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(45:55, Gonzo Multimedia / Galileo Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Tower of Babel 10:41 2. Accidental Love 5:47 3. On the Powerful Waves 2:34 4. Cold Heaven 5:38 5. World’s Still Tragic 7:13 6. Slave of Solitude 5:58 7. Red Room Blue 3:24 8. Babel 4:29 LINEUP: Jim Aviva – vocals; keyboards Eric Rauty – guitars, bass Alexx – drums
Prolusion. MY NAME IS JANET is an international project-trio led by Jim Aviva – which is yet another pseudonym of Russian keyboardist (multi-instrumentalist actually), singer and composer Dmitry ‘Aviva’ Lukianenko, formerly of Aviva and Aviva Omnibus. The 46-minute “Red Room Blur” is the outfit’s first release, comprised of eight tracks. Does anyone know what the man’s main nickname mean? I don’t, albeit I’m also a Russian.
Analysis. This is a rather strange album, especially bearing in mind that its primary songwriter, Jim :-), is a classically trained musician-pianist, whose previous work only concerns Symphonic Progressive and Classical music. Instead of the previous intricately layered keyboards we now have a rock guitar-dominated sound, with keyboards much less often playing first fiddle than ever before, filling a secondary role almost throughout Tower of Babel and World’s Still Tragic alike. (The longest tracks on the record, they form two fifths of its contents.) Most of the music is in both cases built around chugging doom-metallish riffs, which are altered with a lighter guitar upon a more synth background, from time to time starting up metal and symphonic simultaneously. There are some keyboard, synthesizer and piano-laden, arrangements too; however, normally slow-paced, they aren’t too impressive, being simpler than most of the heavier ones. Besides, unlike the latter, which are normally accompanied by real singing, they’re often marred by a narration, the remark being relevant to a few of the other tracks. Although less dense structurally, appearing as a hybrid of traditional heavy metal, alternative rock and electronic-symphonic arrangements, Red Room Blue and Babel are both in many ways similar to the above two songs, vocally also embracing conventional rock singing, something more monotonous – without a vivid melodic message – in delivery and, hmm, a narration. One may say that Accidental Love and On the Powerful Waves (which never shifts in pace, BTW) find the trio trying to experiment with a more unusual atmosphere, whereas to my mind, they’ve just sacrificed Heavy Metal to rap in both cases. Much of the time the pieces live on the mean, dull recitative plain no one self-respecting rock band would dare be so bold, so devoid of sense, as to ‘sing’ so. To say that these chanted, rap-like vocals grate upon the ears is to say almost nothing. Hey Aviva, wanna make your music more fashionable? Still recalling Body Count and their remote glory? But they’ve already gone out of fashion along with rap itself. After all, English isn’t your first language, you know? It would be wrong to say that the album goes downhill from there, especially since I’ve already described some of the subsequent tracks. Anyhow, the remaining two songs, Cold Heaven and Slave of Solitude, aren’t my cup of tea either, both pretty sugary ballads with some metallic overtones, the latter influenced by Queen.
Conclusion. Compared to any of Aviva’s previous releases, this one comes across as a poor experiment, a failed attempt to unite Sympho-Prog with musical stylings that were fashionable in former times – be it rap or e-music, Alternative or Heavy Metal. Gone are intricate arrangements and a truly progressive musical evolution. Instead, the man leans more toward a pop-metal approach, with melodic hooks aplenty and somewhat cliched lyrics, often referring to the Bible.
VM=Vitaly Menshikov: September 13, 2012
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