Monday, May 13, 2013

The Maier Project "Crossroads"

Country: Austria
Sub GenreProgressive Rock, Alternative
Release dateMay 13, 2013
  1. Crossroads  4:11
  2. Cuckoo in Our Nest 3:28
  3. Gate to Heaven 4:06
  4. Gathering 4:03
  5. Getting a Grip to It 3:45
  6. Once I Knew a Proud Young Beauty 3:48
  7. Passing Through 3:38
  8. Short Electric Raga  4:45
  9. Take Your Feet and Run  3:37
  10. The Voodoo Thing 3:30
  11. Zero Regrets 7:58

Hans Maier - Vocals, Guitars, Sitar (8)
Peter Monk - Guitars, Backing Vocals
Willy Monk - Guitars, Backing Vocals
Ludwig Sander - Bass, Backing Vocals
Arthur Belovic - Drums & Percussion
Paul Wallner - Keyboards, Organ, Piano, Bandoneon (1), Chinese Erhu (5), Additional Percussion (8, 9)
Gael Hemmings  -  Celtic Harp (11)

As shown on their previous album, the sound of The Maier Project is still somber, melancholic and introspective, with poetical and ironic lyrics, all delivered by Maier’s monochord and baritone vocals. On this new album there are a number of instrumental tracks interspersed among the songs with lyrics, and the musical style ranges from the Alternative Rock  to Progressive influences. The album opens with “Crossroads” (4:16), an instrumental bombastic intro for “Cuckoo In Our Nest” (3:33), which is a bittersweet ballad hooked on the epic chords of the title track. The following track, “Gate Of Heaven” (4:08), is marked by hard guitars, a basic Punk-Rock drum beat, monochord vocals and Gothic organ that are reminiscent of “Nine Inch Nails”. Also track 9 - “Take Your Feet And Run” (3:38) – features clockwork rhythms and depressive vocals like “NIN”. My favorite songs, are, however, the ironic “Once I Knew A Proud Young Beauty” (3:48), which tells a weird love story by blending influences of “NIN” with the Minstrel musical style of “Peter Hammill”; and “The Voodoo Thing” (3:33), a horror-rock with sadistic lyrics played under a “VdGG” & “Peter Hammill” point of view. Also satisfactory, the plain rock “Passing Through” (3:39) has philosophical lyrics, sung with pessimistic vocals that recall “Lou Reed” and “Nick Drake”, being pinpointed by shivering guitar solos. My very favorite tracks of this record are the instrumental ones, which reveal with more strength the Progressive side of The Maier Project: “Gathering” (4:04) combines soaring organs with flowing guitar solo, producing delicate and melodic tunes that hover over an acoustic guitar background. “Getting A Grip To It” (3:45) is initially as relaxing as New Age Music, and includes elements of World Music (by using the ghostly sounds of the Chinese erhu), but becomes turbulent later, with the coming of guitars and reverberating sonic effects. “Short Electric Raga” (4:45) is a Progressive Raga that makes use of a Sitar, recalling “Yes”. As on the previous track, its initial meditative state is disturbed later by strong guitar chords. Finally, the closing track “Zero Regrets” (7:59) is a combination of Psychedelic and Space Rock, experimenting with the opposition of two distinct sounds: a Celtic Harp (courtesy of guest musician Gael Hemmings) is employed to sooth down the heavy buzzing noise that irradiates from Space-Rock guitars on the background. Although I found “Crossroads” not as good as “States of Aggregation”, The Maier Project still retains an authentic sense of musicianship and lyricism that may attract appreciators of melancholic and introspective Alternative Rock with poetical and ironic lyrics (progressiverockbr.com)


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