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(39:25, Blank Manuskript)
TRACK LIST: 1. Induction 6:09 2. Public Enemy 5:42 3. Kites to Sky 2:53 4. Doubts 3:44 5. The Night 9:16 6. Conclusion 5:06 7. Cloud 6:35 LINEUP: Dominik Wallner - keyboards, vocals; Alfons Wohlmuth - bass, guitars, vocals; Manuel Schonegger - sax, trombone, flutes, guitars; Klaus Ackermann - drums, percussion; Jacob Aisleitner - sax; Peter Baxrainer - guitars; Georg Durnberger - vocals; Helut Mulbacher - guitars; Cecilio Perera - guitars; David Saudek - French horn, trumpet, vocals; Jakob Sigl - sound effects; Nora Sigl - vocals
Prolusion. Austrian band BLANK MANUSKRIPT is an ongoing project that started out back in 2007, instigated by Christian Breckner, Dominik Wallner and Alfons Wohlmuth. They have released one EP and two full length albums so far, of which "The Waiting Soldier" is the most recent.
Analysis. Blank Manuskript is among those bands who appear to have their focus based around the art rock and progressive rock oriented bands of the 1970's. They create theme albums, have an obvious affection for vintage instruments, and enjoy creating material featuring multiple themes and alterations in pace, intensity and arrangements. Classic era progressive rock as made in the new era if you like. Categorizing this band into any one subset of progressive rock is a difficult task, but by and large I suspect that those fond of vintage era symphonic progressive rock will find this material most intriguing. Not that we are treated to vast arrays of keyboard arrangements with concrete nods in the direction of classical music here, but keyboards and organs are important and often vital parts of the arrangements, and we are treated to many fine instrumental passages throughout this album where those instruments have the primary roles. Combined with a vintage sound on instruments, mix and production, these are all aspects that will sound familiar to those devoted to symphonic progressive rock. As befits a band of this kind, elements from folk music and jazz does appear on occasion as well, and there's even one passage featuring dramatic, operatic vocals of the kind that for many will give associations towards classic era Italian progressive rock as well. That Italian bands from the classic era of progressive rock also had a tendency to include elements from both folk music and jazz in their material doesn't diminish that comparison either, presumably. That being said, personally the direct nods I noted as a bit more profound stretch in different directions. Some of the calmer, atmospheric laden passages aren't too far away from the likes of Camel, some of the bass lines in particular gave me associations towards Eloy, and on occasion there were keyboard motifs that for me came with a clear and direct comparison to classic era Gentle Giant. Which in sum, I guess, merits for this album to be described as rather eclectic in scope. Some sequences with a bit more of a Floydian tinge to them can be added to this context for emphasis.
Conclusion. Those who enjoy classic era symphonic progressive rock and the more sophisticated aspects of 70's art rock appears to me to be the perfect audience for this album. Mix, production and instruments all come with what I'd describe as a vintage touch to them, and when explored within the confines of a theme album this alone should hit most sweet spots for those who enjoy this breed of progressive rock. That the album is well made and features compelling compositions is, perhaps, needless to state.
Progmessor: August 17, 2017
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