BEYOND THE BRIDGE – The Old Man And The Spirit (2012)

BEYOND THE BRIDGE - The Old Man And The Spirit (2012)

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“The Old Man And The Spirit”, the international debut of Germany’s Melodic Progressive Metal combo BEYOND THE BRIDGE, will be released by Frontiers Records on January 20th 2012 in Europe and January 24th in North America.

The band started in 1999 under the name of ‘Fallout’, but it wasn’t until 2005 that guitarist Peter Degenfeld decided to revive the group with a project he had entitled “The Old Man And The Spirit”.

For the next five years to come, he would spend innumerable hours together with keyboarder Christopher Tarnow to complete the songs of this slowly evolving concept album, a story of a man dealing with the polarity between superhuman awareness and spirit.

Beyond The Bridge have a lot in common songwriting-wise with Dream Theater and Ark, with emphasis on the melodies.

The story and the album starts with the pretty straight-forward track “The Call”, driven by a monster articulated drumming and a potent guitar riff.

Middle Eastern passages bring “The Apparition” to majestic heights, followed by the epic and melodic “Triumph Of Irreality”, a track with wonderful and varied arrangements.

The short slow number “The Spring Of It All” features the ethereal female vocals of Dilenya Mar, leading the entry of “World Of Wonders”, one of the more commercial tunes on the album, filled with really nice melodies.

The heavier, staccato-laden guitar sweeps in “Doorway To Salvation” are very reminiscent of the better material on Dream Theater’s ‘Awake’ album.

The 3 last tracks are the most complete in terms of musicality. The Gentle Giant vibes of “The Difference Is Human” are truly enjoyable, while the calm “Where The Earth And Sky Meet” gets your progrock motor running for sure.

“The Old Man And The Spirit” is an ambitious album in all aspects; songwriting, musicianship and production are handled in a highly a professional way.

Musically this is progressive metal with an opera mindset. Male and female vocals share the stage and frankly the whole affair is a stunning achievement.

Dilenya Mar and Herbie Langhans offer two distinct vocal approaches; Dilenya more in the ethereal siren mold while Herbie is grittier and still melodic but more in the direct progressive delivery. The rest of the musicians are truly good with special mention to drummer Fabian Maier and Peter Degenfeld six-string solos.

Even for a label like Frontiers Records this is classy stuff and obviously it won’t appeal to everyone, but has the necessary amounts of melody and catchiness to rock your world.

Recommended.

1. The Call

2. The Apparition

3. Triumph Of Irreality

4. The Spring Of It All

5. World Of Wonders

6. The Primal Demand

7. Doorway To Salvation

8. The Struggle

9. The Difference Is Human

10. Where The Earth And Sky Meet

11. All A Man Can Do

Herbie Langhans – Vocals

Dilenya Mar – Vocals

Peter Degenfeld – Guitars

Christopher Tarnow – Keyboards

Dominik Stotzem – Bass

Fabian Maier – Drums

Simon Oberender – Keyboards/Guitar

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