Why did I never hear of German band Martigan before? I asked myself that question many times while listening to Vision. Let me first say something about the band’s history. In 1994, keyboardist Oliver Rebhan founded Martigan. Besides Oliver, Alex Bisch (drums & vocals) and Kai Marckwordt (lead vocals & twelve-string acoustic guitar) are both band members from the very beginning. In 1998, Alex’ brother and guitarist Björn Bisch joined the band. Their former bass player left in 2000; Peter Kindler replaced him. Kindler performed all the bass parts on Vision, but left at the end of 2008 for personal reasons. In the meantime, the band incorporated Oliver Baumann as their new bass player. Before their latest effort Vision, the band already released three full-length albums, a maxi CD with radio edits and a live DVD.
After this short introduction of Martigan, I would like to let you know why Vision in my opinion is a true masterpiece. First, the album does not contain any weak track. All songs reach a very high quality level with the best progressive rock music possible. You almost get eighty minutes of very enjoyable prog music without a moment of boredom. You can compare the band’s musical style to Genesis, IQ, Pallas and early Marillion. It is mainly Kai Marckwordt’s great voice, which is responsible for that musical style. His singing reminds me a lot of Fish, Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins. Without the fantastic instrumentations done by Oliver, Alex and Björn, however, Martigan would not have been able to make such a strong album. Oliver Rebhan is a real keyboard virtuoso. He plays very tastefully and with great skills on his synths. On a carpet of beautiful melodies, Björn Bisch lays down his lyrical guitar solos. Alex Bisch is a very talented drummer. Sometimes you think that he must have at least four arms instead of two. I think the bass parts are the weakest on the album, but still good enough and very functional. In fact, the music of Martigan is beyond words. I can rave on and on about this superb album, but superlatives fail to describe this outstanding album. Vision is a ‘must have’ for everybody who loves emotional music made by the above-mentioned bands. This album will certainly become one of my personal favourites of 2009. It is a true masterpiece and for that reason, I will give Vision the highest rating of five stars.
***** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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