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Quidam - surREvival CD (album) cover

SURREVIVAL

Quidam

Neo-Prog


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2 stars **1/2

This is the band's first album without the female vocalist/cellist Emila Derkowska. The female vocals are gone and so is the cello. They have changed their musical direction quite a bit. The music is nothing special but that's not what I expected either. The best years of this band seem to be long gone. The mostly seventies influenced neo-symphonic days seem to be history and modern influences have sneaked in. The music is now more commercial sounding and the influences from the English scene are more evident. The new sound has a lot of that so-called alternative approach which puts me off. It doesn't disturb me insuperably but I do find it rather dull. However, the biggest change is of course the new male singer Bartek Kossowicz who is surprisingly good. The lyrics are only in English unlike in the previous albums and a non-English person like me hardly notices that it isn't his native language. This album leaves me with mixed feelings. I wanted to enjoy this because all the other albums so far have been enjoyable at least to some degree.

Conclusion: The worst album by the band so far.

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Send comments to geezer (BETA) | Report this review (#44906)
Posted Tuesday, August 30, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars OK, to start off with, i write reviews very infrequently, mainly becasue I have little time and to be honest, I have to feel motivated by either the positive or negative attributes of a disk to make myself write. So here goes. I first off have to say that I sold this album already on Ebay, I was SO totally disappointed by it. It is astounding that this is the same band that gave us ALL their previous albums. Now I know the beautiful Emila left, and the bass player and drummer are also new faces, but the heart of this band has ALWAYS been Zbyszek Florek (the keyboard player) and Maciek Meller (the guitarist). if you listen to their other albums it undoubtably the interplay between them that created the 'Quidam sound'. The keyboards were (for me anyway) the real essence of their sound. However, here it is like a different badn completely. The synths are much lower in the mix, the guitarist has gone from sounding like a mic between Hackett and Latimer to almost a 'grungy-metal' sound and most of all, the songs just dont seem that strong, there is no other way to put it. It is odd, though, that the new vocalist does a good job, his voice is decent and his vocal melodies are strong, but the music is just not as strong as their previous efforts. It pains me to write this, because I know how disheartening negative reviews can be, but the stylistic change evident here is dramatic. I am so curious to hear what the band felt about making such a big change..were they pushed? Either way, I feel this bands strength was with their 'symphonic' sound. They appear to have dropped that for a more agressive, sharper, simpler...almost 'hollow' approach. I REALLY hope they reconsider this direction, I for one would be happier.

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Send comments to transend (BETA) | Report this review (#44941)
Posted Tuesday, August 30, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is a band who is "progressive" in the truest sense ... they have MOVED ON !! Yes, their sound has become more "alternative" if you wish, the Flautist has gone along with the gorgeous the female vocals. But we have hooks, catchy melodies & soaring choruses and an excellent vocalist and the lyrics pretty darn good as well. C'mon ... give Quidam a break - they have resurrected and we should rejoice in the suREvival! *** 1/2 stars!

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Send comments to felona (BETA) | Report this review (#44963)
Posted Wednesday, August 31, 2005 | Review Permalink
Rivertree
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Psych/Space Team & Band Submissions
3 stars Yes - Emila Derkowska had left the band. But they have found a good substitute for her with a sensitive voice. Yes - this is not Quidam you remember and the whole sound seems to be more british.

'Airing' is the opener but only a collection of soundscapes. 'Hands Off' follows and for me is one the best Prog-songs in 2005! The track contains all what in fact for me is Prog - a good melody which gets a place in your brain for a longer time, hard riffs combined with floating sections here dominated by a flute.

Yes - some parts of 'surREvival' are similar to Porcupine Tree (Signify/Absentia) or other bands. For example 'Everything's ended' begins like Ozric Tentacles and continues like RPWL. On 'Queen of Moulin Rouge' you may examine David Gilmour. But where is the problem? If you often listen to music it's not unusual to hear pieces which remind you of other bands.

Conclusion: not spectacular - a good solid prog release - 3.5 stars because I'm impressed by 'Hands Off'.

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Send comments to Rivertree (BETA) | Report this review (#79629)
Posted Sunday, May 28, 2006 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I'm surprised at the poor ratings for this record. Maybe I shouldn't be because 3 of the members have been replaced for this album, including Emila the singer, along with the bass player and drummer. I think the new singer is fantastic. He sings in English and his vocals are smooth and emotional much like Mr.Duda from RIVERSIDE, plus he wrote all but one song. I just really like the way this album sounds.

"Airing" is a cool track but a bold move to open the album with. We hear the sounds of someone getting out of their car after driving home and walking into their house. Then this person goes out the back door and we can hear nature and the wind as this atmospheric music comes in. Very cool. I was actually surprised listening to "Hands Off" at how heavy the opening is as crunchy riffs go on for a minute then they fade away as gentle vocals and some gentle guitar take over. Flute and light drums before 3 minutes. Nice. Electric guitar after 4 1/2 minutes that goes on and on.The heaviness is back 6 minutes in.This may well be the best song on this record. "Not So Close" gives it a run though, opening with strummed guitar and almost processed-like vocals. This pastoral soundscape gets intense before 2 1/2 minutes.The chorus is very catchy.

