‘At every step in life the heart must be prepared for loss and new beginnings.’ German art-rockers Frames suffuse their magnificent second offering with this line from Hermann Hesse. While there are two tracks which feature Hesse himself reading his poetry, there is an awesome mood of decay, brokenness and new life on this album.
From the plaintive piano of opener Entrance through to the trance-like Coda this is music which might be played in a temple of secular worship, where doubt, death, and hope are celebrated equally.
There is a vastness in Frames’ sound generated in part by Jonas Meyer’s ‘wall of sound’ guitars, which play sublimely against the arch rhythms of drummer Kiryll Kulakowski and bassist Hajo Cirksena. This is music forever on the edge of pretentiousness and yet, as Manuel Schönfeld’s keyboards crackle and the band burst into another fierce workout, such is the clarity of vision that we believe.
Tracks like Departure and the mesmeric Encounter are flesh-poundingly heavy and yet transcendent. Invia is a kind of pilgrimage across the dark paths and the long nights of life. It’s not just worth taking, it’s nigh on essential.