The electro-goth side project from Exponentia man Ludovic Dhenry, Zauber sees the French composer delve into more familiar territories. Working with more atmospheric synthesized sounds rather than the orchestral ones favoured by his main project, Zauber presents a deeper and more accessible side to Dhenry's grandiose compositions.
With a leaning more towards a dark and ambient palette 'Engel' doesn't suffer from the low quality that plagued previous Exponentia releases. The strings, choral vocals, and pianos all sound correct here and not so blatantly out of place. Throw in some dance beats and throbbing bass and the end result is like a prototype of BlutEngel, with out the pomp and polish. With songs such as 'Ewigkeit', 'Sturm', 'Überleben', 'Notschrei' and 'Heilige Ort' personify the best of the album's cuts with their symphonic atmospherics and steady dance footing.
However there is still an issue with the songs. It is still more accessible than the Exponentia albums, but it does still sound rather outdated in a fair few places and has a noticeably basic production style that sounds like a throwback to an early 90s demo. The mix, and mastering need work and the synths could do with updating to bring it into the 21st century.
On the whole though there are some genuinely enjoyable moments and real potential to turn this isnto a genuinely interesting project. But at the moment it just doesn't have the level of refinement to compete on a dancefloor. It would be interesting to see what would happen if Dhenry were to bring in a couple of outsiders to add their take to his compositions and add some more technical wizardry.