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Thomas Glönkler


Review by Gary Hill

This double CD set showcases an intriguing form of progressive rock. It can be subtle and ambient. It can be more mainstream at other times. It's always compelling. Now, I should mention that the lyrics are all in German, so I don't know what he's singing about, but it's not necessary to understand the words to enjoy the music. This is an effective release. The second disc is made up of demos, alternate takes and other things.

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Track by Track Review
Nichts ist vorbei

Ambient textures get this underway. Piano joins. Eventually this works to a balladic prog arrangement that serves as the background for the vocals.

Bis zum Himmel
I - Bis zum Himmel

This comes out of the first piece. It explodes upward in melodic prog stylings that work well. It is very much of the AOR variety. It gets pretty hard rocking before it moves into the other movement.

II - Wo alles begann
A mellower piece, this serves as the closing to this mini-suite.
Seeming to come out of the previous number, there is some real jazz in the mix on this thing. It's on the mellower side early and quite proggy. It drives out to harder edged stuff further down the road that makes me think both of space rock and Red-era King Crimson. That evolves to more of an arena rock meets prog concept to continue. The more hard rocking, yet jazzy prog returns later, but then it drops to a mellower pure prog vibe before a powered up climax takes it.
Coming in with arena prog styled sounds like we heard at the end of the last track get things going here. It drops to mellower modes for the entrance of the vocals. This works through shifts and changes. I love the almost soaring, harder rocking prog section later so much. This is dynamic, diverse and effective.
Die Stille nach dem Schrei
I - Dein Leben

This suite starts on the mellower side and builds in more atmospheric ways from there. Yet there is an almost alternative rock feel to it. The intricate picked guitar that joins later brings both melody and more prog angles to bear. Trippy, spacey stuff takes over for a time. Then this explodes out into a fast-paced, blues meets prog jam with harmonica wailing overhead. That gets into more driving prog from there.

II - ... zu lieben
Coming out of the previous movement, this combines a hard-edged prog guitar, with a mellower, picked guitar arrangement. Vocals come in later, but given that this section is only about a minute-and-half long, that's only so late. This is a powerhouse piece.
III - In der Stille nach dem Schrei
Mellower sounds get this going after a short bit of silence at the end of the previous movement. The track grows up gradually with tasty prog at its heart as it does. This gets really soaring and powerful further down the road.
Kleine Seele
This is a somewhat mellower piece that has a bit of a playful vibe to it. It gets into more powered up prog further down the road that has a real classic sound built into it.
Frei sehn
I - Spiel mit dem Feuer

Intricate guitar is a big part of the arrangement as this track gets underway. The number grows out to mellower prog as it continues. A driving, yet melodic, electric guitar heralds a more driving, soaring movement around the halfway mark. More great prog continues this movement.

II - Frei sehn
This comes in hard rocking and really driving. This is less progressive rock based than some things here, but it does work to some more melodic prog further down the road. It is quite a hard rocker.
III - Leuchtende Schatten
Coming out of the closing crescendo of the last song, this carries on with more hard-edged, soaring progressive rock. A mellower mode takes over later and eventually ends this suite with style and charm.
Die Endlichkeit der Welt
Intricate and pretty acoustic guitar creates the backdrop for this number. There is a real folk vibe here, and that's reinforced with the return of harmonica.


I - Vortraum

Mellow acoustic driven prog gets things underway here. It builds out to more powered up gradually. Then some scorching hot electric guitar really elevates it. This eventually peaks and gives way to the next movement.

II - Limbus
Coming in ambient and rather trippy, this is definitely spacey prog music. This builds and evolves gradually, eventually getting into soaring, driving progressive rock zones as it continues.
III - Zwischenland
Coming out of a powered up soaring movement of the previous track, saxophone drives overhead, bringing more of those Red comparisons. This gives way to a new movement later that has cool timing, riffing and jamming with more of modern King Crimson angle. That works to more standard modern prog stylings for the re-entrance of the vocals. The cut gets so powered up as it continues to shift and change. It eventually peaks to give way to the next movement.
IV - Leben in dir
The climax from the previous section starts this track. Mellower, balladic prog concepts take over from there as the movement evolves. There are some children's chorale vocals at times on this number. The track has a lot of charm and style and a real triumphant vibe as it marches forward in some of its later configurations.
Frei Sein (Naked Closing Strings)

This short classical piece is very effective. 

