I know that this is very predictable but the new RPWL album is again a real prog rock beauty which will end high in my list of best albums of 2023! Their last studio album Tales From Outer Space (see review) was released in 2019,so I was really looking forward to a new album of this eclectic Bavarian quartet as it took almost four years to make Crime Scene, their 8th studio album.
Crime Scene is again - why not, as RPWL seems good at it - a concept album, this one dealing with crime, the morbid, the perverse and the evil in good; so where does love end and where does mania begin? Crime Scene contains six very atmospheric and more than excellent compositions, written, recorded and produced by Yogi Lang (vocals. Keyboards) and Kalle Wallner (guitars and keyboards). The beautiful Victim Of Desire opens this album in the remarkably familiar RPWL way, namely with a heavenly guitar solo/melody from guitar picker par excellence Kalle Wallner. This awesome track surely reminds me of the older RPWL material, in fact it truly sounds like the classic RPWL indeed, as the song is very diverse and it features those typical RPWL trademarks, namely Lang's very recognisable emotional vocals and a soaring guitar solo in the veins of you know who.... Follow up, the ballad-like Red Rose features a lovely semi-acoustic in and outro, a more than exquisite melody, “funky” bass hooks by Markus Grutzner and again an awesome goosebump guitar solo. A Cold Spring Day in '22 is the shortest track of the album (4:21) and this one is almost radio friendly, featuring a rather catchy singalong chorus and an almost seventies vibe. Life In A Cage is another milestone in the catalogue of RPWL, filled with true melancholic vocals, a gripping chorus and a soaring high-pitched David Gilmour kind of guitar solo at the four minute mark! This track is also rather dark, eloquent and it stands out due to the more than excellent guitar work. The longest song (12:51) of Crime Scene, called King Of The World, is the highlight, as this one is packed with tempo and mood changes, an awesome Moog solo by Lang and lots of other prog rock finesses! The last track, Another Life Beyond Control, opens with probably the heaviest RPWL guitar riff ever (it even sounds like a blues rock riff), before this song evolves into another RPWL musical gem indeed. Another Life Beyond Control features a gripping and very addictive melody and of course also a breath-taking guitar solo by one of the best German guitar pickers ever!
And so, Crime Scene ends after just 45 minutes, which is of course way TOO short as the fans and yours truly have been waiting for this album for more than three and a half years. I know it is better to release a brilliant “short” album than a mediocre very long album, but Crime Scene is definitely about fifteen minutes too short...
But that does not mean that I cannot stop listening to it as Crime Scene is really a true RPWL master piece indeed; an album not to be missed! Play it LOUD indeed! Listening tip: Life In A Cage.
****+ Martien Koolen (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
Where to buy?
All Rights Reserved Background Magazine 2023