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Novalis - Flossenengel CD (album) cover



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4 stars From a German point of view - one of the best German-speaking German bands of the 70s/80s. Romatic lyrics, own or based on classic German poetry. I was 16 then and I still love to hear them, that says all. This album: A very enthusiastic plead to preserve nature's beauty, in the form of a whale, a "fluked angel" (Flossenengel).
Report this review (#19896)
Posted Sunday, February 27, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Wow, someone must have put something under them! I must say after a brace of rather lackluster albums, this came as quite a surprise. Rahn's keyboard work is among his best ever, particularly his Hammond organ, which is quite edgy, cutting through the mix in a big way. Even Biereichel rises to the occasion, with some of his finest drumming ever. But then, he's given more to work with here than he has for a while, as on the spirited 3/4 time on "Walzer für einen verlorenen Traum".

I'm guessing that since the concept, the appreciation and conservation of nature, was a subject close to the band members' hearts as they truly rose to the occasion this time round. No Hardenberg interpretations this time round, but he's there in spirit.

Report this review (#42670)
Posted Saturday, August 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars It is of course impossible for me to review a ''Novalis'' album without thinking deeply about my friend Febus. He stopped his reviews from the band after their previous studio album. Because he thought that the best of one of his beloved bands was behind them. And he was of course right.

There are still some songs of value included here, like the very good opener which really flirts with the good moments of the band. My favourite track included here is the very much Floydian ''Im Netz''. If it would have been a fully instrumental, I would have been even more happy. The few sung parts are dramatically poor. But fortunately, there are very scarce. The mood seriously reminds me of DSOTM. Yes, it is that good!

The German lyrics and weird vocals are kind of ruining this feeling straight after: the title track is just a grotesque track with no savour. Same applies to the heavy-rock ''Sklavenzoo'' which features extremely poor German vocals.

Here and there, some track does shine like the short and symphonic instrumental ''Walzer.''. It seems that the band decided to head towards a heavier angle with this album. Some sort of AOR with ''Alle Wollen Leben''. Somewhat unexpected, to tell you the next of course.

In all, this album is not bad, but I can't be really enthusiast about it. Too many weak songs to make this record a good one. ''Rückkehr'' for instance holds some delicate passages (even vocals are passable), and the melody is quite enjoyable. If only some more songs of this calibre would have been featured...

You were right my friend. But so were you often. Two stars.

Report this review (#198240)
Posted Friday, January 9, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog-Folk Team
3 stars It is largely true that the most popular German prog bands of the 1970s remained steadfast to their roots and vision right through the decade. One could argue cynically that they were popular with this style, so why change it, and, if punk and new wave were known to these groups, which they must have been, this did not represent an either/or situation. Prog bands could continue to ply their trade and share the spotlight with the upstarts. ELOY and NOVALIS demonstrated this, and the scene was accommodating enough to allow ANYONE's DAUGHTER to release their first album in 1979.

Notably, NOVALIS' entry at the end of the decade seems to have been a concept work about nature and its woes thanks to man, and how they could reconcile. The lovely cover of a cetacean tail beckons us within, and the album remits many delights. The contrasts between light and heavy are more pronounced than on the prior "Clown", and the group does not handle the rawer tunes as well. But "Im Netz" is a striking spacey ballad with a killer hook, and the title track is an enchanting ballad that could have crossed over to the charts. The best of the upbeat numbers is the instrumental "Walzer für einen verlorenen Traum", which shows that NOVALIS can still enrapture with mellifluous delights. If "Sklavenzoo", "Alle wollen leben", and "Ob Tier, ob Mensch, ob Baum" are shoddy rockers that show the group is losing touch with some of the intricacies of the last album, the melodically profound "Rückkehr " implies that their mellow touch is perhaps stronger than ever.

While "Flossenengel" is not as consistently enduring as "Clown", it closes the decade on a high note, with the group apparently healthier than many of its compatriots. Allow yourself to be touched by this "fluid angel".

Report this review (#246204)
Posted Sunday, October 25, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Now Novalis' sixth studio record has come in my hands(not phisically but...) and ears and craves to be listened to. Well thats not a problem. The cover is blue and shows a whale that is splashing a wave towards the city. It is a very happy and joyfull picture."Flossenengel" was released 1979 and the musicians were Hartwig Biereichel (drums, percussion), Detlef Job(guitar), Fred Mühlböck(vocals, guitar), Lutz Rahn (keyboards) and Heino Schünzel (bass).

Nothing has here been destroyed of Novalis' great symphonic sound, it is as good as on "Brandung" but this record is a little bit longer. I have just listened once but I allready like it very much. The record starts with "Atlanto", a melancholic and beautiful melody and this from the beginning makes us familiar with Novalis luxery sound. Then "Im brunnen der Erde" has a romantic text and gives the listener a powerful mood. In "Brennende freiheit" and "In netz" the music is much calmer and reminds me of the surf rock of the early 60s. "Flossenengel" is a harmonic piece with sweet singing and even falsetto. Great music! The remaining pieces are also worth listening. I would think Novalis' music is like a watershed. Some like it and others don't. I like it very much because of its grand expanses and pretentious organisations. They were doing some orgies on stage and that's what my ears want. This is a record that seems to be underrated as every Novalis record seems to be. I give this four stars because it is little hard to give a final judgement during the first listening. I recommend you to try Novalis' music. It is romantic, flamboyant and sweet.

