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TRACK LIST: 1. Behind the Wall of Sleep 16:01 2. Devachan 11:06 3. Grey Dawn of Day 21:27 4. Dusk Express 13:35 5. Nightfall 15:29 LINE-UP: Peter Frohmader - 5-string & fretless basses Holger Roder - drums & cymbals Udo Gerhards - piano, synthesizers, & harmonium Matthias Friedrich - violin Produced by Peter Frohmader. Engineered by Nekropolis at "Drum Art", Munich.
Prolusion. The solo creation of one of the most innovative composers in the history of contemporary progressive music, Peter Frohmader, is inseparable from that of his project Nekropolis (check Peter's discography below). The review of Maestro's previous album, "Eismeer", is available on Progressor and can be read by clicking >here.
Synopsis. It's inconceivable, but all five of the brilliant masterworks (yeah!) that are presented on this 77-minute all-instrumental album, which is a double album actually, were composed spontaneously and were recorded live in the studio. I was sure that the times when (the most talented of the) progressive musicians were so full of inspiration that were able to create a unique masterpiece almost impromptu passed by long ago and forever. And yet, all of the contents of this album clearly show that there is no place for any axioms in our life in general and in progressive music in particular. "Nekropolis 23, Vol. 1" was released 25 years later the first Peter Frohmader album, and yet, you won't find any signs of stagnation here. Furthermore, the music on this album and stagnation are incompatible, to say the least. The complete unpredictability of development of the musical events on the album is one of the central hallmarks of it. All the arrangements here are in the state of constant development, and even though this music was composed spontaneously, it is completely structured, is just wonderfully harmonious, and has a very rich sound. This very complex, highly original and innovative music doesn't have any analogs, and each of the five tracks here is just filled with magic. I see the essence of this album as a triple union of Futuristic Art Rock, Symphonic Space Rock, and Fifth Element (or just new music), and the only composition here that is stylistically a bit different from the others is the longest of them - the 22-minute Grey Down of Day. It's about a blend of Futuristic Symphonic Space Rock and Fifth Element with elements of Art-Rock, Jazz-Fusion, and those of Classical Music. Indeed, "Nekropolis 23, Vol. 1" has a definitely futuristic sound, which is despite the fact that the most perceptible constituents of this sound are darkness and dramatics. The fat, quite heavy and intensive solos of bass and fuzz-bass (they sometimes sound not unlike those of guitar) form the framework that solos of Hammond, synthesizer, drums, and violin weave their intricate webs around. All of this creates an amazingly impressive musical palette that it's hard to imagine to without listening to the album, which, in its turn, needs many repeated listens to really get into. But while this music is outstandingly original and it's impossible to compare it with anything else, I think I should give you at least some idea of what you can expect from "Nekropolis 23, Vol. 1". Overall, the music here is as intensive and unpredictable as that on Yes's "Relayer", and the mysterious atmosphere that it is surrounded with is comparable with that on "Animals" by Pink Floyd. All three of the 'sidelong' pieces: Behind the Wall of Sleep, Grey Dawn of Day, and Nightfall (1, 3, & 5) begin slowly, than develop, and finally transform into an up-tempo jam, which is both highly intensive and very harmonious. Devachan and Dusk Express (2 & 4) are moderately intensive from the first to the last note. The mastery of each of the musician on the album is fantastic, and the compositional and arrangement skills that they demonstrate here would be beyond most of the contemporary progressive performers.
Conclusion. In my honest opinion, "Nekropolis 23, Vol. 1" is in every aspect on par with any of the classic masterpieces of the 1970s, and at least at the moment, I perceive it as the best Progressive Rock album released after 1979. All the true connoisseurs of Prog rejoice: our day has come again!
VM: July 23, 2003
DISCOGRAPHY (full-length official albums only): 1975/2000 - "Kanaan Live" (as Kanaan) 1979 - "Nekropolis" (as Nekropolis) 1982 - "Nekropolis 2" (=) 1983 - "Nekropolis Live" (=) 1984 - "Music fur Dich" 1985 - "Cultes des Goules" 1986 - "Ritual" 1987 - "Homunculus, Vol. 1" 1987 - "Homunculus, Vol. 2" 1988 - "Wintermusic" 1988 - "Through Time & Mystery-Ending" 1989 - "Arcana Coelestia" 1990 - "3rd Millennium's Choice, Vol. 1" 1990 - "3rd Millennium's Choice, Vol. 2" 1991 - "Armorika" 1992 - "Attenti al Treno!" 1994 - "Advanced Alchemy of Music" 1995 - "Gate" 1998 - "Fossil Culture" /with: Richard Pinhas/ 1999 - "Space Icon" /with: Artemiy Artemiev/ 2000 - "Das ist Alles" (as F&F) 2001 - "2001" 2002 - "Transfiguration" /with: Artemiy Artemiev/ 2003 - "Eismeer" 2003 - "Nekropolis 23, Vol. 1" (as Necropolis 23)
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