A while ago, the Russian progressive group Romislokus contacted me, to see if I would review their album, _Vinyl Spring, Digital Autumn_ in my Tentative Reviews series (which *should* start moving again soon, I promise). I told them that the TR series is determined by a serialized order, but that I'd be happy to review their disc on r.m.p. So ...
Tonight, after my show, I decided to give the disc a spin. Here are my thoughts:
(i) Perhaps the strongest advantage that this band has going is their vocalist, Yuri Chudinov (who is also the group's leader). A few weeks ago, I played a few tracks by the South American group Rael on my late-night show, and commented on how their vocalist was an extremely powerful presence in the group -- commanding his own space, regardless of what was happening around him. Chudinov has the same sort of quality -- his voice isn't as throaty as the singer from Rael, but he always manages to stand out on his own.
The second track on the album, 'The Face Of A City', can be used to illustrate this point. The track itself isn't the most memorable on the album -- the guitar line is a bit too reminiscent (note that I don't say derivative) of some late-period Marillion for my tastes, for instance -- but Chudinov manages to create his own space with the vocal line. 'The Snow On The Rails', the first track on the album, also showcases his vocals to great effect.
(ii) Some of the music is a bit too techno/trance oriented for my tastes. I have no real objection to the presence of 'beats' in art-oriented music, but some of time it struck me as getting in the way of the rest of what was going on. Still, one certainly can't fault the band for being stuck in a '70s mindset ...
(iii) On the other hand, there's a lot of enigmatic material filtered into the mix here. '78' combines beats with cellos, with other odd sound effects popping up from time to time -- 'Miss The Target' even seems to go overboard on sonic effects, at times.
(iv) I liked the guitar line on 'Absolute Control' -- rather 'crafty', if you get my reference.
All in all, I'm still not completely certain how I feel about this. There's no question that this band is loaded with talent - I'm just not 100% convinced that they managed to grind a really top-level album out of their labours. I'll have to give this one another listen before my opinion consolidates.
Still, if you're a fan of trance/dub-ish prog, this one should work for you.