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In 1995 Marcel Hinkel and Stev Schumann got together and started learning new instruments to create their own music.  They continued to work and in 2000 they finally formed their group Novalis.  The next year they were able to pull together their first songs and released their EP First Cadence.  With more hard work and time they came into contact with the Black Rain label where they would eventually release their official debut album Last Years Calling.  During this same time, Mario Krell also joined the group rounding out the trio with his own talents.  The band didn't stop there and worked on more material with the end result being their sophomore album "Paradise...?". This album has been a catalyst, convincing fans and critics. Three years later, after more hard work we have their third stellar album titled Ghosts Over Europe. Also during this time the band has grown to seven members for a more refined, fuller sound.

The music from this group is an awesome blend of dark folk and dark wave music.  They blend guitar with synths, minimal percussion and smooth, deep vocals.  Fans of other german neofolk acts like Dies Natalis and Orplid will love this group.  Their lyrics and vocals are all in English with a rough accent.  All of these features blend together well in a sometimes romantic or smooth folk sound.

With all of these excellent qualities and features this band is something they can really build a strong and lasting foundation.  The future looks bright, so hopefully we'll be able to see many more releases like these.  In the meantime, be sure to enjoy selections on Gothic Paradise radio.



Ghosts Over Europe - Review

After their previous album, I became a die-hard fan of this band and have been anxiously awaiting the release of their follow-up album. After a long wait, I finally have it my hands and it's a true pleasure, a great work. Three years' hard work comes together and culminates with ten excellent dark wave tracks taking the listener through an emotional journey.

The sounds of construction work kicks off the album with "Put on Your Shoes", a song of dedication and hard work in a solid neo-folk fashion with strumming guitar, somber vocals and a steady rhythm. The styles vary throughout the album, most with solid percussion, something that is a little different from their previous album, the way many of these tracks move along. Stellar pieces like "Homecoming", "The Clown" and "One Step" all sport these moving elements with the more prominent percussion that almost brings a sort of dance-friendly rhythm. This in itself ought to please some fans that are into more of the rock element of this style. However, those fans of the somber moods have plenty to be pleased about with these tracks, but more especially with heart-wrenching pieces like "Sleeping Violin", "Passing By", "World in Flames" and "Your Hell". The added female vocals on a few tracks add an incredible emotional touch that brings tears to my eyes on certain occasions. These include the aforementioned "Homecoming" and "Passing By" especially. For those that like the somewhat more militaristic dark-folk styles, they even throw a bit of this in as well with the most remarkable being "Rome" with it's anthemic approach.

This is a true classic within the genres of dark-folk and dark wave music. We have it all, a little bit of dance, a lot of emotion and true talent abounding through the music, lyrics and vocals from this band. Definitely go out and pick up this album.

Rating: 5/5



"Paradise...?" - Review

It was a great pleasure to hear of this fairly unheard of band outside of parts of Europe.  This album was a great introduction of their awesome neo-folk sound to me.  I was immediately caught by the excellent mix of acoustic sounds of guitars, percussion, violins and beautiful synths.

The album begins with "Part I", a smooth instrumental combining modern acoustical instruments with classical elements.  Then immediately the album kicks off in the absolutely stunning folk music in "Last summers rose" and on through the remaining 11 tracks.  The lyrics and content range from romantic to love of family, friends and a few social issues, but mainly stays along the more emotional boundaries.  These key elements are what have attracted and held my attention with each listen.

Many of the themes and stories in each selectino really touch the soul.  Songs like "In Her Arms" and "Jonas" are just a few examples of these beautiful pieces with lyrics including "I want to die in the arms of my love" or "Oh where is the paradise, if not in my heart?".

The album lasts nearly an hour and covers twelve beautiful selections.  Like the album starts, it also ends with an excellent instrumental titled "Part II" and wraps up the album in perfect style.  Fans of neo-folk, be sure to get this album, it's worth tracking down!

Rating: 4.5/5



Website:
www.novalis.cx
Label: Ars Musica Diffundere (Division of Black Rain)

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