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(52:51, Stefan Petanovski)
TRACK LIST: 1. Tanaka 2:59 2. New Moon 7:15 3. Eros 5:10 4. Restless Mind 4:17 5. Ocean Wave 4:03 6. Heartsease 4:28 7. Cafune 2:45 8. Shemomedjamo 6:49 9. The Path: Life's Light and Suffering 12:13 10. Waning Crescent 2:52 LINEUP: Stefan Petanovski - guitars, synths, vocals, programming Ana Petanovska - vocals Stefan Mitev - bass with: Eric Gillette - guitars John Waugh - saxophone Filip Dimiskovski - piano Stefan Aleksovski - keyboards Damjana Apostolovski - vocals
Prolusion. Macedonian composer and musician Stefan PETANOVSKI appears to be a fairly recent addition to the European music scene. He released his first solo album "Architect of Reality" back in 2019, which has been followed by a handful of single releases. This year he returns with his second album "Eros", which will be self-released in March 2021.
Analysis. While Petanovski touch base with a number of different styles of music throughout his second album, the common denominator throughout is progressive metal, and due to that and the manner in which the songs on this production are performed I'd say that this is a CD that needs to be sorted under this style as well. But without really sticking to any established traditions in the genre. In fact there's something of a smorgasbord of music explored here. Atmospheric laden sequences with notes, rhythms and vocal effects made to give the listener associations to the African continent is a feature early on, and world music and folk music elements or details pops up here and there throughout this album experience too. Both elegant and more expressive features have been brought in from jazz and jazzrock, and while often a supporting and subservient element it is also a feature that expands the palette explored here quite nicely. Flowing guitar solo runs on gentle as well as a harder backbone is something of a mainstay element, at times bringing with the something of a Dream Theater association, on other occasions with perhaps more of a Jose Satriani type swagger to it. And the latter association is most certainly a presence for the more technical based guitar solo runs we are served here for sure. Moments of expressive, elegant detours with perhaps more of a Frippian touch is a part of the totality too. But the one, most striking element that probably defines this production more than anything else is that all of the elements described above, as well as few others, have a tendency to be paired off with djent-oriented details one way or another. As a supporting, subservient flavoring, as a central aspect of the arrangement currently explored, or used in a passage set up to contrast the one playing that doesn't feature this element. While this isn't an ongoing feature everywhere it makes up such a large part of the music explored here that it ends up kind of defining this album. If that is a good thing or not will obviously depend on your taste in music, for my sake at least I found it to be executed with a certain grace, and in a manner that fits the songs on this album. Still, you do need to enjoy this element if you are going to get the best out of what Petanovski has to offer here. Many of the songs here are mainly instrumental, but vocalist Ana Petanovska does a fine job in the songs she appears in. The vocal passages are arranged in order to provide a good foundation for her vocals too, and she showcases an ability to master several different types of music as well as several levels of intensity along the way here. The only weak point as such, which is down to the song more than the performance of anyone, can be found on the cut 'Restless Mind'. Not a weak song as such, but it's stronger orientation towards contemporary melodic metal isn't one that I fancied all that much personally. Which is kind of intriguing, as this is also the song on this album that has the strongest commercial potential by far. At least in my opinion. I note that the mix and production sounds excellent throughout. It did strike me that the production came across as rich, open and majestic in quite the impressive manner, although this may also have something to do with me having to go back to using my Sennheiser headphones rather than the Beyerdynamic pair I've been using for the past year or so. Still, the rich and majestic soundscapes can be borderline overpowering at times, at least when listened to through headphones with similar dynamics as my old pair of Sennheiser headphones provides.
Conclusion. I find that I'm quite impressed with Petanovski's second solo album. Perhaps not a future classic, but a strong, well made and well executed production for sure, and with a mix and production that in my view is quite a bit better than average to boot. Fans of progressive metal with a slight instrumental focus, eclectic intent and a suitably booming djent-oriented foundation strikes me as the key audience for this production, and for those curious about the music a few advance cuts have been made available through the artists websites.
Progmessor: January 2021
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