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(55 min, Galileo / Progrock)
TRACK LIST: 1. What is Love 7:19 2. Needles in My Brain 5:18 3. Liar 6:57 4. Pain 5:14 5. Seven Days 6:09 6. Coming Down 6:04 7. Don't Tell Me 5:29 8. Hope to See Another Day 12:11 LINEUP: Marek Gil - guitars Tomek Rozycki - vocals; guitars Adam Milosz - keyboards Vlodi Tafel - drums Przemek Zawadski - bass Satomi - violin
Prolusion. BELIVE, the new band of Polish guitarist and composer Marek Gil (known to many as one of the primary songsmiths for Collage), present their first release "Hope to See Another Day".
Analysis. Already from the first several movements on the album, it becomes clear that Marek (who penned all the music for it) moved to conquer new musical areas under the banner of Believe, thus proving he is not one to rest on the laurels of his previous achievements, but is a many-sided artist, successfully distancing himself from his creative past and any busy musical roads in general. I am asking you dear readers to consider these remarks, especially the latter, because, well, I have a desire to name some artists although I am fully aware that Believe don't have any direct benefactors. First however, I'll touch on the album's general characteristics. This is fruitful material, abundant in clever decisions and free of any flaws. All eight of the tracks are of a moderate complexity and come with an approximately equal amount of vocal and instrumental sections, but the arrangements are never straightforward, and certainly, I mean above all those evolving alongside the vocals. What's most significant is that the notorious magic has found each of them an appropriate place to exist. The first song, What is Love, is a smashing masterwork of heavy Symphonic Progressive with a marked energetic drive. Most of the basis is made up of a powerful rhythm section and heavy guitar riffs, often in combination with blazing synthesizer chords. The soloing roles are equally distributed between (another, Marek's, lead) electric guitar, violin and piano, which either follow one another or, which happens much more often, merge into one ecstatic dance, thus bringing about a majestic polyphony. There are some islands of calmness in this turbulent sea of unrestrained energy built mainly by the piano, bass and violin, and although brief, such episodes are an essential part of this progressive kaleidoscope, both aptly and effectively diversifying it. Figuratively speaking, the picture most typical of the "Tasting to Destruction" or "The Big Picture" albums by former King Crimson violinist David Cross quite emphatically knocks the door of my associative thinking when I hear What is Love, in spite of the protest from the direction of my consciousness. (For those not in the know: it's quite heavy music and it has almost nothing in common with that of David's first band.) However, further events are even more unexpected. The next two songs, Needles in My Brain and Liar, and also Seven Days and the title track, appear to be slower, darker and heavier all at the same time, guitar-laden textures becoming prevalent, although the symphonic component hasn't suffered from these transformations in most cases. The atmosphere of mystery reigns far and wide, now pairing with hidden aggression, another time with melancholy, and only Tomek Rozycki's (spectacular, genuinely dramatic) singing still seems to be laid back from surrounding events, effectively contrasting with them on all possible levels. I see this music as a uniquely modified symphonic Doom Metal with a high IQ or, in other words, truly sophisticated. While much less depressive on the one hand and definitely much more progressive on the other, the instrumental canvases of Needles in My Brain, Liar and Seven Days still have something in common with those of My Dying Bride's classic "Turn Loose the Swans". The song Pain is located between the latter two, and the only notable distinction between it and its neighbors is the absence of pronouncedly heavy riffs. Nevertheless, it turns out to be enough to quite radically change the song's overall sound. Maybe, there is a suggestion of truth in the phrase "Landberk with violin" with reference to Pain. The remaining two numbers, Coming Down and Don't Tell Me, combine tendencies typical of the album's primary style with the textural peculiarities of the previously described piece, as well as some lighter motifs with acoustic guitar, violin and piano, plus lush string arrangements in places.
Conclusion. "Hope to See Another Day" by Believe is an ambitious, fresh-sounding recording which will receive an enthusiastic response in many progressive hearts. Those expecting something in the vein of Collage or traditional Art-Rock in general from this outfit are mistaken, but it does not matter. Most of them will not be disappointed with this CD anyway. For me personally, it's better than anything by Collage or their other, say, direct descendants, Satellite. Strongly recommended.
VM: May 17, 2006