"The Outer Planes", the debut of A Cosmic Trail, the instrumental project of Lanfear guitarist Markus Ullrich, was one of the big surprises of 2010. Meanwhile Ullrich has strengthened the band with the extremely versatile 7for4 drummer Klaus Engl and now presents "II: Mistral", the "Outer Planes" successor for discussion, which was similarly lovingly conceived. But, and this is the big crux of "II: Mistral", the great atmospheric density of the debut is unfortunately far too rarely achieved here. The opener "Calm" has even become a petty total failure. "II: Mistral" may have become more versatile, but Ullrich's songwriting doesn't always get to the point this time (maybe that's why). Of course, there are still some wide-screen highlights: "Cromlech", for example, develops ingeniously and, together with "In Ertia" and "A Ghostly Whisper", forms the album's big exclamation points. Also to emphasize are the wonderful organic production and the dark pessimistic artwork, which only unfolds its magic in the fold-over vinyl version.
Top track: Cromlech