When I listened for the first time to The Promise by the German band Superdrama, I couldn't help thinking of Argos, another German prog rock band. The music Superdrama present on this album strongly reminded me of the CDs recorded by their compatriots. I noticed the same kind of musical style. However, after seeing the line-up I wasn't surprised at all, because Thomas Klarmann (bass, flute) and Robert Gozon (vocals, keyboards) play in both bands. The similarity between these bands can be especially heard through the vocal and keyboard parts.
Superdrama took a long run-up because only in the tenth year of their existence they published the debut album The Promise. Apart from Klarman and Gozon, the other band members are Robert Stein-Holzheim (drums), Michael Hahn (guitars) and Thilo Brauß (organ, additional keyboards). Just like the music of Argos, they have been inspired by the many great prog rock bands of the seventies. While listening to the seven tracks it's hard to deny that bands such as Yes, Camel, Caravan, Pink Floyd, Genesis and King Crimson were influential. But then again the music of the so-called neo-progressive rock acts, like IQ and Pallas, come to the surface as well. Of course it isn't that strange since these bands were either influenced by the prog rock bands from the seventies.
All those influences are very well integrated on the seven excellent compositions. You won't find any weak track on The Promise and moreover, these pieces vary enough to keep your attention until the dying seconds of the last track. On the one hand the variety in the songs is caused by the use of several different strong rhythm patterns, and on the other by the many beautiful passages of vintage keyboards that continuously shift to different musical directions. However, you'll also hear futuristic keyboard sounds often interspersed by lyrical flute passages and many beautiful guitar riffs and solos. Sometimes they sound dreamy; at other times moving.
The Promise contains fantastic music that lasts almost one hour. However, not only the music sounds great, but also the lyrics are outstanding and highly philosophical. It seems as if the music and the lyrics weren't good enough to make you decide to buy this album, since the way this album is presented can hardly be compared to anything else! The silver disc is packed in a cardboard digipack box containing a sixty-page booklet. The cover shows a beautiful picture of a mountain and in the booklet you can read the English lyrics, but also the German translation.
While listening to the album the lyrics accompany the music as a kind of guide and inspiration. These musicians are real thinkers who reflect on the world we live in. They draw conclusions and ask questions about the meaning of life, human beings in action and the state of worldly affairs. The musicians don't come with solutions, but they stimulate the mind of the listener. This may sound daunting and overly intellectual, but that's not the case at all. These rather philosophical lyrics contain no subjects motivated by a religious point of view whatsoever. In addition to the lyrics, the booklet also shows beautiful images from the Hubble Space Telescope.
If you're a fan of the way progressive rock was recorded in the seventies and if you like philosophical lyrics then The Promise is certainly an album you have to buy! With their debut album Superdrama succeeded in realizing an ambitious project both musically and artistically. Anyway, I loved it from the beginning until the end!
**** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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