Hubi Meisel is back and after his last album had been a pretty fascinating concept album, he stays true to this direction and has another one of those on offer, titled “Kailash“. Who or what is Kailash you will ask, Kailash is a mountain that is the source for some of the longest streams of Asia, Indus, Brahmaputra and Sutlej. The mountain is in Tibet, which brings us a little bit closer to the story, which revolves around the Himalayas, Tibet and ancient Buddhist and Hindu mythology and I know that Hubi took a long time researching everything to the core.
As far as the line-up is concerned, things have stayed pretty stable, only on bass they now feature THERION’s thick stringer Johan Niemann and MÄGO DE OZ’ Jorge Salán has joined as second guitarist, other than that it still is Vivien Lalu on keyboards, Marcel Coenen on guitar and Daniel Flores of MIND’S EYE on drums.
“Kailash”’s musical direction is not much different that the one of “EmOcean”, with its lightly progressive Melodic Metal, often borne by the almost fragile structures, the at times quite crunchy guitars and Hubi’s pretty characteristic vocals, which still is not based on power, but rather has this velvety, emotional sound that surely won’t be to everyone’s liking, but manages to tell the story in its very own way. And that with the class of the musicians there is nothing left to be desired in terms of performance either goes unsaid.
That the up to ten minute long songs never go overboard, but always stay catchy and comprehensive despite the lengths, which is as characteristic for this album as is the at times almost mystic atmosphere, which together with the lyrics also gets realized musically. Prime example for this is “The Great Prayer (Monlam Chenmo)”, altogether calmer than the rest, but this atmosphere puts you under its spell. On the other hand opener “Potala Palace“ surprises with some passages reaching double-bass speeds, while keeping a big density and intensity up. Centre piece and highlight most probably is the more than ten-minute epos “”Wheel Of Life”, which more or less unites everything that Hubi does musically right now.
“Kailash“ once more is a multi-layered and often deep album, where the story is almost as important as the music, as already mentioned, not suited for everyone, but for that they could appeal to a pretty wide spectrum of listeners, progressive fans as well as people, who rather prefer Rock and in any way Melodic Metal fans. (Online April 2, 2006)