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Roz Vitalis - Daybreaking Live CD (album) cover


Roz Vitalis



3.97 | 13 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
4 stars Continuing to deliver a steady stream of excellent prog albums from St Petersburg, Russia, the avant-prog band ROZ VITALIS continues on with still more new material only this time much of it is delivered for the first time in the form of a live album in the first month of 2020. DAYBREAKING LIVE was recorded at Babooinumfest, the progressive rock festival organized by Sergey Gorchaninov and his band OT&DO but despite being a live release primarily consists of unheard musical bliss not yet available as studio recordings. Most of the material stems back to the years 2018-19 and was written after the release of "The Hidden Man Of The Heart" but pretty much continues the legacy of mixing disparate styles of classical prog elements into a hypnotic display of excellent musicianship.

Despite the primarily new material, DAYBREAKING LIVE does contain three classic tracks from previous albums. This includes "Mother of All Rain" (from "Patience of Hope' album), "Fret Not Thyself Because of Evildoers" and "Psalm 6" (both from "The Hidden Man of the Heart" album). ROZ VITALIS centers its albums around a primary theme although nebulous in nature. This one is going for a spiritually distinguished vibe with driving progressive forces drifting into melodic constructs. The band excels at crafting knotty difficult listening music that exists somewhere in between the angular world of avant-prog and the more accessible reaches of the symphonic prog world.

Laced with classically infused piano runs as well as more abstract runs through the avant-prog wilderness with hairpin turns and dissonant counterpoints, ROZ VITALIS crafts a beautiful string of eight tracks that captures the essence of its unique Russified stance on contemporary progressive rock music that sounds like no other. As with most ROZ VITALIS music, this too is instrumental and a testament to how excellent the musicianship of this band comes through in a live setting. The setting is intimate with a warm cozy vibe flowing through a small but dedicated fanbase. While the main focus is on the interplay between the keyboard and guitar, the flute is omnipresent throughout and adds those classic warm pastoral retro sounds of classic 70s prog acts. The drumming style while mostly subordinate to the melodic flow also has its moments of branching out into its own.

Of the newer tracks, the album starts off with three strong prog behemoths. "WIdes" is a nice opener as it establishes a tight instrumental interplay that displays the band in mid tempo that focuses on varying melodic developments embellished with strong improvisational playfulness. In many ways the band excels at taking the spirit of classic jazz recordings and applying them into the world of symphonically driven avant-prog workouts. The drum rolls in particular bring out the jazzy vibe while the keys root the music to classical and the guitar channel Fred Frith angularities. The title track follows suit but the feisty "Nepsis" offers a stellar keyboard workout along with heavier guitar antics that focus on distortion and stronger drifts into what sounds like Krautrock territory but when all seems like it's ready to float into space, Ivan Rozmainsky reels the unwinding chaos back into classical piano led melodic marches. This favorite track runs the gamut from the most orderly style of prog to pure detachment. Love the church organ sounds in tandem with the filthy rock guitar grit. "

Loro Con Dolcezza E Cortesia (Piano & Synth Duet)" is basically a short intermission between the two halves of the album. It sounds a bit like chiptune video music in the synth department but offers some nice soft flute and some jittery off-kilter time signatures. "Fret Not Thyself Because Of Evildoers" offers some classic ROZ VITALIS sounds with its avant-swing and busy guitar licks. "Strangers And Pilgrims On The Earth" is the last new material but delivers some sizzling hot prog that is just shy of the 9 minute mark. It hits the ground running with nicely syncopated keys, bass and drums that are slightly timed differently and just out of sync at first but then the track shifts towards a synthesizer run in classical Baroque mode and then commences to change things up often by adding dark atmospheric backdrops, varying degrees of guitar intensity and different time signature shifts as well as tempo changes. This is a perfect example of how complex some of ROZ VITALIS' arrangements have become and an excellent example of how prog jams can retain all the sophistication of studio arrangements.

With the final performance of "Psalm 6," the band dishes out another classic from the past with alternations between pastoral and more upbeat sections before the album ends leaving another satisfying experience with seasoned prog veterans who can really take you to another dimension. ROZ VITALIS excels at cranking out pleasantly addictive instrumental workouts. This is certainly not the kind of music that sticks in your head. I can never remember what any ROZ VITALIS album sounds like exactly but yet once i put on their music i am sucked into its energetic vortex for the long haul which is exactly what i'm looking for when i want to experience a cerebral ride through a complex tapestry of sonic bliss.

This is the kind of stuff Aglagard and Anekdoten pulled of so well in the 90s with nicely woven instrumental interactions that focused on strong hooks and then improvised upon. ROZ VITALIS has put a Russian spin on this style of knotty musical workouts and delivers both on studio releases as well as on live ones. DAYBREAK LIVE is yet another excellent slice of nicely varied prog tunes that will please those who are seeking nicely packaged chunks of musical complexity that also offer beautiful melodic elements that are stitched into the over all fabric. Great performances! Wish i was there :) I'm hoping that these newer tracks will find their way onto a new studio album as it would be nice to hear some variations on these live renditions however in reality this is such a well played album that except for the audience interaction sounds, this pretty much sounds like it was crafted in a studio anyways.

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |


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