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Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Russian band ALGABAS was formed back in 2007, and the current incarnation of the band stabilized in 2011. "Angels and Demons" is their debut album, and was first released digitally through the Bandcamp website in 2013, which led to the band being picked up by Moscow's MALS Records, which released the CD edition of this production in 2014.

Russian band Algabas has made a debut album that shows a lot of promise and indicates that this is a band that might have an exciting future ahead of them. They don't come across as quite the finished product just yet to my ears, but those with a fascination for neo progressive rock in general and bands that combine that direction with harder edged, darker toned guitars in particular should find plenty to enjoy on "Angels and Demons".

Report this review (#1266066)
Posted Tuesday, September 2, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars Algabas - this little known band from Russia with one album released so far in 2013 named Angels and demons. The description of music is like a combination of neo prog with heavy prog elements through in. Bands like A Piedi Nudi, Pendragon, IQ definetly influence Algabas plus traditional russian music . The music is quite good, with some nice keyboards and guitars all over, there are some almost prog metal passages, bordering those genres in a nice manner and virtuosic level. While the lyrics are in russian language, is a good thing because add a nice exotic elements in overall context. All in all enjoyble album from start to finish, one of the better bands from Russia I've heared in last years, nice art work and abooklet. 3.5 stars for sure.
Report this review (#1266688)
Posted Wednesday, September 3, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars "Angels and Demons" is the debut album of the Russian band ALGABAS from Vladimir (which is the ancient Russian town). This is music composed in the tradition of Genesis, Marillion, and IQ, but played with "heavier elements". Good drums, active bass, beautiful keyboards (with frequent use of digital strings), guitars (both hard-rockish and Rothery-oriented) and - to some extent, crude and not sweet but charismatic - male vocals (in Russian) create enjoyable atmosphere for neo-progster. The best song is dark "Madness Formula" with dramatic accents and riffs but all other songs including one instrumental track can also be considered as interesting and appealing. Touch of traditional Russian folk music adds charm. More diverse sound, more various - in tempo and mood - songs - and more complicated approach to composition-making would make this music much more marvellous. Highly recommended for lovers of both melodic and driving prog rock (if they do not afraid Russian vocal which is radically different from Lake, Fish etc). This album can be ordered from Mals Records, famous Moscow prog label.
Report this review (#1278006)
Posted Wednesday, September 17, 2014 | Review Permalink
3 stars I am one of those who has financially helped issuing this album, so my review might be biased.

I heard Algabas in concert in 2012 and I was struck by how nothing was musically bad in what they did. It was a big shame there was no way to listen to them in CD quality. Every time I listen to this CD I still have distinctively pleasant feel.

The guys label themselves as neo-prog, and reviewers tend to agree. Yet for me it's not. The albums is based on verse-chorus-like structures, general lack of complexity is evident, so it's basically either Crossover, or neo-prog, or not prog at all. The main distinctive moment for me is the drums. They are never (or almost never) neo-proggish here, never ostinato, they add complexity, not conceal it by being simple and in front of everything. So my take on genre will be Crossover prog.

What really was top both on this album and on both concerts I attended is the guitar. It's playful, inventive and crystal clear. I couldn't notice if there are any self repeats or anything like that, and it plays throughout all 50+ minutes. Musical flow is like I like it: it is maintained carefully, all the fragments stitched together, mood transitions are not out of place. Keyboards play supportive role here for flow, melody and atmosphere. Slightly pleasant or slightly tense, seldom frenzy, seldom in front.

Downsides include lack of complexity, lack of tempo variation, rough production, no loudness variation (Sergey is still dissatisfied with the sound). There are mainly two types of music being played: mid-fast tempo 4-piece (bar The Chimney House which features a sax solo) and slow-mid paced psychedelic, both guitar driven.

Next goes a track by track stars. 4* Angels and Demons (5:04) 3* Galilei (5:47) 3* The White House (5:00) in Russian this was "The white stone" 4* Walking Around Jerusalem (5:17) 3* Secrets of the Sky (5:30) 3* The War (6:32) 3* Madness Formula (5:26) 4* The Chimney House (6:01) 3* Express Train (6:08)

Time-weighted average: 3,32.

