Unlike most German prog rock bands, Traumhaus are one of the few having German lyrics. Apart from the new album Das Geheimnis, they recorded their debut Ausgeliefert in 2000 followed by Die Andere Seite (2008). I have to admit that I'm unfamiliar with both albums. However, fortunately we received their latest effort, and boy, was I glad that I found this album in my mailbox! After listening to it, I realized that prog rock can hardly be performed any better!
Alexander Weyland (keyboards, vocals), Tobias Hampl (guitars), Sebastian Klein (bass), Stefan Hopf (additional drum loops) and guest musician Jimmy Keegan (drums, Spock's Beard) recorded a true masterpiece in my opinion. Every time I played this incredible album I had to fasten my seatbelts and I could only panting for breath. During almost one hour I was treated to the best possible prog rock music. What else do we have to wish for?
Das Geheimnis is a concept album in the best tradition of neo-progressive rock. It's about a journey into the subconscious mind, the ancient quest for self-realization and to the key of human existence. The music mostly sounds in the vein of their fellow-countrymen of Anyone's Daughter. Not only the German lyrics, but also the musical complexity and the melodic lines are reminiscent of this band. The comparison of Weyland's voice to that of Harald Bareth, the rich Mellotron sounds and the numerous MiniMoog solos do the rest. However, also Martigan crossed my mind, especially during the nearly thirty-minute epic Das Vermächtnis and the other epic piece Das Geheimnis, teil 2 which lasts for almost fifteen minutes.
On these superb pieces I often heard musical parts that come close to the music on Martigan's Boatman's Vision from the album Vision (2008, see review). These tracks also contain beautiful keyboard parts and several outstanding guitar and synth solos. Moreover, Spock's Beard's Jimmy Keegan has the same kind of drumming as Alex Bisch (Martigan) on the aforementioned track. While the album continued more German bands crossed my mind like Grobschnitt, a band that recorded the amazing album Rockpommel's Land (1977). These comparisons are mainly due to the wonderful Mellotron sounds and electric guitar parts.
On the rather short track Frei the music shifts to a kind of prog metal made by a band like Dream Theater. However, I also noticed fragments on the album that could have been sung by Peter Gabriel. You might say that Alexander Weyland's voice sounds about the same as Gabriel's voice on the in German translated songs from his third and fourth solo album. In addition the music generally has some similarities with the albums Genesis recorded with Gabriel behind the mike thanks to the frequent use of the Mellotron. So the old days of the classic progressive rock of the seventies can be heard as well on this album.
Das Geheimnis is an excellent album that increased my desire to listen to the band's previous releases. I'll have them all in my CD collection one day; no doubt about that. For the moment this masterpiece with the maximum rating of five stars will remain in my CD player for a long time. It's highly recommended to people who enjoy bands like Genesis, Martigan, Grobschnitt and Anyone's Daughter and who don't have problems with German lyrics. Das Geheimnis most certainly belongs to my musical highlights of 2013!
***** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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