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Apogee: Endurance Of The Obsolete

With an impressive work ethic, Arne Schäfer offers us his tenth Apogee album in just fifteen years. The Versus X man now almost solely focusing on what initially was deemed a side project. Once again the multi-instrumentalist works almost single handedly, with all vocals, guitars, keys, bass and orchestral arrangements coming from his hand. Aided only by drummer and percussionist Eberhard Graef, it’s a true feat of endeavour that Apogee always sound like a band and a fully realised one at that.

Much of the German prog master’s basis comes from a much more English base, with a pastoral feel bringing us into a land that the likes of Gentle Giant once roamed proudly. And yet Endurance Of The Obsolete - which comes replete with impressive artwork from Bernd Webler, which is a true joy on the eye - is no overtly respectful homage, instead adding new elements to the familiar themes.

Schäfer’s voice is something of an acquired taste and if you are looking for a pure voiced frontman, then his much more honest and heartfelt style may prove something of an ask. However, his storytelling style isn’t all that far removed from that of The Tangent’s Andy Tillison and while the humour and idiosyncrasies of the latter don’t quite shine through in the same way here, if you can connect with one, then there’s a clear path to the other. There is also a real flow to the album, the feel that the journey is almost as important as each stand alone moment welcome indeed. That said, the playful brightness of “Spirits Disengage” which operates against the more obviously melancholy side to this album does make for a stand out track, while the lengthy mood veering of “The Complex Extensive Way” arguably illustrates the inner intentions to a much greater extent.

The real strength, however, comes from the sympathetic blending of some heavier sections in Apogee’s attack to the clean and acoustic meanderings, with the different aspects making the journey from “Interpretations” and “Waiting For The Dawn” through “Overruled” and the 12-minute plus title track an ever varying journey that still somehow operates within quite a strict set of stylistic boundaries. It may not be an album for all occasions, but this latest release from this one man project turns out to be neither an endurance, or obsolete, even if its title suggests otherwise.

Track Listing
1. Interpretations
2. Waiting for the Dawn
3. Endurance of the Obsolete
4. Spirits Disengage
5. The Complex Extensive Way
6. Overruled

Added: November 2nd 2020
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Endurance Of The Obsolete on bandcamp
Hits: 208
Language: english

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