Artist:  Beyond The Bridge
   Title: The Old Man And The Spirit
   Label: Frontiers Records

'The Old Man And The Spirit' started in 2008 at Gate Studio, Wolfsburg, Germany.  Nonetheless, it was a very long way from completion in 2011, and the band is very proud to finally release this piece of art with Frontiers Records in early 2012.

But the story of Beyond The Bridge the band started way back in 1999, under the Fallout moniker.  This incarnation of the band parted ways as its members went their separate ways and started university studies and professional careers.  It wasn’t until 2005 that guitarist Peter Degenfeld-Schonburg decided to revive the band, with a project he had entitled 'The Old Man And The Spirit'.

Over the next five years he and keyboardist Christopher Tarnow worked on the story and the songs for the concept album. Along the way the band itself formed, drummer Fabian Maier and lead vocalist Herbie Langhan joined the ranks, as well as long time friend bass player Dominik Stotzem, but it wasn’t until vocalist Dilenya Mar joined that the last piece of the jigsaw was in place and Beyond The Bridge was complete.

So that’s the history behind the band, so what about the album itself, well if a predominantly Melodic/Hard Rock label like Frontiers Records signs a Prog Metal, then there must be something special about not only the band, but also the music as well, and that’s exactly what Beyond The Bridge and their 'The Old Man And The Spirit' is, something special.  This Prog Metal opus tells a story, but also has hooks the listener in with its infectious tones and haunting melodies, right from the opener ‘The Call’, through to the last note of closer ‘All A Man Can Do’.

The opener 'The Call' is the first chapter of the tale and lays down the very foundations of the story, with Herbie Langhans taking on the role of the Old Man in his quest, as he deals with the polarity of human sensuousness and superhuman awareness.  While Dilenya Mar is The Spirit, she is the personification of all wisdom and awareness that is unachievable to mankind, however, lacks she of the ability to feel.

The album is musical story telling at its conceptual best, the twists and turns of the album from the all out metal to the progressive and at times symphonic tones, take you on this magic carpet ride that unfolds before you.

From the heady tones of ‘The Apparition’ to the majestic ‘Triumph Of Irreality’, to the sonic ballad ‘The Spring Of It All’, with Mar delivering one of the finest female vocals I’ve heard in this genre for a long, long time, as she delivers a tremendous duet with Langhans.

The majestic tones of Mar really show their head with the fantastic ‘World Of Wonder’, before the semi narrative wonderment that is ‘The Primal Demand’, as this one unleashes the guitar wizardry of Degenfeld and the monstrous tones of the rhythm section of Stotzem and Maier, into ‘Doorway To Salvation’.

The album really enters the realms of Jazz Rock fusion with the massive ‘The Struggle’, a real bombastic overture that highlights the almost mystical tones of the band as a entity.  This acts as the intro into melodic ‘The Difference Is Human’.

The album builds into a monumental ending with the simply stunning ‘Where Earth And Sky Meet’, with Langhans producing one of his finest vocals of the entire album.  You can almost feel the insecurity of the character as he questions man and his being.

The album closes with ‘All A Man Can Do’, featuring another titanic overture that highlights the musicianship behind the band, and closes what is a quite stunning album.  I don’t know how it would work out live, but you have to admire the work that Degenfeld and rest of the band have put into the project.  This ranks as one of the best concept albums I’ve heard in ages and I can see why Frontiers have taken the band on board.

Tracklisting:

1. The Call
2. The Apparition
3. Triumph Of Irreality
4. World Of Wonders
5. The Spring Of It All
6. World Of Wonders
7. The Primal Demand
8. Doorway To Salvation
9. The Struggle
10. The Difference Is Human
11. Where The Earth And Sky Meet
12. All A Man Can Do

                   

 

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