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Skaldowie - Krywan, Krywan CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

4.02 | 97 ratings

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3 stars East european prog is generally very interesting. Being caught in between the need to express oneself artistically and the wants of a restrictive, to say the least, regime, I think the pressure on the musicians to please both the audience, themselves and the powers that be must have been tremendous. However difficult the task, I think that many bands did a terrific job. They managed to walk the line with heads held high. I think that Poland and the former Czechoslovakia produced the finest of the lot. I mean Niemen, SBB, Modry Efect, Jazz Q et al all managed to put forth a wonderful spread of music, equalling anything the west could muster.

Skaldowie was one of those polish bands. They made quite a few albums and I find most of them enjoyable, though this one is hailed as their masterpiece. I do like it but I find it to be prog only in part.

The title track is an adorable piece of music. It incorporates both folk, jazz, rock and moulds it into a splendid prog cocktail. It sounds like a mix of ELP and other related bands, dressed in an eastern european costume. It is varied, connected and engaging. There are vocal parts but not a lot. The main body of the track is instrumental and holds a feeling of jam session from time to time. It is dirty and quite raw, in no small part to the magnificent organ with it's distorted stabs. There is also quite a lot of violin, which is nice. The combination between violin and organ is quite breathtaking. "Krywan, Krywan" is without a doubt the best and by far the most progressive track on the album and the main reason for checking it out.

The remaining four track are all good but not that progressive. They are more in the vein of classic organ driven hard rock of the era. Not at all bad but not in the same league as the title track and, as I have already stated, not progressive.

(My edition holds twelve bonus tracks. For the most part instrumental versions of the tracks on the album but also some radio recordings. The best bonus track is their version of "Scarborough fair". Hearing it I feel like I am stepping right into a thriller from 1971 with high paced car chases. Or the scene where Harry Palmer steps into a night club, accompanied by high octane organ jazz. It is truly a wonderful version. But it is not prog rock.)

Conclusion: I do not really know how many stars I ought to give this album. On the one hand there is only one of the five tracks I consider prog. On the other hand it is nice all the way through. But is it worth four stars? I could give several bands four stars for their albums based on less prog elements but then the album has to be really good. When it all comes down to the nitty and gritty I have to say that this album is highly enoyable but out of five tracks there is only one worth more than three stars. I'll go for the stricter line and awards it three stars. Good but not essential. Check out the title track, though. That is truly amazing.

GruvanDahlman | 3/5 |


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