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Geysir - Urworte CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

4.24 | 7 ratings

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4 stars This is "Geysir"s first album, not counting the self-titled EP, and they aim high: The lyrics are by Goethe, arguably th most celebrated German poet of all time. Each of the five stanzas from his poem "Urworte orphisch" is set to music, plus an intro and outro. And, whats more, they don't have to aim any lower, as their music is more than a match to Goethes famous words.

Geysirs Prog Rock is hard to define into one of the numerous sub-categories people like to make up, so I won't try to. For one thing, here's a band doing fine without any synthesizers or even keyboards except for an acoustic piano, and still delivering a broad rock sound. Also, they lost the electronic sounds that can be found on the debut EP (except for the quite impressive prologue). At some points, their very agile and yet direct sound reminds of Spock's Beard.

Right from the start, it's an album of contrasts, mostly between heavy Rock and melodious passages, showcasing the enormous ability of the band and the composer Frank Brempel to switch between moods and colours. Every piece has its own atmosphere, according to the underlying poem, without ever being too obvious in the treatment of the lyrics. (My favourite: "Das Zufällige", "The Coincidental", rising to greatness out of a single violin melody.) Still, the tracks work as a whole; only the finale could be a bit more pronounced for my taste.

The albums sound is very direct and crisp, mastered with an ear for details. Most prominent is the violin, whose sound never gets corny, but always remains precise and clear, inspiredly casting aside all cliches about the instrument. The guitar serves as pure rock, in parts maybe a bit too metal, but in surprising harmony with the violin and in nice contrast to the versatile, intricate and precise work on drums and bass. (Listen to "Nötigung" for almost jazzy counterpoint!) The singer treats Goethes lyrics with respect without reserve; her sound is as flexible as the whole groups, adding a lot of expression to the text (some spoken passages are especially intense).

The only serious flaw of this album is its length. At around half an hour, the suite is clearly complete, and it would have been a bad decision to merely fill up the CD with less intense music - but one doubts that this band would create anything really inferior. Still, there's hope for a new album, and even more hope for ths band taking off and getting a few more gigs.

WedgeAntilles | 4/5 |


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