For me the first acquaintance with Melanie Mau and Martin Schnella was their very impressive version I saw on you-tube of the Kansas classic Miracles Out Of Nowhere, probably about five years ago. I remember being impressed with Martin's slightly noticeable German accent and the addition of his wife's beautiful harmonics. Now, many years later, after last year's album; Pieces To Remember (2019, see review) the duo Melanie Mau and Martin Schnella return with another album that focusses on acoustic versions of; for some, well known compositions. The focus has slightly shifted towards Melanie's vocals, who are in the lead most of the time, but also the lead and harmonies of Martin and Mathias Ruck are worthwhile. In addition, the sometimes delicate, other times obvious medieval touch enhance the fine atmosphere during the songs.
Through The Decades sees a compacter line-up as the previous album, less guests make this album a bit more coherent as their 2019 album, in my perception. Highlighting the core of the three, sometimes even four vocalists. Luckily for me Melanie Mau and Martin Schnella re-recorded the track I fell in love with, becoming one of the highlights of the album. Besides Miracles Out Of Nowhere, the medieval version of Genesis; Dancing With The Moonlit Knight is stunning. But also Ljóð í Sand, I Am Above and Creeping Death are excellent versions. Less interesting to me are Pain Of Salvation's Reasons and Running Up That Hill, originally by Kate Bush. A special note for the final track on the album, Karusell's Als Ich Fortging is brilliant in its purity!
Although Melanie Mau has a fine, I guess trained voice, after a number of tracks I get distracted, pure by the limited range of her vocals. I guess I referred to that as well, when I reviewed Flaming Row's previous album. But that is just my personal opinion, in the end Through The Decades turns out to be a fine album that definitely will find its way to the fans.
**** Pedro Bekkers (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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