Neuschwanstein - Battlement

Year of Release: 1992
Label: Musea Records
Catalog Number: FGBG 4063.AR
Format: CD
Total Time: 47:49:00

In progressive rock's glory days, English and Italian, even American groups, garnered international attention for their contributions to the genre. Meanwhile, continental Europe boasted a number of fine bands, a very few well known, many who labored without the world's eye, and some who did not even make their mark on the scene until the very late 70s and into the early 1980s.

Neuschwanstein was such a band, the embryonic form of the band originally making their mark in a musical competition in Saarbrucken, Germany. The band won the competition with a progressive rock adaptation of Lewis Carroll's Alice In Wonderland in 1974. That same year Neuschwanstein took on two guitarist/singers from the French band Lykorn, and with that addition, the band that would record Battlement was in place. From 1974 to 1978 the band would make a name for themselves in the Saarland region of Germany and France, opening many shows for the likes of Novalis and Lucifer's Friend. By 1978 the band booked themselves into Scorpions producer Dieter Dierks studio, one of the finest in Germany. With the help of Scorpions drummer Hermann Rarebell, who played drums for the band on the track "Loafer Jack," the band recorded the material that would be released on Battlement. It was released in 1979 and sold a respectable 6000 copies, quite an accomplishment for an unsigned band on an independent label before the heyday of the internet.

Re-released on Musea in 1992, Battlement is a beautiful, lush work, and one of the best produced and sounding independently recorded releases I have heard in some time. The musicianship displayed on Battlement is absolutely top notch and vocalist/acoustic guitarist Frederic Joos will have many listeners swearing that Peter Gabriel himself provided the lead vocals for Neuschwanstien. The band's material is all stunning and well polished, reminiscent of Genesis during the time of Trick Of The Tail and Wind And Wuthering. Their music is well conceived and very well executed, with rich and melodious keyboards and guitar, beautiful flute breaks and very, very finely delivered vocals.

Every track on this re-issue is of good quality and a couple are almost good enough to qualify as what I call could call "masterpieces." "Intruders And The Punishment" is the highpoint of the album for me, with odd meter, rippling keyboards and lyrics that will perhaps remind the listener of the ordeals of Odysseus. Another wonderful moment is the track "Battlement," an almost unsettling number that features great vocals by bassist Rainer Zimmer. The final song on Battlement, "Zartlicher Abschied" is the only holdover from the band's original 1974 adaptation of Alice In Wonderand. It is a lovely instrumental track that lifts a well known theme from Genesis, and is, by the way, the only direct appropriation from the Charterhouse legends.

This is an album I have considered getting for some months, and truthfully, I wish I had gotten this earlier. This is a true classic of continental progressive rock and is well deserving of the title.

Originally released in 1979 by Racket Records (RRK 15.002) [not the Marillion label, btw -ed.]

Loafer Jack (4:42) / Ice With Dwale (7:34) / Intruders And The Punishment (7:34) / Beyond The Bugle (7:31) / Battlement (7:05) / Midsummer Day (7:42) / Zartlicher Abschied (5:52)

Thomas Neuroth - keyboards
Klaus Mayer - flute, synthesizer
Roger Weiler - guitars
Frederic Joos - lead vocals, acoustic guitar
Rainer Zimmer - bass; vocal on (5)
Hans-Peter Schwarz - drums (except 1)
Hermann Rarebell - drums (1)

Battlement (1979/1992*)

*re-issue w/ bonus track

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin DE

Added: March 29th 2005
Reviewer: Tom Karr
Hits: 1071
Language: english


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