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Annalist - Artemis CD (album) cover

ARTEMIS

Annalist

 

Neo-Prog

3.27 | 17 ratings

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kenethlevine
Special Collaborator
Prog-Folk Team
4 stars While most modern prog bands take their cues from the 1970s, or at least from 1980s bands of their ilk, I hear more than a few influences of 1980s rock in Annalist, and the result is an altogether refreshing blend. Chiefly it is the beat and pace of some of the material and the industrial undertones that remind me of bands like the Clash, along with a certain degree of posturing. Yet this can justifiably be called a neo prog album, with nods in the direction of that genre's pioneers, if you will, as well as Polish contemporaries like Collage.

The band sings in both English and Polish, which helps provide variation in meter and feel, the Polish vox adding a sinister layer on top of the already Gothic atmosphere. If you glance at the sleeve notes, the band does play up the air of mystery with its explanations as to the background of the songs. Many have a surreal theme and suggest foggy nights during which the supernatural prevails and unearthly bargains are struck. "The Return" is the opener and it brilliantly sets the pattern of strong melodies, martial rhythms, edgy vocals and some fine lead guitars and keyboards. "Over my Head" is a very potent and emotional song, with a brilliant culmination in which the title is repeated several times in different keys. The sound of Annalist in these tracks is more bouncy than typical for prog, and I dare say even danceable at times, but without being kitsch or, gasp, disco. "Eclipse" is another highlight, and is probably the most truly progressive track. Several songs are a bit more pedestrian, like "Gtebiej W Biel", and "Juniper" eschews the band's bounciness for a more plodding approach that does not really sum up the album very well. But "Mostek Pomnik Postac" starts off in mundane fashion only to sneak up on the listener, revv itself up in the latter part and become something altogether delightful.

This album has to be one of the more pleasant recent discoveries for me, and certainly whets the appetite for more, while reinforcing the undeniable force that Polish prog has become. If only more modern bands would sit in the Annalist's couch.

kenethlevine | 4/5 |

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