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Aviva (Aviva Omnibus) - Rokus Tonalis CD (album) cover


Aviva (Aviva Omnibus)

Symphonic Prog

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4 stars A very good debut.

I found some psychedelic space rock inffluences here(Ozric Tentacles style)mixed with symphonic prog a la Genesis and ELP.

Melodies are very good ,so the musicians and the arrengements.I think the incorporation of voices in off(announcer ,conversations in spanish...)was not a good idea.

They should add a real drummer instead the machine.

Sure they have a good future.

4 stars

Report this review (#119850)
Posted Thursday, April 26, 2007 | Review Permalink
erik neuteboom
3 stars Aviva is a brandnew (2007) Russian musical project in which multi-instrumentalist Aviva is the prime mover, he plays Grand piano, keyboards, bass, samples and programmed drums and percussion. The instrumental music has strong echoes from bombastic keyboard driven prog like ELP and Japanese Gerard featuring a powerful Hammond sound, fluent piano runs and flashy synthesizer flights, very spectacular. The song The Valse At The End Of Times delivers a guest-musician on guitar, he gives a very powerful touch to the music with raw and propulsive guitar work. Some tracks sound quite experimental with soaring keyboards and weird voices. Although it's obvious that Aviva uses programmed drums and percussion, in my opinion he did a decent job with it, I have heard lots of worse examples! If you like keyboard driven prog some experimental excertions, this is an interesting CD! My rating 3,5 stars.

Report this review (#119857)
Posted Thursday, April 26, 2007 | Review Permalink
Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars This is largely an unknown project as far as I can tell, but it may be a promising positive addition to the future of progressive rock. Or not, it’s hard to tell really.

Aviva is pretty much the work of a solo artist, but one that is a little bit hard to classify. Russian Dimitri Loukianenko provides the arrangements, keyboards, and “other instruments”. But all the percussion and drums are programmed tracks; the other bass lines seem to be provided by the piano; there are no discernable horns or strings anywhere on the album; and the guitar work is done by an uncredited contributor. So I’m not sure exactly what “other instruments” refer to beyond Loukianenko’s various keyboard-driven contraptions.

The work is supposed to be based on a rendition of John’s Revelation of the Apocalypse, the final book in most Christian bibles. But the sequence of events and musical timbre of this album is about as related to John’s apocalypse as most ‘symphonic rock’ music is to a real symphony. I don’t mean that as a criticism, but more as an observation.

John’s version of the final cataclysm included four distinct ‘visions’, while Loukianenko seems to have structured his work into three sections following a lively prelude, and ending with a hymn and postlude that would probably fit into just about any properly orthodox religious service. The third ‘vision’ gets a bit muddled by the inclusion of the lengthy and rather odd “Underwater Sermon” which proves to be not only the longest track, but also the most puzzling and out-of-place one on the record. The vocodor- treated voices may have been intended to sound like they were being delivered underwater, though to what end I have no idea. They actually end up sounding like Alvin & the Chipmunks though, and really detract from an otherwise appropriately somber mood.

Before I go any further let me say that the piano throughout this album is gorgeous, passionate, and pretty much flawlessly delivered. So in that respect this is a fine work of musical art, and if I were only commenting on that instrument I would compare it to somewhat similar neo-Slavic bands like After Crying for the piano or Solaris for the deep- thinking approach to the album’s theme. And maybe also to Ayreon for the neo- approach rather than looking to do a more tradition type of project like say - Alan Parsons Project or even Green Carnation. So the music isn’t a problem here, with the minor exception of the oddly cartoon-like vocals, which only appear in a couple places and do not dominate the album at least.

