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(42:38, Sonus West Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Butterfly Needle 4:56 2. Symphonia 9:23 3. Thru the Trees 1:16 4. Cattlecar Galactica 6:07 5. Syncope 0:41 6. The Nexus 4:17 7. All Metal 4:11 8. Mor Guitar 1:57 9. Radio Halo 9:50 LINEUP: KC Thomsen – synthesizers, Hammond organ, piano Dave Thomas – drums; vocals Dan Sejd – guitars Tom Svanoe – bass
Prolusion. The US outfit PRAVDA (which means “Truth” in Russian) has been around since just after 2000, and issued their debut album "The Echoing Sound" in 2003. Since then they've had a few changes in line-up, issued their sophomore effort "Walking through Walls" in 2006 and, continuing what appears to be a three year cycle, their third outing "Monophobic" was issued in the late summer of 2009.
Analysis. Pravda is among those bands that have kept going for a number of years, churned out a few albums that have been met with acclaim by most reviewers who were sent their albums and generally been well accepted by the people who have discovered them as well. But by and large they are what many would describe as an obscure act, a band known by the select few only. Their chosen musical territory may be the reason why, as instrumental progressive rock in general never has been a style of music attaining the highest levels of popularity and visibility – especially not if the artist in question takes on rather eclectic musical explorations. But while fame and fortune may have eluded this act, no one can fault their artistic credibility. Expanding their sonic palette considerably from their previous effort, Pravda covers a wide range of styles this time around, always adventurous, constantly seeking out different flavors to add to their sonic palette. On Butterfly Needle and The Nexus, energetic riff and synth cascades lead the way in sophisticated hard rock efforts with metal tinges, while the third effort in the 4-5 minute range, All Metal, is somewhat more relaxed though still in a similar vein, with resemblances to Rush in terms of expression. The shorter, atmospheric numbers Thru the Trees, Syncope and Mor Guitar explore symphonic, classical guitar and percussion sounds in that order. The brilliantly named Cattlecar Galactica blends space-tinged atmospheres with some more down-to-earth blues and country-tinged flavors, while the remaining two efforts, Symphonia and Radio Halo, are longer constructions visiting several different styles of music: the former with an emphasis on classical music as far as compositional structure goes, the latter more of a free-flowing affair as far as build-up is concerned. While "Monophobic" is an eclectic recording, it seems that the band has been charmed by jazz and fusion to a greater extent now than three years ago. Jazz-tinged and fusion-inspired bass lines and guitar licks pop up frequently on this production, to the extent that I do wonder if this heralds a future change of direction for this band, or if it is purely coincidental. As of now it is but one of many expressions explored though, so while fusion fans shouldn't get their hopes up too high for this album, those who don't appreciate that style of music shouldn't have much to fear either.
Conclusion. Pravda is an adventurous band seeking out many different musical territories, and while they may not create the most groundbreaking, challenging music, their eclectic blend of different styles does cross borders many other acts leave well alone, albeit their excursions to various musical landscapes may not always result in a brilliant end. As far as albums go, "Monophobic" is a recording that should please the adventurous as well: Those who find it satisfying experiencing acts that like to take chances, and who usually truly enjoy CDs that can't be described as belonging to any particular genre.
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