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Andrew Roussak - No Trespassing CD (album) cover


Andrew Roussak

Symphonic Prog

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Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Russian born composer and keyboardist Andrew Roussak serves up a nice production with this creation.

Symphonic rock is the name of the game here, explored in several variations. Classical compositions, psalms and hard-rock tinged flavours of this style are all explored with skill and ease; virtuosic instrumentals and regular songs with a typical verse and chorus structure are both explored; and all variations of styles and sounds fits right in too.

Skilled mix and production highlighting the moods and melodies helps create a distinct album feel to this creation, and although a skilled keyboard player it's the overall performance that is the focal point rather than Roussak's individual performance.

Perhaps somewhat lacking in the brilliant tunes department, this is still an enjoyable release; that should cater for the tastes of many people into symphonic rock music.

Report this review (#190213)
Posted Sunday, November 23, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars I had the chance to review this album in June 2007 even before it was released officially. I copy this from my blog (since then purged).

Track 1: No trespassing Nice introduction with some simulated flute play, very much in the classical prog vein. A bit sooner than I expected, the singer (Hendrik Plachtzik) jumps in, and I must say that his voice initially requires some getting used to. I would have preferred a stronger presence, and maybe even to have lyrics in German. That said, the voice is certainly adequate, and by the time I gave the CD a third or fourth spin, I had overcome my initial reservations. Some nice guitar works in addition to the great keyboards. It is a good melodic work, which would have deserved a longer more elaborated version than the 4:31 it actually lasts. A track that grows on you with repeated hearing. Track 2: Prelude Having read the information on this track in advance, I did not have high hopes. This is the Prelude No.2 in C Minor from Das Wohltemperierte Klavier by J.S. Bach. It is all a matter of taste, but I don't like modern reworks of classical music, and that includes the famous efforts of Emerson Lake and Palmer, Ekseption, and Renaissance to name a few. Well, I was in for a pleasant surprise. The rework is very tastefully done, with sufficient original contributions and variations in mood to keep me interested the whole track. Without doubt the best rework of a classical theme I have ever heard, by a quite large margin. Track 3: Lost in the woods Back to an original Roussak track, based on a Stephen King story. This one is to my taste very much in the neo-prog style. Plachtzik sounds much better here than in the opener, and makes the most of this melodic and dramatic (but not melodramatic) song, with a memorable refrain. Again, the guitar play stands out, and the ending works well. Track 4: Wartime chronicles The first original instrumental, and the only track that lasts over 7 minutes. Roussak obviously dominates this track with his keyboards and piano play, and does so with great panache. About halfway the track, simulated tubular bells like sounds get added to the instrumentation for a short period which is hauntingly effective, and they return near the end. One of the best instrumentals I have heard in quite some time, and for me the best track of the album. It can be sampled on his website and I encourage everyone to do so. Track 5: Jesu, Joy of man's desiring Another Bach rendition. After an interesting intro, Roussak interprets one of the most beautiful of all Bach melodies, but unlike the second track, this one does not particularly work for me. To my taste, there is insufficient variation, but I realize that others will love this track. He dedicates it to the memory of his dad, which I found striking, as it was one of the themes we selected for my mother's funeral. Track 6: Rhythm of the Universe After a very original and intriguing intro, we find ourselves in another melodic song with a good drive, but I find Plachtzik struggling at some points with the delivery, and I would have preferred more variation in the instrumentation that for a long time relies too much on guitars and drums, until the keyboards get more chance to shine later on. Not a bad track (certainly not filler), but it could have been better executed in my opinion. The end, echoing the beginning, is great. Track 7: All good things Church bells sounds open and close a great instrumental where the piano dominates the proceedings, a bit like a romantic classical concerto at places. As good as this track is - and I certainly would not want to do without it - the shifts in moods and style from song to song start to become a bit bewildering by now. Track 8: Do without me Continuing the theme of rapidly chaging moods, track 8 evokes the mood of a jazz singer giving a concert in a lounge or bar. Plachtzik sounds more at home in this repertoire which suits his voice perfectly. Roussak shows that he is as much at home in this jazzy idiom with his keyboard play as in the more progressive tracks. The song is strong and would not look out of place on any contemporary jazz album. After Wartime chronicles, my favourite track on the album. I would be highy interested in a complete album in this style by Roussak and his colleagues. Track 9: Vivace furioso Back to prog. In spite of the title, this instrumental is not a re-work of a classical tune, but Roussak's own composition dedicated to Keith Emerson. It is a fitting tribute to one of the great prog keyboards legends, full of fireworks, and with a very fine melody line. Track 10: Maybe My first reaction: What the heck? This sounds like a musical song. So I looked at the artist's notes and read: Maybe is actually a song for a still unwritten musical. It definitely shows that he would have the talent to pull off a complete musical. Plachtzik sings his lines adequately, the instrumentation is suitably restrained and gives the great melody the chance to shine. A good closer, and consistent in the selection of somewhat inconsistent styles within one CD.