Report this review (#971288)
Posted Wednesday, June 5, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars After two months listening up and down through Novalis's work, "Flossenengel" emerges as their strongest album, at least for me. Earlier, when reviewing "Clown" I still felt that I should split the price. Now, however, Flossenengel has several tunes spinning around in my head for weeks.

As a concept album, telling the story of some kind of cross between whale and fish being captured, held in a zoo, suffering, and freed by the fisher who initially caught it, it provides Novalis with a great opportunity to combine their tendency toward smaller and more transparent songs that begun with "Brandung" with a bigger overarching structure. Thinking bigger is a winner for the band here, because despite the fact that the different songs are written in a stand-alone fashion without recurring themes over the whole album (apart from some whale sounds in the beginning and end), the concept gives the album flow and cohesion. Throughout their career, the biggest strength of the band has always been the musicality and taste in their arrangements and the careful balance between slower and faster, calmer and louder, more cheerful and sadder parts, and this quality here stretches through the whole album, with a convincing mix of contrasts and changes on one hand and taking time to build up moods and atmospheres on the other hand. Further, the compositions are clearly inspired by how the story goes on, with nice musical interpretations of the limitless freedom in the water, the fight of the fisher with his catch, the beauty of the animal, the melancholy of being captured, a rather aggressive comment on how human beings treat animals in the zoo and so on. A more fitting way of telling this story in music is hard to imagine (which is another strength on many Novalis albums, albeit elsewhere on a lower scale).

Most of the album is on the melodic, soft side of prog, with occasional outbursts of singer Fred Muehlboeck, particularly in the more rocking "Sklavenzoo" and in the finale. Regarding emotions, the album is very versatile, as already pointed out; nice examples are the folk ballad "Flossenengel", "Alle wollen leben" in the style of the optimistic "Irgendwo Irgendwann" of "Brandung", the depressive "Im Netz" and the uplifting "Rueckkehr". The two instrumentals, Atlanto and Walzer fuer einen verlorenen Traum, are among the strongest of the band, combining catchy melodies with dynamic arrangements.

Again, as elsewhere in the band's catalog, there are good guitar and keyboard parts (particularly keyboarder Lutz Rahn is in very good form here; guitarist Job shows the melodic qualities well known from him), and singer Muehlboeck is at his most dynamic (although he somewhat exaggerates it at times). The rhythm section, to be honest, isn't the most exciting, though.

All in all I'd call this the quintessential Novalis album, showing all the strengths of the band embedded in a convincing concept. I give it a very strong 4 stars (some issues with the vocals, and the rather bland rhythm section keep it below 5 but still, listen to this!).

Report this review (#1475826)
Posted Tuesday, October 13, 2015 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
3 stars Novalis Flossenengel is a very hard album to review. Even trying to see it in the context of the period I found it hard to get what they really wanted with this album. After repeated spins my guess is that the band tried to please everyone, from old fans to the new generation, and the results, although not really a failure, shows some bizarre situations: the instrumentals are back, the opener being a fine example of what they do best: concise progressive music with melodic traits that appeals even to the non initiated. On the other hand the gratuitously aggressive vocal lines on most of the tracks ruins everything. It simply does not work and I´m still wondering why they did it (punk influences, maybe? Even if punk was pretty much on the wane in 1979).

The exceptions to the rule are the spacey and long (8:38, quite bold for the time) Im Netz and the title track,. The former is probably the best tune in here, and it reminds everyone of how good they can be. The former is a bit folkish with an accordion accompaniment that is very nice and original. Unfortunately are all spoiled by the very bad idea of forced, angry delivering. they are surely no The Clash. Which is a shame since the songs themselves are, if not that good, at least passable rockers.

In the end I guess there are more hits than misses in this album, but the misses are quite annoying and spoil the flow of the CD. I´ll give this one a 3 star rating although it should be really 2,7. Let´s see what they did next!

Report this review (#1823187)
Posted Wednesday, November 15, 2017 | Review Permalink
2 stars I bought this album at a progressive rock festival at Loreley in 2016 after a recommendation for a good album by Novalis by the merchant. The cover looked good, there were three tracks with over 6 minutes so I bought the CD. I gave it a chance despite the year 1979, which was generally a decline in the history of progressive rock. The album is a mixed bag of decent, mediocre and terrible tracks. The pretty decent instrumental beginning is followed by some more simplified tracks with weak vocals that sometimes seem to be a parody to progressive rock. "Photograph" is a symphonic pop composition worth listening. "Walzer.." is the third interesting track on this album before things start going crazy.

"Sklavenzoo" and "Alle wollen leben" epitomize the bad taste for creating hybrid music whose elements do not fit together - imagine some disco, hard-rock, rock, pop and progressive elements combined without much attention. "Rückkehr" does not fare much better but at least shows some instrumental dynamics.

I can't recommend acquiring this album but if you are interesting in the German late 70's scene, go for it.

Report this review (#2120391)
Posted Tuesday, January 22, 2019 | Review Permalink

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