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TRACK LIST: 1. Minute Before the Crash 1:49 2. Infernal Genesis 5:44 3. Unbalanced Conclusion 6:20 4. Musical Snobbery 9:25 5. Nereus 5:01 6. Shoe on the Head 1:23 7. Why I Do, What Iím Going 5:23 8. Escalation of Idiocy 5:39 9. Sceleton Without the Skull 4:39 10. Spider or Kangaroo 6:17 11. Vegetarian With Hunting Rifle 3:48 LINEUP: Konstantin Jambazov - all instruments
Prolusion. Bulgarian composer and musician Konstantin JAMBAZOV isn't an artist I've ever encountered previous to this, but it would appear that he has quite the career behind him with tenures in multiple bands and a vast array of solo albums. To my knowledge "Matter in the Nothingness" is the most recent of these, and was released by Japanese label Orphictone.
Analysis. While Jambazov isn't an artist that appears to come with a strong name recognition outside of his home nation, it doesn't take all that long to hear that this is a seasoned and skilled artist. That he handles all the instruments himself isn't as much of a novelty feature as it was a couple of decades back of course, but the level of quality in all departments of this truly self-made production is one that place him among the better quality of artists of the one man band variety. The drums may be a tad too one-dimensional at times and the mix and production doesn't have that smooth, polished swagger that many are accustomed to these days, but there's really nothing lacking here either. It is a different approach to a much greater extent than a question of quality as I experience this production, and in my opinion a word like honest does come to mind as well. In terms of style, instrumental progressive metal is the name of the game here, liberally flavored with guitar hero antics. Those who are fond of listening to guitars and keyboards alternating solo runs and shred-oriented passages will find plenty to enjoy on this album, but while a dominant and recurring feature this album is rather more demanding production than a mere showcase of technical abilities, and made with a higher level of sophistication too. The compositions tend to be fairly quirky and well developed affairs, often with a high number of alterations in pace and intensity that gives the material something of a chaotic edge due to this structural detail alone. As the songs tend to hover around the more intense parts of the progressive metal universe, this is a production that on those details alone will demand a lot from the listener. The most common and recurring arrangement will typically consist of dark toned, heavy and subtly gnarly guitar riffs paired off against lighter toned shrill keyboards or the more smooth textures from the organ, with successions of alternating solo runs placed on top ranging from melody and harmony based excursions on one hand to intense shred-oriented displays on the other. And then there's the case of the additional flavoring brought to this stew. Most of the material here will feature one or more prologues or interludes of a gentler variety, with wandering classical music oriented or jazz oriented piano motifs being one such variation, plucked guitar sequences again with references to either classical music or jazz as another, as well as keyboard arrangements with a distinct nod towards classical symphonic music. Some or more aspects of these variations will also find their way into the more purebred metal dominated parts of the compositions, creating some rather quirky and challenging soundscapes to wrap your brain around in those instances. That Jambazov also appears to have a soft spot for including subtly chaotic and dissonant details into his more powerful arrangements doesn't make this album any less demanding either. If this is a good thing or not will depend on the ear of the beholder, so to speak, but these details does emphasize the progressive nature of this material and that Jambazov as an artist represent much more than a guitarist merely out to flaunt his skills. That the number of keyboard driven solo passages just about equals the number of guitar driven solo runs is another tidbit of fact that indicates that this is a musician with a broader view of the music he creates than all the axemen creating instrumental guitar based and guitar driven metal solo albums that are out there.
Conclusion. "Matter in the Nothingness" is the tenth solo album by Konstantin Jambazov, and he reveals himself as quite the quirky and sophisticated purveyor of instrumental progressive metal on this album. With half a foot inside the guitar hero solo album approach and a foot and a half securely placed inside a demanding and sophisticated part of the progressive metal universe, this is an artist that warrants a check by those who are fans of both those types of artists, and then in particular if the inclusion of jazz and classical music oriented passages into such a context is seen as a positive feature.
Progmessor: August 27, 2017
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