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RPWL - Wanted CD (album) cover

WANTED

RPWL

 

Neo-Prog

3.67 | 161 ratings

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tszirmay
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Never judge a book by its cover, they say! Funny dat, as the golden prog-rock era of the 70s was all about Hipgnosis, Storm Thorgerson and Roger Dean artwork, seducing the unsuspecting vinyl purchaser to fork out the dollars and take a risk on some Topographic Tale, venture out to the prism of the lunar Dark Side, hoping the music would rate as high as the arty gatefold cover. German prog stalwarts RPWL keep progressing beyond their initial Floydian roots and as tasty and grandiose as their previous epic release, Beyond Man and Time was, this new chapter showcases a radical departure in terms of sound as well as the gory artwork they have chosen for "Wanted", a dead or alive poster for the general public to be aware of and report any sightings to the local authorities. 5 unshaven mugs of slightly deranged, hung over and perverted German musicians, as if they were Baader Meinhof remnants that Interpol has forgotten to arrest! These prog convicts have dropped any hint of playing it safe, by simply tackling their craft with a new found urgency, raising the theme of" is modern man, being the evolutionary creature that he is, ready for absolute freedom " , incorporating modern beats into a harder edged sound, especially evident in guitarist Kalle Wallner's carnal tones blending with a vast arsenal of spirited synthesized sounds that trickle into the experimental areas that purely define their progressive roots, forging an altogether more virile direction. RPWL are now prog terrorists wanted by the thought police for crimes of opinion. To quote their website " These Bavarians have established a back story full of fantasy. In it RPWL and their friends aim at granting the world access to the product of the secret formula ? disguised as a homeopathic drug against mental fatigue that goes by the name of "Veritas Forte." Considering the true intention of the operation the fact that the wrath of the churches of the world religions is unleashed at the band rather sooner than later is understood. And so, consequently, they are forced to go underground. That, however, is where RPWL continues to organize ultimate liberation from all oppression through the machineries of illusion run by religions and sects. RPWL are Wanted."

The first few seconds drop vivid flares as to how this music is going to dazzle the listener. "Revelation" is proof that is not going to be a prog-lite affair (sorry, mate to disagree with you ) , dealing with complex subject matter that will not endear the zealot believers out there, risking disdain or worse, excommunication or fatwa! Religion the opium of the masses, the spiritual pillow that disguises social control. Also the easiest sales pitch ever, induce fear of the all mighty and you will cower! Funny but Mommy Nature is almighty and yet a benevolent reality, with no corporate head office, no company logo and shareholders waiting to cash in on their options! RPWL shoulder a heavy cross (pun) to bear, daring to challenge the supreme ayatollahs, popes and other such powerful lobbies that lead us seemingly to a nowhere land of broken promises and misguided ideals. On the militaristic and smarmy "Swords and Guns", the mood becomes tragic, grey and stubborn , with buzzing revolutionary guitars and binary drum onslaught, left/right insanity and reptilian bass revulsion. Cartesian, square and steamrolling, the march goes forward inexorably towards some kind of sonic apotheosis. The sound is raw, intense and brash, as unkempt and frazzled as the cover art wanted ad, big bustling bass flushed forward, marshaling drums and gritty guitar, while the extended Manfred Mann-inspired synthesizer solo continues to sprinkle its spiraling genius, deep into the interstellar night. The boys have opted to forge a rockier edge which, I must state, is a brilliant move.

"A Clear Cut Line" is a fine yet brief sonic instance, highly reminiscent in its utter simplicity (tchak-tchak beat, windy effects, whoosh and undeniable charm), guileless notes smartly engendered, winking at the vaunted Berlin and Dusseldorf schools of electronic music. The tracks flow nicely, mostly upbeat and slightly more aggressive that previous RPWL fare, yet their ability to carve titanic anthems is still quite apparent as on the title track , a clearly accessible sing-along sizzler, with Wallner, drummer Turiaux, bassist Taus and ivoryman Jehle kicking hard at their instruments. Hunted, haunted and wanted, this is a RPWL classic!

Childhood memories of playing in the park, content and carefree appear on the hypnotic "Hide & Seek" , a playful clash of contrasts between na´vetÚ and harshest reality. Jehle's furious organ solo slashes through dense wickets of organised sound, very rock and very cool, showing off some profound 'purple' influences and crowned by Yogi Lang's conclusive vocal. Acoustic guitar shows us the exit! Bravo!

Hey, you wanna hear some heavy guitar riffs? Like Foghat, Trapeze or Blue Oyster Cult? Kein problem! Never have the lads played so 'schwer', at times quirky as Lang even dares some "Austrian rock singer Falco" ?like lines before delving into softer pools of meditative singing before plunging back into the depth-charged rifferama , with a wah-wah drenched guitar solo that will knock your wurst! "Disbelief" is exactly that, unbelievable and ballsy!

"Misguided Thought" is a well-earned pleasure ride, a soft ballad that shows their true colors, obviously Meddle-ed to the fullest, a joyful exercise in gentle serenading , Yogi's sexy voice crooning delightfully 'truth is just a breath away" . As far as anti-religious rants go, this is a daring display of polite critique, the words harsh and the mood airy, prophetic and thoroughly enchanting, palpitating and exalted by a soaring guitar explosion.

The urban and bouncy buzz-saw that is "Perfect Day" should initiate an immediate smile on any listener's face, lush with energetic sizzle and electro-pulse. Cinemascope and hopeful, the message is not all gloom and doom, eternal damnation and the need to humbly kneel at the altar. Evolution and revolution that is the solution, "a perfect day with nothing more between us". How refreshing, a band with a powerful worded and musically supported message, just like in the hippie days. Groovy, baby!

The beastly , virulent and almost Zeppelin-esque rumble of "The Attack" makes you aware right away that this is not a wimpy affair, sugar-coated prog-pop with little or no substance. It's a muscular, jugular 11 minute assault on the senses, confronted with misty illusions of past tenets and the desperate pain caused by human folly. The mid-section becomes adventurous and floating, like some inflatable doll in a residential swimming pool (Hello, Roxy!), gaudy imagery and all. Wallner pulls on his axe with trepidation and flair, taking the arrangement into depths that defy logic, as the instrumentalists forge new sounds and textures. Amazing track, once again!

So what will tomorrow bring? Keine ahnung! (No idea) but " A New Dawn" is a fitting finale , with a na´ve and fragile disposition, challenging new thoughts and new realities, questioning our past virtual allegiances built on social obedience and imposed norms of conduct, control, control and silly control. Whether you agree or not is not the point, life needs constant reflection, unending questioning of what and who we really are, as individuals and sadly, as a society that still has found little answers in the art of coexistence. "Too much fear that makes us blind, I call that religious", oh my "God"!

All in all, as a fan who owns almost all their albums (Stock being the rebel misfit) , I warmly applaud RPWL's leap of faith(pun again), as I was getting antsy about their overtly glossy production , as Beyond Man and Time was such a sprawling affair (both the album and the live DVD) , wondering how they could hope to top that! They just went back to the rockiest basics and created a more organic sound, while keeping the classic elements that make them such a special band, capable of such immense creativity. I suspect that some naysayers who have written RPWL off as prog fluff will be stunningly surprised at the level of sheer blood and blatant guts displayed here.

5 DOAs

tszirmay | 5/5 |

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