Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Eternal Wanderers - Homeless Soul CD (album) cover


Eternal Wanderers


From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Bookmark and Share
kev rowland
Honorary Reviewer
4 stars I have been fortunate to hear quite a lot of Russian progressive rock over the years, and in many ways the scene over there makes me think a great deal of the Polish prog scene in that there are some amazing bands which many in the west would really enjoy if only they knew about them. A case in point is Eternal Wanderers who are now back with their fourth album, which for any proghead should be a time for much celebration. I first came across them was Andy Didorenko (Lost World Band ? another great Russian outfit) put them in touch with me when they released their last album, 'The Mystery of the Cosmic Sorrow' and I enjoyed it so much I went backwards and discovered the others as well.

The group was formed by the Kanevskaya sisters Elena (lead vocals, keyboards, synthesizers, samplers, theremin) and Tatyana (guitars, backing vocals, keyboards, synthesizers, samplers), more than 20 years ago while Elena's husband Dmitry Shtatnov (bass, keyboards, synthesizers, lead vocal on "Homeless Soul", backing vocals, samplers, sitar, custom DSP algorithms) has also been there since the early days while this is the third album for Sergey Rogulya (drums, percussion). So the line-up has been incredibly consistent in some ways, but the flute has historically been an important instrument to the band and now they have settled down to just the core quartet with some additional vocalists on one song and a violin on one more.

Musically this is easily their most vast and compelling album to date. There are times when it sounds like a science fiction soundtrack, while at others it is almost modern classical with pretty much everything in between with pop, rock, prog, avant garde and even ethnic thrown into the mix. Elena is a wonderful singer, yet strangely for a band who has such a powerful weapon in their arsenal it is used rather sparingly and there are large areas in the album where the band operate as an instrumental quartet. Sergey is an expressive drummer who knows his way around the whole of what sounds like a very large kit, dramatically changing his attack according to what else is going on, while Dmitry is a multi-instrumentalist who changes what he is doing according to the need (the sparing use of sitar is both surprising yet fits perfectly in the context). Then there are the sisters. Elena is of course the main keyboard player, but with two others also adding to the mix there is a wide range of keyboard sounds and styles at play, yet it never seems massively over the top (and everyone loves a theremin, even Sheldon!). But what cuts through this bank of sound is not only the rhythm section but the guitar of Tatyana, who approaches the music in many different styles. She can be staccato and choppy, allow herself to provide Hackett-style influences, or even come at it in a few heavier manner altogether. It is the huge amount of musical styles on show which makes this such as compelling album, yet always with a cinematic quality which makes me think of 'Blade Runner', and "Homeless Soul" in particular would have been a perfect fit, even though it does seem rather strange to hear it as Dmitry here is providing the lead as he plays the part.

This is an album which takes the listener on a journey, one where the destination is unknown, as is the route one is taking to get there, but it is a case of sitting back and enjoying the ride. It may have been a few years since the last album but there is no doubt this is their finest to date, and one which I heartily recommend. If you have yet to come across the wonderful progressive sound of Eternal Wanderers then start here.

Report this review (#2444861)
Posted Friday, September 4, 2020 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
4 stars [Originally published at The Progressive Aspect]

Samsara. A word in Sanskrit that means 'wandering'. The aimless wandering through successive states of mundane existence. The endless cycle of birth, growth, decay and death. Eternal wandering of a homeless soul. It seems obvious, but I have to admit it didn't occur to me at all before listening to the music. I made no connection from the band name to the album title, or from either to the idea of Samsara. The album artwork appeared to imply a more science fiction inspired tale ' and, indeed that tale is told ' but the opening track of this fourth album from Russian band Eternal Wanderers almost immediately opened my mind. A quick look through the lyrics (something I almost never do, and even less often before having listened to the music), and although the cosmic story was there, it seemed to me to be an allegorical tale. Samsara.

Homeless Soul is bookended by Invested With Mystery, the abbreviated version of which opens the album, suffixed as a prologue. It sounded reminiscent of Indian music, even though there was no noticeable Indian instrumentation. Even that alone would likely not have made me make the mental leaps required to join the dots, had I not listened to several albums already this year that play upon the theme of Samsara. Kala by Mobius, Metempsychosis by hubris. and The Return by Deep Energy Orchestra all recreate the idea of Samsara musically. Golden Caves use Samsara as a reverse allegory in their song of the same name, further describing the theme of their album, Dysergy ' addressing the idea of dysergy in oneself, of not feeling complete, of being disconnected or in discord with oneself or the world. Eternal wandering of a homeless soul.

If it were not clear to begin with, when the album ends with the full version of Invested With Mystery, all that seemed missing from the prologue is included, in all its glory. Although the theme is instantly recognisable from the prologue, it is completed by the inclusion of the sitar. It's fuller and brighter, and the additional verses provide final recognition that this may be an end, but it's not the end, and the cycle continues. But I'm getting ahead of myself, as an awful lot goes on in between these two parts of Invested With Mystery ' and what a trip it is!

