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RPWL - Beyond Man And Time CD (album) cover





3.89 | 433 ratings

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5 stars RPWL's latest is perhaps their finest, according to pre-release hype from various fans worldwide and the first series of reviews highlight the overall quality of this work. Previously the trend had been towards more pop oriented material and I admit that I started to fade away, interest-wise, not having experienced the "RPWL Experience" album at all.

From the very first strands, it becomes obvious that this will be a vaporous and mystical journey into progland, as the lads waste no time to impress by presenting a real keeper "We Are What We Are", a bejeweled 9 minute opus of atmosphere and substance, the instrumental restraint is not only obvious, it adds even more drama to Yogi Lang's otherwise wistful vocals. The star of the show is a scintillating Moog synthesizer solo, straight out of the Manfred Mann school of pitch and bend and it is followed rapidly by a suppressed series of axe leads, including a lovely slide guitar passage. Oh my! New drummer Marc Turiaux also displays a muscular disposition in keeping things flowing and Lang has never sung better, relaxed yet passionate.

The title track has a warm, settling sun kind of feel to it, chock full of unbraided melancholy, a somewhat pastoral clinking and clanging of acoustic, electric and slide guitars and a massive chorus that floats quite miraculously amid the lyrical despondence of human blindness ("The world could have been a better place").

The über-sensational "Unchain the Earth" chooses to evolve rather organically from a fluttering bloom to a powerful yet uncomplicated melody, the bass rumbling with authority and a mind numbing anthem that hits the mark with the very first audition. This is a perfect prog song, mordant words within a glorious symphony of sound, totally enchanting. Little details abound , such a the slightly distorted vocal passage, some rifling rhythmic guitars and a soaring solo to finish this classic track off!

Appropriately, "The Ugliest Man in the World" does not apply to my ex-wife's current boyfriend (LOL) but concentrates on a rather more aggressive sandblast of riffs (Kalle's talent keeps growing with each release), a tornado of notes that congeal into a new sound , distancing itself from the previous Floydian scapes into a more Manfred Mann Earth Band style , as once again we are served up a flighty synth solo, followed by a Hammond organ blast and some amazing hard riffs, playing the light and shade game brilliantly. The stunning lyrical content aims at hypocrisy and deceit, harsh words gently sung, very thought out!

"The Road to Creation" keeps the mood chugging along, with an insistent buzzing bass ravaging the way, nasty chords slashing the horizon and synth burps for effect. The winks and nods at Porcupine Tree are more vindicated here with Turiaux smashing his kit vigorously. After the reflective and somber "Somewhere in Between" comes another rambunctious piece, "The Shadow" with its 'boom-boom-tchak' beat, and another one of those patented RPWL choruses, promising a future step into the light and adorned by a group of talkative guitar solos with hints of the legendary Phil Manzanera's penchant for texture and sound (aroma of native American tones, for example). "Wise in the Desert" is where they become even more oblique and creative, searching out new sound/sand scapes , whistling synth melodies amid the arid dunes, keeping things simple yet interesting, preparing the platform for the whopping 16 minute+ epic "The Fisherman", a willing distance away from anything approaching formulaic structures. The track is book-ended by an Oriental ?tinged opening and closing, while the Abyss sub- section is launched by a colossal wave of choir mellotron (oh yeah, baby!) that gooses the bumps deliciously that morphs into a polyrhythmic jungle of various complex sounds and swirls, providing depth and adventure (the raging organ solo is to expire over) and is then accentuated by a mammoth Kalle Wallner solo, screeching towards the kissing sun with utter abandon. The vocal part is a pure lullaby of glittering introspection, a crystalline projection of human thought and destiny. More mellotron and more guitar and more organ continue to astound and entice, flowing into a more comprehensive return to the "High as a Mountain" theme. This is as good as it gets, sonically and proves convincingly that RPWL have made the necessary compromises to be a progressive rock leader of the pack once again,"Eternal Moment of Return" indeed.

"Noon" is another of their trademark breezy exit songs, a delicately poignant expression of melancholy, self-analysis and contemplation. A sweet lilt and overtly gorgeous melody that ends not only a glorious return to form but perhaps even one of the finest albums of 2012, complete with lovely artwork and booklet.

Easily 5 failed gods

tszirmay | 5/5 |


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