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(53:11, MALS Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Awaken 7:00 2. The Earthworker 0:58 3. Circle 5:57 4. Bridge 5:52 5. Fifth Season 9:06 6. Conspiracy-1 2:19 7. Conspiracy-2 8:11 8. Hand Colored 4:20 9. Last 2:07 10. Chance 7:15 LINEUP: Eduard Krakov – keyboards Artiom Lichtstein – guitars Teddy Schvets – vocals Dina Shulman – vocals Rami Peri – basses With: Or Argash – drums &: A few subsidiary musicians
Prolusion. “Color Blind” is the debut album by STORMY ATMOSPHERE, from Israel (albeit the names of most of the musicians suggest that they – or their parents – hail from the former USSR). It was originally released in 2009 by the band itself, but wasn’t properly distributed even within their homeland. After all, the Russian label MALS Records reissued it earlier this year.
Analysis. Eight of the album’s ten tracks contain vocals with English lyrics, and four of those, Awaken, Circle, Conspiracy-2 and Chance, are creations of practically the same compositional approach. In all cases the band performs Prog-Metal (of the Scandinavian variety, to my mind) with elements of Art-Rock and has a sound that resembles a cross between early Pain Of Salvation, early-to-mid ‘90s Tiamat and Nightwish, infusing dark symphonic rock the energy it is often lacking in, playing and singing with an amazing passion. With an average track length exceeding 7 minutes, all of the pieces give the band enough time to develop themes. From time to time keyboardist Eduard Krakov, bassist Rami Peri and guitarist Artiom Lichtstein get into some highly involving soloing, the most unusual stylistic twists courtesy of the acoustic guitar (sic) – in the form of Flamenco. The band’s two vocalists are equally skilful, though. Teddy Schvets’ low, at times growling, voice is in stark contrast with Dina Shulman’s soprano, but they do sound natural singing together – when singing together, to be more precise, as each of them sings alone from time to time; that is, alternately rather than simultaneously. There are also Teddy’s declamatory whisperings in places, and those remind me of King Diamond’s. With their riffs, a lot of which are still hardly less angry than Pain Of Salvation or Tiamat, the songs Fifth Season and Hand Colored are both structurally almost not unlike the described ones (and might at first seem to be on most levels similar to those). Compositionally, however, they’re somewhat simpler, featuring fewer sudden shifts in direction, particularly the latter piece, some parts of which could definitely be called balladic. On the other hand, they’re as good as probably everything by Nightwish, their scarcity of really profound arrangements well compensated for their dramatic delivery, to say the very least. Of the remaining two songs, Conspiracy-1 is a traditional ballad, whereas Bridge is in many ways remarkable in its own way. It begins and develops as a complicated art-rock ballad, standing out for some effectual violin and acoustic guitar patterns (the latter once again in the flamenco style), but finishes almost as a classic prog-metal tune. By the way, on any of the three simpler songs Teddy doesn’t use the low timbres of his voice, singing either in a traditional rock manner or even in a quasi-operatic one – a chameleon vocalist indeed. Finally, we get two instrumental pieces. One of them, Last, is an intro to Chance in fact, painting dark space-music landscapes, most of which remind me of Planets from Tiamat’s “Wildhoney”. Another, The Earthworker, is a lively interplay between acoustic guitar and violin, inspired by Jewish folk music, most likely.
Conclusion. This album comes highly recommended to anyone who likes the idea that runs all through the review. When writing it I tried to be as fair and objective as, I hope, I always am.
VM=Vitaly Menshikov: June 5, 2012
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