Beyond The Bridge - 'The Old Man And The Spirit'

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Beyond The Bridge - 'The Old Man And The Spirit'

A wonderful release from a seriously talented group of musicians.

Beyond The Bridge is a progressive metal band from Germany, originally called Fallout. In 2005 guitarist Peter Degenfeld decided to revive the band and got together with original keyboardist Christopher Tamow. Producer Simon Oberender, (Kamelot, Avantasia), was also bought in. With a line up of professionally trained musicians the band set to work on this album in 2008. This conceptual album is about the polarity of human sensuousness and superhuman awareness. The latter of the two is the spirit who is the embodiment of all wisdom and awareness but lacking the ability to feel. This character is performed by female lead singer Dilenya Mar. The other key character is the old man who is portrayed by male lead vocalist Herbie Langhans. This is a man who has lived life to the full yet still searches for the meaning of it all. The basic story is how the spirit convinces the old man to understand life by exchanging his experiences and feelings to her for the answers to all his questions. This turns out to be a high price as these are inexplicably linked to the old man's memories.

Unexpectedly for a progressive concept album, this explodes right from the first track with no lengthy intros. 'The Call' opens with haunting piano and synth, before a monumental slow riff tears the speakers apart! Whilst this track has a very heavy metal sound, several of the tracks fall squarely in the progressive metal category. 'Doorway To Heaven', 'The Struggle' and The Difference Is Human' represent the most progressive and complex tracks here. There are also a couple of instrumentals and 'Triumph Of Irreality' is the best of these. It's a six minute guitar riff fest with soaring solos and some amazing fretwork as well as a piano solo mid track. The ballads in between are highly emotional and full of heart and feeling called 'World Of Wonders' and 'Where The Earth meets The Sky'. The latter is a much softer song and is a seven minute epic including a lengthy guitar and choir solo at its conclusion. The album closes out with another heavy track 'All A Man Can Do' bringing the story to its conclusion.

This is a stunning album. The tracks vary in intensity, style and pace throughout as the story unfolds. As singers Mar and Langhans are an excellent pair, both individually and when they duet. His gravelly style compliments her softer tones very successfully. Musically the progressions and melodies are infectious and memorable. The production side has been expertly handled and is virtually flawless. The whole album has a fresh modern feel to its sound and at no point does any part of the music or vocals get swamped. This album is definitely one for all progressive metal lovers who will find enough complexity and intricateness to hit all the sweet spots. There's also plenty to keep lovers of other genres happy.

A wonderful release from Beyond The Bridge who are a seriously talented group of musicians.

Dave Scott

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