Matthias Sturm - Blood And Thunder
Having no prior knowledge of Matthias Sturm, and using only BLOOD AND THUNDER as my guiding influence, I would swear that the album was recorded in the early 1970s and was merely digitally-remastered for 21st century consumption.
How the man has eluded multiple decades of trends and evolutionary steps within the music genre is a feat beyond my comprehension. Sturm constructs kaleidoscopic, blues/folk, psychedelic, space-circus rock tunes that mesmerize you from the first note. It is a similar experience to what might happen if you popped Arthur Brown, Pink Floyd, David Bowie, John Lennon, and Bob Dylan into a blender. It's definitely one of those albums that deserves to be heard on vinyl, because it is such a tangible listening experience.
The music is trippy, dreamy, and subversively morose. And yet, I cannot shake the feeling that Sturm is an eternal hopeless romantic, spanning the cosmos, only to find unrequited love at every stop on his journey.
The only song that dares come close to edging into modern musical dogma is "What a Day," which bears a mild post-punk, Police-inspired rock-and-reggae groove. And even on that song, Sturm manages to load it up with enough head-swimming sound effects to keep your feet from barely touching the ground.
Although his music will probably never be "Top Ten" or "single-worthy" in the current state of the industry, his silky Lennon-ish vocals alone will keep you rapt through the entire album.
Unlike other bands that try to root themselves to the past as a sort of retro-gimmick, there is an air of fresh unpretentiousness about Matthias Sturm, as though he earnestly believes in his work, despite how "aged" it sounds. And that sentiment proves my theory that if you can write good music, regardless of genre, trend becomes completely irrelevant.
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