Monthly reviews for July 2017 include: Steve Hackett, Tides From Nebula, Soen. Next, there is a special Czech corner including Šamanovo Zboží, Anselm, J.A.R. and Esezlesa. And finally, there is rather large list within “Respect The Elders” section, as I was pretty busy getting (back) into some classics including Joe Cocker, U2, Ike & Tina Turner, Aretha Franklin, Joni Mitchell and The Beatles.
Steve Hackett – The Night Siren
25th solo album. That’s hell of impressive and supported by the fact, his solo albums are still highest quality prog. Personally, I found my most favorite item in Mr. Hackett’s discography. As you may think, new album The Night Siren deserves at least dozen listens to get into it, but it’s worth. Every time you discover new fascinating moments.
Tides From Nebula – Safehaven
As a huge fan of post rock I know about the guys for a while, but their albums never fully impressed me as other bands did as Russian Circles, Sleepmakeswaves or If These Trees Could Talk. However, over time their name was popping up to me on various occasions. Some time ago they were supporting Sleepmakeswaves and Skyharbor, but while they were playing, I was just interviewing Keshav from Skyharbor. This year at Colours Of Ostrava, they were one of the rare rock bands there and definitely a single post rock band. I had to check them out and give them another chance. First of all, our interview was hell of a fun and their live show was massive and insanely catchy. To be honest, they are still not my most favorite post rock band, but I finally do invest time into their albums and would love to see them live again.
Interview coming soon.
Soen – Lykaia
Great grown-up light doom metal super-group. I heard about them as they went on a tour with Madder Mortem and I follow activities of Marcus Jidell (Avatarium, ex-Evergrey). Great songwriting and melodic vocal parts sometimes remind me of latest moods of Mikael Åkerfeldt from Opeth.
Šamanovo Zboží – Kolotoč EP
If I will ever hear some elderly gentlemen talking to me about how “New generation has no clue about art rock”, this will be my argument he is wrong. Work of Šamanovo Zboží from Ostrava might not be the easiest to digest though, but let’s be honest with each other – it’s a proper listeners’s challenge in prog rock art rock. Same as with many other favorite prog albums, beauties of this album start to show step by step. It goes hand by hand with finding references to the works of Yes, King Crimson or anything Steven Wilson ever touched. Luckily, compared to their overall discography, latest EP Kolotoč is the easiest to get through, so it might serve as a great introduction to the band. We might say the structure of songs is the most inviting so far, but there are still avantgarde lyric phrasing and absolute artistic freedom of all unique individualities in the band.
Anselm – Technopolis
Debut album of Anselm, earlier known as Oblivion, is mainly a prove, artist should be connected to roots. In their early days, under a name “Oblivion”, they sounded almost as an In Flames tribute band. However though natural growth they reached their “etno”. Center point is an unique city Ostrava, where they dig into it’s history, legends and darkest corners. They have a true right to do so, as members of this band include local journalists, well established musicians, bar crawlers and one of the main songwriters is a son of a legendary local writer Jan Balabán. More than fifty minutes long Technopolis mainly serves unique melodic death metal, but they also include aspects of doom metal and dark poetry.
J.A.R. – Eskalace dobra
Funky, hip hop, jazz masterpiece coming from some of the most talented artists in Czech Republic. Just having fun, with class…
Esazlesa – Společnost psů
However, this is a winner of Czech competition and so far, Czech album of the year for me. I haven’t been so proud of a Czech band for a while. Their latest album was my first contact with their work and I would harshly call their music ambient sludge post. I love being carried by post rock structures, but it’s a challenging ride including emotional gradations, which sometimes turn into hard core yelling. If you listen to lyrics carefully, these moments make absolute sense, next to the fact, many of them are heart reaching and inspirational. Let’s be true to ourselves. That’s a dangerous subject and it’s so simple to fall into disaster. But I believe their lyrics. Mainly for the fact, they are not trying to sound perfect. It goes to heart reaching monologues, same as emotional guitar solo.
Be honest – That’s your perfection!
Respect The Elders
Joe Cocker – Unchain My Heart, U2 – The Joshua Tree, Ike & Tina Turner – The Complete Pompeii Recordings 1968-1969, Aretha Franklin – Amazing Grace, November – En ny tid är här, Joni Mitchell – Blue, The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band