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Frequency Drift: Last

I can't pretend that a journey through the back catalogue of German progressive rock outfit Frequency Drift is an easy one. However I can promise you it is a beautiful one, even if it stubbornly refuses to move from the mid-paced part of the road FD always frequent. If that sounds like a challenge, then it is. Last, the band's sixth album continues down the same path, slow and steady often winning the race as new elements such as electric harp (courtesy of Nerissa Schwarz) punctuate the likes of "Diary" with showers of light. The album opens with crashing guitars and crushing riffs, yet after only mere seconds these make way for the mesmerising tones of Melanie Mau, the latest in a succession of talented ladies to front this band. Mau's restrained, yet assured approach reminds in ways of Annie Haslam of Renaissance and as such brings a slightly folky edge to the sound.

Mau and Schwarz aren't the only new faces in the FD ranks, the line up now completed by Andreas Hack (keys and guitar), Wolfgang Ostermann (drums), Martin Schnella (guitars) and Rainer Wolf (bass) and yet even through constant change, the continuity of the band's sound from album to album is really quite astounding. At times "Merry" can bring an amalgam of modern day Marillion and Riverside to bare, layered keys jostling intently with cascading guitars, while the aforementioned "Diary" adds the sting of Porcupine Tree. However when "Shade" utilises voice, harp and keyboard-flute to get its message across, there's no denying this almost downcast, yet engaging fare, sounds like no one other than Frequency Drift.

What keeps proceedings from slipping into morose despair is the stunning arrangements that constantly shift gears even as the tempo of the music stays pretty much in the same place. "Treasured" a perfect example of the urgency coming from busy tom work, the biting nature of the riff and poignant piano, even if the actual beat still refuses to lift from a slow steady plod.

I really can't suggest that Last, or indeed Frequency Drift will truly be to the taste of those looking for more obvious twists and turns in their music, the subtle nature of what FD do their main strength. Add in what feels like a genuine attempt to constantly suppress the mood (even the album cover and band shots look a million miles from cheerful) and the whole atmosphere will prove too overbearing for some. If however you can dig beyond what's on the surface here, the excitement suddenly and determinedly shines through.


Track Listing
1. Traces
2. Diary
3. Merry
4. Shade
5. Treasured
6. Last Photo
7. Hidden
8. Asleep

Added: July 19th 2016
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Score:
Related Link: Frequency Drift online
Hits: 2037
Language: english

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