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4 stars Compared to their first, instrumental album entitled "East of Eden" the midnight ball follows a fairly different concept, as it contains only songs with spoken texts or with vocals. The CD contains a couple of complex songs, each having a short intro song. A characteristic feature of the album is that many of the songs have a connection with literature. Midnight Ball is based on the novel Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov. Judas Iscariot is based on the novel King Jesus (written by Robert Graves) while Pharaoh was inspired by a book having the same title from Boleslaw Prus. Matthew 26:47 contains an excerpt from the Gospel of Matthew, while I'll Be One with God was apparently inspired by the Book of the Dead. The complexity of the album is quite intriguing. In addition, the HD videoclip of the title song Midnight Ball can be seen on Youtube. Especially the guitar solos are great!
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Posted Friday, November 25, 2011 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The Android lads hail from the lovely town of Debrecen in Hungary , keyboardist Jozsef Tozser especially were kind to send me a copy of their new album as well as a DVD. Obviously, being a Hungarian from the diaspora certainly helps in understanding the lyrics as well as the peculiar artistic temperament that has always had a certainly rebellious strain (Liszt, Bartok, Kodaly) , very much in tune with the needs of music in general and prog in particular (just ask Mr.Hackett if he likes Budapest!) . I reviewed Android's instrumental debut "East of Eden" which I critiqued honestly and as a progfan. I deeply enjoyed the proceedings, just had a problem with the choice of keyboard and drum tones (I mean they are called Android after all!) used on that first foray. The guitar work of Janos Dudas was incredibly uplifting and the future looked rosy. The band has now opted for the inclusion of vocals into their craft and it's an encouraging decision.

"Midnight Ball" starts off with some orchestral pieces, sweeping dual keys introducing some brief female narration before plunging into the sumptuous title track. The massed (three female voices) vocal onslaught combines vividly with the symphonic tornadoes unleashed by the tumultuous whirlwind synthesizers, as the drums thrash wildly in the background. This is pretty inventive and shows this group's ability to wander beyond pure instrumental play. The advantage of such an organic inclusion of human voices is that it breeds a more symphonic palette of sound that dismisses that at times tinny sound on their debut.

"Matthew 26.47" is a musical prayer prologue that introduces the well-developed "Judas Iscariot", a 9 minute plus epic that showcases some effervescent synth soloing that is very much in the Eddie Jobson style in parallel with Dudas' sizzling fretwork, pummeled along by the bass and drum combo. Raspy male and lush female vocals duel for the spotlight, recounting the final supper in the Hungarian language. Excellent track!

The effervescent "Pharaoh" is another lengthy piece that recounts biblical precedent through the strands of time, featuring heady orchestrations and that 3 lady vocalist attack which is highly unusual and hence, utterly original. A serene synth and bass mid-section is a most welcome addition that includes some playfulness and humor. The dual keyboardists (Sandor Milesz and Jozsef Tozser) weave some dense tapestries allowing Dudas to let a couple of scorching solos rip. His harsh tempo is most pleasurable and contrasts nicely with the celestial vocals. Another excellent composition .

The mind-numbing "Waves of Desire" is where Dudas gets to show off his considerable talents once more, a brash fretboard shredder that enjoys toying with his 2 electronic pals , dueling back and forth like some crazed madmen. The bass pummels along nastily with its drumming consort to great effect. When Dudas starts singing, the mood gets hot and heavy, creating the ideal platform for a change of pace soaring solo and then harkens back to the bulldozer axe/synth onslaught. Highlight piece no doubt.

The finale "Let's Play Together" is an upbeat revisit of the mostly religious themes evoked throughout the album, giving Dudas another opportunity to shred a blazing solo

The 5 longer tracks are very enjoyable but the 4 shorter ones really feel like filler, at least to these ears. (Better this way than vice-versa!) Android's next one should consolidate them further within the prog community. There is some serious talent here that needs a little bit of earthier direction, perhaps incorporating more organic sounds : violin, mellotron, Hammond, flute or even that magical Hungarian instrument , the cimbalom.

4 Magyar robots

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Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 | Review Permalink

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