But for a work that is claiming to be inspired by a vision of the apocalypse, I think this one falls very short. The one-dimensional ability of keyboards and synthesizers to deliver ranges of emotion and sonic variety make most of the middle tracks end up sounding just a bit schmaltzy, in my opinion. When John envisioned the signs of the last times and the destruction of that part of the world he was describing (the then-still Roman part of western Turkey, by the way), I need to hear and feel blood-chilling full- body shrieks of tortured pain, raw burning flesh, eyes melting in their sockets from the searing heat of a thousand hell-fires. I expect the nerve-wracking drone of warplanes thundering overhead, and the sickening, shattering thud of metal striking the earth, shattering bone and vaporizing flesh with dragon’s-tongue licks of fiery napalm death expunging the earth in its wake. I want bowel-clearing fear, my friends. And this stuff just doesn’t deliver.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of those crazy end-of-the-world junkies. Hell, I hope we make things work for another million years or so. But from a purist standpoint this kind of record should have been able to project that kind of emotion inherent in the subject it was supposed to be based on. And it doesn’t do that. Also like I said, the overall sound is a bit one-dimensional since this is largely a solo work and much of the non-piano sounds are either digitally produced, or at least digitally altered.

So props for the piano work, which is very good. And also I have high hopes that this guy will continue to mature and develop, and that we may all be in for some big treats in the future. But overall I can’t say this is much more than good; certainly not essential by any means, so three stars is exactly the right place to rate it.


Report this review (#120051)
Posted Saturday, April 28, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars AVIVA is a side-project of Dmitriy Lukyanenko, a keyboard-player from Russian Prog- Metal band MASQUERAGE. Thanks for Archives for keeping me in touch with what’s on – it seems this is the first time that I WAS proposed a Russian band, not vice verse ;)

I’ve been expecting on a ELPish bombastic stuff and already set myself on a skeptic side. But despite programmed drums and lack of guitars, AVIVA managed to hold my attention and keep it thru first 6 or 7 tracks. They all were multi-genred and challenging, filled with funny noises and samples, ambient soundscapes, avant piano runs and fiery Moog solos…didn’t expected such variety in every track! Unfortunately, the last 1/3 of album failed to impress me – there were mostly atmospheric meanderings (except for short power piece and this choral entitled “Hymn”). I wish “Rokus Tonalis” would be deprived from these last 15 minutes…Anyway, no-one is flawless, so this guy definitely deserves attention. Eclectic and challenging Prog, and don’t you dare to take your nose away only because of programmed drums (which sound pretty enjoyable, btw)! Recommended.

Report this review (#122420)
Posted Wednesday, May 16, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Fresh, uplifting, dark and brilliant take on modern symphonic rock stylings from Russian keyboard luminary Dimitri A. Loukianenko, who handles most of the instrumentation on this acrobatic first album. Loukianenko's visions exhilarate with blistering lines of piano, delirious meters, haunting melodies, cold passages, compelling atmosphere, weird humor, sound effects, colors previously unseen and directions previously untaken which, in prog rock, is an accomplishment indeed. Also on hand is plenty of screaming organ, cosmic synths and virtuoso playing, invoking the flair of Keith Emerson with the sophisticaton of McCoy Tyner.

Unlike contemporary syn-phonic composers such as Jordan Rudess, Loukianenko brings a worldly elegance to his music which is immediately recognizable on the stunning 'Prima'. Constant movement is Loukianenko's forte, with sudden rushes of emotion, furious lines of tortured piano, synth washes, drums racing to keep up, changes of direction completely uncalled for but perfectly timed, and unforeseen tumbles before getting back on track. It all adds up to the best symphonic rock album of 2007 (so far) and one of the finest debuts in prog history. 'Secunda' takes on a slighly more melodic and traditional synth rock structure but still challenges with polymeters and crystal-clear production. The album is consistently reliable and progressive throughout, as heard in the disturbingly beautiful 'Tertia'.

If Aviva's 'Rokus Tonalis' is any measure, the Russian and Eastern European progressive scene is not only alive but kicking, and ushering in a bold voice of exceptional artistry we should all be keeping a close eye on.