Report this review (#1279188)
Posted Thursday, September 18, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars Algabas is the great prog-rock band from Vladimir, and "Angels and Demons" is the title of their new (and only, as I understand it) album. The group is unusual for Russia - this is not an accompaniment to vocal; it is instrumental rock with a "full vocal elements" and focuses on the music itself. Musicians play skillfully and creatively, lead guitar dominates, keyboards too. Sound is dense and heavy. Russian texts are poetic and smart, Russian vocals are strong and powerful. In short, these are not taken in "Nashe Radio". When they will become more concise musically, perhaps, the higher league of the world progressive rock will be not far from them.
Report this review (#1282390)
Posted Tuesday, September 23, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars I discovered the Russian band Algabas' debut album from their Bandcamp page (free download if you're reading) and having had mixed success in finding music on that site, I have to say this was one of the better downloads I came across.

Algabas is a quartet of Sergey Milyaev on bass and vocals, Ilya Frolov on keyboards, Vladimir Mikhailov on guitars, and Albert Pogosian on drums. They hail from the city of Vladimir, which is just east of Moscow. They've been around since 2007, but only released their debut on Bandcamp in 2013, with a CD version issued by MALS in 2014.

Although they have been classified as Heavy Prog on Prog Archives (as of October 2014), I feel they are more suited for the Neo-Progressive genre. Ahh, but there's the rub... Even though I say that, they aren't necessarily your typical neo prog band. They have elements of hard rock (alas, what PA leaned on in their decision), elements of symphonic prog (particularly of the Eastern European type, but surprisingly some RPI moments), and an energy that seems uncommon from most neo prog bands. It's like neo prog without the pretentiousness. There are the obvious nods to groups like IQ, Pendragon, and Clepsydra. Then there is the bass playing that is obviously influenced by the likes of Chris Squire and Dave Meros, and the energetic drumming that occasionally approaches Peart's style, and the Russian vocals approaching the theatrical qualities of RPI. Indeed, it's an unusual mix fused with a kind of quirky neo prog that gives the band a unique sound that's not instantly pinned down.

All of the tracks on this album are solid. No filler here. Some are quite exceptional (like The Madness Formula, The White House, and the instrumental Walking Around Jerusalem). A very enjoyable listen. Highly recommended!

Report this review (#1289869)
Posted Friday, October 10, 2014 | Review Permalink
Heavy Prog Team
3 stars This is certainly an interesting offering from the Russians Algabas that comes to show that personal character and injections of "folk" music has a lot to offer to progressive rock. Don't think screaming flutes, violins and acoustic guitars: the "folk" element here is a distinct Russian sound blended in excitingly with heavy/neo progressive rock.

The vocals of Milyaev balance between narration and singing and sound somewhat "harsh" but fit the retro-character of the type of prog rock that Algabas exhibit: heavy - at times galloping - guitars and splendid keyboard work by Frolov reminds me of the unrefined lines of 80's Pallas but also classical music. Not overly complex, but with enough experimentation and jamming, "Angels and Demons" portrays elements from jazz (Walking Around Jerusalem) to operatic and symphonic rock, without losing for a moment its hard rock/bluesy temperament. The Russian-sung lyrics definitely add to the "peculiarity" of the album, particularly evident in songs such as "Galilei" and "The Madness Formula".

Algabas are clearly a skilled band and manage to inject a "cinematic" aspect to this album (see Express Train), including the narrative-styled vocals, that make it an intriguing listening experience, drawing from Russian music tradition. The Russian language may slightly alienate the listener, who might not be able to appreciate the poetic lyrical content, but don't let this put you off from trying this album out - especially if you are looking for new prog-combinations. The "rough around the edges" feeling is certainly counter-balanced by the creativity of the group.

Promising start - 3.5 stars

Report this review (#1298040)
Posted Monday, October 27, 2014 | Review Permalink

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