In 2016 Fish declared that his next album would be his final and announced the title, ‘Weltschmerz’- the literal German translation of which is “world pain”. Little did he know at the time how prophetic that would be.
Writing didn’t begin in earnest until the end of that year, but a series of health and personal issues would hinder progress. Although there were recording sessions in 2018 it wasn’t until 2019 that the ‘Weltschmerz’ album moved full time into the studio. Fish had declared that his final album was going to be ‘an old-fashioned double album’ and by the end of 2019 he had enough songs to make it happen.
Steve Vantsis was again the principal co-writer and engineer but also became co producer with Calum Malcolm.
Drum position in the studio was taken over by Craig Blundell (Porcupine Tree, Steve Hackett) with Steve on bass and other multi-instruments, Foss Paterson and Liam Holmes on keyboards, and guitar shared between Robin Boult and John Mitchell (It Bites, Frost*, Lonely Robot). John would write the emotional ballad ‘Garden of Remembrance’ with Fish and contribute a couple of blinding solos on the epic, 16 minute long ‘Rose of Damascus’, one of the many key songs on the album, and on the powerful title track ‘Weltschmerz’ which was released as the second single in October 2021.
Foss and Robin were also again part of the writing team, both of them co-writing the poignant ‘C Song’ and Robin ‘the jaunty ‘This Party’s Over’ , and 2 other epics with Steve, ‘Waverley Steps’ on which he plays an outstanding guitar solo and the magnificent album opener ,’ Grace of God’.
The first single ‘Man with a Stick’ (written about Fish’s father who died in May 2016) was released in September 2018 as it was one of the 3 tracks recorded that were originally included on the ‘Parley with Angels’ EP. ‘Man with a Stick’ was voted single of the year by Planet Rock UK where it received substantial airplay.
The album was intended to be finished that year in time for the 2018 ‘Last Straw’ tour but writing sessions had been disrupted and the 2-month tour ate into the schedule.
‘Weltschmerz’ was finished recording in February 2020 for a release in July but with the onset of covid a decision was made to hold back the album until October when a European tour had been booked. This gave time to add the final finesse to the album and Calum Malcolm delivered a brilliantly mixed and mastered project that provided Fish with the finest reviews of his career.
The addition of real strings (elements of the Scottish Chamber orchestra), a brass section, saxophone solos on ‘Little Man What Now’ and ‘This Party’s Over’ by David Jackson (Van Der Graaf Generator) and backing vocals by Doris Brendel all add to the myriad of sound textures and dynamics of this album.
The reviews speak for themselves and being voted Critics album of the year and readers album of the year at Prog Magazine as well as runner up album of the year at Classic Rock in the UK says it all.
The standard version of ‘Weltschmerz’ comes as a 2 CD double album (84 Minutes) in a 3-panel digipak sleeve with a 16-page booklet containing lyrics and illustrations by Mark and Julie Wilkinson and others including Keith McIntyre (‘The Guddler’
1) Grace of God (Dick/Boult/Vantsis) 8.19
2) Man with a Stick (Dick/ Vantsis/Boult) 6.27
3) Walking on Eggshells (Dick/Vantsis) 7.18
4) This Party’s Over (Dick/Boult/Vantsis) 4.22
5) Rose of Damascus (Dick/Vantsis/Boult) 15.45
6) Garden of Remembrance (Dick/JC Mitchell) 6.07
7) C Song (The Trondheim Waltz) (Dick/Paterson/Boult) 4.41
8) Little Man What Now? (Dick/Vantsis/Boult) 10.54
9) Waverley Steps (End of The Line)
10) Weltschmerz (Dick/Vantsis) 6.51
produced by Calum Malcolm and Steve Vantsis
All tracks published by Fishy Music Ltd/Copyright control
except track 6 Fishy Music Ltd/Magick Eye Publishing