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Madrigal - Silence CD Cover
Image © 1997 Madrigal 

(28 May 2000) Madrigal are a progressive rock band from Hannover, Germany. They are currently compiling their first full length compact disc. Fronted by the stunning lead vocalist Sandra Werner, the band also includes Lars Totzke (guitar), Kai Paulmann (drums) and Kai Spickenbom (bass and keyboards on "(No More) Face to Face"). Madrigal's first four-track EP is entitled Silence (Madrigal (Germany) 1997); a second four-track EP was issued in 1999 in the run up to the band's full length album. The band's music has a harder edge than Wildeve, along the lines of Leger De Main (review) but not as hard and more accessible instrumentally. The sweet and crystalline quality of Sandra's voice comes through in all of the songs. Sung in English, all music is written by Lars Totzke (music) and Sandra Werner (lyrics). The band's second EP is vocally stronger than their debut.

Silence begins with the rocking track "(No More) Face To Face" which is a powerful instrumental number with sufficient lead vocal work to introduce the listener to Sandra Werner. "Covered Sun" clearly places Sandra in the spotlight with instrumentals taking a backseat to her soaring vocal passages and lush multi-tracked backing harmonies. The production quality of the guitar work is exceptional. "Turn Back The Time" is a very Yes-like track; it balances thickly arranged melodious guitars with Sandra's jazzy lead vocal passage and lovely backing harmonies. The EP's title track is a folk rock-style song with layers of vocals supported by a progressive mix of light acoustic guitar and more thickly arranged electric guitar. The solo guitar work in the instrumental bridge is especially notable and their first EP is a delight.

The band's second EP was provided to Musical Discoveries on CD-R. The first track, "Before Your Eyes," has incredible vocal clarity that will strike all listeners from its first play. Similar in some ways to "Silence" in its instrumental arrangements, the vocals are immediately more evident and are mixed way up, right in your face, with harmonies above the lush instrumental arrangements. The—perfectly performed—a capella vocal introduction to "Evolution Error" is a further illustration of Sandra's vocal dexterity. Another vocal-oriented track with layers of harmonies, the thick guitar never overpowers Sandra's crystalline mid-register performance. Vocals and instrumentals contrast with both harder and softer edges in "Deep Blues" and "Crystal Night" which concludes the second EP.

The two Madrigal EPs contain eight tracks featuring the stunning vocal work of Sandra Werner with excellent lead and supporting progressive instrumental work by the rest of Madrigal. In anticipation of their first full length recording, it's a good time to explore these EPs further. You can find further information, soundbites and ordering information at Madrigal's website. You can order an eight track digital audio music (DAM) CD with the eight tracks reviewed here, download samples and read further information about the band at their mp3.com website. The band can be contacted via Lars Totzke, Karlstraße 8, 30559 Hannover. Madrigal's two EPs are worth a cross-country journey, and with the second vocally stronger than the first, the two CDs are certainly a must listen!.

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