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Fermáta - Pieseň Z Hôľ CD (album) cover



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5 stars This is one of the best jazz-rock albums ever have been released in 70s. Remember, that they had started to play early than Brand X started, but look as last! So i can say that Fermata is one of the possible influences for Brand X. Actully, all musicians are in possession of instruments. Some songs remind me about other bands like Return in Forever, but not Weather Report! So, if you like classic jazz-rock sound, you must get it.
Report this review (#89836)
Posted Sunday, September 17, 2006 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
4 stars Second album from this Slovak combo that experienced their first line-up changed with Zelenak taking over the drum stool and an added violinist named Milan Tedla but as a guest musician only. These changes would not affect the group's sound much, even if Berka's presence is better felt and sounding a tad more symphonic, but still remaining franticly jazz-rock/fusion.

The opening title track, Song From Bridges, is giving right off the starting block the colours that will dominate the album, especially the McLaughlin-like lightning-fast guitar playing from Griglak, but Berka's synth sometimes sounds like a moog. In this album, you can start telling who is the songwriter, especially on the closing track, where Berka's keyboards are all over (a bit unfortunately) the 10- min epic that had started so well. Sadly, this last track lowers, IMHO, the general level of the album, but it still remains extremely excellent, but I prefer their debut.

Although the 2-album-on-1 Cd doesn't hold the fifth track (Perpetuum III) of their debut album, you can safely jump on that release as this first album is at least as good as their sophomore effort, this particular release even getting an extra half star, making it 5 in all.

Report this review (#136318)
Posted Wednesday, September 5, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Fermáta's second album from 1976 featured an updated rhythm section of Anton Jaro on bass and Cyril Zeleňák on drums, which in my opinion is the most smoking rhythmic tandem the band ever had. The album is similar to its predecessor in many ways yet also different. It's less guitar based and less riff heavy (quite strangely two of the six track don't feature any guitar at all, and another one only a little bit in the background). Instead, for the most part, it's toned down to chill fusion, which doesn't take anything away from its quality, but if you prefer manic soloing a la early Mahavishnu, I'd go for the debut.

The one glaring exception to this updated sound is the explosive opening title track, which for most of its duration relies on Anton Jaro's repetitive bass ostinato while the soloists go crazy over it for 11 minutes. The following tracks are more toned down groove based numbers, somewhat reminiscent of mid-period Weather Report, except with less sonic variety, as the keyboard sounds are exclusively rhodes and moog. "Priadky/Spinning" sounds a bit like soundtrack from one of the old Nintendo 64 games. Some elements of slavic folk music also sneak in, especially on the closing track "Vo zvolene zvony zvonia/Bells are Ringing in Zvolen", with folky violin trading off with Berka on synths. But despite the very lovely violin soloing, this track is actually somewhat boring.

The sound of this album is generally improved compared to the first, the snare drum doesn't sound like cardboard boxes anymore, but this time they managed to make the drums too loud to the extent that they clip. You will find it takes Fermata a long time to get a really good production job on one of their albums. Still "Song from the Ridges" belongs among their best.

Highlights: "Piesen z hol/Song from the Ridges" and "Priadky/Spinning".

Report this review (#152226)
Posted Thursday, November 22, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars For their second album the band has added some violin, not a lot though. Also the synths take a more prominant role. In fact I agree with Sean Trane that the 10 minute final track brings this recording down a level because of the dominant synths.The rest is so good though that this deserves 4.5 stars.

"Piesen Z Hoi" is the 11 minute opener and it's a beauty. It opens with bass as drums and guitar join in. Incredible sound ! The guitar is just screaming. Keyboards 2 minutes in and the drumming is so good. It settles after 5 1/2 minutes then the bass and drumming are back. Violin is brief.The guitar is on fire 8 minutes in and the bass and drums are relentless. "Svadba Na Medvedej Luke" has this killer drum intro before it settles with keys around a minute. The drums continue. Great sound ! "Posledny Jarmok V Radvani" opens with some huge bass lines with drums, keys and guitar.The guitar comes to the fore after a minute. Keyboards then lead before the guitar returns.

"Priadky" starts quietly with keys and other sounds. It kicks in after 1 1/2 minutes. A fantastic sound follows. The drums and bass sound so good. Electric piano too. Guitar 4 minutes in makes some noise. A calm 5 1/2 minutes in then the bass and drums return 6 minutes in. Keys too. This is incredible ! "Dolu Vahom" is a short tune with keyboards, bass and drums. I like it. "Vo Zvolene Zvony Zvonia" opens with liquid piano melodies as bass, cymbals and bells create some atmosphere. It's building after a minute. Violin follows. Synths lead after 5 minutes then the violin returns a minute later. Synths are back to the end. Too many synths on this one is my lone complaint.

Jazz / Fusion fans really need to check this band out.

Report this review (#260593)
Posted Tuesday, January 12, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars As with the previous album, Fermata's Piesen Z Hol presents a strongly Mahavishnu Orchestra-influenced brand of fusion based around the furious guitar work of Frantisek Griglák. With both Griglák and Tomás Berka contributing keyboard work to the mix, the album shows a somewhat greater synthesiser presence than the debut - or, for that matter, the original Mahavishnu Orchestra's albums, making Piesen's sound rather more unique. If you want to imagine what the Orchestra might have sounded like if the original lineup had stayed together and Jan Hammer had gotten some top-flight synthesisers, you should definitely consider giving this album a try.
Report this review (#550005)
Posted Friday, October 14, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars A scintillating listen that takes a while to sink it's teeth.

This album is constructed in nearly the same vein as all top shelf fusion albums, with lengthy diversions, quick tempo changes, and glorious rhythms to spare. Synths and guitar dominate the solos, with tons of solid backbone all the way through. Some violin adds a classy touch to the precedings on a few tracks. It's not overwhelming like on some records, say Jan Hammer's Oh Yeah!

This is professional fusion at it's finest done by true pros. They may steal cookies from the Mahavishnu jar but they take those cookies and add some interesting toppings.

I think the closing track is as fine a closer in fusion, perhaps all of prog. Truly fitting, spacey opening gives way to heavy synth and violin solos, followed by synths and lovely sung harmony to close. A classic.

Report this review (#1049769)
Posted Wednesday, October 2, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars For many decades I was only familiar with the band's name, having only a faint idea of the music they may have played. Considering that they were active from behind the Iron Curtain, I didn't expect ever to hear a single note. As luck has it - quite unexpectedly - I came across some of their releases in recent times and what a pleasant surprise it was!

At first spin this album takes me back in time to the mid-70's when Jazz-Rock was in full bloom with almost complete disregard to mainstream commercial success. Spirited playing with no compromises laces this work from beginning to end. I must admit, at times it may come across as somewhat overambitious, but I won't hold it against the band persevering in trying circumstances.

Fast paced work, conjuring images of Gary Boyle's Isotope, also of John McLaughlin in early Mahavishnu. Even some Jerry Goodman-like violins are added. In the first tune the rather dull, repetitive bass has put me off a bit, but for the rest of the work the bass was excellent.

A great album that would fit neatly in any Jazz-Rock collection. 4.5 here and I am looking forward to hear more from this great band.

Report this review (#1192069)
Posted Saturday, June 14, 2014 | Review Permalink

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