I'll admit that the track Eternal Wanderer doesn't do a lot for me, and I find it the least interesting, musically. I won't go so far as to say I find it boring, but it does come close, and if I weren't reviewing the album, I might not have ventured past it. For that reason alone, I'm glad that reviewing made me persist, as the album becomes very good very quickly from this point on. Transformations is an amazing piece, largely instrumental, and some very classy symphonic space prog, showing the prowess of all four members of the band. The second instrumental part, after the brief vocals, is easily one of my favourite passages on the album.

Meteor, which follows, is beautiful. After the intensity of Transformations, it provides a change of pace, while maintaining the spacey feel. The bridge after three minutes is simply gorgeous, and guest musician Andy Didorenko's violin is sublime. But all that has come before is pretty much now blown away by album centrepiece, and longest track, The Cradle of a Hurricane, an instrumental suite comprising six parts. It's marvellous. It reminds me a little of Progenie Terrestre Pura ' though without the blast beats and black metal.

And as Meteor provided the comedown after Transformations, so does I Wanna Give My Life For You ' at least, to begin with. It's a twisted mix of Abba balladry and psychedelic spaciness that really ought not to work as well as it does. It builds and builds, and has some wonderful almost ambient soundscapes breaking the intensity briefly, before a triumphant return. This track really does allow the Kanevskaya sisters, who write the music and lyrics for Eternal Wanderers, to truly shine ' with both their vocals and their playing. I Wanna Give My Life For You surprised me by quickly becoming one of my favourites on the album, as it's definitely not in my normal comfort zone. There was so much potential for this song to be cringeworthy, but it's simply brilliant.

Chaos of Reason is a little anti-climactic afterwards, but, as with the preceding song, this is deceiving. It's length proves to be its advantage, as although it may not feel so exciting to begin with, it's hard not to be swept away, especially when the song kicks up a gear after around two and a half minutes. At this point, the song becomes almost entirely instrumental, including a very nifty jazzy passage, before some quite beautiful wordless vocalisations, which I find more enjoyable than Pink Floyd's similarly spacey Great Gig in the Sky. One final verse, and then it's back to another enjoyable instrumental ' In Search of the Antiworld. Again, the band excel.

And it's back to the beginning. The album began with Invested With Mystery and Eternal Wanderer, and ends with Homeless Soul and Invested With Mystery. Two title tracks of a sort, bookended by a track which is the end of the beginning of the end' Homeless Soul is infinitely more interesting for me than Eternal Wanderer, though. I absolutely love the twisted and distorted spoken word. I wouldn't want to hear a whole album of this style, but it sure provides an impact after the beautiful vocals of the Elena and Tatyana Kanevskaya. The music, too, is twisted and tortured. Until finally, Invested With Mystery provides, if not resolution, resignation. The cycle of life and death is eternal. Samsara. Eternal wandering of a homeless soul.

Report this review (#2444878)
Posted Saturday, September 5, 2020 | Review Permalink
4 stars This band comes from Moscow, it was founded in 1997 by sisters Elena and Tatyana Kanevskaya, who have also written all music on this fourth album (my introduction to them). While there are a lot of female fronted neo prog groups, especially in England and Poland, it seems to be all too rare to find one that's sovereignly led by women.

Three members of this quartet are multi- instrumentalists and have produced the album together. The fourth one concentrates on drums and percussion -- and is excellent at that. Both ladies play keyboards, Elena is also the main vocalist and Tatyana plays primarily guitars. The keys-oriented sound is truly finely produced, it is clear, spatial and full of dynamics.

The brief opening track begins with echoed a cappella vocals, the synth background gradually growing. I like the female vocals that are relatively deep and strong. I have no good reference in mind, perhaps it's something like Alannah Myles with a folky hint of Lena Willemark? 'Eternal Wanderer' with an emphasis on chorus is clearly the song that most sticks to the listener's mind, whether it's a good or a bad thing. The third track is a powerful and proggy near-instrumental. Imagine Rush teaming with, say, Jordan Rudess. Oh yes, if you thought that women make only music that's sensitive, emotional, mellow, etc., this band widens your horizon.

'The Cradle of a Hurricane' is an intense prog instrumental with a metallic edge, and it's followed by poppier and softer 'I Wanna Give My Love for You'. Dmitry Shtatnov throws in some sitar! In fact this hour- long album is so diverse and eclectic in its wide spectre between accessible pop and psychedelically flavoured prog intensity that Neo Prog label is an understatement.

Spacey instrumental 'In Search of the Antiworld' may be fave track. I'm not fond of 'Homeless Soul' featuring the (treated) main vocals of Dmitry, but as a whole this is such an exciting, original and well made album.

Report this review (#2460067)
Posted Monday, October 26, 2020 | Review Permalink

ETERNAL WANDERERS Homeless Soul ratings only

chronological order | showing rating only

Post a review of ETERNAL WANDERERS Homeless Soul

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.