Album review overview: Sammary, Gaswar, Apogee and more

Photo (c) Jorge Fakhouri Filho

Dozens of new albums arrive at Maxazine’s editorial staff every week. Way too many to listen to them all, let alone review them. It ensures that too many albums are left behind. And that’s a shame. That is why today we post an overview of albums that arrive at the editors in short reviews.

Sammary – The Dream

On the debut album “Monochrome” (2022), multi-instrumentalist Sammy Wahlandt played everything himself. For the new album “The Dream” he gave up everything except the drums. The metal start of the album sounds a bit grimy. The turn to a smaller part is unexpected. Vocals and music are in balance: Stella Inderwiesen has a fairly soft (sometimes thin) voice, she barely sings in the rock/metal pieces. Occasionally the text is half spoken, half sung and/or stacked. “Oscillation” is short, the ending feels unnatural. The changes between hectic and calm in “The Dream” are excellent. Added sound effects in ‘Awake’ take some of the focus away from the calm piano sounds and subdued vocals. In these nine songs you can hear both the heavy sounds of (bass) guitar and acoustic guitar sounds. In addition, poppy elements, synthesizer(s) and piano sounds are incorporated. Now the (unexpected) transitions are much better than on their previous album, which is a big improvement. (Esther Kessel-Tamerus) (7/10) (Progressive Promotion Records)

Acqua Fragile – Moving Fragments

Until 2017, it was quiet for a long time around the Italian prog rock band Acqua Fragile. In 2017, after more than forty years, a new album was released under the appropriate name ‘A New Chant’. Featuring three more members from the original line-up of the first two albums from the 1970s, “Moving Fragments” was recently released. The sound has changed a lot in that time. The sound of singer Bernardo Lanzetti, on the other hand, hardly. Perhaps best described as a cross between Peter Gabriel and Roger Chapman. English and Italian alternate with a single instrumental track. However, we do not find much prog on the album. Although there are audible prog elements it is more straightforward. Best track, the Italian song “Il Suono Della Voce”. A bit comparable to a band like Styx in the days of “Paradise Theater”. Catchy, prog element here and there, but above all not too difficult. For the true fans of the band, this may be a disappointment, or they may be happy that there is a new album. The album leaves me in the middle, hence a number in the middle. (Rik Moors) (5/10) (Ma.Ra.Cash Records)

Gaswar – Girl Vanishes On Way To Jive Club

The debut album of Noise rock supergroup Gaswar, recorded in the 1990s, finally sees the light of day thanks to Rock Is Hell Records. The term supergroup is certainly appropriate, as Gaswar consists of Kevin Rutnanis who, among others, was part of genre peers Tomahawk and the bands Cows and The Melvins. Apollo Liftoff and Jeff Mooridian are also greats in the genre and played in Hammerhead at the time. The album had been gathering dust for years but has now been released. Kevin Rutmanis has polished and/or adjusted the original recordings and the result is impressive. The album has stood the test of time well. Noise rock fans have received another album to add to their list (Ad Keepers) (8/10) (Rock Is Hell Records)

Apogee – Through the Gate

Apogee is a German two-man band. The new “Through the Gate” is even more diverse than the previous albums. The tracks contain a mix of styles, such as classical, folk-heavy rock and jazz. In addition, there are special twists, rhythms and details. At times the pace is quite high. You sometimes need the spherical and/or minimalist pieces. Some elements are repeated in various songs, which ensures accessibility at certain times. Yet it is occasionally on the border between too much and not too much. Singer/multi-instrumentalist Arne Schäfer played everything, except drums/percussion. This was done by Ebi Graef. In parts of the drumming, you hear a resonance and/or pitch difference. Other parts are tight, sometimes it sounds a bit too cold. You will hear many different keyboard instruments, with all their (retro) facets. These 6 songs (4 of which are epics) are intended for fans of complex prog rock. (Esther Kessel-Tamerus) (7/10) (Progressive Promotion Records)

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