Troya - Point Of Eruption


Year of Release: 2001
Label: Garden Of Delights
Catalog Number: CD 049
Format: CD
Total Time: 31:14:00

Troya are another German band who recorded one album with limited distribution and then disappeared, only to find that one album highly sought after, with collectors paying, on average, $500 for mint copies. When this band began, then called Drastic, the instrument distribution was arbitrary. After a personnel shift which brought Peter Savelsberg (organ, mellotron, and e-piano) to the line up, and another that shifted guitarist Elmar Wegmann from rhythm to lead, the line up that would produce Point Of Eruption was complete. You'd hardly believe listening to this that drummer Klaus Pannewig started out bashing cooking pots, for instance. Or that, other than Savelsberg, the members had had no "previous experience or particular inclination." There are more determined and practiced outfits that don't have nearly this much talent, and demonstrate it album and after album -- and no, I'm not going to name names. The album is short at just over 30 minutes; the band chose to include, mainly for cost considerations, only their best material -- a lesson many a band should take to heart, methinks. I'm guessing that's the reason there are no bonus tracks included on this Garden Of Delights reissue. The band, it says in the liner notes, only played 25 live dates; by the late 70s, the band split, each pursuing other interests and non-musical career paths, though "Wegmann is now a house-husband and back into guitar playing, full of enthusiasm and better than ever, though within his own walls so far," the liner notes comment.

GoD have taken this from a near mint copy of the album in LP form, applied the Cedar NoNoise technique to declick the resulting copy, and have come out a great sounding CD. Owing certainly to the original recording conditions, the sound is very warm and muddy, but not of this muddiness can be attributed to the transfer process. There is an amazing amount of detail even still, especially where Pannewig's percussion is concerned -- most specifically on "Choke," which ends the album.

Unlike some of more psychedelic artists on the Garden Of Delights roster, Troya were more a progressive rock band; comparisons to early Genesis can be made in very general terms, especially were "She" is concerned, though I also thought of Tempest, Pannewig sounds a bit like Leif Sorbye. In fact, the cadence and delivery of the lyrics have that sing-song pattern of a lot of Celtic music does, even down to the storytelling aspects of them, though instrumentation bares no Celtic elements. "Battle Rock," after an energetic opening, becomes a very mellow track that made me think of The Guess Who's "Share The Land," without some of the hard folk elements. As quoted in the liner notes, Cosmic Dreams At Play makes comparisons to Novalis, Jane, Epidaurus, and Minotaurus. While it may be something peculiar to me, the guitar work in the opening track "She" made me think of Steve Rothery's in some of the very early Marillion material. As their sound is heavy -- darker tones overall, though not really melancholic -- another contemporary comparison that springs to mind is Yoke Shire.

While there are lyrics, clearly the focus is on the instrumental elements. The vocals aren't delivered with any kind of forcefulness or intent that they should be the center of attention. They provide links between sections and give an added bit of structure to the arrangements, but if these tracks had been rendered in an all instrumental format they would have worked equally well. Not that the vocals are bad, mind you; quite the opposite. Although audible, they're buried in the mix.

The album has a very raw, almost live, kind of feel. Melodic keyboards are often at the forefront, guitar being the next often -- a typical sort of situation in progressive rock, of course. "Battle Rock" is a track with varying shifts in mood; at one point, the taut, crisp drums of Klaus Pannewig come to fore, the track ending with the guitar of Elmar Wegmann. It is Wegmann, over the pulsating organ washes of Savelsberg, that picks out a delicate, classical intro to "Chromatik." There are sections here with guitar and organ that sound quite contemporary, a sound that will appeal equally to almost all segments of prog rock spectrum. In fact, heard isolated, one might think it was a modern UK prog band (IQ, Jadis, and the like, though not necessarily "neo").

"Festival" sonically echoes elements of classic rock with a strong 70s feel (contemporaneous to this album being originally released in 1975), as early The Who came to mind; though with the Hammond organ clearly in the mix, there are points where Procol Harum also came to mind. Wegmann's guitar lines are chiming and clear; he and Pannewig break into CSN&Y-like harmonies -- though really more like C&N only.

The opening passage of "Sinclair" sounds eerily familiar to a later piece by someone else that, of course, I can't name at the moment. What sounds like a reedy guitar being plucked and strummed, though could also be e-piano, is played over organ, though within a few short measures, it is most certainly guitar over the sonic wash of organ ... this gives way to Hammond taking lead while the bass of Wilhelm Weischer is clearly heard for the first time, throbbing in sync with and giving an added bottom end to Savelsberg's organ (bass drum also compliments this nicely as well). The organ notes are very rounded, none of that angular, sharped-edged attack as from Emerson. "Choke" contains many of the same musical elements, repeating the same or simliar phrases.

Shame none of the band members pursued their musical career any further, as the potential is clearly here. Though, in the late 70s, they would have been overlooked in the rising AOR and punk scenes -- though only one of those would truly have killed it. The music here is varied enough that they could probably have explored any of the prog rock avenues that developed in the wake of 1975. Probably more so along the Genesis lines than Yes.


Tracklisting:
She (5:46) / Battle Rock (7:58) / Chromatik (4:06) / Festival (3:48) / Sinclair (4:58) / Choke (5:58)

Musicians:
Elmar Wegmann - guitar, flute, vocals
Klaus Pannewig - drums, glocken, vocals
Wilhelm Weischer - bass
Peter Savelsberg - organ, mellotron, and e-piano

Discography:
Point Of Eruption (1976/2001)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin DE

Added: May 18th 2002
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Score:
Artist website:
Hits: 399
Language: english

  

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