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(52:07, MALS Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Intro 1:05 2. Infinite Approach 8:43 3. Postcard Notice 6:58 4. Lest They Forget 1:51 5. Lest They Forget 8:45 6. Runnn3-1 3:08 7. Runnn3-2 6:34 8. Jokes Aside-1 6:55 9. Jokes Aside-2 5:26 10. Jokes Aside-3 2:42 LINEUP: Dmitry Chernishev – guitars Igor Uporov – guitars K. Shtirlitz – drums Alexander Meshcheryakov – bass; keyboards With: Olga Mokhnacheva – cello
Prolusion. The Russian band INFRONT was formed back in 1999, initially after two kindred musical souls and planned a band formation and subsequent development next in line. In 2005 their debut album was issued by the Russian label RAIG, and in early 2011 their second disc, "Inescapable," was launched, this time through the Russian label MALS Records.
Analysis. In progressive rock, as in most other types of music, we deal with a limited set of general descriptions that tend to be rather cliched after a bit. Not because they are misleading as such, but because they represent certain archetypes in terms of stylistic expression or approach that are so commonly explored that a set of phrases tend to get used a lot to describe such endeavors. And while ardent readers might tire of seeing those, we use them because they give the right associations for most anyone. And in the case of this latest effort by InFront, the cliche in question is a constructed word, Robert Fripp-ian, which brings with it a rather wide set of associations. When specifying matters somewhat more, it's useful to know that this is an instrumental act, and that the guitar duo of Uporov and Chernisev is given rather free rein on these compositions. Quirky drum motifs and a nifty, melodic bass guitar craft a solid and sophisticated foundation for the proceedings, on which a plethora of different guitar arrangements are played out. More related to Fripp's subtly experimental endeavors of this kind than similar to them, however, and venturing into the same part of that musical universe, are the sounds and atmospheres found on King Crimson's albums from the early 80's and onwards: subtly atonal and lightly-twisted guitar motifs, frequently drawn-out and droning textures which are often contrasted by a darker-toned, compact riff pattern. But InFront also ventures into the realm of progressive metal; energetic riff constructions as a basis for lighter-toned, dream-laden floating guitar motifs are just as common as laid-back wandering guitar motifs supplying the stable part of such constructions. Partially harmonic dual-guitar layers are another aspect of the approach visited, and on a track like Postcard Notice calmer and more compact themes come and go in a setting that bears with it associations to Russian classical music too. Lest They Forget evolves towards a jazz-oriented excursion prior to its frantic, energetic end theme. These two exceptions aside, the majority of the compositions reside on the boundary between art rock and progressive metal, though, and close to the more challenging parts of either universe. Quirky, sophisticated and often highly challenging, there's a lot to like about this disc: from contrasting themes to contrasting motifs within a theme, the material frequently explores the borders of harmonic and disharmoinic, synchronous and asynchronous, avant-garde and easygoing. And contains generally well-made songs too, with the two-part Runnn3 as arguably the most interesting of the lot, the compact, pace-filled metal-oriented initial part being just as satisfying as the slower drones evolving to slow, metal-tinged construction with a massive sound tapestry in which drawn-out light notes and dark riffs contrast with each other beautifully, with a nifty cello motif lurking beneath.
Conclusion. If you like your instrumental progressive rock challenging and sophisticated, don't mind the odd progressive metal-oriented themes in between the Frippian art rock excursions, and you really enjoy music that is generally on the borderline of something or other, InFront is a band you should become more familiar with, in particular if you have a soft spot for refined, advanced instrumental music and the antics of those inspired by the likes of Robert Fripp.
OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: September 15, 2011
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