Reviewed by Mike Rimmer
It could be argued that this album is the culmination of Michael Pritzl's entire recording career, the magnus opus he was born to make. I wouldn't disagree with that idea. Over a career which dates back to the band's beginnings in 1990, he and his band have ploughed their own furrow to make some of the most evocative music of the era. Often commercially uncompromising and let's admit it, sometimes difficult to get into, the latest release from The Violet Burning is the daddy of them all. Spread over three discs and 44 songs, 'The Story Of Our Lives' is just that, a journey which takes the listener through both external and internal conflicts. The first disc 'The Fantastic Machines' looks at the evil influences of modern socio-political situations and the damage they do to our souls. The main protagonist, Brother, only speaks in advertising lingo and weaves his influence around our hearts without us even knowing. Pritzl is making observations and you can hear the distant sound of alarm bells ringing in this Orwellian view of the world. It's not the future, it's here, now. The second and third discs, 'Black As Death' and 'Liebe Uber Alles', show the conflicts of darkness and light in the heart of every living person and take us through that journey. But don't worry, this dystopian journey has echoes of a happy ending which reminded me of Pilgrim in Bunyan's classic finally reaching the city at the end of his destination. Musically, this is the band's finest work yet, not surprising when you consider they took three years to complete it. The third disc is probably closest to the familiar sound of the band but the joys of discs one and two is that you get to hear some fresh creativity and sounds as the band stretch themselves. The project is packaged like a book and comes complete with lots of thought provoking illustrations. A definite candidate for Album Of The Year. If you've ever liked anything the band have done before, it's worth saving your pennies and buying this epic. You won't be disappointed!
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