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TRACK LIST: 1. Remember 6:40 (Heininen) 2. Never Growing Old 6:09 (=) 3. First Flakes 2:46 (Niemela, Viitala) 4. Your Light 3:48 (Niemela) 5. Nordic Night 6:04 (Niemela, Heininen) 6. Enigmatic Elements 5:34 (=, =) 7. Real Mind 6:00 (Heininen, Aalto) 8. Rain On 7:45 (Heininen, Niemela) LINE-UP: Mikko Heininen - keyboards; 1st vocals Teemu Niemela - bass; 2nd vocals Kalle Aalto - drums & percussion Rauli Viitala - acoustic & electric guitars With: Risto Salmi - saxophones (on 3, 4, 7, & 8) Seppo Tyni - guitars (on 5) Produced by Heininen & Aalto. Engineered by J. Heikkila at "SGM".
Prolusion. "Enigmatic Elements" is the second album by the Finnish band Groovector. Their debut album, "Ultramarine", was released in 2000 (also through Mellow Records).
Synopsis. Groovector is a team of the musicians whose musical horizons are very broad. On "Enigmatic Elements", the band easily covers all three of the classic progressive genres, namely: Symphonic Art-Rock, including Symphonic Space Rock, Jazz-Fusion, and Prog-Metal. So stylistically, this album is more than merely diverse. Almost all of the contents of it are completely original and are just great. As for "almost", I am really surprised by the band's decision to include a couple of other themes in both of the 'boundary' tracks of the album, which would've been just brilliant without them. Closer to the end of Remember (1), there is quite a long instrumental part where, starting with very Gilmoresque solos of electric guitar, all the arrangements are heavily influenced by Pink Floyd. All the central themes, guitar riffs, and sax solos in the second half of the closing track of the album: Rain On (8) are borrowed from the song: Swinging the Chain from the "Never Say Die" album by Black Sabbath (1978). Now it's time to describe the album as a whole. The band's keyboard player and bassist (see line-up above) are the main soloing forces on "Enigmatic Elements". The music is mostly keyboard-driven, and the arsenal of keyboards used here is really large and includes varied synthesizers, organs, acoustic and electric pianos. Almost all of the tracks on the album contain soft and purely acoustic arrangements performed without drums and electric instruments. The alternation of the vocal-based and purely instrumental arrangements is typical only for the first two songs: Remember and Never Growing Old (1 & 2), while both of the others: Your Light and the album's title track (4 & 6) feature too few vocals to regard them as real songs (which, in my view, is always better than vice versa). The victorious stylistics of the album is in a manner double-headed and represents Symphonic Art-Space Rock. In a pure form, it can be found on both of the aforementioned Remember and Never Growing. Symphonic Art-Space Rock with elements of Jazz-Fusion is presented on Your Light (4), and with those of Prog-Metal on Nordic Night and Enigmatic Elements (5 & 6). The music on First Flakes (3) represents an acoustic Symphonic Art-Rock with elements of Jazz-Fusion. Real Mind (7) features the interplay between passages of electric piano and solos of sax and is about a pure Jazz-Fusion. These two, and also Nordic Night and Enigmatic Elements, are notable for constantly developing arrangements and are the most diverse and complex compositions on the album. The contents of the album's closing track: Rain On are especially heterogeneous: from Classic Jazz-Fusion through Jazz Rock to Prog-Metal with elements of Free Jazz. This is the only instrumental piece on the album featuring vocalizes: real jazzy vocalizes, to be precise.
Conclusion. Although there are no genuinely enigmatic elements on "Enigmatic Elements" (saying so, I above all imply Fifth Element), there are lots of amazing ones. And only the presence of the absence:) of any borrowings here doesn't allow me to rate this album as a masterpiece. In other words, there is practically nothing that would prevent me to highly recommend it to the music lovers from all three of Progressive's classic 'camps'.
PS: If you still haven't heard one of the best and most unique Prog-Metal albums, "Never Say Day", your progressive knowledge cannot be considered full-fledged. Hundreds of progressive outfits use the ideas of the Godfathers of Prog-Metal and the pioneers of Jazz-Metal, Black Sabbath. And yet, unlike many of their followers, no to mention lots of traditional Hard Rockers, this brilliant band still isn't recognized as progressive - anywhere but here, on ProgressoR.
VM: June 5, 2003
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