Moonlit - Elements


Year of Release: 1997
Label: n/a
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 50:08:00

Out of Germany I believe, comes yet another melodic prog metal band. Germany seems to be the home of the unsung heroes of melodic prog metal, with bands like Atmosfear, Gone, Moonlit, Sunblaze, Soul Cages, Dreamscape and many more, either putting out great discs, or just waiting for some unsuspecting listener to happen upon their music and shout it out for them. I'm now convinced that Germany and Sweden are at war to see how many undiscovered prog metal bands reside in their countries, and I'm more than happy to sit back and tally up the great prog metal bands that come from those countries. With America pretty much ignoring most of the prog bands that spring up here and there, Europe is having a field day producing prog bands for us to dig out, and Moonlit is one of those bands.

THE STYLE:

Moonlit is melodic prog metal band, having much in common with Soul Cages, another band from Germany. Moonlit takes their base influences from Fates Warning, much like Soul Cages does, and then mixes up the sound a bit, adding in their own melodic warmth, and then churning it up with a bit of power here and there to keep things interesting. They also use twin guitars to drive their sound, lilke the aformentioned bands, and one interesting thing about this band is that instead of keyboards to pretty up certain aspects of the music, they use a violin. Yes, one of the guitarists doubles as the violinist in certain songs; not too many times but enough so you notice. This can have a cheesy effect at times, mostly because of the "electronic" sound of the instrument rather than the way it's played. Moonlit is a bit heavier than Soul Cages too, so if you thought that Soul Cages was on the light side, fear not because this band turns it up just a notch in the power dept. Using a combination of heavy/soft guitar passages at the same time (you'll think Perfect Symmetry when I say this ), the effect is like having power and softness at the same time. Some of the leads sound like they come right out of the Matheos school of thought, and some of the chord structuring seems to come out of the Perfect Symmetry school of thought, although not as refined as either. This is not to say that this band is trying to emulate Fates, but that the song structures are built somewhat in that style; with soft guitars one second, heavy guitars the next, and then both working in unison to create the sound. This style works well for me, as I am a big fan of Soul Cages.

THE BAND:

Vocals, twin guitars, bass, drums, and as mentioned, one of the guitarist doubles on violin sometimes. This is a collaborative effort, with no one single member standing out driving the sound, but the duel guitars playing off of one another, one playing softer melodies while the other either solos or plays a heavier part in the background. This is a very neat effect, rather than have one guitar sound where you can't figure out which guitarist is actually playing. You can distinctly hear the two players at work. The bass player is good, laying down some Fates style bass work. You won't hear your simples bass lines here, this guy likes to mix it up too, having his own lines aside from the guitars a lot of the time. The drummer is excellent, easily laying down some nice, interesting, beats to follow. Try to imagine 5 musicians, each having separate parts to play to create one song; it may or may not work for many ears, but I respect bands that write music this way, and if done right, it sounds fantastic and certainly most progressive. For some, this effect may be a little harsh on the ears, trying to follow 5 musicians each playing their own little song within a song. We are used to cohesive styles of writing most of the time, where all of the members get together and pretty much sound the same, and it's easy to follow the song structures. Here, it's a bit different, as you're actually having to "put" the players together and follow the songs that way. It's progressive, it's fun.

THE VOCALS:

I hate to keep saying this, but this is the part where the vocals will be the make or break factor in a purchase. Marcus Rydzy has a very emotional voice, and uses it well, never going out of his range, but he does have some qualities that I know turns a lot of people off, like fast vibrato. While I've always been a picky guy when it comes to singers, I really never based that pickiness on the style of vibrato, but I do understand how this can affect a listener. Also, Marcus has the tonal qualities of many an Italian singer. If you didn't know this band was German (and how I pray they are), you'd swear this band was Italian, given the tone of his voice, and the use of the violin, which another band from Italy called Midian uses in this style. If you've heard the singer from Helreid, then Marcus sounds a bit like he does, just a bit more aggressive. The tones are definitely the same. If you haven't heard Helreid, then I would say that Marcus sounds like the singer from Midian maybe, or maybe has a similar tone to maybe the new Time Machine singer, or a mixture of any of those Italian singers, except that Marcus has a faster vibrato. He also sings with passion, as from the perspective of a man scorned and is trying to convey those feelings to the listener. He does this well I might add, making you "feel" the song and his pain at the same time. I wish I could be more descriptive of his voice, but he does not really sound like a lot of other singer out there.

THE PRODUCTION:

I don't see a hint of a label insignia anywhere on this disc, and I'm pretty sure that this was a band effort to record this on their own. Well, ok, they used someone named Uli Hoffmann to record it, and he also contributes keys on one of the ballads. He did a very good job, and the production is more than acceptable. I did notice that some songs seem to stand out more than others, giving me the idea that some songs were written and recorded long before some of the others. Some are perfectly clear, while some have a muddled sound to them, but nothing detracting from the music. One a ballad, in which a female takes the lead, the acoustic guitars, violin, and her voice just whistle out of your speakers pristinely. Imagine an operatic female singer, behind violins and acoustic guitars; it will automatically make you feel "New Age" until the cool guitar riff kicks in right into the next song without a break. The guitars sound great all around, and you can easily hear what each one is doing as I said before. The bass is clean and punchy, and the drums combined give a very nice low end. Also, the drums have a very natural sound, and I'll give them credit in the drum dept, as they really captured a nice, raw sound without having to give up the deep end or the snare drum sound which happens frequently. Kudos in that area. The vocals are even in the mix, maybe a bit up front at times, but never overpowering the music or vice versa. For an indy recording, this one is hard to beat. Sure, it doesn't measure up to some of the top recordings we've heard, but this is superb sound from an indy band. Germany obviously spares no expense in getting sound from their bands, and this one is no exception.

THE COMMENTS:

Just another band and disc to show us once again that quality prog metal can be found if you look hard enough. Also, another good sign that prog metal is alive and well, at least in Germany and Sweden anyway. I'm not complaining, as long as bands like Moonlit, Atmosfear, Gone and others keep putting out quality discs like this, my collection won't grow cobwebs by any sense of the word. If you like your prog metal on the "pretty" side without sacrificing the guitar sound, or using any keyboard to attain that beauty, you would do well with this disc. If you like Soul Cages especially, this disc would appeal to you too. The vocals are fine by me on this disc. While they won't make your ears heat up with melodic bliss, or make your heart skip a few beats like some of the best singers, this one won't turn you away either, unless you have a weakness in the areas I mentioned above. All in all, it's a very good disc, and one that I can recommend to melodic prog metal lovers without fear.


Tracklisting:
Braving The Elements / Time Is On My Side / Followed By A Memory / Silent Scream / Remember The Rain / Abyss Of Loneliness / Rays From A Distant Sun / After The Rain / Jaded Heart

Musicians:
Andr? Knippschild - guitar
Jens Knippschild - drums and percussion
Christian Wahle - guitar and violin
Marcus Rydzy - vocals
Christian Meier - bass

Guest:

Uli Hoffman - keys

Discography:
Elements (1997)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin DE

Added: July 25th 1999
Reviewer: Larry "LarryD" Daglieri

Hits: 1164
Language: english

  

[ Back to Reviews Index | Post Comment ]