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(57 min, Unicorn)
TRACK LIST: 1. Garden of Immolation 7:20 2. Infernal Desire Machine 4:58 3. Moontown 7:20 4. Windows 11:21 5. Eden's Flow 4:58 6. The Red Path 8:43 7. Opium 12:56 PERSONNEL: Joe Kopecky - guitar William Kopecky - bass Paul Kopecky - drums
Prolusion. "Blood" is the fourth studio album by the widely known American trio KOPECKY, following their eponymous debut outing (1997), "Serpentine Kaleidoscope" (2000), "Orion" (2001, which is a live recording) and "Sunset Gun" (2003). That being said, all their discs were released via different labels, "Blood" being their first for Unicorn Records. Hopefully not last, unless the brothers intend to never betray the tradition:-). Finally to the CD artwork: it's done in full accordance with its title and is both artless and quite repellent.
Analysis. Unlike the previous Kopecky offering which features keyboards and sitar, there are no additional instruments (acoustic guitar included) on "Blood", the number of overdubs having declined in general. Even guitar synthesizer is used relatively rarely. In short, the group appears as a traditional guitar trio this time around. Sure, this matter isn't a big deal in itself since it affects only the saturation of the sound, and personally I don't feel uncomfortable knowing that the sonic palette of the brothers' new brainchild isn't too polychromatic. What seems to be much more significant to me is that their creative resources aren't still drained and that they are full of ambitions as usual, having retained all the hallmarks of their trademark performance style - well, in most cases. The biggest surprise awaited me on the first two pieces, Garden of Immolation and Infernal Desire Machine, after listening to which I thought "There is really no limit to this trio's resourcefulness". What lies in the foundation of both is classic Doom Metal referring directly to the style's founders, Black Sabbath. However, Kopecky devised a totally new approach to the matter, having raised it to the power of a boundless progressiveness. The relative slowness of this music will never afford you ground for finding it to be light. Quite the contrary, it is more intricate and sophisticated than most of Prog-Metal's traditional manifestations, and any experienced listener will instantly catch this substance. Kopecky are famed for their thorough technical mastery (and they still shine with it here - just on a more subtle level), so they could easily keep to the beaten track and play fast, but instead, they have crafted something really unique within the genre. Sadly, they didn't apply that successfully found formula throughout the album. I don't mean all the other tracks are less sophisticated than the first two, but they are somewhat poorer in innovative decisions - that is for sure in any case - even regarding Moontown and The Red Path, which continue the line of highlights and are excellent as well. Stylistically, these are the most diverse, combining moderately intense arrangements somewhere between 'guitar' Art-Rock and academic Prog-Metal with either those irresistibly spectacular maneuvers that are peculiar to the first two described pieces or atmospheric Space Rock landscapes. After hearing Eden's Flow I had mentally changed the outing's title to "Cold Blood". This is a diverse, dynamically developing composition, the brothers still accomplishing their technical values, and yet they sound rather mathematical here. In short, this is the only 'bloody' track on which they could never rise above the orthodox Rush pabulum. A similar, yet this time out, Rush-stylized music rules during the first third of the first long track Windows, whose consequent events represent quite predictable, but still original and interesting Space Rock. Unfortunately, I can't find any positive words for the remaining piece. The 13-minute Opium concludes the recording finding the trio carrying out 'space' explorations, which may seem to be deep only upon a superficial listening, and while the first half of the piece displays some lack of ideas, the remainder just a complete absence of such.
Conclusion. Having included the said makeweight into the CD, Kopecky have increased its playing time from 44 to 57 minutes, but for what? Nonetheless, their new effort is a satisfying listen on many levels, four of the seven compositions being excellent. Recommended.
VM: Agst 11, 2006
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