InVertigo are a German rock band invoking past echoes from well-trodden paths through the neo-Prog landscape, from the aspirational high-ground of Marillion, Genesis and Yes, but at the same time, applying a little Teutonic stamp here and there, imbuing some shades of metal, to bring a little steely edge to their music.
I listened to this driving to and from the Crematorium (where I conduct my day job), and despite the sombre occasion, it provided a therapeutic relief, particularly when the volume was turned up! It’s a collection of sometimes disparate tunes, not a bad thing in itself, but not quite making an authoritative mark in respect of direction.
This could be best defined in the track Listen to the Smell of the Pretty Picture where some over-clever juxtapositioning of the senses tries to forge an uneasy alliance between simplistic lyrics and the far more melodic harmonies and keys that the song supplies, accompanied by some ‘Tull-esque’ flute noodling. Simple but entertaining nevertheless! Harsh? Maybe, but this reviewer is looking for something a little deeper here.
By contrast, album opener Interrompu, a satisfying blend of keyboards, some nice prog drumming, and lead guitar, is a far stronger and shining example of good discernible Prog, and bears repeated listening. The lyrics perhaps summarise the feeling of the album, that it was interrupted before being finished!
The outstanding highlight (in my opinion) is a satisfying 8+ minutes in the driving rock force that is Wasting Time, segueing neatly from Sabbath-style bass and keys to the more harmonious interplay reminiscent of ’90s Arena and Pepper’s Ghost. At times the vocals of Sebastian Brennert are a little rumbustious, like a trainee Till Lindemann of Rammstein fame.
A bit of an earworm this one, returning to the drawn-out chorus of “Procrastination, stay by my side… help me to see wrong from right”, ending on a cliff-drop thrumming guitar!
Environmental concerns, a topic of the moment, is linked down the years from 1992, with the nasal castigation of world leaders at the Rio Summit by junior campaigner Severn Suzuki, alluding to the current concerns about the longevity of the planet, (in vain) to chime with the Scandinavian cheerleading of Ms Thunberg, carrying the baton for future generations in a genuine but misguided tilt at 21st century over-consumption. Having said that, it does have an innocent charm, if you can suspend belief and let the sentiment wash over you: “Let your acts reflect your words, reflect your words…”
The final two tracks, Life Part 1 (Random) and Life Part 2 (Metaphors) circle around the universal question “why are we here, for what purpose?” A grandiose topic indeed, but the lyrical and musical treatment of such a weighty subject fall between two stools, not quite bombastic, nor tongue in cheek, and despite a few flirtations with the subject matter at hand, leave this listener wanting more (or less, depending on which side of the credibility fence your preferences fall). A smidgen of Alan Parsons guitar creeps in, before the track descends into a torch waving anthemic chorus before seemingly ending abruptly… 20 seconds later, the track returns to a gentle Spanish plucked guitar outro.
Overall, an adept performance, not quite reaching the levels a third album should be achieving, but nevertheless a credible and sometimes pleasing repertoire, not quite hitting the heights, but a workmanlike offering nevertheless.
01. Interrompu (7:05)
02. Listen To The Smell Of The Pretty Picture (10:28)
03. Severn Speaking (4:41)
04. Wasting Time (8:53)
05. Life Part I: (Random) (7:40)
06. Life Part II: (Metaphors) (6:23)
Total Time – 45:10
Sebastian Brennert – Piano, Vocals
Michael Kuchenbecker – Keyboards
Matthias Hommel – Bass, Pedals
Carsten Dannert – Drums, Percussion
Kolja Maletzki – Guitars
Record Label: Progressive Promotion Records
Country of Origin: Germany
Date of Release: 22nd November 2019