Friday, April 30, 2010

Amaseffer - 2008 - Slaves for Life

It has been a while since I wanted to write a review for this newcomers' album called "Slaves For Life" released by Inside Out. Thus, the fact they engrossed this quality label, tells you a lot. So let's start.
Amaseffer comes from Hebrew word which could be convincted as "People of the Holy Book". Imagined to be presented as the trilogy which concept is based under exodus biblical story. What we've got here is the story of Moses and the Exodus from Egypt. Amaseffer served ten, highly produced perfectly performed, songs which will keep your attention "on" all the time during listening this album. History of Amaseffer dates back in 2004, when Erez Yohanan decided to devote himself to researching historical facts of the above mentioned events. Shortly, after few weeks Yuval Kramer joined Erez, on guitars and a year latter they have got another member, second guitarist Hanan Avramovich. There were spoken that Andy Kuntz (Vanden Plas) should take participation as a singer, but unfortunately after many delays, both sides decided that's better to move forward and push luck with some other singer. After so many auditioning, they finally found spark in Mats Leven, who worked with Krux, Therion, Yngwie Malmsteen and Fatal Force. His joining represented really good stroke, what can be heard on the album. The album has recruited excellent line up, which, beside the standard one, contains: Kobi Farhi (Orphaned Land), who did perfect job with oriental vocals, Angela Gossow (Arch Enemy), Yotam Avni who performed growl vocals, Maya Avraham, Amir Gvirtzman, which flutes give indescribable atmosphere to the album, Yatziv Caspi, Yair Yona. The album has been recorded on several locations, in Germany, Israel, Sweden. Mastering is done by Markus Teske.
After this introduction parts, I want to surrender myself to music and try express the emotions it takes. It's very hard to place Amaseffer under some specific subgenre, but the sense which occupied me during listening album is that like you are watching the movie which plot could be described through the lyrical concept of the album. Soundtrack's atmospehere is maybe most approximative to determination of Amaseffer's sound. Atmospheric and ambient lines give some special grace in this musical journey, and it's easy to notice that every second, every moment while you are listening the album will be astonishing for you, listeners. Ethnic/oriental parts are something what push your adrenaline, and this album concerns of them. Someone will tell that it became a cliche, but for the people who comes from country which culture is based under that, it can be accepted with certainty it's perfectly done. Now, while I'm listening the album, I'm hearing the notes of Kamelot's bombastic symphonic sound, Evergrey's "darkness", classical guitar work taken from the best of heavy metal, Opeth's acoustics, Therion's harmonies, Symphony X's aggressiveness... If you notice something more, feel free to add. I don't know what are the members' influences, but they collected all the quality and mix it up. The art they created will find its place and stay engraved on the walls of historical legacy, exactly on the way as the concept of this story is remembered. This holiness has place in the shrine of the past and following times. I don't want to interrupt the story album carries, by separating the highlights, it's absolutely inconceivable to do. Every track reffers to previous and following ones. There's nothing more to say, check this achievement out, it will "buy" you completely. I already know what?s my choice for the best album in 2008.

Comus - 1971 - First Utterance

It's always difficult to write reviews about the albums which came out over 30 years ago, just because of the fact that today we have absolutely overloaded market. And in such ocean of "chaos", I decide for a quite brave step of writing review for Comus' album "First Utterance", which has appeared in 1971. Seven served songs, mainly oriented as progressive rock with folk influences. Those what decorates "First Utterance" is the feeling of strangeness. Once you listen it, you will be covered with some kind of mystery wimple. A circus atmosphere, screams, vocal "contortions", violin tours, gracefully sounds of oboe and flute are just some of the elements which go over this release. Opening track, "Diana" has appeared as a single in 1971, and in fact all these elements I mentioned above are present in this song. I'd like to mention that Swedish band Opeth used the part from song lyrics as a title of the one song from their album "Ghost Reveries" ("The Baying of the Hounds):

And she knows by the sound of the baying, by the baying of the hounds

By lyrical side, this song deals with violence and ravishment.
Next track is "The Herald", and personally it's my favourite from the album. Starts very smoothly by acoustic passage with addition of admirably female vocals of Bobbie Watson and flute that makes you feel soaring. I would especially highlighted intermediate part of the song, which is fulfilled with amazing acoustic decompositions of Glenn Goring and Roger Wootton.
"Drip Drip" deals again with violence and musically it's a song inflated with energy, reanimated with vocal lines, with acoustic riffing and hand drums. Mikael Akerfeldt used the part of the sentence from the song for the title of the album "My Arms, Your Hearse":

As I carry you to your grave, my arms your hearse

Now we come to my next favourite from "First Utterance". A song called "Song to Comus". Echoic vocals, followed by screams, with flute all over which fits very well, the changes in the rhythm, from fast to low and backwards. I'd say - "complete" song. Lyrically this one beside violence, also deals with murder and rape.

