Apogee - Through The Gate

Kev Rowland

Over the years I have found Arne Schäfer (lead & backing vocals, electric & acoustic guitars, keyboards, bass, orchestrations) and Eberhard Graef (drums & percussion) to be a little hit and miss with some albums worth investigating, others somewhat in the middle, and others definitely ones to avoid. However, I did really enjoy the last two, so I had high hopes of this one, only to feel somewhat let down. Although they are rightly deemed to be crossover on PA, they have always had a high amount of neo in their style and have been seen as being somewhat at the forefront of the 90’s revival in their native Germany. I think the best word to describe this album is “bland”, as while there is nothing awfully dramatically wrong with it there is also little here to get excited about.

I found I kept thinking of one of Clive Nolan’s many projects he used to undertake, with somewhat of a theatrical bent, but not delivered in anything like the same degree. Even when Arne has the guitar wailing and the drums are driving forward as on opener “No-one But Ourselves”, it just feels somewhat staid and almost formulaic. Four of the six songs on this set are more than ten minutes in length, something any proghead will gladly sink their teeth into, yet they meander without direction or emotion, leaving the listener unsatisfied yet bloated at the same time. Let us hope this is just a one-off and the next one finds them with more bite and verve, but this just feels there is not enough clarity and space and the arrangements have been layered in the hope that something will come out of it, but it didn’t.

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