Review Summary: Citadels tosses the rose over the grave of modern rock music, and revives classical romanticism into a fantasy world between neo-Victorian and Orwellian dystopia. Who is Galt Aureus?4 of 4 thought this review was well written
Citadels is a well-arranged musical and conceptual rock symphony ranging from a plethora of emotional and sophisticated depth, which rises to heights perhaps only dreamed of by Dubai's sandcastles. The historical themes inherent in the album stand on their own without steering away or distracting from the plot, which put it in a unique and ironic retro-future-classical-literary background that has yet to be heard from any other rock band of it's time. It is an album that embraces the individuality of it's own sound. This rare quality of music sets in motion the story about one man - an individual -- set against a nation, or the world. The two expressions of individualism (the one musically, and the other conceptually), is the perfect marriage of a single concept explored in a multitude of ways.
The radical theme and musical approach seem to draw upon notable influences that extend towards an array of literary and classical artists such as Sergei Rachmaninoff, Chopin, Ayn Rand, Nietzsche, and Oscar Wilde. The streak of romanticism that runs across the album merits an accomplishment rarely ever produced by a rock band. The setting takes the listener to a fictional time and place in history, which seems to be a neo-Victorian metropolis of the future, if one considers the cover art seriously. Thematically too, this is consistent, with lyrics pointing to literary and historical events such as Greek Mythology, duels in early America, and the Spanish Armada. These cases of political and socially driven angst are magnificently flip-flopped to the imaginary perspective of an individual, which the listener is able to appreciate with a “what” if…” feeling. It can be looked upon as an allegory for radical political individualism of modern-times.
The sound of Citadels captures the mood of valiance and a relentless optimism that assures the listener that even at the sword of defeat, everything will soon be mended. The sound changes, appropriately, from victory ballads to sweet sonatas to a vicious orchestral tempest which ends in the feathers of a nocturne. The arrangement is purely rock and pop, but embodies a symbiosis of sound that does the job well to further suggest an independent body of work. The voice of Galt, Saher, has the quality of a determined spirit, who is reserved at times, other times furiously unrepentant, and has always the listener wrapped around his thumb. His partner in crime, Susan, completes the set with a transparent vocal appearance on some tracks, who fades in and out like a ghost, and adds bass and guitar to put an aura behind Saher’s vocal façade.
“Independence” is a stressed word for duo Galt Aureus, whom independently write, record, and market their music. Citadels can clearly be marked as a wholly individual entity with the stack of themes, music, and production all orbited around the concept of individualism. …One may find oneself asking: “Who is Galt Aureus?”