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Articles Home » 1990 Articles » Karat - 1990 ...Im Nachsten Frieden
Karat - 1990 ...Im Nachsten Frieden

ALBUM: ...Im Nachsten Frieden
SERIAL: 8 56 461 (GDR), 17001
YEAR: 1990


LINEUP: Herbert Dreilich - vocals * Bernd Römer - guitar * Thomas Kurzhals - keyboards * Christian Liebig - bass * Michael Schwendt - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Immer So * 02 Traumverkäufer * 03 Tief In Mir * 04 Hör Nicht Auf * 05 Magie Der Nacht * 06 Tag Aller Tage * 07 Atemlos * 08 Über Sieben Brcken muát Du gehn (+ Peter Maffay) * 09 ...Im Nachsten Frieden

If 1986's 'Funfte Jahreszeit' album had seen a vast reduction of progressive elements in Karat's AOR blend, then 1990's '...Im Nachsten Frieden' completed the process. What we're dealing with here is a set of crisp, concise pop rocking AOR. Shorter and simpler song structures come to the fore, and many have debated the reasons behind this stylistic turnaround. My guess is the withdrawal of Ulrich Swillms from the band. His sweeping keys and songwriting had formed a major part of Karat's prog/AOR sound. His replacement Thomas Kurzhals had actually been in Karat since 1984 as a second/touring keyboardist, so clearly no slouch. His more straight forward AOR approach to keys would, in my view, be the catalyst for this more direct AOR onslaught from Karat. The question is, did the quality of the songs suffer as a result?

The Songs
'Immer So' signals an immediate mid-tempo, strutting along with no guitar to be found for most of the song, a technique we remember Foreigner using at times in the 80's. The chorus is immediate, pouring melody and AOR coffee all over the place. Bernd Römer makes his first meaningful guitar appearance with a searing outro solo, wringing a ton of emotion out of relatively few notes. Traumverkäufer gets up a snappy mid-tempo right off the bat as well, a definite pop rock element with keyboards giving the song what it needs in terms of flourish. I enjoyed the guitar crunch in the chorus wrap, the track ending on waves of chorus accapella was unexpected and a nice touch. Concise AOR at around three minutes. 'Tief In Mir' returns to a more familiar Karat song structure, starting off with very sedate intentions but steadily building in tempo and guitar presence until we're fairly rocking by halfway. Come to think of it, BJH were doing similar AOR around this time, although Karat remained bound to midrange on the vocal front. 'Hör Nicht Auf' is a pleasant if breezy ballad, the type Karat seems to reel off at will.

'Magie Der Nacht' is pure period 38 Special though, romping along with guitar slinging licks and fills recalling Danny Chauncey. Superb melody and a hard hitting chorus add to the reward, this could have sat on 38's 'Rock And Roll Strategy' opus, supreme AOR that adds a shot of Jack to the blend, not to mention a red hot solo that would make Mr Chauncey very proud. 'Tag Aller Tage' brings that time honoured BJH feeling back again, especially in the revolving keyboard hook from Kurzhals. This is powerful AOR at mid-tempo, crunching riffage in the chorus is very welcome and the vocals tie up every loose end, something like a geometry lesson wrapped up in a great AOR chorus. 'Atemlos' again starts out gently with plenty of strumming and shimmering build up, rising through the gears to reach anthemic AOR status by song's end. Yet another winning AOR track, reducing any further coffee metaphors to redundancy. Karat's original breakout song 'Über Sieben Brucken..' gets a reworking, Herbert Dreilich duetting with West German solo star Peter Maffay who had a massive hit when he covered the track in 1980. The sedate verses are kept true to form, but I can report a wall of vocals and a very satisfying crunch to the guitar sustain in the chorus. The tempo is slow, but I'm loving the wrecking ball snare sound, a top notch 1989 AOR update of a classic. Title track '...Im Nachsten Frieden' is an orchestrated ballad, hinting at freedom beyond the fall of the Berlin wall, obviously emotional and full of melodic intent.

In Summary
For all this, nobody bought the album or it's singles. Most of the blame is placed at the fall of the Berlin wall, East Germans suddenly experiencing a sensory overload of western acts to consume, to the point that their own long serving legends were seen as redundant in the face of freedom. Fellow DGR bands like City and Puhdys were treated similarly. The complete removal of the trademark Karat sound may have contributed as well, bewildering fans hoping for another 'Blaue Planet' or 'Albatros' album. All of this is very unfortunate, as '...Im Nachsten Frieden' is packed to bursting with AOR gems, far more direct in approach but no less enjoyable for that. Karat would follow this up with a self titled album in 1991 that was also completely ignored, but happily 1995's 'Geskente Stunde' saw Karat's fan base return.

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#1 | Eric on December 01 2013 13:11:04
Might we see City and Puhdy's reviews Lee? The first City album is an East German favorite...guitar
#2 | AOR Lee on December 06 2013 04:46:54
Eric, that City debut is a possibility sometime next year. Not so sure about Puhdys though, I listened to lots of their 80's stuff on youtube and came away underwhelmed. While Karat remain the clear leader from East Germany for my money, that City debut contains Am Venster, one of the prog classics of all time. Brilliant violin work
#3 | englandashes on December 07 2013 16:02:52
Been listening to this for the last couple of days, on Lee's recommendation, at first thought it was a bit too much Eurovision and being sung in German, was a struggle initially, however after further plays all my concerns have disappeared, Lee is spot on, its is a very good album, so much that I have already order a 5cd box set of previous albums, good one Lee!, enjoying this discovery.
#4 | AOR Lee on December 10 2013 04:53:10
Great to hear that Chris, I also had to get used to the lyrics and also found that the quality of the album comes through after repeated listening. I think I played it 10 times or more before reviewing. Hope you enjoy the earlier albums! The best AOR from the DGR keyboardsguitar
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