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Fermáta - Dunajská Legenda CD (album) cover



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Sean Trane
Prog Folk
3 stars After a break of two years, when Fermáta 's members played with Collegium Musicum and following that period, CM's bassist Fedor Freso would follow them here, the line-up would remain stable for three albums. Fermáta's fourth album is another thematic album and sets out to tell us about the legends surrounding the Danube River to which is related the abstract but suggestive artwork gracing the cover. One of the characteristics of this album is the

Oddly building on a re-work of Perpetuum III from their debut album, and its really smokes, even if there are added keyboards using sounds from the later 70's (never a good thing for this writer), but apart for this sonic remark, overall the general musical direction is generally more pop, keyboard-oriented than their previous full-out JR/F. The short acoustic guitar intro of Chotemir leads us in a quiet slow evolving piano-dominated crescendo until Griglak's superb Gilmour-esque solo and much more happening. One of the album's highlights. Witemir is a jazzy guitar track laced with some nice scat chants and Fender Rhodes. The same instrument starts the Unzat track, but in a more intriguing manner, but the track evolves symphonic.

The second-half tracks (most likely most of the vinyl's side B) of the album are sounding to clinically clean, without much inspiration or soul, this being most evident with Trebiz, completely over-dominated by Berka's keyboards, obviously getting a hand from Griglak's paws on other keys. Zilic is a cross of mid-70's Camel with Saga's pop with some mild funky jazz-rock, sounding like some Happy The Man; Zuemin not changing much and ending in slow wind noises. Ditto for the album closer in terms of little interest.

The bonus tracks are also rather ill-advised addition, with both Program Zacina and Tvar being a full-out "song" format with vocals, not only clashing with the first progressive jazz-rock part of the album, but even with the second synth-indulgent pop-jazz part. Not exactly their best work, this album is almost making first hour fans regrettingb that they ever came back from their break. Best avoided if you ask me, even if there are some good tracks early on.

Report this review (#136485)
Posted Thursday, September 6, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars After a short hiatus, Fermáta comes back with Fedor Fre?o on bass, a veteran of Collegium Musicum and Modrý Efekt, to bring us this wonderful album about historic Slavonic rulers with weird names like Wlkina and Unzat. And this album is once again different from the previous ones. Continuing the trend that "Huascaran" started, the sound moves closer to symphonic rock, sometimes sounding close to Camel. At the same time, the jazz-rock elements are still present, but there is much less space for improvisation, and the themes are more immaculately composed and arranged.

The first track "Wlkina" is a pretty straightforward fusion number, with compact soloing duels between Berka and Griglák. The second number "Chotemir" is definitely a highlight, opening with a vaguely medieval sounding acoustic guitar intro. Then the piece develops into a very melodic ballad, with Griglák sounding quite like Andy Latimer, but in the middle it becomes a hot latin fusion jam, reminding us of the band's earlier works. Then it flows effortlessly into "Witemir", a chill acoustic jazzy number with wordless vocals. The rest of the album continues to move between the new melodic ideas and the old typical jazz-rock passages, striking a good balance between exploration and tradition.

Overall, "Dunajská legenda" is a solid effort, having nary a weak track, but lacking the fire of their earlier albums.

Highlights: "Chotemir", "Witemir", "?ilič".

Report this review (#152228)
Posted Thursday, November 22, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars If you can get your hands on any of FERMATA's first four albums don't even hesitate. This is probably the less favoured of the four but man is it ever good. As Sean Trane mentions, the theme running throughout the album is about the legends surrounding the Danube River.

"Wikina" is uptempo and jazzy with lots of keyboards.The guitar starts to light it up before 2 1/2 minutes then trades solos with the keyboards. "Chotemir" opens with intricate acoustic guitar then it stops as we get some atmosphere before a minute. Drums after 1 1/2 minutes then what sounds like violin a minute later. It then kicks in with some emotional guitar. So moving. I like the synths too. Orchestration 4 1/2 minutes in then it changes. A nice guitar / drum section ends it. "Witemir" opens with gentle guitar and we get some vocals too. Great sound here, I like the vocals too. It's so soothing and relaxing.

"Unzat" opens with keys as the sound builds. The guitar leads 2 minutes in. Nice bass too. "Trebiz" opens with piano before it settles down. Drums and bass come in as keyboards and synths continue. A change after 3 minutes. It's spacey after 4 1/2 minutes then it kicks back in. The drumming is great to end it. "Zilic" has this funky groove to it and vocals too. Cool tune. "Zuemin" starts off quietly but it's fuller a minute in with bass and drums out front.It ends in a spacey manner. "Kocel" sounds so good with those keyboards and guitar melodies to open. Drums come in softly as it builds. The guitar gets aggressive after 1 1/2 minutes and the bass becomes prominant. Synths after 4 minutes.

A very enjoyable album that has a few weak spots on the second half, but that's a minor complaint. A solid 4 stars.

Report this review (#259909)
Posted Friday, January 8, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars With two frontmen in the band and Freso joining on the bass guitar, the band had all potential to keep producing a winning streak of fusion albums. In the meantime, fusion music in general absorbed funk/disco and pop influences, it became more polished. Fermata stayed immune to those trends except that music is more streamlined without becoming more sophisticated. Thankfully, playing remaining fluid and ferocious at times. In particular, I like playing by Berka who not only provides great synth solos but is the main mood contributor. The first two pieces are the best ones on the album, IMO. "Wlkina" has a typical minor/major switch in the melody and dynamic groove. Berka using pitch to augment his solo and Griglak one of his most aggressive solos on the album. "Chotemir" starts with acoustic guitar opening followed by mellow keyboards that hint at a ballad especially when hearing a reflective motive. After warming up and crescendo strings, we get a symphonic prog with a moog-like sounding textures and emotional guitar. I hear Slavic folk music inspiration during a recurring motive. The composition end is full of fire stemming out of guitar and drums. "Witemir" is a piece of acoustic accessible rock augmented with fitting keyboard lines. "Unzat" is the best fusion/prog cross on the album and rich with ideas. "Trebiz" is a showcase for keyboards/drums but also hints at possible 80's/new-wave around the 4-minute mark. Dunajska Legenda offers pleasant listening and a number of creative ideas especially in playing.
Report this review (#2973963)
Posted Wednesday, December 13, 2023 | Review Permalink

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