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Frequency Drift - 2016 - "Last"

(54:07, Gentle Art of Music Records)


1.  Traces 7:08
2.  Diary 5:31
3.  Merry 5:08
4.  Shade 5:52
5.  Treasured 08:25
6.  Last Photo 07:59
7.  Hidden 5:34
8.  Asleep 8:31 


Andreas Hack  keyboards; el.& ac. guitars
Nerissa Schwarz  harp; Mellotron
Martin Schnella  el. guitar
Melli Mau  vocals 
Rainer Wolf  basses 
Wolfgang Ostermann  drums 

Prolusion. The German band FREQUENCY DRIFT has been around in one form or another ever since 2006, and launched their career as recording artists with the CD "Personal Effects I" in 2008. Since then the band has been releasing new material on a regular basis, with seven studio albums to their name at the time of writing. "Last" is the most recent of those, and was issued by the German label Gentle Art of Music in 2016.

Analysis. Frequency Drift has been described as a band creating cinematic progressive rock, a description that points towards the band's affection for the creation of theme and concept albums just as much as to the music they compose, one that, by and large, has atmospheric, cinematic sequences as something of a calling card. They have explored their selected niche in progressive rock with that approach fairly consistently, and continue doing so also on this most recent production. The compositions ebb and flow in intensity throughout, most often pairing up a delicate, atmospheric and dream-laden arrangement with one rather more majestic or firm in expression. Tranquil passages of delicate keyboards and plucked guitars or harp, accompanying the beautiful lead vocals of Melli Mau, are side by side with majestic, almost grandiose soundscapes with layered keyboards and fairly often electric guitars adding depth as well, or, occasionally, with firmer passages sporting the guitar in a more prominent role. Delicate interludes and intermissions are a recurring feature throughout, and if not ambient and cinematic, it will have more of a folk or medieval touch to it. Expanding the scope somewhat, the band will also venture out into more intense territories at times, verging on progressive metal on occasion, and on a couple of occasions dark, oppressive noisescapes will supplement guitars or keyboards as well, creating a somber, menacing mood with something of a horror movie feel to it. The end result is an album that, just as the previous album I have encountered by this band, has a distinct and peculiar sound. Atmospheric and cinematic are probably the best words used to describe the total experience, as the flow and structure of the songs bring a feature film to mind. As with many other bands exploring similar territories, the Mellotron is indeed one of the instruments that are distinctly present, and at least on some occasions, Pink Floyd does come to mind. Not as often as you'd expect, however, and while there are some similarities, Frequency Drift is not a band that has set out to explore that brand of progressive rock even if they more or less accidentally stumble into that landscape. It's more a case of how deep you can explore in such a territory before you encounter a part of it that has similarities that bring that association to mind, I suspect.

Conclusion. The rich, atmospheric music of Frequency Drift is one that remains as compelling as I've always found it. On this occasion perhaps a bit more uniform in sound and style than on at least some of the previous excursions by the band, but still undeniably made in a manner rather particular to this band. If cinematic progressive rock verging on metal on a few occasions sounds like music you might enjoy, and you find the moods conjured by 70s Pink Floyd to be generally appealing, I suspect this is a CD you might find appealing as well.

OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: March 3, 2016
The Rating Room

Related Links:

Gentle Art of Music Records
Frequency Drift


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