Review: Nucleus Torn - Andromeda Awaiting (2010)


artist: Nuc­leus Torn
release: Andromeda Await­ing
format: CD
year of release: 2010
label: Proph­ecy
dur­a­tion: 46:20

detailed info: dis​cogs​.com

Switzerland’s Fredy Schnyder has been act­ive with his pro­ject Nuc­leus Torn for over a dec­ade now, but the release of Andromeda Await­ing this fall may very well be his ticket to a wider audi­ence. This latest album, released on Proph­ecy, is high point of this band’s work so far, con­tain­ing over 45 minutes of pro­gress­ive folk, tinged with ele­ments of clas­sical, early music, and a touch of progrock.

The long open­ing track show­cases many of the band’s tal­ents; excel­lent melod­ies on gui­tar, strings, flute, bouzouki, man­dolin, and oth­ers are paired with male and female vocals in a com­pos­i­tion that is full of twists and turns, without becom­ing chaotic or over­whelm­ing. There is a nat­ural, relaxed flow to the music that keeps new ele­ments com­ing a pleas­ant, steady rate.

Fol­low­ing this long track are two shorter inter­ludes, both show­cas­ing more won­der­ful melody work. Espe­cially the second track is an example of com­pact and power­ful song­writ­ing, where an ori­ginal and beau­ti­ful gui­tar melody waltzes along, later joined by piano accents, strings and Maria D’Allessandro’s under­stated vocals. Like the short third track, it’s romantic, mel­an­cholic, and more than a little sweet, but def­in­itely some­thing to put on repeat if you’re in the right mood.

The fourth track is the heav­iest one, intro­du­cing a darker ori­ental sound car­ried by flute and strings and drums that add a con­fid­ent swag­ger to the song. Pro­gress­ive rock ele­ments are clearest here, the gen­eral sound and rhythm of the song remind­ing one of an acous­tic Opeth at times. The fifth track is over before you know it, giv­ing a short nod to the afore­men­tioned bril­liant melody from track II. The last track then, mir­rors the first in some ways, mostly in the way it sets up a con­tinu­ous flow that stays solid over fif­teen minutes, but most par­tic­u­larly the last few minutes, which are a return to the melod­ies that opened the album, clos­ing the circle.

There’s a lot to love in this album, which is an excel­lent example of how to pull a red thread from musical his­tory, run­ning from early music and clas­sical through pro­gress­ive rock and metal, and express­ing it in a mix­ture of acous­tic instru­ments drawn from all of these tra­di­tions. If there are any lesser sides to Andromeda Await­ing, I think it would be the vocals, which are a bit under­stated and clichéd, though never dis­tract­ing or annoy­ing. It wouldn’t have hurt, though, if they were either more integ­rated into the music and in a com­ple­ment­ary role, or so excep­tion­ally good as to war­rant centre stage.

All in all, though, this is a work to be proud of, one of the few that can truly be com­pared to the best out there - such as Tenhi’s recent work - without fall­ing short. An excel­lent album that will appeal to a broad audi­ence in the neo­folk and related areas, and which prom­ises some nice things for the future.

Reviewed by O.S.

Track­list:

I (15:33)
II (3:55)
III (1:58)
IV (8:11)
V (0:48)
VI (15:55)

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