Quite apocalyptic sounding, stark and yet more broadly meaningful in places this quartet album from German trumpeter (and singer) Frederik Köster with his band die Verwandlung - ''the transformation'' - (pianist Sebastian Sternal, bassist Joscha Oetz, drumer Jonas Burgwinkel) is an earnest listen. Sternal's contribution particularly is very listenable to and certainly its modernistic serious atmosphere is also worth the time.
New to the band? Begin with 2020's more serene Golden Age.
The weak track on the new release is the doleful vocal 'Further in the Summer' a number that seemed an interruption in the run of tracks. But otherwise the rest of the often balladic instrumentals hang together fairly well. And yet the compositions could do with a greater variety of mood - 'Road Trip,' with a sort of Balkan rhythmic lilt to it, shows however that the band can be bravura exciting at a pinch as well as delve introspectively which tends to be their default emotion elsewhere. Köster is reminiscent a little of UK trumpeter Henry Spencer whose essential sound relates more to Anthem period Chief Xian aTunde Adjuah (Christian Scott), not so much the more multi-faceted Köster. Stufen (''Phases'') is out on 27 January.