Mystery Remains

Mystery Remains (12:57)
Get your Reward (8:59)
The Claws of Insanity (14:13)
Point of Ignition (12:33)
Tracing Experience (20:07)

The APOGEE album "Mystery Remains" was released in 2009 on Musea Records. On this album the drums and percussion were played by the former versus X drummer Uwe Völlmar and by the currant Versus-X drummer Thomas Reiner, all other instruments and vocals were peformed by myself. The compositions on this album make much use of complex harmonic structures to create mystical atmospheres. The titel track was inspired by a holiday trip to the south of England, where we found many ancient relics from stone-age civilisations made from granite rocks, like in Stonehenge. Such places create a strange atmosphere and a anticipation of ancient rituals which may have happened at these places thousands of years ago can still be felt somehow.


Some comments to the Apogee Album "Mystery Remains", released in 2009:

I just had to tell you how much I love the Mystery Remains album. I just finished listening to it for the 5th time. I think it is the best you made until now. I am no expert (just a Prog lover) but the strong melodies and especially the arrangements are top notch in my ears! I do think all your Apogee and versus X albums are really fine, but this one is almost perfect. I hope this will encourage you even more to make more wonderful music in the future.

(Ruud Gras, Eindhoven, Netherlands, 2010)

Die Musik bietet wieder alles, was das Progger-Herz begehrt: lange, in sich geschlossene Kompositionen, krumme Takte mit vielen Wechseln, atmosphärische sowie rockige Teile usw. Der Name Arne Schäfer bürgt für Qualität, egal ob bei versus X oder Apogee.

(Thomas Schüßler, Babyblaue Seiten, 2009)

Much has been made of Schaefer's similarity to Peter Hammill. I suppose if I was to try to find some well-known prog band to compare him to in order to get an idea of what he sounds like, this comparison will at least get you somewhere in the right galaxy. But to be honest, I don't really hear that much that reminds me of Hammill other than the overall gloomy tone. Musically, this is far more intricate and advanced. Lyrically, it's a bit closer, though I'm still trying to figure out if Schäfer is political, spiritual, left or right, or just a loonie. The way he uses and abuses the English language, it's hard to believe that English isn't his first language, and scratching my head about the intent of the lyrics is one of my favorite parts about these albums. But basically, they just sound like Schäfer, so the only band I can really compare him to is versus X, which isn't fair because that's his band.

Vitaly has spent many words (above) trying to describe Apogee, an effort which in my opinion is doomed to failure. And fail he does. I'll just say the music is complex, dark and largely vocal-oriented (though with great instrumentals too!) and deserves to be listened to by anyone interested in good prog. If you haven't heard at least one album by either Apogee or versus X, you need to, and either The Garden of Delights or Mystery Remains would make a fine introduction to a sound you'll want to hear more of. Totally exceptional.

(Fred Trafton, Gibraltar Encyclopedia of Progressive Rock, 2010)

As a musical monotheist in a way, Arne never set himself a task to create anything else outside his creed. On the other hand, such concepts as "demands of the time" or "fashion" are just beyond him, and the quality of his creative output remains stably high all over the years of the project’s existence. Rating 6 Stars - excellent.

(Vitaly Menshikov, Progressor, 2010)

All in all this is a highly enjoyable effort, and amongst the finest examples of the genre that was issued in 2009. Rating 6 Stars - excellent.

(Olav M. Bjornses, Progressor, 2010)

13th of 20 top albums in the 2009 chart

(The best of the bests by the eyes of Progressor)

With 4 out of 5 tracks that last 12-20 minutes and the remaining one lasting almost 9, this repertoire clearly aims at exploring the inherently ambitious melodic drive of symphonic progressive rock: so, all avid symphonic prog lovers everywhere should check and appreciate this very good effort by Apogee.

(Cesar Inca, Progarchives, 2009)

The VDGG/Hammill influence is immediately evident on the opening title track, which also gives up early Genesis as a commonality. Schäfer has an interesting singing voice not unlike that of IQ vocalist Peter Nicholls.

Elsewhere on the CD, we get some fine guitar/keyboard interplay, most notably on the Floydian Get Your Reward. On the cleverly titled The Claws Of Insanity, flute style keyboards over some acoustic guitar do not necessarily sound like a certain British band whose singer plays a flute and stands on one leg. Some piano style keyboards evoking Rick Wakeman show up in the somewhat militant Point Of Ignition.

The emphasis of instrumentation on the CD seems to lean more to keyboards and away from guitars, a good thing for all you keyboard lovers out there (myself included). Rating: 9.5 out of 10 Points.

(Jim Corcoran, Dutch Progressive Rock Pages, 2009)

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