Report this review (#125384)
Posted Monday, June 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Not a long time ago, when AVIVA was brought to the Symphonic Team for addition, I was not sure if they belonged here, because if it wasn't for some electronic keyboards, they would had been a great candidate for the Neo Classical charts, because he structure is something totally different, with echoes of Rachmaninoff and Bartok.

Being that nobody else would accept them, we believed that they deserved to be added, and even though when I have some doubts, I am glad that they are here, because their music is simply outstanding, no matter if they are a pure Symphonic band or not and of course the most important component for their inclusion is Progressive Rock, and it's clearly present.

Before I start my analysis of "Rokus Tonalis", I feel the need to say we are not talking about a proper band, AVIVA is the brainchild of the virtuosos performer and excellent composer Dimitri A. Loukianenko, who plays all the instruments with an uncredited guitarist.

The main theme is the "Apocalypse of Saint John", but being instrumental we have to trust in the word of the author, even when the dramatic and mysterious atmosphere is a good indication of the concept, so without more to say, lets go to the songs

Prelude is a short introduction to the fabulous music we are about to review, the first impression is the excellent piano and the obvious dissonances, there's obviously a Modern Classical influence that makes it extremely interesting

Prima - Blessed Paul's Phantoms starts absolutely violent, the organ shows an ELP influence that most reviewers talk about, but I respectfully find secondary, the center of everything is the extremely complex composition and the aggressiveness with which Loukianenko attacks the piano and keyboards, the changes are dramatic, passing from modern synths and organs to classical piano with an Avant Garde feeling in the background. Exquisite combination of sounds and atmospheres, around the middle I find a very strong resemblance to Carl Palmer's "The Enemy God Dances with the Black Spirits", but the development and conclusion is absolutely unique.

Secunda - Sliding on the Surface is linked to the previous track, again the dominant instrument is the piano which is plaid with great skill, but then the Prog spirit appears with the synth and organ, as frying to reach to the surface from the ocean of Classical music in which is immerse. But not everything is dramatic to the extreme, some lighter passages with a touch of Fusion give a bit of light to a well developed dark atmosphere.

Tertia - The Destruction of Faena marks a radical change, at this point we are talking about a pure Prog track with incredibly dramatic changes from the dark passages to some more brilliant, in the background the listener can feel a religious Baroque sound that gives some hints about the concept, another magnificent song.

Pastoral as it's name indicates, is a bit bucolic and pleasant compared with the aggressiveness of the previous tracks, the author gives the listener some time to breath and prepare for the strong tortured sections about to come.

From the start of Underwater Sermon the listener can feel the tension, the radio, but not even the radio messages added prepare anybody for the violent crash of sounds and dissonant instruments, even when some jazzy sections relax a bit, the collision of sounds keep the suspense, because with AVIVA you can never guess what's coming next.

The Valse at the End of Times starts with an ELP oriented section with the same dexterity as Keith Emerson, Loukianenko tortures the keyboards but gives us pleasure with one of the most fantastic and elaborate songs of the album, Some passages are contradictory and extremely complex, but with great skills Loukianenko jumps to fluid sections, just to hit us without warning with the heavy artillery, the only word that comes to my mind is flawless.

Molto Largo .- Calm Lightstarts with suspense, the low volume of the organ seems to announce something harder is coming, a mysterious music goes slowly "in crescendo", but only reaches a relative climax at the end, this guy knows how to keep the listener waiting for the unexpected, but suddenly a radical change and we notice it's a new short track called Walking Down the Burning Scores, which is simply brilliant and for the first time flows naturally till the end with a display of skills at the keyboard, the album keeps getting better as the time passes.

Hymn is not what I was expectuing for the end (in this album nothing is as expected), the soft organ with a constant jazzy drumming that again goes "in crescendo" and never reaching the climax, this may be seen as something by many people, but it's what the musician tried to do and achieved success. Special mention for the Moog performance.

