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(57:26, Progressive Promotion Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Das Geheimnis Teil I 4:29 2. Das Vermochtnis 27:26 3. Wohin der Wind Dich Trogt 6:30 4. Frei 5:36 5. Das Geheimnis Teil II 13:25 LINEUP: Alexander Weyland – keyboards, programming; vocals; guitars Tobias Hampl – guitars Sebastian Klein – bass Stefan Hopf – loops With: Jimmy Keegan – drums
Prolusion. The German band TRAUMHAUS has been around in one form or another since the start of the revival of progressive rock in the 90's, releasing their debut album back in 2001 with a second production following in 2008. "Das Geheiminis" is the third studio disc by the band, released through the German label Progressive Promotion Records in the fall of 2013.
Analysis. I have been lead to understand that problems in establishing a permanent line-up over time is one of those factors that have limited the possibilities of Traumhaus both to develop as a band as well as to create and release material. If my understanding is correct then that's a real shame, as this is a band that has a lot to offer for fans of progressive rock, and fans of the old school part of it, as well as those with a greater taste for bands whose take on the genre has a firm basis in contemporary art rock. The album kicks off with a short and atmosphere rich construction that should hit right at home with those who have a soft spot for old school symphonic progressive rock, sporting richly layered keyboard arrangements. Some harder edged guitars do find their way into this song as well, and it does end on a delicate vocals-and-acoustic guitar only mode, but first and foremost this opening is a treat to the symphonic progressive rock fans. Next up is the massive Das Vermochtnis, almost half an hour of sophisticated progressive rock that moved and back and forth between a multiple of stylistic subsets withing the progressive rock universe, but done in a manner that makes me conclude that this particular composition will find its strongest appeal amongst followers of bands like Spock's Beard, as well as some of the more recent and harder edged neo progressive rock bands. Still with plenty of small delights for the symphonic progressive rock fan mind you, but my overall impression is that this capital letters epic composition has its main focus in a slightly different direction. Wohin der Wind Dich Trogt returns to a more symphonic oriented expression, and one with a stronger ballad-oriented approach at that, a careful piece, but still with a bit of bite as it unfolds. The following Frei, on the other hand, alters fairly dramatically in style and direction. Dominated by staccato, chopping and compact guitar riffs, with dark and moody Mellotron and keyboard details as supplemental features, this composition has something of an anthemic quality to it. Spirited in nature and energetic in performance, this is, at least to my ears, a classic piece of music, a specific track of the kind I will listen to time and again, as well as a song I'd use when introducing others to the progressive rock universe. A brilliantly conceived track, and again with room for a nifty, delicate insert with more of a distinct symphonic progressive rock attitude. Concluding this fine CD we have the second part of title track Das Geheimnis, and like the initial part that opened this album, we're once again taken on a ride that appears to mainly focus on the symphonic parts of progressive rock. Still with room for some guitars-only sequences, but first and foremost a smorgasbord of keyboard driven themes and arrangements, from layered jubilant keyboards with rhythms support only to classic, majestic guitars and organ constellations. And, indeed, with plenty of room for the Mellotron too, or at least samples and effects directly inspired by it.
Conclusion. "Das Geheimins" is an album that should see Traumhaus gain a lot of recognition. They have crafted an albums worth of symphonic progressive rock that blends details from the old school of this style with a more contemporary oriented variety of it, in a manner that should give the disc a fairly broad appeal amongst fans of progressive rock in general. First and foremost an album that comes with a firm recommendation to those who prefer their progressive rock to be of the symphonic variety obviously, alongside those who tend to enjoy bands commonly described as neo-progressive.
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