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Kalin Tonev - Machine Years CD (album) cover


Kalin Tonev


Heavy Prog

3.75 | 15 ratings

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4 stars I'm sure it's okay to notice, that Bulgaria is not really the center of prog when it comes to Eastern Europe. There are many more genre bands coming from Hungary, Czech Republic respectively Slovakia ... and of course Poland most notably. So much the more it's a pleasure for me to introduce KALIN TONEV again, certainly an important figure in his country concerning this genre. So for example he drives an acclaimed radio prog rock show, which is part of the Bulgarian National Radio programme. And he had appearances in more than 20 bands in the meanwhile while being underway in many different styles.

Kalin is already known to me due to the fact that he has been the mastermind of the band TravelHouse some years ago. They released one album under this moniker in 2008, called 'Mindmapping', which is mirroring a quite diverse stylistical journey. Now 'Machine Years' sounds ... different, yeah, unique. A powerful statement most likely, and heavily keyboard-laden. Although supported by three guitarists on nearly all the 13 tracks, this album can be seen as a solo effort with reason, as he is responsible for the song writing as well as production and substitutes the regular bass and percussions. I'm quite sure, that the drum programming as such emerged into a great challenge, caused time. The implementation is tricky overall, not easy to recognize that an acoustic drum set won't play a role here.

The album is an instrumental one, opens with a speech sample anyhow. I would say immediately pointing to its main philosophical theme, as Kalin is obviously dealing with the relationship of humans and machines in general. Both Human Not Machine parts are heavy in execution, featuring a bombast feel, somewhat representative for the album's flow, surely a centerpiece. Furthermore, just emphasizing Beings or Dust for example, you can't deny a strong symphonic essence too. And then again This Empty Space and Late Again are drifting into a more spacey and even downbeat/lounge orientation.

Released in January 2017 KALIN TONEV offers an enjoyable album with 'Machine Years'. I can hear glimpses of Atomic Rooster, ELP, Rick Wakeman ... one or two may detect other influences of course. Initially this sounded a bit single-tracked to me, in the meanwhile though I'm effectively convinced. And this is not least the merit of the collaborating guitarists too, which means Nenko Milev first and foremost. It's worth it to take your time in order to bring this songs into effect really.

Rivertree | 4/5 |


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