Nicht Ist Vorbei (alt. version)
I like the intimate vibe of this version.
Frei Sein (Edit)
This version of the previous piece is a very driving hard rocking thing. It does get into more pure prog rock zones as it continues.
Am Vulkan (Skjalbreidur)
I dig the almost trippy, sparse arrangement that starts this. It's a classy instrumental piece.
The prog groove that gets things underway here is pure class and style. This is a classy progressive rock instrumental piece.
Die Stille Vor Dem Sturm
This short, mellower number is based around piano and saxophone.
Mein Weg (Demo)
Pretty acoustic guitar stylings are at the heart of this cut. It has a real folk prog ballad vibe to it. While a lot of this second disc is instrumental, this one has vocals. This also gets some more augmentation mid-track, but remains balladic throughout.
In Limbo
A mellower instrumental piece, this has symphonic elements, but overall is based on acoustic guitar. It's a very pretty piece of music.
Dramatic and intricate acoustic guitar is the central feature here.
Die Endlichkeit der Welt (Demo)
Acoustic guitar and vocals make up the arrangement on this piece.
Mein Weg (Gitarre)
This acoustic guitar solo is all class. 
Kleine Seele (Demo)
I really dig the tasty prog stylings on this song. I'd say it works as well as anything on the album proper. This is another track that has vocals.
Auf dem Weg
A gentle and pretty instrumental piece, this is all class. The overlayers get pretty powerful.
Die Endlichkeit der Welt (Outtake)
I really like the spacey, trippy sort of intricate sound on this number. It's another classy instrumental piece.
Spiel Mit dem Feuer (Outtake)
This is intricate and very classy.
In der Stille Nach dem Schrei (Demo)
This works well in demo form. It's well-structured, developed and rather soaring.
Limbus (Outtake)
I dig the dramatic and rather trippy building prog sound on this instrumental quite a bit.
Leben in Dir (Demo)
Acoustic guitar starts this, but the arrangement fills out pretty quickly. It works through like that for a time, and then it drops back to just that acoustic guitar to serve as the backdrop for the vocals. There are other layers added to fill the whole thing out as it continues.
Bis zum Himmel (4-Track-Demo)

This is a classy instrumental demo that works well. It's not at the same kind of sound quality as the rest of the stuff here, but it's still quite good.

Tiefenland (4-Track-Demo)
I really dig the sound and vibe of this instrumental piece.
I: Keflavik

Ambient keyboard based mellower tones are the concept here.

II: Mosfellsheidi
Acoustic guitar with some cool string bending is on the menu as this gets going. In some ways this reminds me a little of David Gilmour.
III: Pingvallavatn
The acoustic guitar again drives this number.
IV: Pingvellir
Another based around acoustic guitar, this feels quite a bit like the last number.
V: Oxararfoss
I like the synthesizer based ambience of this track a lot. It's another classy piece of music.
VI: Myvatn
A staccato guitar pattern brings this in, and it gets built upon as the track continues. This turns quite powered up and rocking and again I'm reminded a little of David Gilmour.
VII: Steine und Licht
Strummed acoustic guitar gets things going here. The track builds upward from there as more of a mainstream rocker.
VIII: Laugahraun
Pretty and rather ambient keyboard textures are on the menu here.
IX: Landmannlaugar
Synthetic and yet symphonic in nature, this is slow moving, but also dramatic.
X: Lettol Mit Geysir
The sound that starts this reminds me of Judas Priest's Turbo album. The cut works out to a driving hard rocking arrangement.
XI: Blaa Lonid
This is a rather bouncy acoustic guitar romp.

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