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Satellite - Evening Games CD (album) cover

EVENING GAMES

Satellite

 

Neo-Prog

3.85 | 141 ratings

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tszirmay
Special Collaborator
Crossover Team
4 stars There are precious few prog albums in recent times that cater to just plain old good songs. If you want to categorize (one of progdom's biggest drawbacks)and call this neo, than so be it! Satellite's forerunner band , Collage, issued a true masterpiece in the mid-90's called Moonshine, which left most if not all critics worldwide unanimously enthused. It was a feat not to be repeated until 2003, when most members of Collage reformed under the name Satellite and gave birth to a debut disc of great songs with gorgeous instrumentation and production (Now, Fight, On the Run) . The lead orbiter around whom all seems to revolve is Wojtek Szadkowski's songwriting and playing. One of the main reasons "Moonshine" had such an impact was due to his pen and his sticks, keeping everything dramaticand breathtaking. Barely a year after "A Street..", Satellite goes for the jugular with an even more stunning work, a tad less accessible than their debut disc, with a more pronounced symphonic edge and deeper presence. The arrangements are grandiose, creative, instantly recognizable due to its originality.This new record is blessed to have a return performance from Robert Amirian, a lead vocalist who knows how to combine hushed tones, poignant choruses and hymn-like passion when and where required. The guitar chores are all left to Sarhan (who had shared duties with the maestro Mirek Gil on the first disc), who now has the stage to himself and dares not disappoint , putting together a rich tapestry of distinct sounds and biting technique. The keys, bass and drumming are all nicely interwoven without any selfish pretense, very much in a team spirit.

It becomes quite apparent from the opening few minutes that this is going to be a damn good musical ride. The title cut"Evening Games" immediatly smashes to the ground any preconceived notion about gratuitous facility and sloppy predictability that may lurk in the mind of some "neobashers" (who are right ,at times). This is no accessible fluff but quite to the contrary, a 14 minute excursion into numerous mood changes & grandiose themes, abetted by some dazzling guitar prowess and secuctive synth runs. A little acoustic guitar break keeps the spirit magical, painting pastoral atmospheres, lifting the listener to forever higher levels of passion , pushing the envelope without remorse , the intent is to reach a certain point of pure aural bliss. The playing is tight , confident and with purpose. The next songs alternate between the gritty "Rush" with its dirty guitar parts and the sweetly evocative "Love is Around You" , a lilting groove with delicate vocals, keeping things fragile , memorable and yet vivid. The jewel track remains the fabulous "Beautiful World" , in the fine tradition of "Living in the Moonlight" from Moonshine and the track "Fight" off the "A Street..." album, a gutwrenching power-prog ballad that is simply mindblowing. The next track, "Evening Overture" is an equally compelling and devastatingly effective piece of prog with a chorus to die for. In fact, the entire record is brilliant , flowing with passion, well-balanced and utterly convincing.

A friend of mine who is unacquainted with prog observed rather interestingly that this record sounded like a combination movie sound track and pop music with lots of "brains", which I guess means that he was mostly impressed by the high level of musicianship displayed ,just to back some "songs" . Well, whatever any one says , this CD will stand the test of time and go down as a real new millenium classic. Will probably become a five star rating with another few spins in the next few days.

4.5 night plays

tszirmay | 4/5 |

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