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Satellite - 2007 - "Into the Night"

(51:43, Metalmind Records)


*****+
                 

TRACK LIST:                                 

1.  Into The Night 6:54 
2.  Dreams 13:30 
3.  Downtown Skyline 6:20 
4.  Lights 2:14 
5.  Don’t Walk Away In Silence 7:35 
6.  Heaven Can Wait 9:04 
7.  Forgiven & Forgotten 6:05

LINEUP:

Wojtek Szadkowski – drums, percussion
Krzysiek Palczewski – keyboards, organ
Sarhan Kubeisi – el. & ac. guitars
Robert Amirian – vocals
Jarek Michalski – bass 
                                           

Prolusion. SATELLITE is a Polish outfit led by drummer, composer and lyricist Wojtek Szadkowski and is Collage’s reincarnation (or seems so, at least to my comprehension). “Into the Night” is their third album, concluding a concept trilogy that began with “A Street between Sunrise & Sunset” in 2003 and that was followed by “Evening Games” two years later. One newcomer is featured on this release, Jarek Michalski, who replaced the band’s original bassist Przemek Zawadski.

Analysis. The first three of the seven tracks on this 52-minute disc, the title song, Dream and Downtown Skyline, quite strongly differ from all the subsequent ones, each often finding Satellite following almost strictly in the footsteps of some classic and neo progressive bands before them, not too frequently mixing their own original style with their influences, namely Genesis, Marillion (who are followers of Genesis), Arena (which, in turn, took Marillion as an example for their work), Pink Floyd (within instrumental sections, mainly due to Sarhan Kubeisi’s bluesy guitar solos which are reminiscent of David Gilmour’s) and finally Porcupine Tree, who’re famed primarily for their Pink Floyd-inspired creations. Into the Night is quite a comprehensive symphonic art-rock ballad. With the exception of two of its three instrumental interludes, both suggesting the last-named band, it echoes Undertow from Genesis’s “And Then There Were Three”, on all levels, but to a greater degree on the vocal one. As evinced on one of the best tracks here, Robert Amirian can sound like nobody else, though most often he showcases his capabilities to sing like Phil Collins, which he does on the title number as well as on a few of the other songs. On Downtown Skyline he reminds me of Ray Wilson, while Dream depicts his singing like a bit softer version of Fish, which comes as no surprise, since that epic is generally constructed in the manner of Solomon, from Arena’s “Songs from the Lion’s Cage”. I realize that the band’s approach on the first three tracks might appeal to probably every fan of Neo Symphonic Progressive, but personally I’m not the one to applaud Satellite when they sound like so many others working in that field, so I warmly greet the abrupt turn towards a much more adventurous and at the same time original sound that takes place right after the disc’s first half is ended. The atmospheric piano-laden instrumental, Lights, appears to be a kind of divide, separating conventional Neo from something much weightier (in all senses: think composition, arrangement, performance plus, well, Prog-Metal here and there), which moreover bears the stamp of a distinct personality. Well, it’s only on Heaven Can Wait where Amirian sings in a fully original way, otherwise still somewhat resembling Phil Collins, though the remaining two tracks, Don’t Walk Away In Silence and Forgiven & Forgotten, are both largely instrumental, as well as the aforesaid semi-epic though. The trademark classic art-rock features are here in abundance: frequent changes in theme, mood and pace all alike, loads of hard as well as melodic guitar leads, lacelike synthesizer and piano passages, lush orchestral arrangements, warm pillows of organ, occasional sounds of Mellotron, and a rhythm section of bass and drums that rocks steady. As the final track at times lacks in structural diversity, the highlights of the album would be Heaven Can Wait and Don’t Walk Away in Silence, both of which are true pieces of art, the former being my personal favorite.

Conclusion. A bit less compelling than its predecessors, this new effort by Satellite is still a fine recording overall that might attract not only neo heads, but also some listeners from the ‘classic’ camp of the genre.

VM=Vitaly Menshikov: March 26, 2008


Related Links:

Metalmind Records


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