REVIEW: In The Nursery - "Engel"

By Mike Ventarola

Chain Border

EngelThere are some artists who know how to dazzle an audience and then there are others with the ability to quietly put the listener and fan in total rapture and awe. In The Nursery is one such outfit that transcends the label "band" and qualifies as a group of brilliant orchestral performers.

Engel is their latest release, created for a multimedia game project of the same name and designed by the German publishing house Feder & Schwert. On this CD are new recordings of classic tracks such as Blue Religion and To The Faithful, along with new material including Angelorum and Beutereiter. Engel sprawls with atmospherics that transports listeners to another realm in order that it would play well as both a listening experience as well as a game soundtrack. The music is nothing short of majestic, combining elements of the medieval along with modern electronics. Not having seen this game, this review is based upon the mental images that this superb CD has evoked from the imagination.

New Religion whirls us into this unknown land, full of lush mountains and ornate castles. This opening track is breathtaking simply for the scope and grandeur it conveys. One can envision a battalion of horse ridden knights in their metal armor and velvet finery charging up the crested slopes after a long battle. Beutereiter opens with a grandiose organ and angelic choir, underscored by a pulsing electronic rhythm line. The track veers into a panoramic study of a land that seems surrounded by dangerous cliffs that plummet to an ocean depth.

Angelorum mixes a sense of the forbidden along with anticipatory fervency. Sung in Latin, whose lyrics are included and translated in English and German as well, we are given a glimpse into one person's entreaty to the divine powers. Pandoramicum: Thunderous sounds are disclosed in the background, giving rise to electronic layers, which are at once foreboding and anticipatory for the mêlée to come. It is though the heavens have opened with a storm of foreshadowing for the impending and imminent distress.

Cathedral of Thoughts seems to marry the simple flute playing of a villager, which transcends the heavens to appeal to the Gods. This is further evidenced as a quiet choir of angels accompanies the track. We are then moved towards gently lavish and ornate horns, as though a divine intercession is transpiring. Gabrielites: Since this track is full of energy, horns and bombastic splendor; one would assume that it is named after the Archangel Gabriel, renowned to blow the horn of the final apocalypse. Angelic choirs float momentarily between the tension, creating a vivid landscape of sound and color.

Engel- To The Faithful: Heavenly splendor is the best way to describe this track. The opening once again is majestic, warm and all encompassing. It is though a radiant light is suffused to the inner core of one's existence. In the background, it seems as though there is a sword fight. This is the second track with sung lyrics, which is the supplication of the people. Aftermath opens with a wailing horn, similar to the Jewish shofar horns. A melancholy feeling of loss, relief and hope are encompassed in the notes surrounding this one note horn. It is a bittersweet tribute to the reckoning of what one has had to lose in order to win.

Sigil seems to evoke mystery and magic. There are background ocean sounds and churchlike organs, which herald a new comprehension and sense of respect. Brandland gives the impression of a walk through a treacherous landscape during the night hours. Church gongs and cymbals are placed strategically between the rushing energy of sound. A steady percussive beat with angelic choirs hovering around us makes this a great track to feature in the dance clubs as well. The Circling Sky evinces a new dawning of existence. Life seems to be somewhat more peaceful once again, though the scars from the road will never be forgotten.

In The Nursery have had numerous features in film soundtracks and trailers which includes Along Came A Spider, Erin Brockovich, Interview With A Vampire, The Sweet Hereafter, and The Rainmaker. In addition, they have also created optical music performances for silent classics such as The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari, Asphalt, Man With A Movie Camera, and Hindle Wakes, which have toured extensively in art houses throughout the world to sold out performances.

In The Nursery remains as one of those bands embraced by the gothic underground because of their ability to transcend time and place. Their work is at once majestic, effervescent, lavish and opulent, however it is always approachable without ever being stuck in any genre niche. In light of their past success, it is only natural that their great ability to orchestrate sound, which create vivid mental images, is finally featured on game soundtracks as well. With each passing release, In The Nursery manages to keep their fans in total awe with the quality and scope of their work. If you are not yet familiar with this group of talented artists, you can sample some of their work at to give your ears a musical feast.

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Post: ITN Corporation, P.O. Box 1795, Sheffield, S3 7FF, England

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