The album is closed with Postlude, a weird track that words can't describe with justice, because even when it seems as leading nowhere, the effect of culmination is reached.

There's not much to add, "Rokus Tonalis" is a fantastic album that I hope marks a new era of Symphonic Prog, and even when I hardly give a perfect rating to a debut album, this time I will make an exception and rate it with 5 solid stars.

Report this review (#212248)
Posted Thursday, April 23, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Dmitry Lukianenko is a Russian pianist/composer,who was interested in rock music since his childhood.He had been keyboardist for the metal bands Dorian Gray and Ars Band,before returning to class,studying this time composition.In 1999 he was parts of the metal band Masquerage,which released only one sinle.From this point Dmitry focused on composing his own work with elements from classical and rock music.Under the name AVIVA his first album ''Rokus Tonalis'' was released on Musea in 2007,based on Paul Hindemith's Ludus Tonalis.

With only a slight help by a guitarist,all keyboards,bass and drum programming is responsibility of Lukianenko, and, listening to this work, this is quite an achievment.It is obvious that Lukanienko wanted to create a long yet modern work influenced by the likes of the far past composers.The dominant instruments are obviously synths and pianos along with the drum programming,but the album contains also plenty of voice and sound effects.So ''Rokus tonalis'' is an alternating beast between highly complex dramatic contemporary Classical/Rock Music and atmospheric passages close to Avant-Garde Music but also often with an almost Ambient feeling.Jazz elements are also present at some moments with a relaxing feeling.Melody is an unknown work for Lukianenko and the album could be a milestone in dissonant music.I admit the first couple of listenings were a hard experience,the more I heard to the album,the more it grew on me.Everything here changes in a blink of an eye,like some attractive harmonies which are constantly interrupted by the monster synths' attack.These ones are the main characteristic of this work,while the only thing I totally dislike are the pre-recorded voices throughout the listening.

''Rokus tonalis'' can be easily a love or hate album,it will be definitely not appreciated by fans of the softer and more melodic side of prog,but it will be a great addition for fans of highly complicated Progressive Rock and of course lovers of Classical Music.For me it is a very good album but only for specific moments,when I am looking for something trully challenging.Recommended.

Report this review (#500637)
Posted Tuesday, August 9, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars Another one man & his keyboards band from Russia/Eastern Europe which sounds like a crossover between Camel, Ekseption and ELP.

I am not a big fan of this wave of nerds from Eastern Europe. But their second album, the follow up to this album, is a great album.

The mainman in Aviva, Mr Dimitri A. Loukianenko has a background from the metal scene before he quit and became a classical music trained tangent player/keyboardist. That shows on this album. Some of the music here is claustrophobic metallic and not too far away from zeuhl either. The music is pretty hard at times. The unnamed guitarist also adds some heavy guitars to the proceedings. The result is a pretty heavy, but still introvert album which really does not open up to the general public. This is hardcore classical music, played with rock instruments and with an metallic edge.

The music is good throughout. It does require a heck of a lot from the listener. I like the zeuhl like pieces here. But I feel most of this album is most definate classical music and not rock. This is a good album, but nothing more. I am not sold on Aviva by this album.

3 stars

Report this review (#551791)
Posted Monday, October 17, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars A suprisingly strong album that nobody expected, at least not from Russia! The mastermind behind, Dimitri A. Loukianenko, has certainly already heard a couple of prog-rock records before composing that one. The fact that he is multiinstramentalist, is not only impressive but also surprises with well constructed sound layers and instrumental variety. Drums are programmed which does not mean that they are monotonous, the overall sound is malformed, though.

Keyboards take the prime and most prominent role as Dimitri's home instrument.

Most notable influences include ELP and neo-prog.

As the album progresses, it runs out of steam and becomes too generic. Another weakness of the album is lack of emotions, it is purely focused on precise execution and being pompous.

Report this review (#2271301)
Posted Saturday, October 19, 2019 | Review Permalink

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