimes, the acoustic guitar part reminds me to Steve Hackett's work even though it's played with different style. The Outro part is basically the band's exploration using percussion as main rhythm section. It's totally different style of music compared to other tracks.


I don't think it's summarize-able. This album deserves novel-long review. It's an absolute five stars rating. You must GET THIS CD! Keep on proGGiN' ..!

Progressively yours,


Gatot | 5/5 |


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