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Ernst Horn has definitely made a name for himself in the Darkwave and Electro-Goth genres with his work with Deine Lakaien and Qntal.  So it's no surprise that a work as profound and spectacular as Helium Vola surfaces with Ernst Horn behind it.  This project could easily be the continuation of the Qntal series, but Ernst left behind the other members of that group and has formed this related work with Sabine Lutzenberger's beautiful vocals.

The first we heard from this group was with the popular single "Omnis Mundi Creatura".  This single was released in June 2001 and was received with a lot of enthusiasm from radio and club djs, as well as topping the German Alternative Charts and has become a club hit in many parts of the world.  So it's no surprise that the album should follow up this success with many other very profound and exciting tracks on it.  In early 2004 we were presented with the new single and full-length album Veni Veni and Liod respectively.  They continue on where they left off combining medieval lyrics and musical styles with the modern experimental electronics.

This style of medieval and electronic music is nothing new to Ernst Horn and coupled with Sabine's angelic classical vocals, the music is wonderful.  For those fans of Deine Lakaien and Qntal, be prepared for one of the most awesome acts to surface in recent years.

Tracks from all related albums and singles can always be heard on both the Club Mix and Ethereal Mix on Gothic Paradise radio.  Be sure to give them a listen!

Liod - Review

After the stunning success of the debut album from this group, it was with long-awaited anticipation that we were introduced to Liod earlier this year.  This album continues on in that same experimental style coupled with a wide range of vocal, electronic and musical arrangements.  The lyrics range anywhere from Italian, French, German and Latin.  The packaging is nice with the songs all presented in the original languages, then again in German and again translated into English.  This is nice to be able to understand what the songs are about which bring full meaning to each intriguing song.

The single Veni Veni was released about the same time as the album and was a nice treat for fans.  Although I was a bit disappointed when I picked it up because everything included on the single was virtually the same as what was also on the album except for the one final hidden instrumental track with full celtic and medieval flare.  But this single from this album is a true gem.  It doesn't really end up being the hard-hitting bouncy track that "Omnis Mundi Creatura" was, but does use many of the same powerful and fun electronic dance-friendly elements.  There are other powerful dance tracks such as "Vagantenbeichte" which almost has an electro-clash flare to begin with.  But the deep bass vocals along with the driving rhythm are really captivating.  And finally, the just-announced new single "In Lichter Farbe Steht Der Wald" brings out a real old-world dance sound which is absolutely stunning.  I like to compare it to "Selig" from the debut album with similar styles and fast and light beat.

I believe that sums up the highlighted dance tracks on the album, but I haven't even touched the beautiful ethereal songs of which there are plenty.  "Mahnung" is one of the most mesmerizing tracks on the album with Sabine's vocals calling like a siren-song.  "Frauenklage" is another that holds me captive with the dark and brooding instruments forming the canvas for the lush vocals.  The instrumentation builds to a climax providing an absolute masterpiece.  There are at least a half-dozen of these songs that are sure to be classics in the genre, it's hard to even try to describe them and do them justice.

Finally, I just wanted to touch on one aspect of Helium Vola that I find truly inspiring.  While I'm sure the artists put a lot of thought and research into the lyrics and musical content of each album.  And with this type of dedication, some might think it disrespectful to take it lightly.  But in listening to tracks like "Chumemim" and others, I think it's more than apparent that these talented artists are really having the time of their lives creating this music.  Singing the lyrics in such a way as to bring a smile on the listener's face, or listening to the experimental and fun music, it's sure to bring a twinkle to the eye.  It's simply amazing and I can picture them just having a great time recording these tracks.

With that said, here is another great album.  Another in a long line of successful releases for Ernst Horn and continuing a successful career for what we know as Helium Vola.

Rating: 4.5/5

Helium Vola - Review

After waiting so many years for a follow up to Qntal, I was extremely pleased and excited to hear about this new project by Ernst Horn.  The distribution of this album here in the States is lacking a bit, and so it took me a little over a month on back order before I was finally able to track this album down.  So when I finally got it in my hands, I haven't been able to put it down, I've been listening to it pretty much non-stop every chance I get.

To say the music is beautiful is an understatement.  It's definitely not your typical neo-classical album, although it does have those elements.  It's not your typical darkwave, although it does contain many of those elements.  And it's not your typical medieval album, although it does contain an abundance of medieval lyrics and fragments.  It's a combination of all of these that makes it so spectacular.

With danceable tracks like the popular "Omnis Mundi Creatura" which should quickly become a dance floor favorite, and "Do tagte ez" with it's harsher sound and Andreas Hirtreiter's wonderful tenor voice as the soloist, and another favorite of mine "Selig" with it's over eight minutes of danceable and beautiful grace.  These tracks are just the danceable highlights.  I haven't even mentioned the neo-classical influenced tracks such as "Les habitants du soleil" with the graceful beauty expressed through the music and Sabine's vocals.

The entire album is dedicated to the victims of the Kursk tragedy (the Russian submarine that sank, killing all aboard).  But specifically, the first track and track 13 have speech fragments from Vladimir Putin and a mourning mother.

I give this album a perfect rating and very highly recommend it to anyone that may enjoy this mix of medieval and electronic music.  Go out and track it down!  It's definitely worth it!

Website: www.helium-vola.de
Label: Chrom Records - www.chrom.de

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