The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

BEYOND THE BRIDGE

THE OLD MAN AND THE SPIRIT

FRONTIERS RECORDS

JANUARY 2012

 

 

 

What happens when Prog Rock meets sanitized metal riffs across a field strewn with spoken voice parts, the odd jazz phrase and the occasional melodic interlude? Well maybe this is what happens.

 

 

Initially ‘The Call’ which kicks off the album slips off your shoes and gets you comfortable. Whilst there may be the hint at a little ‘Proggery’, essentially it’s a nice melodic metal ride until the spoken word drops in over the top of a mini jazz odyssey ‘I wish my life would disappear or merge within a dream…’ and then I’m afraid we may as well be off with the elves (not that this is the subject matter here) as the weird time signatures kick in and we drift in and out of metal riffs.

 

 

Bells and delicate keys and spoken word leads us into ‘The Apparition’ before the big riff hits, the solo breaks and then it stops, keys come in with a female voice and it may as well be an entirely different song. To be honest if you are a humble ‘get to the chorus’ merchant you’ll be as non-plussed as I am by this point.

 

 

The thing that people always level at me when I tell them I’m not a big fan of Prog is that “It’s all about the progression of ideas” to which I usually counter “Bollocks, it’s all about people who have too many ideas and can’t see them through to completion so they cobble it all together and call it Prog”.  While I won’t quite rest my case I think that my theory does have merit….’The Apparition’ is after all a shade over eight minutes long, which last time I looked is about a third of a Van Halen album.

 

 

Anyone who calls a song ‘Triumph of Irreality’ (which again starts off with spoken word – a female voice this time) and launches into a musical escapade involving an orchestral build of keys and guitars: (and maybe some woodwind I can’t tell) which then meanders straight into what sounds like it could be the theme tune to a bad eighties detective show before mutating into a take on an Irish jig deserves a small slap to the back of the head…

 

 

‘The Spring of it All’ a piano duet is rather quiet and comes in at under two minutes (they didn’t manage a chorus) and the same piano leads into ‘World of Wonders’ and I’m starting to think hmmmmn, musical theatre?   You can just see the spotlight go on as the female vocal comes in singing about ‘thunder’ and being ‘pulled under’ and trees and streams… It’s actually quite a nice song with a refrain, a nice construction and lovely solo that you could quite easily pluck out of the album and call a nice piece of AOR.

 

 

‘The Primal Demand’ on the other hand again starts all atmospheric and spoken word before a drop of fairground jazz and tooting synths… A minute and a half in a guitar inexplicably bursts into flame, followed by a metal riff, followed by….. silence at two minutes in! Now to these ears that does not constitute a song!

 

 

‘Doorway To Salvation’ picks up the sort of Trivium Crusade era riff and flies with it, though the riff is in danger of being drowned out at stages by a clown-like piano. Then stop, a pause and a female vocal all alone again musing about the possibility of death… Then the male vocal comes in signing over her, then riff, then bass, then female vocal, and a Nightwish-like build to… it’s about this point it gets too much for me. If only they would stick with this part or that! It’s the musical equivalent of a TV channel shifter with ADT.

 

 

The rest of the album is equally enthralling/confusing depending on the length of your beard.

 

 

They say they are from Germany but I suspect something a few more galaxies further away…

 


 

Essentially if you look at this album as being a story rather than a collection of tracks then it makes some kind of sense, all you have to do then is work out what the story was all about!

 

 

In my opinion it’s not big and it’s not clever but to you Concept album lovers out there in Prog land it might just be both!

 

 

 

By Mark Diggins