RPWL - Beyond Man and Time
Gentle Art of Music
Progressive Rock
11 songs (73'15")
Release year: 2012
Reviewed by Alex

I doubt I would ever go for the record like Germany’s RPWL Beyond Man and Time myself, if not prompted by their PR man. But I am glad he did point me in their direction, asking what I thought about the music, because this is how we broaden our horizons. Another attraction factor was the album’s promo sheet, describing the story/libretto behind it. RPWL dare to be philosophic, presenting their own play on Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra. Not quite an interpretation of a famous opus, RPWL protagonist travels an imaginary world meeting various characters from whom he learns. I remember back in my early 20s I sustained my family right out of college running a small independent book resale business. Having read Nietzsche then, I understood exactly nothing, and having re-read that book 15 years later, it did make for a fascinating reflective read.

From the very first sounds of Transformed RPWL whisk the listener away on a journey to a land very distant and mysterious, full of bass-line heartbeats and unusual aboriginal percussion. From then on, every track is an engaging, but mostly calming listen, full of contemplative prog rock, where the band piles layers of music onto non-linear rhythmic structures. Often artsy and meandering (title track, the early parts of The Wise in the Desert), this music can grow a backbone and become forceful (the second part of The Wise in the Desert) or even become grotesquely distorted in the guitar department, by the RPWL standards anyway, abandoning original poppy catchiness (The Shadow). At times reminding me of modern day Anathema, at other times Ayreon, the music on We Are What We Are takes on a decidedly electronic nature, leaving their Moog or Yamaha to play a key role. The more song-oriented Unchain the Earth and Road to Creation are relatively upbeat rockers, something which could have been played on a more adventurous rock radio station where U2 is a flagship band.

Everything culminates with an epic maritime 16-min tribute The Fisherman and the calming resolution The Noon. Unlike Ayreon, which used a multitude of different singers to present their characters in Dream Sequencer, Yogi Lang is the only vocalist for RPWL, presenting the significantly more personal and meditative approach. Since it is one protagonist going on the journey, and everything is presented from this person’s prospective, it makes sense that the album is all sung in one voice (which is where Yogi’s voice reminds me of Cavanagh from Anathema).

Not an album which is supposed to hook you from the hop, Beyond Man and Time is good for two things – to relax and float away from your daily troubles, and to help you think by looking deeper inside of you, maybe coming up with the realization what the source of those daily troubles really was. Or, maybe, you can see a bigger picture …

Killing Songs :
We Are What We Are, Unchain the Earth, The Shadow, The Fisherman
Alex quoted 80 / 100
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