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Zenit - The Chandrasekhar Limit CD (album) cover

THE CHANDRASEKHAR LIMIT

Zenit

Neo-Prog


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4 stars This is a really fine album by a band originating from Ticino in the Italian speaking region of Switzerland. This is the bands first album for seven years, since 2006's "Surrender". They are a group of experienced musicians including former Clepsydra bassist Andy Thommen and Keyboard whiz Ivo Bernasconi. The albums title refers to an astronomical term associated with white dwarf stars, there is also a track called "Pulsar" so the band seem to have a bit of an fascination with astronomy. The music is thoughtful and clever with catchy riffs and excellent musicianship. The album starts with "Awaken" which after 15 seconds of vocals over acoustic guitar launches into a memorable and soaring guitar and keyboard riff which sets the tone for the whole album, there is a nice laid back guitar break in the middle of this 12 minute song which is complemented by the excellent bass work of Thommen. "Cub Lady" at just under three minutes is a very nice short ballad featuring vocals and acoustic guitar. The strangely titled PigReco starts with a simple but captivating electric piano melody before moving into progressive territory with very nice guitar behind the vocalist and some saxophone thrown in for good measure. The 17 minute "Matrimandir" brings in a taste of the Indian sub-continent with Sanskrit lyrics and Indian sounding instrumentation, however the song has jazz interludes within a song which I presume is about the temple in the Indian town of Auroville. "Pulsar" is an instrumental which starts simply with a melody on bass and piano before developing into something quite stylish. The 24 minute final track "The Daydream Suite" gives the band chance to explore the full spectrum and show off their talents in a song which seems to be about the repetition and recall of dreams as vocalist Lorenzo Sonognini laments "I wanna play it back, I wanna live that dream again". An excellent album with the odd nod in style towards Genesis but really there are a number of techniques and styles involved here as well as fine instrumentation with a mention in despatches for guitarist Luigi Biamino, the vocals are pretty good too. Highly recommended.
Report this review (#913375)
Posted Wednesday, February 13, 2013 | Review Permalink
ProgShine
COLLABORATOR
Errors & Omissions Team
4 stars Zenit is a band from Switzerland that has been playing since 1998. The band was founded by Andy Thommen (formerly Clepsydra), Ivo Bernasconi and Gigio Pedruzzi. They've got 3 albums so far and The Chandrasekhar Limit (2013) is the newest one.

The Chandrasekhar Limit (2013) was released by Galileo Records in January and it's being distributed by Gonzo Multimidia that in the last few years has become a specialist in Prog Rock.

Before anything else, it's good to understand why such a weird name for their album. The Chandrasekhar Limit is a mathematical term. It was named after the Indian-American Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar and defines if a white dwarf star remains a star or becomes a black hole. According to the band they felt the same way, not knowing if they were above or below The Chandrasekhar Limit (as a metaphor for their music).

The Chandrasekhar Limit (2013) is bold and try to emulate the old glory days of Prog without fall in the usual clichés that some bands use. We have six tracks, almost 70 minutes of good music. The album is based on long songs (12, 17 and 24 minutes long, for example), but there's no sign of getting bored with it. Sometimes long running time CDs tend to be boring at the end, not here.

'Awaken' starts the album and it's good to see some acoustic guitars. Actually, Lorenzo Sonognini is the vocalist and plays only the acoustic guitar, not on all the tracks, but it's nice to see acoustic guitars as a base instrument. Lorenzo voice is hard to get used to in the beginning, but as soon as the first verses go along, his voice suits the music well. 'Cub Lady' is more a snippet of an idea than a proper track and 'PiGreco' is an instant classic.

'Matrimandir' has Sanskrit lyrics and the sound follows the lyrics with a hypnotic riff. A curiosity is the Bossa Nova part in the middle, and then a 'progger' part follows, three musical fields that, supposedly, have nothing to do with each other. 'Pulsar' is like a Circus music, and it's a fun piece of music but really doesn't go anywhere.

'The Daydream Suite' is the epic of the album. Over 24 minutes long and it's good to hear the acoustic guitars again. It's a fine musical journey that you can take with your eyes closed. Andy Thommen used to play on Clepsydra back in the 90's and it's good to hear such a good bass player that cares for clever parts and cares for the bass sound. Much of the bass players nowadays plays Prog with 5 strings bass and forget the mid-high frequencies. Ivo Bernasconi is subtle with the keyboards, but precise. Gabriele Schira has a good drum sound and Luigi Biamino at a first glance doesn't appear at all with the guitars, but that's where the trick lies. His sound builds up the atmosphere the band needs to get a good sound!

The Chandrasekhar Limit (2013) is a proof that Prog can still be refreshing with good musicians on the instruments. I'm not talking about technically good musicians, I'm talking about intelligent musicians that work for the song and Zenit definitely has it.

Report this review (#948706)
Posted Wednesday, April 24, 2013 | Review Permalink

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