Melanie Mau & Martin Schnella
- Pieces To Remember

(CD 2018, 76:29 Independent Release)

The tracks:
  1- Can't Fight This Feeling (REO Speedwagon)(5:08)
  2- With This Heart (Kansas)(4:38)
  3- Be Good To Yourself (Journey)(3:47)
  4- Message In A Bottle (The Police)(4:48)
  5- Sledgehammer (Peter Gabriel)(4:47)
  6- Mission Profile/Stars And Satellites/Snowblind (Threshold)(9:11)
  7- Land Of Confusion (Genesis)(4:45)
  8- Like A Prayer (Madonna)(5:09)
  9- Lay It Down/Carie (Spock's Beard)(5:12)
10- Valley Of The Queens (Ayreon)(2:39)
11- Amaranth (Nightwish)(4:08)
12- A Touch Of Evil (Judas Priest)(6:11)
13- Wasted Years (Iron Maiden)(6:14)
14- We All Need Some Light (Transatlantic)(5:01)
15- Love Will Keep Us Alive (Eagles)(4:43)

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A while ago I had the chance to review Martin Schnella; Flaming Row, Seven Steps To The Green Door and Melanie Mau's Oblivion Tales (2017, see review). It's an album that had its moments and where I especially enjoyed the way the voices connected in the fine harmonies. Now a new album has landed on my desk, which like Mau and Schnella's debut Grey Matters in 2015, holds a compilation of their own acoustic interpretations of songs from a varied range.

Although holding on to their own band, a few guested names have to be mentioned; throughout the album Pain Of Salvation's Leo Margarit adds his vocals. For the anyone who have seen PoS live, they know what an amazing vocalist this drummer is. Fellow PoS member, Johan Hallgren plays the guitar solo on Wasted Years. I'll get back to that one later. Former PoS member and current Kayak bass player Kris Gildenl÷w adds his fretless bass to Threshold's Mission Profile/Stars And Satellites/Snowblind.

Getting into the songs, the one just mentioned; Threshold's Mission Profile/Stars And Satellites/Snowblind turns out to be a very succesful version of the British bands song. The other one mentioned; Wasted Years, originally by Iron Maiden doesn't really comes to life. You are kind of waiting for the song to shift into a higher gear. As a long-time friend of Maiden uniteD I know I am not even a bit, but heavily prejudiced when it comes to covering/ paying tribute to Iron Maiden. Several songs are pleasantly done and have to be credited for the way the originals have turned into an M&M song. Message In A Bottle does add something and Sledgehammer gets a funky touch, which I really like. Like A Prayer remains a dull song, even in Mau and Schnella's version and a song like Valley Of The Queens is not even coverable; you will never be able to improve the original. So, don't touch that one! Then again, the versions of We All Need Some Light, Love Will Keep Us Alive are pretty decent.

When it comes to covering or paying tribute to bands in an acoustic way, some of the originals should not be touched, or like in Maiden uniteD's version of Wasted Years, add something to the original. Melanie Mau and Martin Schnella have succeeded only at a few songs. Some are impressively done, other do not really add anything and are just fun attempts. I would prefer the next album to have original compositions, or even better, I would love to hear Martin crank up his electric guitar and come up with something powerful next time.

***+ Pedro Bekkers (edited by Dave Smith)

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