Here's a few words of first impression of Beyond the Bridge's debut The Old Man and the Spirit: ambitious, grand, and sweeping. The work is a monolith, from concept to music, of progressive metal from this young German band. Be forewarned: several spins are required to grasp the scope of The Old Man and the Spirit. That's not to say that this work is overly complex, but it is quite long and packed with great music.
The concept contrasts to figures, on superhuman, the Spirit, and one human, the Old Man. The former is the spiritual summation of wisdom and awareness, yet without the ability to feel. The Spirit's role is expressed by female vocalist Dilenya Mar. The latter is an epicurean who has enjoyed life's ecstasy and misery. He is expressed by male vocalist Herbie Langhans. Both are exceptional singers who, by way of both style and emotion, enlarge the characters.
However, the greater part of The Old Man and the Spirit is the music, developed by guitarist Peter Degenfeld and pianist Chrisopher Tarnoy. Grand and epic only begin to describe the depth and breadth of the songs, which offer an ambitious combination of progressive rock and metal. As mentioned earlier, there's nothing overtly technical here, but the arrangements are expansive and engaging, and so easily intrigue and entertain. Notable is the composition and instrumentation within The Apparition, Doorway to Salvation, Where the Earth and Sky Meet, and the phenomenal Triumph of Irreality. Throughout the breadth of the album you'll be thrilled by Degenfeld's fret work and Tarnoy's inspired keyboard presence. The greater details of each song and the concept as a whole must be experienced by your own listening experience.
With The Old Man and the Spirit, Germany's Beyond the Bridge offers an epic and entertaining progressive metal debut. In doing so, they've already set the bar very high for themselves. Will they rise above it in the next turn? I certainly hope so. Well recommended.
With The Old Man and the Spirit, Germany's Beyond the Bridge offers an epic and entertaining progressive metal debut. In doing so, they've already set the bar very high for themselves, and maybe their peers in the genre.