Orplid – Nächtliche Jünger

A long awaited album. After their highly acclaimed debut cd in 1997, a few vinyl-only singles appeared. These often managed to surprise with their varying style, so people were curious what Orplid would bring on their second full-length album. Well, the band around Uwe Nolte and Frank Machau has not disappointed. As I expected, they have moved further from old neo-folk paths. The music seems to be of a universal, dramatic nature and more classical than before, sometimes hymnlike. “Nächtliche Jünger” is mostly dominated by the German poetic lyrics and the powerful declamation of Nolte. The articulation is very clear, which is pleasant for non-native German speakers like me. The overall atmosphere is not militant, but rather romantic. Many songs are relatively tranquil, though with dense structures.

The instrumentation often has a serving role for the vocals, with sensitive guitars (also electronic ones!), electronic landscapes and soft percussion. At times the music gets a little more orchestral and bombastic. My favourite songs: ‘Erzengel Michael’, ‘Winternacht’, ‘Stille’ and ‘Maria’. Also nice and rather different: ‘Das Mädchen aus der Fremde’, based on a text by Schiller and with soft female vocals. Other deviating tracks are ‘Söhne des Ares’, which is rather uptempo and cheerful, and ‘Auferstehung’, a bombastic orchestral piece in the style of their 10″ “Barbarossa”.

There are some very good songs on this album, and I like the romantic style of the lyrics, which are inspired by nature and tradition. I also appreciate that Orplid dares to leave successful styles and take new roads. Not all neo-folk fans will appreciate their ‘new’ direction. Perhaps more variation and dynamic would have done the album good, as was the case on their first album. At times the vocals become too monotonous. But overall I am convinced by this album, that sometimes balances on the edge of kitsch and pathos, but never falls over it…
This album will also be released as a double 10″ on Eis & Licht.

artist: Orplid
label: Prophecy Productions
details: 14 tracks, 58 minutes