"The Fifth Season" opens with bass before these Hogarth-like vocals join in with piano. Flute 2 1/2 minutes in. Check out the vocal melodies 6 1/2 minutes in.The tempo picks up and vocals are back before the 8 minute mark. The song gets better as it goes but overall i'm not a fan. "Surrevival" is another good one, I like the mood here and the relaxed guitar playing early. Vocals come in and they do get aggressive along with the soundscape. Nice flute solo 3 1/2 minutes in. "Queen Of Moulin Rouge" opens with flute as fragile vocals come in until about 4 1/2 minutes in (time change !). For the rest of the song we are treated to some fantastic drumming and great guitar.The final song "Everything's Ended" has a piano / percussion intro as reserved vocals join in. A great guitar solo after 4 1/2 minutes. It settles again.It ends as the record began with similar samples.

Well you wouldn't even know this was the same band which I think has turned a lot of their fans against them. I'm sure they'll pick up some new ones though with this heavier sound that is contrasted well with the mellow sections.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#96710)
Posted Thursday, November 02, 2006 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Unlike some fellow reviewers, I don't really believe that their new vocalist Bartek Kossowicz had the capability of replacing the excellent Emila (he didn't show it though). She was the in carnation of the band and since she left, a whole side of "Quidam" is gone as well.

But it is not only a matter of vocalist. The song writing is also much more average than on their prior releases. From a mostly symphonic band during their excellent debut album (their best by far IMHHO), the sound on this "SurREvival" is much more in the metal vein. It is a dramatic change, and not always for the good: "Hands Off" for instance, which combines metal with softer edges (even pastoral mood at times).

I wouldn't be too harsh and tell you that one of the best tracks is the opening instrumental "Airing", but almost. I hope that you get the idea. Unfortunately, when the band is heading the sweet and sloppy "Not So Close" and the mellowish "The Fifth Season", I just disconnect.

There were so many very good songs on their prior releases which aren't present here. The sub-par Gabrielesque vocals are only part of the problem. With this album, "Quidam" turned into just another neo- prog item. No more. And the fall hurts a lot as far as I am concerned.

The majority of the songs are just uninspired and tasteless (like the poor title track). I don't like this album very much. It is actually a serious disappointment for me. I am desperately looking for some more positive comments, but the music from this album just doesn't provide the occasion to do so. But I'm not the guilty one.

The epic and closing number is no masterpiece either. It is another average song with here and there some fine and convincing guitar break. But there are too much experimental passages to captivate the audience.

Two stars. Just average.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#182888)
Posted Friday, September 19, 2008 | Review Permalink
Menswear
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Get a load of the cover!

Okay, this is not the most exciting thing around but it's still a decent record with some good melodies to offer and to sing along. The tendency of getting a harder sound is strong in progressive rock, and rock in general frankly. Quidam is still of the 'Camel-Galleon-Pallas' school of rock: non heavy and mellow oriented (the Fifth Season for example) music, with some (unadventurous) flute and rather dull keyboard solos.

Despite being a lighter prog band, Quidam's surREvival is offering a change of season compared to the aggressivity surrounding us. Some songs will probably please your girlfriend and even inspire slow dancing at moments! Sometimes the band is flirting too much with Chris deBurgh (Queen of Moulin Rouge) but some Porcupine Tree riffs are here (thank you lord) and even some scratching here and there! The flute is, as I said, giving a sober but still decorating texture. Overall, they try to put some modernity into a somewhat worn style.

Quidam is not the best thing since sliced bread but they make sympathical little pieces of music. I mean come on, just the cover is inspiring sympathy!

The granny on the cover is representing well Quidam's motto: The old flirting with the New.

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Send comments to Menswear (BETA) | Report this review (#187162)
Posted Monday, October 27, 2008 | Review Permalink
Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars It's quite rare actually taht any neo-prog band starts its album with a relatively long ambient soundscapes like 'Airing' which consumes more than 2 minutes duration. But it's worth listening as the next seamlessly connected song 'Hands off' (9:25) blasts off beautifully like any progressive metal band. Progressive metal? Yeah ...it's quite clear right in the beginning that the heavy riffs sound like a progressive metal music. But when the vocal is about to enter, the music tunes down dramatically where the new vocalist, Bartek Kossowicz, performs his duty. He sings nicely with great British style. The flute-work creates great musical textures, the keyboard solo is really stunning. I think this is really an excellent neo-prog (heavy side) song.

'Not so close' (6:22) opening with acoustic guitar and distant voice vocal reminds me to the kind of Porcupine Tree music. The rhythm section comprising bass guitar and drums make the music sound wonderfully, especially with its excellent sonic quality of the CD - thanks to the sound engineer! On the basis of composition, this track is actually lacking on catchy melody. However, if you re-orient your mind from expecting a song-based music to composition-based music I think you would agree with me this track contains excellent musical textures. there are parts with guitar riffs that really remind me to Porcupine Tree.

The opening bassline part of 'The fifth season' (9:45) reminds me to Yes' 'Onward' (Tormato album) even though it's different when the vocal line enters the music. The music flows in mellow style with changing music style especially when the flutework enters the music at approx 6:30. It's cool. The title track 'SurREvival' (5:13) is a medium tempo music in poppy style, has an excellent groove and flutework combined with nice guitar. 'Queen of Moulin Rouge' (8:24) flows in mellow style with nice flute at the beginning of the song. The concluding track 'Everything's ended' (13:14) has jazzy elements and Marillion's Marbles' music style.

Overall, this is a very good album with solid composition. For those of you who like flute in prog music, this is one of the albums that you should enjoy. Keep on proggin' ...!!!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#223918)
Posted Tuesday, June 30, 2009 | Review Permalink

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