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(53:50, MALS Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Revelator 5:12 2. Warm Tuesday 3:57 3. Deadlock of the Deceiver 4:07 4. Painsadist Hit Version 3:25 5. Underfrog 7:09 6. Midwinter Tulips 2:08 7. La Combattimento Spirituale 6:29 8. Persecuted 10:14 9. Silver Melting 2:57 LINEUP: Ivan Rozmainsky keyboards, Hammond, percussion Vladimir Semenov-Tyan-Shansky bass Vladislav Korotkikh flutes, whistle Vladimir Efimov guitars Philip Semenov drums With: Artemy Sementsov flute, shakuhachi Fyodor Mozhzhevelov bassoon Ilya Rysin trumpet, flugelhorn Janna Kotsyuba viola Fedor Kirillov cello
Prolusion. The Russian ensemble ROZ VITALIS has been a going concern for just about a decade now. Initially the creative solo vehicle of composer and instrumentalist Ivan Rozmainsky, this project has slowly but surely grown into a band. "Revelator" is its most recent studio effort, and was issued by the Russian label MALS Records in late spring 2011.
Analysis. While reading up about this band, it was interesting to note how challenging it is to be creative and productive these days. "Revelator" is a production that had been more or less finished a year ago, and its creators have two more full-length studio efforts that still await release. So as this is their first studio effort to appear since 2007, it is not because there hasn't been any material to release, but because of limited possibilities to issue it. Musically Roz Vitalis has taken a few steps towards a more diverse expression this time around. Synths, keyboards and electronic effects mixed with acoustic instruments have, to my knowledge, have been cornerstones of their material all along, but on this latest production the electronic aspects of their sound are toned down ever so subtly, and a more distinct band expression emphasizing the individual instruments in general and the acoustic ones in particular appears to be a key development. For those familiar with their back catalogue in part or in whole it might be noted that the alteration is a subtle one, however; those who expect a dramatic change won't find it. But with 10 instrumentalists involved this time around, the width and scope of the compositions have expanded, naturally enough. Describing the compositions in a more detailed manner is a challenging task however. To my ears I would basically divide these creations into three subtly different categories. Opening title track Revelator and later on Deadlock of the Deceiver appear to be songs written with classical music in mind. Pieces that for me come across as compositions that might just as well have been performed by a classical orchestra, and perhaps even have been made partially for that purpose. But on this occasion they are performed on contemporary instruments, albeit liberally flavored with acoustic instruments adding depth and detail aplenty to the arrangements. Subtly different in flavor, we have the abridged version of Painsadist and, to some extent at least, La Combattimento Spirituale, where the dominant organ motifs take on a brooding, cinematic character that make me think of symphonic progressive rock of the kind certain Italian bands tend to craft. When that is said, the latter effort also has subtle traits of a more electronic character, which are also key facets of efforts like Underfrog and Persecuted. The latter two share a similarity in certain key elements with the material Isao Tomita crafted in the 70's and 80's, with a variety of electronic sounds and effects flavoring a musical landscape of a symphonic character, Roz Vitalis expanding the scope of this approach with rock instrumentation and acoustic instrument details. Confining these compositions into one box or other is a daunting task, while merely enjoying it is a much easier one. But to be able to get pleasure out of this production, you will need to be prepared for and generally enjoy compositions of a fairly innovative nature. This is solid material from start to finish, with challenging features aplenty but always with an emphasis on mood, atmosphere and melody.
Conclusion. Hard-to-define music inspired by classical music with a distinct symphonic character is what the listener is served on Roz Vitalis latest studio effort. "Revelator" isn't a production that shares too many characteristics with what most would describe as symphonic progressive rock, however; the band's blend of acoustic, electric and electronic instruments is an innovative and fairly challenging escapade into this universe, rather original too I might add. If you can imagine a blend of brooding symphonic Italian-style art rock and Isao Tomita, liberally flavored with a variety of acoustic instruments, you wouldn't be too far way from what this CD has to offer. If you think this sounds intriguing, I'm pretty sure that this is a CD you will treasure.
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