[ KEY REVIEWS | SHORT REVIEWS | DETAILED REVIEWS
TRACK LIST: 1. Prolog 2:05 2. Divinity of Hell 6:06 3. Senate 3:47 4. The Womb of Time 1:31 5. Canakin Clink 3:07 6. Handkerchief 9:08 7. Tis of Aspics' Tongues 5:24 8. Marble Heaven 3:34 9. Shedim 1:37 10. Willow Song 7:07 11. The Cause 4:53 12. Epilog 6:41 All music: by Belleli. All lyrics: taken from W. Shakespeare's "Othello". LINE-UP: Avi Belleli - basses; lead vocals; flutes; Saz; Zurna Aviv Barak - drums & percussion; vocals Ophir Leibowitz - guitars & mandola; vocals Green - keyboards; vocals With: Avi Agabada - percussion (on most tracks) Yuval Mesner - cello (on 3 & 10) Ruth Hirsh - vocals (on 8) Roger Trigaux -guitars (on 3 & 7); additional ideas Produced by Belleli with U. Koomran's assistance. Engineered by U. Koomran at "Noise", Tel Aviv.
Prolusion. I have received several CDs released by the most 'serious' division of Musea, Gazul Records, in the second half of the 1990s. So it's time to start another series of retrospective reviews. I could not connect to the Tractor's Revenge (amusing name, huh?) website to learn whether "Othello" is the only album by this Israeli band or not.
Synopsis. On this album, Tractor's Revenge made an attempt to reproduce Shakespeare's "Othello" by dints of a few Progressive Rock / Metal genres and Opera where, though, only the parts of Desdemona are clear and melodic (of course!). The vocals of 'Othello' and other heroes range from high to low, while 'Iago', who, by the way, sings very often, exclusively uses very low, Death-like vocals. Although I am not able to understand the lyrics of this album (they're either in Yiddish or Hebrew), all the contents of it, including all the parts of vocals, are so unique and impressive that I accepted this unusual rendering of "Othello" fully and without any reservations. A highly original fusion of Progressive Doom-Metal and RIO with elements of Gothic Rock is the predominant stylistics of the album. In the pure form, it is presented on Divinity of Hell, Senate, Marble Heaven, The Cause, and Epilog (2, 3, 8, 11, & 12), while Handkerchief and Tis of Aspics' Tongues (6 & 7) contain also elements of music of Near East in general and Israeli folk music in particular. Filled with a dark and mysterious atmosphere, typical for both of the said genres, the music on each of the aforementioned tracks is mostly slow, yet, always complex; with many atonal interplay between solos and riffs of electric and bass guitars, passages of synthesizer, and solos of violoncello and Eastern string and wind instruments, including those sounding like Scottish bagpipes (on a few tracks). All three of the shortest tracks on the album: Prologue, The Womb of Time, and Shemid (1, 3, & 9) feature only the tense, low-tone passages of synthesizer, a sinister narration, and varied effects: wolf's howling, the wailing of the wind, etc. In fact, these are just intros to the following compositions. Both of the remaining songs: Canakin Clink and Willow Song (5 & 10) are respectively completely and almost completely out of the album's predominant stylistics and are different not only from all of the other tracks here, but also among themselves. The music on the latter track represents a unique Symphonic Art-Rock with elements of RIO and is as dark and dramatic in character as that on any of the described compositions. While the first of them is the only light and optimistic song on "Othello" filled with inflammatory melodies of Israeli Folk, which is opposed not only to the atmospheric (or mood-related) integrity of the album, but also the tragedy itself. Nevertheless, this song is compositionally remarkable, too.
Conclusion. This album is a masterpiece by a great and, in some ways, coarse caliber:-). In that way, it can be highly recommended only to the most profound adherents of Prog-Metal and the most open-minded devotees of RIO. Unfortunately, all the other categories of Prog-lovers will most likely find this work simply indigestible. As for me, being an ordinary omnivorous man, I very much like this adventurous experiment, bordering with rashness. In my honest opinion, anything great is beyond those incapable of committing madness for the sake of Art.
VM: June 3, 2003
[ KEY REVIEWS | SHORT REVIEWS | DETAILED REVIEWS - LIST | BANDLISTS ]