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THE INDEFINITE STATE OF MATTER

Albion

Neo-Prog


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Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars 3.5 stars, really. Well, after a 5 year break, polish neo progger band Albion release this new album. It was very hard for me to write a review. Iīve been listening to this CD for months already and the initial feeling of disappointment still remains. I guess my expectations were just too high after the level of excellency this band achieved after Wabiac Cienie (2005) and Broken Hopes (2007). The group was always a personal kind of favorite of the new millenium since they were one of the few polish acts that didnīt fell for the alternative/indie rock trap that plagued so many former fine prog outfits from that country. So, after such a long time since their last studio offer, I was waiting for something at least in the same league as Broken Hopes. Did I expect too much?

No, donīt panic, they did not jump into the indie rock bandwagon. At least not just yet. They still make their fine brand of great neo prog that Polland was famous for during the 1990īs: sypmphonic, melodic, highly emotional, with great keys and brilliant guitar parts (echoes of Gilmour, Hackett and Rothery can be heard). They even have one of the most underated, but still fantastic female singer in the person of Katarzyna Sobkowicz-Malec However, the level of the songwriting on this new release did not exactly reach the quality of the two previous CDs. It is still good, but The Indefinite State of Matter seems to be keyboardsman Krzysztof Malecīs baby. He calls all the shots here and, believe it or not, Sobkowicz-Malecīs distinctive vocals, one fo the bandīs best features are underused on this album. Letīs see: for such a short disc (only 47 minutes of music), two 10+minutes instrumental moments are a bit too much. Neither are that great either, and the closer, Fear, with its abstract textures and electronic treatment is definitly odd for their style. On the other hand all the other four tracks are excellent exemples of what they can do when they are playing as a whole band. Children Rhyme is definitly the highlight here, featuring one of Jerzy Antczakīs best guitar solos ever, powerful vocal lines and menacing keys. I should also point out that Antczakīs guitar playing is as strong and emotional as ever. He is one of Pollandīs greatest, at least at the same level as the legendary Mirek Gill (Collage).

So, all in all, a very good CD. It is only unfortunate that for a band that had released such brilliant works before, a very good album still sounds like a disappontment. None of the new tracks reaches the heights of The Place (from Broken Hopes) for example. Onde again, maybe I was expecting too much. I liked it a lot, but after five long years, The Indefinite State Of Matter, with all its many qualities, should have been better.

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Send comments to Tarcisio Moura (BETA) | Report this review (#900786)
Posted Monday, January 28, 2013 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover Team
3 stars I was sorting through my music the other day and was surprised to come across a cassette release of this band's debut album, now the best part of 20 years old: I hadn't realized that I had been aware of them for so long. This is their first album for five years, and they are now down to being just a trio with guests, which in many ways is somewhat surprising given that the rhythm section has been outsourced as it were. But, it has to be said that in many ways this feels much more like a solo album than it does a band release. There are times when the guitar wails poignantly, and there are times when Jerzy even dares a riff, but this appears to be very much the album of keyboard player Krzysztof Malec. There are a couple of long instrumental numbers on here, as well as long instrumental passages, which in itself is rather surprising given that Katarzyna Sobkowicz-Malec has such a wonderful voice.

A friend of mine asked to borrow this album but soon returned it with the comment that it was just too boring and single-natured for him, and while I may not necessarily agree with the statement I fully understand where he is coming from. An issue I have with some extreme metal bands is that they forget the importance of contrast, so tend to not have enough lightness to emphasis the heaviness and here the reverse is true. The album is crying out for some crunching guitars and more dynamic solos, as otherwise it is running the risk of falling into the background. That is not to say that this is a bad album, not at all, but where Jerzy throws in the Gary Chandler-style leads it demonstrates just how good this could really be. Solid as opposed to spectacular.

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Send comments to kev rowland (BETA) | Report this review (#921555)
Posted Saturday, March 02, 2013 | Review Permalink

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