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Album Review

Normally, progressive rock bands that hail from Germany play an aggressive, forceful type of music, with brash keyboard and guitar interplay leading to hardened rhythms and tempos. Novalis is one of the exceptions, and on their second album they maintain an even tighter fusion of folk-rock and classical elements, topped off with lush, prolific vocals that soften the music even more. With their debut album entitled Banished Bridge in 1973, the lyrics were entirely English, but Novalis has the band switching to their native tongue, which, in turn, sounds more free-flowing and poetic. But it's the way in which the keyboards maintain a dreamy, romantic air throughout the songs that gives the album some personality, especially in the nine-minute "Wer Schmetterlinge Lachen Hort," which roughly translates into "Those Who Hear Butterflies Laugh," as the tones float and descend, with some light guitar playing dancing in the background. "Impressionen" is the track most closely related to classical music, as there is some familiar relation to Bruckner's Symphony No. 5 in the synthesizer's riffs. Even if the vocals can't be understood, they are beautifully cohered to the instruments to produce a vivid fairy-tale effect that is quite mesmerizing the whole album through, making it one of their best.

Novalis, Novalis
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