When Covid gave a boost to Tobias Püschner playing behind the drums with German Technical Thrashers Revolt, he felt he had lost a vital part of his life. Always determined to adopt a positive position, he decided to develop his own solo project, and 2020 saw the birth of his group Symphonic Dark Metal Daidalos.
Daidalos – The Expedition (Rockshots / Extreme Metal Music)
Release date: July 29, 2022
Words: Jools Green
Originally, Daidalos’ idea was a modest project, a few songs to be composed on the piano and with Tobias accompanying himself on drums, but modest ideas often grow, like this one.
The inspiration came from a book he was reading, about the Franklin expedition through the Arctic ice. “The atmosphere on board,” Tobias says, “that feeling in the eternal ice, endless expanses of deadly cold, trapped in a small boat with only a few men, as the rations become less and less, but always without ever giving up hope of returning one day… fascinated me beyond belief.That’s when I had the idea to write a concept album.
After establishing the basic backbone of the music, Tobias freely shouted a lyric over it and sent the result to some good friends. “They all said I absolutely had to keep going,” he says, “so I decided to go all the way. I bought more suitable gear,” wrote The Expedition, and Daidalos was born.
For the recording of The Expedition, Tobias recruited guest musicians and friends Martin Simon (Kambrium) on bass/backing vocals, Fabio Rossi (Tryglav) on lead guitar, Francesco Petrelli on guitar and Noga Rotem on choir vocals , who will also support Daidalos on live concerts.
In the book, Captain Sir John Franklin set out with 129 men from England in 1845. The two ships, Erebus and Terror, became icebound and after being trapped and suffering from eternal cold for more than a year, the remaining sailors decided to abandon their ships. Trying to survive, they left for the Canadian mainland but disappeared and it is these emotions and elements that Tobias aims to express in The Expedition.
The Expedition is delivered as a musical journey through the Arctic ice. “The different moods that sailors must have experienced during this time probably ranged from heroism and enthusiasm to utter despair and daily deadly fear,” Tobias says. “I composed these atmospheres musically and told them as a concept album/musical story.”
The Expedition, a forty-seven-minute nine-song offering (plus a bonus track), opens with the title track, The Expedition and my first impression was just how powerful this album was destined to be. Raw blackened vocals and intense riffs are contrasted with symphonic, clean vocals that contrast and balance each other superbly. It exudes suspense and the atmosphere of the shift, I was immediately conquered.
The second track Icewind was the first song Tobias wrote for the album and begins to create the album’s concept story, the crew’s first contact with the adverse conditions of the voyage. A mixture of raw spoken and sung vocals develops an icy, ominous air to the music and ends with Noga Rotem’s own female choral work that not only adds a haunting and ominous element but, as Tobias explains, represents “a superstition nautical past”. , that a woman on board brings bad luck.
Sail Into The Stars is a hard-hitting and dramatic piece that begins to develop dark history, lyrically exploring how supplies become contaminated with lead from cans and how sailors suffered from lead poisoning as a result and afterwards. depression, hallucinations and suicidal thoughts. Often jumping overboard in glistening water until they die, with the intensity of the music, it takes on frantic proportions as the madness sets in, becoming calmer with a chorale ending, as those affected sink into their icy, watery grave.
On Stormwind, both ships are caught in a violent storm and it’s reflected in the way the sound changes from initially calm and reflective to something building quickly and frantically. The male coral stand adds the feel of the crew coming together and the piano adds a touch of ice.
Although it doesn’t sound like it, Married To The Sea is a love song, as close to Dark Metal as it gets, which, according to Tobias, is about “a sailor’s love for seafaring, the marriage between man and the sea. In this relationship, the sailor takes all the risks to conquer the sea, sacrificial, intoxicating and sometimes very dangerous – as is love.
Tobias also incorporates the wedding waltz into the sound. But don’t expect a sentimental ballad, it’s powerfully symphonic and punchy with the acid vocal delivery casting no false illusions, a very cleverly composed track.
The Empress, with its haunting openness and dramatic build and haunting melodic undercurrent, dark voice and second half drops to the piano, from which an impressive and startling explosion of guitar emerges halfway through. It also has an interesting lyrical twist. The empress represents cold death and eternal ice. “She is beautiful,” says Tobias, “immortal and enchants your senses. If you get involved with her, it’s fatal and you become one of her countless statues in the ice.
Poem In The Snow is based on the lyrics of the poem Once By The Pacific by Robert Frost and fits perfectly into the overall theme of this album. It has a powerful and dramatic build and ebb that will hold your interest. The lyrics deliver the concept of the poem’s author lying on the ice, dying and nearly frozen to death, carving a farewell greeting into the icy snow with his dying will. The piano work again adds an icy edge to the overall sound and I love the nautical-sounding vocals towards the end of the track.
The Northlight album finale is a powerfully symphonic and driving track with a stunning second-half solo. The track “is about dying sailors whose souls go to heaven towards the northern lights”, says Tobias, “as well as a song about friendship and the good old days, where you never know when they might be over”.
You also get a bonus track, My Melancholy, a haunting and powerful piece with reflective acoustic guitar and a piano opening. It is lyrically dark with an acid vocal delivery and contrasts with superbly melancholy violin work. A wonderfully captivating piece.
The Expedition is an extremely immersive and utterly fascinating listen, which will appeal to anyone who enjoys Dark/Blackened Symphonic Metal and is available for purchase at https://bit.ly/Daidalos_CD