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TRACK LIST: 1. The Mead 6:31 2. Steam Machine & Christmas Cake 5:33 3. Igor the Hairdresser & Twenty Aliens 5:47 4. iX 4:45 5. Socks Dressed Lover 6:04 6. We Don't Give on Score 8:22 7. Rings of Highland 4:39 All tracks: by Ako Doma. LINE-UP: Jozef Stafanatny - guitar; guitar synth Miroslav Fedor - bass; programming Peter Ondreas - drums With: Lubos Tomascik - piano (on 2) Produced by Ako Doma. Engineered & mastered by T. Meloni.
Prolusion. "Aliens Are Good for Sale" is the third album by AKO DOMA, a trio from Slovakia, and is their second for the Italian label Lizard Records. The band's previous albums are "Ako Doma" (1999) and "52" (2001).
Synopsis. Being a lover of Prog almost from the cradle and as a former citizen of USSR, which, as you know, was part of the so-called East European Coalition, I assure you that I am very well familiar with the East European Rock music. I always considered Czechoslovakia the most 'progressive' country in the region and I know that both Czech and Slovak republics are still very rich in progressive talent, although the creation of many artists of the genre in these states remains quite obscure for the international listener. At least partly, it's due to the fact that the music industry in both republics is still under the government control (monopoly?). Well, Ako Doma's "Aliens Are Good for Sale" is a striking example of the liveliness and productiveness of Slovak Progressive. This album is a feast for the ears of lovers of a harsh guitar Art-Rock, such as that by classic Rush, for instance. Don't worry though! Any comparisons between Ako Doma and any other outfit ever existed in the history of Rock would be just pointless, wrong, and inadequate. The band performs an exceptionally original music, which, besides, is of a highest progressive quality. There is only one track on the album, which sounds more or less prosaic after being compared with the other compositions. Like all of them, Socks Dressed Lover (5) is also notable for almost constantly developing arrangements, but they flow here without sudden changes of musical direction, etc. Also, this is the only track here, on which Jozef Stafanatny doesn't use a guitar synthesizer or such guitar pedals as Distortion and Overdrive, so the music is a pure and rather smooth guitar Art-Rock. The fourth piece, iX, is somewhat a showcase for Jozef, as there no parts of any instruments save those of guitar. This is an outstanding composition. It consists of several direct and overdubbed guitar solos and is amazingly intricate despite the fact that all of them are exclusively slow. Steam Machine & Christmas Cake (2) features a guest pianist, and being generally rich in keyboard and keyboard-like sounds, represents a fusion of symphonic and guitar Art-Rock. Here, and also on the remaining tracks: The Mead, Igor the Hairdresser & Twenty Aliens, We Don't Give on Score, and Rings of Highland (1, 3, 6, & 7), the music is highly diverse, intricate, and eclectic and needs many listens to be comprehended. A unique combination of guitar Art-Rock and Prog-Metal is in the basis of each of these four, though the first of them has also something to do with Avant-garde music, and the latter is filled with flavors of Slovak folk music.
Conclusion. Ako Doma is definitely one of the strongest Slovak bands, though apart from Fermata, there are probably no other outfits in this country that would be on par with them. The album consists almost exclusively of masterpieces, while the first and the last compositions on it are among the biggest gems in the crown of contemporary East European Progressive. Highly recommended.
VM: April 21, 2004
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