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Articles Home » 1979 Articles » Neuschwanstein 1979 Battlement
Neuschwanstein 1979 Battlement

ARTIST: Neuschwanstein
ALBUM: Battlement
LABEL: Racket
YEAR: 1979
CD REISSUE: 1992, Musea (France), FGBG 4063.AR


LINEUP: Thomas Neuroth - keyboards * Klaus Mayer - flute, synthesizer * Roger Weiler - guitars * Frederic Joos - lead vocals, acoustic guitars * Rainer Zimmer - bass, vocals * Hans Peter Schwarz - drums * Hermann Rarebell - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Loafer Jack * 02 Ice With Dwale * 03 Intruders And The Punishment * 04 Beyond The Bugle * 05 Battlement * 06 Zartlicher Abschied

In the mid to late 80's a plethora of German symphonic albums came to light via a variety of fanzines and distributors including the infamous Oregon based - Eurock. It was through Eurock (which is still thriving) that I landed LP's by Second Movement, Rebekka, Burning Candle and several other Teutonic unknowns including 'Battlement' by Neuschwanstein which turned out to be the best of the lot. Naming themselves after the 19th century fairytale castle built by 'Mad' King Ludwig Wilhelm II, Neuschwanstein formed in the early 70's influenced by British progressives most notably according to the band by Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman. Neuschwanstein immediately set to work on a musical play and stage show based on Lewis Caroll's 'Alice In Wonderland' complete with stage sets and costumes. As time went on and after a few line-up changes, the group developed a straighter symphonic style recording their first and only album in early 1979 at Dieter Dierks (Scorpions, Accept) Studios in Cologne.

The Songs
Obviously by the time the group recorded 'Battlement', Neuschwanstein had abandoned the Rick Wakeman influences and embraced Genesis and Jethro Tull. Despite the German-centric moniker, the group thankfully chose English to express their music on a richly symphonic, flute heavy album that demands repeated plays. Scorpions drummer Hermann Rarebell makes a guest appearance behind the kit on opener and the most Tull-like tune on the record 'Loafer Jack', but from here on in Genesis is the key motivator behind Neuschwanstein's modus operandi. 'Ice With Dwale' with its Steve Hackett inspired guitar work and Tony Banks influenced keys is a gem as is 'Intruders And The Punishment' where vocalist Frederic Joos does a stand up Peter Gabriel impression with aplomb. I suppose this is what Marillion might have sounded like if they had recorded just a few years earlier, but where Marillion and Fish tended to go for the throat lyrically, these boys were still caught up in fantasy and romance with the realities of the 80's and Brit neo-prog still a couple years in the future.

In Summary
Live dates with Novalis and Lucifer's Friend followed the release of 'Battlement' but musical differences lead to the group's demise in 1980. The French progressive label Musea reissued the album on CD in 1992 with the bonus track 'Midsummer Day' recorded during the Cologne sessions and is still easy to find from any good progressive vendor.

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