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STRATEGY

Strategy

Heavy Prog


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Windhawk
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Honorary Collaborator
2 stars These US guys has made a unique release here in my opinion.

Musically this is some kind of fusion, with King Crimson influences as well as blues-based hard rock influences.

Psychedelic touches are added, and lots and lots of disharmonies and atonalities. In heaps, bounds and layers.

Some relief is given in more melodic passages and harmonic themes, but mostly this is 2-3 layers of guitars doing disharmonic and/or atonal stuff, accompanied by bass lines doing something else - with jazzy drums as some sort of foundation.

Not my cup of tea, but fans of disharmonic/atonal music should get much enjoyment from this one.

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Posted Sunday, January 06, 2008 | Review Permalink
avestin
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3 stars Let me start by saying that if you want an instrumental ride that is not only heavy sounding and guitar lead, but also varied in style, melodic and with a good sense of adventure and experimentation, then you should definitely try this.

The songs all have various parts to them, and switch moods and styles. There is good variation here of rock, some quirkiness and a lighter jazzier mood. At times there is a sense of minimalist rock trio (the start of the second track, which is soon shifted to jazzier domains). Of note is that the musicianship is of high quality. The tracks are guitar lead with very good bass and drums giving the contrast and support, this album is a pleasure to listen to. I like the way the bass accompanies the melodies and gives proper counter response to the guitar. What I especially like about their music, is how they shift in the tracks themselves from one part to a different one and manage to connect them all without it sounding forced, as it flows quite naturally from one to the other and back again. The first track is a good example of that as they start with a heavy guitar, turn to more peaceful waters later on and then also introduce a jazzy tempo, all connected well in a musical thread. While there is "freedom" for the guitar to go about and experiment a bit, most of the music seems to me all "under control" in the sense that it is tightly composed and well structured with enough room for some exploration (second track), but overall there is always a sense of directionality and progression in the music. The band name, Strategy, is well suited for the kind of music played here; starting with the main theme, as if presenting your arms for all to see or hear. Then, they move on to form some tactical musical moves to surprise the listener, some of those unexpected (which for me is a big part of the fun of listening). The strategy is not only in the musical form, i.e. the composition but also in the playing itself, how the arms are used. The instruments are played in various ways, as if to show their arsenal of "weapons". This brings me to one point that I'll bring up later in this review about adding another instrument or player to the ranks (see below). Of note is that I think the bass player, Rocco Santigati is doing a great job in giving both contrast and support for the dominant guitar. I like the fact that it is well heard in the final mix and you can appreciate well what he's playing.

Backdrops: The sound seems flat at times. I think that adding another player or doing overdubs to add volume to the sound, would have a great effect. This way a richness will be provided here if I understand correctly what they are trying to achieve. Basically what I feel is that adding more layers to the music will only enrich it and the whole sound will benefit from this. Another thing is that I think the ending to track 4, shouldn't have been a fade out while the guitar plays on. I would have preferred a clear cut ending, as I feel it was done somewhat in the middle of a "speech". Last thing; this is quite a long album and it's easy to lose track of it or simply get distracted. I'd either cut it a bit shorter, or introduce some shorter connecting interludes.

Overall, a joy to listen to; recommended.

3.5 stars in PA rating

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Send comments to avestin (BETA) | Report this review (#159682)
Posted Thursday, January 24, 2008 | Review Permalink

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