Astounding. Heartbreakingly precise. Epic. Surreal. Distantly familiar. All these adjectives could be used to describe what Qntal's latest work is to me. I'll up it a bit by calling it this: serene perfection combined with flawless attention to every last detail.
"Ozymandias" is the fourth release from Germany's Qntal. Building on the promise of their last work, 2003's "III Tristan und Isolde", the band adds further electronics to their classical sound. Their vocalist Syrah has one of the best voices operating in the world today. Programmer/guitarist Fil contributes a rhythmic pulse to the band, which was hinted at on their stand-alone single "Nihil".
The true star of this musical company, however, is Michael Popp. A multi-talented composer and arranger who has mastered so many ancient instruments it would bewilder you; his ejection from Deine Lakaien remains one of the greatest injustices I've come across. His ability to shift from doing vocals to playing (on this release): Fidel, Saz, Ud and Tar is something you have never been privy to before.
Qntal is the more accessible of his two projects. The other, a classical collective called Estampie have released several albums and are the real deal. A full ensemble of musicians who preserve the works of past masters whilst putting their own stamp (sic) on it.
With "Ozymandias" you can see the three Qntal members shining their brightest yet. They have found their unique approach and most importantly of all, their chemistry as artists is quite potent. Check out track eight, the melodic and fiery "Flamma" for a start. It's quite strange to me that they became interesting only after Ernst Horn left. Their first two albums left me cold. I expect great things from Qntal in the future and so should you.