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Hoggwash - Spellbound CD (album) cover



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3 stars Hoggwask is a project who begun to take form around 2006 when excellent musician Antony Kalugin from Ukraine and Will Machie from Wales got together and since then the collaboration between them was a real succes. Hoggwash released so far two albums, one in 2007 and second in 2013 named Spellbound. Besides Kalugin and Machie are lots of invited guests to complete the overall sound of this album. The music is on the symphonic/neo prog side, well performed and with good musicianship, what suffers little bit are the ideas, who are far from bad but kinda same with what was done in the past by other bands from this genre. Influences taken from Camel on the smoother parts, Genesis for symphonic side, Saga for the pompous passages, etc. Hoggwash sounds not very much alike with other two great bands from Kalugin sleeve , Karfagen and Sunchild and is a good thing, because is showing how versatile is this musician, being able to come with a vast palete of sounds, twists and turns. I find him one of the best prog musicians in past decade. The best tune of the album to me is the opening Soldier Of Fortune, sets the mood for the entire album, symphonic prog as must sound this style, well performed with great musicianship , nice vocal parts, all is here. The rest are ok, most of the time, maybe to much vocal orientated in some passages, but ok. I wish I can hear more instrumental passges. Anyway good album for sure, Hoggwash needs attention, but I prefere Karfagen and Sunchild more. 3 stars rounded in places to 3.5. Nice art work and overall package, remind me of Pirates from Carraibe.

Report this review (#1139127)
Posted Thursday, February 27, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars Hoggwash is basically a two-man collaboration between Ukrainian keyboardist, composer and vocalist Antony Kalugin and Welsh songwriter William Mackie, who is the co-producer and distributor (in Caerllysi Music) of all Kalugin's projects. Making the follower to Hoggwash's debut album The Last Horizon (2007) took a long time because Kalugin's two other bands, SUNCHILD and KARFAGEN, gained "so much momentum that I felt Hoggwash 2 could happily wait", says Mackie on the liner notes. "When studio recording begins my work is largely done, so I am able to enjoy him taking what are traditional song structures and developing the music to what you hear now", Mackie writes. Kalugin in his turn has invited some co-musicians: Max Velichko (guitars), Oleg Prokhorov (bass), Ivan Rubancyuk (drums), Anatoliy Shmargun (percussion) and Michail Sidorenko (alto sax on four tracks), plus two guys on backing vocals.

Compared to Karfagen or Sunchild, Hoggwash is a bit more song oriented, and more "outgoing" and "happier" in the atmosphere. I agree with the sole previous reviewer of this album, that mixing the symphonic approach of Camel or Genesis with the pomposity of Saga, or why not Styx, gives some idea of the music. The opener 'Soldier of Fortune' (nothing to do with the well-known hard rock hit) is an obvious highlight, proceeding instrumentally for nearly half of its 8+ min. length before Kalugin's vocals enter. Such wonderful solos for synths and electric guitar along the way! 'Another Game' is closer to pop, but still with a distinctive prog edge. Think of AMBROSIA's debut for instance, and 10cc for the fullness of musical ideas within the song structure. 'Let the Lady Smile' is, especially for the chorus, highly catchy and danceable, almost like George Michael's early solo stuff.

On some tracks there's a very Supertramp-reminding electric piano, which however is just one ingredient on the rich soundscape. 10-track, 67-minute Spellbound is an energetic joyride of perfectly produced prog-pop. Some songs are happier, some more introspective (especially the long 'Out of the Abyss'), but always the playing is very enjoyable, and also the vocal harmonies work well. If you like Swedish prog band MOON SAFARI, Hoggwash will probably please you. The closing song 'Life's Conundrum' (marked as a bonus track) is sung slightly nasally by Sergiy Obolonkov. Not a bad extra ingredient, although I prefer Kalugin's own warm voice. All in all, this extremely well executed and charmingly pop-sensible album is easy to enjoy.

Report this review (#2270248)
Posted Wednesday, October 16, 2019 | Review Permalink

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