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(47:01, Metal Mind Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. King of Isolation 3:50 2. Sky Full of Dreams 4:31 3. Still Want to Prevaricate? 3:05 4. Lies 5:34 5. Dance with Confidence 1:11 6. I'm Not Afraid 5:46 7. Losing Breath 5:00 8. Restive Lull 5:41 9. Haters 4:31 10. No One Left to Blame 7:52 LINEUP: Marek Majewski vocals Lukasz Lisiak bass Jan Mitoraj guitars Rafal Paluszek keyboards Marek Romanowski drums With: Agnieszka Sawicka violin Jakub Kowalski violin Anna Krzyzak viola Wojciech Skora cello
Prolusion. The Polish band OSADA VIDA is closing in on a 20-year long history as a band, and for the greater part of their career they established a reputation as a talented and promising progressive metal oriented outfit. The last few years have seen the band change however, both in terms of personnel and line-up. This is a transition that continues on their seventh studio album "The After Effect", which was released by the Polish label Metal Mind Productions in 2014.
Analysis. It's always interesting to be able to follow a band that is in what one might describe as a period of transition, of development or perhaps even metamorphosis. All bands will seek to develop of course, and while one can give good arguments as to why fine-tuning a specific approach and style can produce a world of good ultimately, it is those who also develop in musical style and in their overall approach who often turn out to be the most interesting artists. "The After Effect" kicks off with a stunning, energetic opening song called King of Isolation, a vibrant romp through what one might describe as a grunge-oriented composition, tight and controlled on all levels, alternating between firm riff-driven passages and tight acoustic ones at that. The excellent use of acoustic guitar, piano and keyboards is one of the many elements that elevate this song into something greater than the sum of its parts. Careful guitar, piano and keyboard interactions, alongside brilliantly controlled lead vocals, are key elements for much of what is to follow. Progressive rock fans can rest assured that the band still knows how to employ thematic developments and alterations in themes, arrangements and intensity, but the compositions appear to have been given a less is more general treatment, highlighting one or two individual details rather than opting for the more complex, layered arrangements, resulting in songs that are ultimately more accessible, yet without loosing touch with the sophisticated elements a progressive rock-oriented crowd usually is looking for. That Osada Vida as of 2014 fairly often adds a jazzy undertone to their material will probably be regarded as a positive element by most too, with wandering piano motifs and some characteristic bass lines the main providers of that dimension. On select occasions a string quartets talents are applied as well, adding depth to the material. Otherwise one might describe the greater share of the songs as compositions alternating between and blending acoustic and electric progressive rock I guess, with jazz-oriented flavors the most prominent additional spice. The two concluding tracks come across as creations that look a bit more back in time, where the aforementioned elements are given additional seasoning by way of some classic guitar riffs and keyboards dominated progressive metal sections, demonstrating that the band is able and willing to explore material of this kind too, with the tight and vibrant Haters the one that came across as most compelling for me, perhaps due to a certain fascination for dark, grimy guitar motifs, paired off with keyboard textures in majestic arrangements.
Conclusion. Osada Vida as of 2014 is a band that is quickly transforming into an adventurous, well developed band that is willing and able to cover a multitude of stylistic ground within and arguably at times outside of the progressive rock universe as well. Their blend of acoustic and electric instrumentation in a progressive rock context is easy to enjoy, compelling, well developed and sophisticated, the inclusions of jazz-oriented sequences functioning at least, as well as their inclusion of progressive metal related details. A strong production by a skilled band exploring a distinctly contemporary and well developed variety of progressive rock.
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