Album review: RPWL – A New Dawn

RPWL - A New Dawn

Gentle Art Of Music [Release date: 14.07.17]

RPWL are one of the finest purveyors of intelligent, meaningful progressive rock currently plying their trade in Europe and seem to be making a habit of releasing a superb album and following it up with a live recording of the subsequent tour.

Back in 2012 they released the moodily magnificent ‘Beyond Man And Time’ album and followed it up with the simply awe-inspiring ‘A Show Beyond Man And Time’ in 2013 – both of which inevitably garnered five star reviews on GRTR!

Now, subsequent to the release of their masterful ‘Wanted’ album in 2014 (another five-star job), here is the live album of that tour – except it’s much more than that…

Celebrating two decades together as a band and playing the final date in their home town of Freising in Bavaria, ‘A New Dawn’ was a multi-faceted performance encompassing not just the incredible music, but also a play featuring around fifty actors and multimedia presentations.

By all accounts the film of this extravaganza was superb and is available as DVD and Blue Ray – we’re limited here to the review of the music (double) CD, which, mercifully, restricts itself to just a couple of short snippets of spoken narration – I say mercifully as I’ve noticed a bit of a trend lately in prog rock to include large swathes of spoken passages which, of course, don’t bear repetition, are pretentious, not clever and invariably not funny.

The music however is simply magnificent.

Running through the ‘Wanted’ album almost in sequence, the band displays exemplary musicianship and a real sense of excitement as the show builds to its climax.

Tracks that were already outstanding on the album are given a real buzz in the live format with Yogi Lang’s cajoling vocals being splendidly supported by Markus Jehle’s sweeping keyboard flourishes and Kalle Wallner’s finger-busting guitar work.

Hard to pick highlights here but the guitar work-outs on ‘The Attack’, ‘Disbelief’ and the Rothery/Floydian ‘Still Asleep’ are sublime as are the 18 minutes plus of ‘The Fisherman’ (from the ‘Beyond Man And Time’ album), the enlightened lyrics of the brilliant ‘Misguided Thought’ (“in the name of the Lord we can burn down the world”) and show-closer ‘Hole In The Sky’ (from the ‘God Has Failed’ album).

I thought the ‘A Show Beyond Man And Time’ would be difficult to follow as it almost set the standard for how these things should be done, but, if anything, ‘A New Dawn’ has surpassed it.

Admittedly, the raw material on ‘Wanted’ was marginally superior but any live performance stands or falls by its ‘wow’ factor and ‘A New Dawn’ carries it off with both passion and panache.

Wish I’d been there…  *****

Review by Alan Jones

Alan sequences “The Eclectic Mix” on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, second Sunday of the month at 18:00 GMT.  Expect some prog.


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