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'The Old Man And The Spirit'
Frontiers Records
Release Date: 20th January 1012

Phil Kane

phil kane

Here we are then, a lump of philosophy to jump start your head after the excesses of the season of good will. 'The Old Man And The Spirit' apparently took five years to create and (I quote the promo blurb here) "deals with the polarity of human sensuousness and superhuman awareness."

beyond the bridge the old man and the spirit

"The latter is embodied by the character of the Spirit. She is the personification of all wisdom and awareness that is unachievable to mankind, however, lacks of the ability to feel. Her opponent, the character of the Old Man, is presented as a bon vivant who has lived through all highs and lows of human sensation. Steadied by his old age, he searches for a sense, for a coherence, for the meaning of his life in the maelstrom of transiency.

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"As the story unfolds, the Spirit convinces the Old Man that there is no way for Man to overcome the limits of human perception. They can only be transgressed with the help of the Spirit's wisdom. Aware of human curiosity, the Spirit offers to answer all of the Old Man's questions - in exchange for his experiences and feelings. A high price, as they are inseparably connected to the Old Man's memories."

Got that? No? Nor I. So I'm not surprised it took five years to complete. Probably took two just to think up the concept. Normally, combining trained musicians with planet sized brains, prog (of any kind) and a long gestation period invariably leads to artistic masturbation overwhelming the quality of the songs, producing albums that whilst being top gun technically, lack soul and cohesion.

Of course none of this bodes well but in this instance you'd be wrong. 'Beyond The Bridge' is a German outfit of professionally trained musicians and 'The Old Man And The Spirit' is their debut album which is quite brilliant. The album is peppered with brief soliloquies that are quite frankly impenetrable bollocks of the highest order but when the music is as rich and deep (and at over 60 minutes, long too) as this they pass without notice.

Very often this sort of intricate stuff gets too busy at the expense of the groove but not here. Despite the bang up production job there is much that reminds me of classic Yes and Genesis, sounding like the band have allowed 'The Old Man and the Spirit' to have its head, delicately shepherding it so that it never loses its direction.

Largely keyboard driven, the album still has an overt Metal edge but there are subtleties too. 'The Apparition' has a distinct Middle Eastern feel to it and 'The Spring Of It All' has a vibe that harkens back to the heady prog days of the early seventies.

'World Of Wonders' builds from a simple stripped back start to the sort of quiet epic the likes of 'Anathema' and 'Mostly Autumn' are not averse to. 'Doorway To Salvation' strains at its thrash chains and 'Where The Earth And Sky Meet' has the grandeur the title alludes to.

Overall 'The Old Man And The Spirit' soars and swoops over an epic sounds cape having soaked up everything the band have chucked at it and given a near classic in return.





Wacken Winter Nights 2018 takes place between February 23rd and 25th 2018 and the great news is that you can now experience a full-on, top class German Metal Festival easily and affordably.

It only takes an hour to fly to Hamburg from London and we've had longer journeys than that within the capital and they were certainly more expensive than the £33 air ticket that just appeared in our 'flights to Wacken Winter Nights' search.


Wacken Winter Nights is organised by the same team who are responsible for the world's greatest Metal festival, Wacken-Open-Air and the 2018 bill includes Skyclad, Orphaned Land, Elvenking, Finntroll, Grave Digger, Aeverium, Comes Vagantes, Coppelius, Corvus Corax, Die Pressgëng, Elvellon, Heimataerde, Hell-O-Matic, Ignis Fatuu, Ingrimm, Irdorath, Johnny Deathshadow, Krayenzeit, Letzte Instanz, Mr Hurley und die Pulveraffen, Pampatut, Pat Razket, Schandmaul, Sündenrausch, The Aberlour's, The Moon And The Nightspirit, Torfrock, Visions Of Atlantis, Vroudenspil, Wind Rose and more.

Besides this rich billing of superb Metal bands, there is so much more to see in the festival area including the medieval market and also the walking acts and jugglers you will meet at the theme worlds, including Robert Blake, three-time World Cup winner of street magic.

Wacken Winter Nights is something not to be missed and you can check out the amazing ticket and accommodation prices right here.

We just priced up the whole four day trip with hotels, flights, shuttles and festival tickets for less than £300 and we don't think you will get a better value festival than that, anywhere.


MetalTalk recently sat down with Wacken founder and owner Thomas Jensen and that interview will be online next week and it's a fascinating insight into how Wacken originated from nothing to become the world's premiere Heavy Metal event.


Wacken 2018 takes place from 2nd to 4th August 20218 and as with Wacken Winter Nights, if you have never experienced all it has to offer, then you owe it to yourself to remedy that.

Already announced for Wacken 2018 are Judas Priest, Nightwish, Running Wild (exclusive), Arch Enemy, Dirkschneider, Doro (Special Anniversary Show), In Extremo, Sepultura, Amorphis, Amaranthe, Firewind, W.A.R., Belphegor, Mantar, Knorkator, Deserted Fear, Watain, Night Demon, Epica, Knorkator, Belphegor, Firewind, Deserted Fear and many more and we'll have more Wacken 2018 announcements during December.

As well as being the greatest Heavy Metal festival in the world, it is without a doubt the Mecca of Metal and the one thing that every single person who loves our music should have on their bucket list.

For 2018, MetalTalk have joined forces with Wacken-Open-Air to help you get to Wacken easily and inexpensively and you can peruse the ticket and travel options right here.

If you are interested in going to Wacken 2018 and have questions, please fill out the form below and we will contact you with answers to all your enquiries. You are under no obligation whatsoever by filling this form out. We won't add you to any mailing lists or send you loads of spam - all we will do is help you get to Wacken as easily and inexpensively as possible.



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