About the styling: The album front cover is OK, but lacks some impact and imagination to my taste; the back cover is better, and gives the relevant information including run times. The CD itself comes with a far more interesting design. The little booklet gives some background for the tracks and good information on the musicians, including pictures of them, but no lyrics. The text is sometimes difficult to read due to the styling chosen.

Overall assessment: Great musicianship from Andrew Roussak himself on keyboards and piano, with adequate to good contribution from the supporting musicians. The album grows on you with repeated listening, like most good albums. The sound (as far as I could judge by playing on my PC) is good. The highly melodic songs are good, sometimes even great, but I personally find that there is a bit too much variation in style and mood. I would have preferred a complete prog album, or a musical, or a complete jazz album. Nevertheless, an excellent debut with great promise for things to come. Points for improvement: a bit more consistency in the choice of the tracks, and the styling of the cover.

End evaluation: between 3 and 4 stars, rounded up for the sheer brilliance of the instrumental passages.

Report this review (#190239)
Posted Sunday, November 23, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Andrew Roussak is a russian keybordist moved to Germany years ago where he become profesional musician. It's a real good keybordist from today whre his skills melted very well with melodical and smooth arrangements. he is also member in progressive metal band from germany Dorian Opera. His first studio album from 2006 named No trespassing is a good album, where his ideas are well puted in musical arrangements. he is helped by a bunch of guy who to tell the truth never heared of, but did a good job. All album is ok, in some parts even great, specialy the instrumental pieces like Prelude, Wartime Chronicles , great musicianship with beautiful keybords elements. The main aproach to his music is symphonic prog melted with eclectic moments and here and there some more roughr moments aswell. What I don't realy enjoy is the voice of Hendrik Plachtzik, he is ok, but to many times very flat in vocal attitude, I mean he is to shy and his range not realy excellent, but in the end not bad, only ok and nothing more. I like Roussak's keybords escapades in some parts, realy great. So, overall a good album, little to mechanical or sintetic in atmosphere, but not bad realy. 3 stars for sure. He just released in octomber 2010 his second album named Blue intermezzo available at Musea records.
Report this review (#323328)
Posted Wednesday, November 17, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Classical-trained keyboardisty/pianist Andrew Roussak was born in 1968 in Ufa, Russia, and after taking piano lessons and becoming an arranger at the local studio Nerve, he relocated in Germany in 2001.He had been a member of Heavy/Power Metal Stormwitch , before focusing on offering his personal-writen material taped on an album, which was meant to be the 2006 release ''No trespassing'' on MALS Records with the help among others by Stormwitch'es guitarist and bassist Oliver Weislogel and Jürgen Wannenwetsch respectively.

Here Roussak moves away from from his metal-driven familiar style to offer a classic-styled Symphonic Rock album, filled with Classical interludes, piano workouts and tremendous synth solos.Even more importantly the delivery of the album closes the likes of a tight full-time band than an egocentric composer, so the sound of this work is nicely balanced.The tracks are split between instrumental offerings and catchy sung material with an accesible edge, yet always filled with demanding instrumental parts.Roussak's education is evident throughout, from the lovely piano passages to the bombastic synth flashes and the groovy organs, but even when his keyboards remain in the background, they still can create a grandiose atmosphere.Some heavier tracks with powerful guitar breaks have a strong late-90's DREAM THEATER vibe, but the majority of the album is keyboard-based Symphonic Rock close to BLEZQI ZATSAZ, TEMPUS FUGIT, JAIME ROSAS or TESIS ARSIS.The only serious flaws of the album are maybe the voice of singer Hendrik Plachtzik, a decent one but far from suitable to the particular style, and the uninteresting jazzy/soul approaches on a couple of tracks, totally unrelated to the bombastic sound of the rest of the release.

Anyone into serious keyboard-driven Progressive Rock, far from egoistic performances, as well as lovers of Symphonic Rock should be the first to chase for this nice effort.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

Report this review (#652100)
Posted Friday, March 9, 2012 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
Honorary Reviewer
3 stars Andrew Roussak is keyboard player with Dorian Opera, but this is a solo album where he has composed all of the material (apart from two classical pieces by Bach) and has been joined by some guests so that at times this does sound like a band project. Normally progheads are the most forgiving music fans when it comes to different styles, but I am not sure that many would be expecting lounge in the middle of what is predominantly a prog album, witness "Do Without Me". But, do you know what? I think it works to a large extent, just not within the context of the album as a whole. But, this is a solo album and part of the reason for recording outside of the band context is that the musician is free to do whatever he/she likes and obviously Andrew feels that it belongs.

However, overall this is a very enjoyable album with some very strong passages. The vocals aren't always as powerful as they might be, but they work well with the music. This is melodic neo-prog that is firmly middle of the road in that it isn't challenging any musical boundaries, but it is extremely accessible and enjoyable even on first hearing and at the end of the day isn't music there to be enjoyed? I feel it could have done with more push and power but for a debut solo this is a worthwhile effort and it will be interesting to see where Andrew goes from here.

Report this review (#904375)
Posted Friday, February 1, 2013 | Review Permalink

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