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Track List: 1. I Pay 5:16 2. Falling Down 4:01 3. She's Dancing Alone 4:38 4. If I Could 5:28 5. Bad Girl 4:08 6. Up Or Down 4:10 7. Memory 6:02 8. For Sale 5:30 9. Just Do It 3:23 10. Color of My Pain 5:50 All music & lyrics: by Igor Savitch. Line-up: Igor Savitch - vocals; guitars; keyboards Constantine Savitch - fretted bass Artemy Piyanzin - drums Recorded & mixed by I. Savitch at "RND" studio, Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Produced by Vitaly Menshikov. Mastered by Rick Ray at "Neurosis", Euclid, OH.
Prologue. Flight-09 are veterans of Uzbekistan's Rock scene and is the most popular Hard-Rock band in Tashkent (if not in the entire Republic). The band, formed by guitarist and composer Igor Savitch precisely twenty years ago, was a permanent participant of all the Rock* festivals ever held here. (*Saying so, I don't count several local and a few of the all-USSR and international festivals of Jazz and Jazz-related Music that had place in Uzbekistan as well.) During their 20-year activity, Flight-09 released a few official MC albums, all of which were done in the vein of a real Prog-Metal. "Rifflections" is their first Hard Rock album and the first international release as well. Having released this CD, "Neurosis Records", managed by the well-known guitarist Rick Ray, made a great present to the band on the twentieth anniversary of their activity. To be honest, I don't see any other of our local Hard Rock or Heavy Metal bands that would be worthy of it. Flight-09 are the only and true non-conformists among them, who did never betray Rock-&-Roll in favor of so 'fascinating' pop music.
The Album. As I've already implied, the music that Flight-09 presented on "Rifflections" is, on the whole, about a proto-progressive Hard Rock. However, to describe the album properly, I should divide its contents into parts. Five out of the ten songs that are featured here are clearly in the vein of the British-school Hard Rock: I Pay, Falling Down, If I Could, Up Or Down, and For Sale (tracks 1, 2, 4, 6, & 8). Apart from the band's original ideas, the traces of influence of the Scottish band Nazareth are noticeable on all of them but Falling Down (2), which will immediately remind you of Led Zeppelin. Nevertheless, along with I Pay (1), I find Falling Down a real masterwork of the genre and one of the best three tracks on the album in general. The heavy, energetic, and very tasteful riffs and solos of electric guitar, OK vocals (lyrics are in English), and the tight work of the rhythm section bring to the listener a healthy hypnotism, which is typical only for a real Classic Hard Rock. For Sale and If I could (tracks 8 & 4 respectively) are of the same stylistics as both of the album's opening tracks (that I've just described). However, while the first of them is excellent in its entirety, there is the only, although, a serious drawback on the latter. In short, the main refrain of If I Could is, in my view, very boring and monotonous, unlike all the other contents of the song, all of which are very good. Up Or Down (6) is another excellent Hard Rock song. Though, unlike the other songs of the same genre where keyboards were mostly used as a background for the riffing and soloing 'battles', Up Or Down features not only the heavy guitar riffs, etc, but also the lush passages of a virtual string ensemble and those of piano. Musically, She's Dancing Alone, Memory, and Color of My Pain (tracks 3, 7, & 10) are classic Hard Rock ballads where the instrumental arrangements are, in addition, greatly orchestrated. All three of these ballads are excellent and by all means, though Memory, which is notable for wonderful passages of acoustic guitar, is, IMHO, not only the best among them, but also one of the best three tracks on the album in general. Both of the remaining songs on "Rifflections": Bad Girl and Just Do It (5 & 9), are about a blend of a light Hard Rock that was, for example, typical for Nazareth in the first half of the 1980s and American Boogie. Both of these are more monotonous than any other track on the album, which, once again, is especially evident in the refrains where there are only the same and continuously repeated phrases: "Bad girl, bad girl" and "Just do it, yeah-yeah".
Summary. Here, I have to say at the outset that overall, I like any of the previous Flight-09 albums more than "Rifflections", which, from a progressive standpoint of view, is a major step backwards. Congratulating the band on their first international release and sharing their joy apropos of this, nevertheless, I wish them to return to their progressive roots as soon as possible (i.e. already on their next album). As for "Rifflections", I can recommend it only to the lovers of a traditional proto-progressive Hard Rock.
VM. October 30, 2002
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