Hymen hunter, hands of steel, crack you open and your red flesh peel. Pain procurer, eyes of fire pierce your womb and push still higher. Comus rape, Comus break sweet young virgin's virtue take. Naked flesh flowing hair her terror screams they cut the air.

"The Bite" shows "wildness" over vocal and instrumental lines, but the sound of flute crushes diversion by producing nice melodies and placing them in between.
"Bitten" comes as a continuation of "The Bite" and it's just an instrumental lane towards next song, consisted of a classical violin supported by harsh dark noise.
The last song on the album, "The Prisoner", is a verdict of the story called "First Utterance". With amazing acoustic guitar channel, this songs develops and justifies "progressive" destination. It's dynamic, "mobile" song which ends this album with frantic vocals. As a fan of Comus, I'm waiting eagerly to hear something new from their hands, regards of they reunited and announced new album for near future.

Comes the sunlight, summer day, Comus wakes, he starts to play, play, play, play, play, play, play...

It's.True.Mentality. - 2008 - Insomnia

Let me introduce these newcomers and represent them to wide audience. It's.True.Mentality comes from Poland. Founded in 2005, they distracted in 2007 and since then they work in standard line-up, consisted of: Andrzej Lebek on guitars, Grzegorz Haasa on drums, Anna Weyna on keyboards and Arkadiusz Doroszuk on bass. Their music can be qualified as variety of genres related to rock, but mainly they are characterized as progressive rock with heavier guitar sound. Until now, they've recorded "Insomnia", the album for which one I've got opportunity to write very first review for Prog Archives. At the beginning, I want to underline that this band is instrumental, without vocalist and I have to admit that I like this fact, just because their music is complete even without vocal fragments. Insomnia implies 5 songs, packed in almost a half of an hour of music, what's the biggest complaint related for this album. As someone who's impressed with Insomnia, I definitely ask for more music on this release, just because I've got an opinion that right when you're going to be ready for this album, it will eventuate. But, let's focus on these 5 served tracks, after all. Album starts with an intro, which begins with very interesting bass line, followed by nice drumming and kinda sepulchral riffing, what becomes larger and "alive" and at the end piano comes to the surface and with darkened decomposition fills the space. Those what remains as a question is, if intro is like this, then this album will hit you straight to the face and blow you away. The next song is called "Daily Nightmares", which comes with a bit of "funny" melodiousness at the very beginning and then develops to one of the main representatives from "Insomnia". There's evident the influence of progressive rock, especially speaking of keyboards. I really enjoy them and freely can say that instrumentation in this song is the range of Camel keyboards-sound. Middle part of the song is styled with beautiful guitar solo of Andrzej Lebek, and I have to praise also rhythm section, especially drums at the end of the song, which together with keyboards come to the first plan. Third song on the album is called "The Night is a Day". Starts with calm beginning, established by guitar decomposition, followed by rhythm section. The things which decorate this song is that 70ies progressive rock atmosphere, with very nice guitar lines and drumming, with Rhodes (?) piano which really takes my breath away. Personally, this is my favorite song on "Insomnia", and by the way it's the longest one, what's another reason why should this album be longer. Because the band fits very well with longer compositions and they should do more songs like this, definitely. Follows "Fear of a Sleep". A song with excellent beginning, accomplished with drums and wah-wah riffing. On the first listening of this song, I acquired an opinion that guitars are too "overlouded" and in front of the other instruments. But, I am glad that the song disallowed this statement of mine. Because, keyboards again. Seems like I am really obsessed with their sound. After "The Night is a Day", this song is the next joker. Finally, the last song on the album, called "Mistificated Paranoia". Abounded with dark and deep keyboards, you can really feel that mystification. It's nice to hear that bass overtakes and starts to "play" altogether with other instruments. Guitar solo is once again performed with the support of wah-wah. A lot of broken rhythms in the second half of the song, and keyboards solo are very remarkable, done into the manner of the best progressive rock bands. As I said at the beginning of this review, the biggest and the only complaint refers to the album duration. But, with my crossed fingers, I am sure that the band will have this on their mind, when the time for the succeeder comes. Polish scene has got another represent at the field of progressive, by having It's.True.Mentality. It's for sure. And now, I'm going to start this album again.

Welcome to Prog Sphere

Hello, folks. I'd like to present you Prog Sphere blog, a blog where you can read news, reviews, interviews, ect. from the world of progressive rock/metal, jazz, fusion, and its commons. This site will not be used for sharing download links, so please don't share links and do not ask for them. At least, the internet is nowadays wide enough to cover all your needs... Er... Well, mostly.
This would be my introducing words, and now, keep progging! See you soon.

Nick aka AstralliS