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The Gourishankar

Eclectic Prog

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The Gourishankar 2nd Hands album cover
3.97 | 173 ratings | 25 reviews | 36% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2007

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Moon7 (10:11)
2. Endless Drama (7:45)
3. Queer Forest (6:30)
4. Taste A Cake (1:47)
5. The Inexpressible Chagrin (6:54)
6. Syx (11:08)
7. ...End (8:40)
8. Marvelous Choice (18:16)

Total Time: 71:11

Line-up / Musicians

- Vlad MJ Whiner / lead vocals
- Alexandr "Nomy" Agranson / guitars, backing vocals
- Doran Usher / keyboards
- Cat Heady / drums, loops

- Vladimir Rastorguev / violin, viola
- Dmitry Ulyashev / saxophone, flute
- Alla Izverskaya / backing vocals

Releases information

Artwork: Jonas Ekman

CD Unicorn Digital ‎- UNCR-5042 (2007, Canada)

2xLP ArtBeat Music ‎- AB LP 026 (2014, Russia) New cover art

Thanks to Atavachron for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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THE GOURISHANKAR 2nd Hands ratings distribution

(173 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(36%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(38%)
Good, but non-essential (20%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

THE GOURISHANKAR 2nd Hands reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Prog-jester
5 stars One may consider me a maniac giving 5 stars to every Prog band from post-Soviet area.I must disappoint you - I'm a quite adequate person and use 5 stars pretty rare. These incredible guys truly deserve every star from all 5!Participating in a number of other projects (from alternative rock to electronics), guys distancing themselves from Prog label as well as from any other.Come on, don't be shy - you're Prog! Welcome!

OK, sceptics, look here - we have amazing blend of Retro and Modern Prog with perfect equilibrium. Don't stuck to PORCUPINE TREE or TAAL comparings - they are used only to denote that THE GOURISHANKAR is the same way beautiful, challenging and essential. If you'll miss it, then go and burn your CD collection: you're progger no more.

The album starts from oriental flavour of "Moon7" - energetic complex instrumental evoking best ANGLAGARD's moments, but with dozens of other influences from almost EVERY musical genre we - humans - have. THE GOURISHANKAR have probably wider range of influences ;). One can notice that flavour in almost every track - the following "Endless Drama" (think of GENTLE GIANT jams with DREAM THEATER) has it, and "Queer Forest" with unexpected Reggae mid-part too. That's great - the band named in eastern way MUST have some mystic eastern tunes!And it has and in a good way. Short "Taste a Cake" leads you to "The Inexpressible Chagrin", a wonderful H's MARILLION-like ballad (a radio piece? ;) ), which proves how strong these guys are in songwriting - complex but never chaotic, melodic but never cheesy!!! Awesome! Another dark instrumental follows ("Syx"), and seventh track frightens us with its name ("End"). Hell no! The good MUST last for some long time, and closing 18-min long monster ("Marvelous Choice") is alone worth buying of this CD!

EXTREMELY RECOMMENDED for EVERY PROGRESSIVE ROCK listener! Open your minds and enjoy! Simply the BEST from the whole 2007 I heard so far!

Review by Rivertree
4 stars What is higher than this mountain?

Amazing - a very innovative album from this russian band. No subgenre or style is leaved out - cannot remember that I've heard such a various mix before - and even successful! So it would make me crazy if I had the job to categorize them to a subgenre of Progressive Rock. Never mind - better prefer listening to this excellent production - with headphones of course.

Very remarkable is the use of TripHop/Downbeat elements similar to the band ARCHIVE for example. This makes the whole release very unique in my opinion. Moon7 contains 10 minutes of nearly overburdened variety, sometimes releaxed and trippy, sometimes retro and folk, sometimes melodic prog metal. This song is exciting like fireworks. Endless Drama - the start reminds me at COLLAGE - is nearly in the same way. With the short Taste a Cake THE GOURISHANKAR serves somewhat new, only using piano and viola, just intending to blend into another mood.

The Inexpressible Chagrin is a nice melancholic track with saxophon/flute and the following two songs are beautiful atmospheric: Syx as an instrumental and End near to SIEGES EVEN's 'The Art Of Navigating By The Stars'. As good and impressing as the album begins then we have the last and long track Marvelous Choice with a stronger symphonic direction.

After working together for five years THE GOURISHANKAR has reached maturity - '2nd Hands' has turned out well! 4.5 stars.

Review by erik neuteboom
4 stars Here's another interesting Russian formation after Little Tragedies, Infront, Aviva, Lost World and Apple Pie: The Gourishankar, what an exciting prog! The sound of this Russian four piece band (with additional guest musicians on violin, saxophone, flute and backing vocals) is a Pandora's Box of musical surprises.

Take for example the first composition entitled Moon7: first a fluent rhythm with heavy organ, fast synthesizer runs, Allan Holdsworth inspired guitar work, powerful guitar riffs and propulsive drumming, in between a swinging piano and suddenly a violin solo or a Spanish guitar with percussion, "never a dull moment"! The other 7 tracks also deliver lots of variety, musical ideas and shifting moods: from swinging to bombastic featuring pleasant work on guitar and keyboards, propulsive guitar riffs, a sparkling piano solo and fiery guitar in Endless Drama, classical piano and violin the short song Taste A Cake, a modern and electronic sound in The Inexpressive Chagrin (including theatrical vocal parts and a saxophone solo), End (a bit similar to Eighties elektro pop) and their 'magnum opus' Marvelous Choice (almost 20 minutes): an electronic intro, then bombastic symphonic prog with fiery guitar, followed by lots of shifting moods, nice musical ideas and pleasant keyboard work, from classical piano to flashy synthesizer flights, very dynamic and exciting!

My conclusion about The Gourishankar their varied music: it often sounds exciting and captivating but often the music goes into all directions, like from Seventies Prog to Eighties Elektro Pop, you have to be up to that huge variety!

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Showing respect to my fellow reviewers (even though at times we strongly disagree) is the true essence of this site, providing opinions on various hitherto unknown bands and their opuses. Getting a feel for a specific album's merits is not always a simple exercise, as we all have our own personal slant on taste, but with a genre as stylistically diverse as prog, this can be a leaky boat at times. It's also what makes "prog-hunting" so much fun!!!! Sometimes, a new revelation will unfold its treasures on the spot and others require a retooling of the sensory programming (expecting blue and getting green) and blossoms only on repeated efforts. This is what is known as "fine-tuning". Russian band The Gourishankar is a case in point, whereby previous reviews were positively adamant at this being primo progressive of the highest order but my first impression was somewhat restrained because of the overdose of various ingredients in this massive release. If one had to synthesize all the ingredients of progressive history and re- engineer them into a contemporary veneer, than this would be a "magna cum lauda" example. It's all here, ladies, gents and ex- comrades: symph, art, neo, rock, classical, folk, electronica & techno with dabs of burlesque, jazz, pop and fusion. My first run through provoked heartburn more than any proggy bliss and I had to ingest some Pepto-Bismol with my vodka! Also somewhat puzzling were the decidedly non-Russian names of the musicians which made this even more mysterious (Cat Heady? Nomy Agranson? Doran Usher? And Vlad MJ Whiner? Not exactly typical Moscow Central! Nothing like Igor, Boris or Ruslan). I did the smart thing and broke up this 71 minute plus sucker into individual pieces that sequestered my entire attention, now listening with an open- mind and even wider ears! And suddenly, just like a violent Siberian snowstorm, I heard the beauty of it all! With ingeniously seductive pieces like "Endless Drama", "The Inexpressible Chagrin" and the simply marvelous "Marvelous Choice", the shift from "What in hell.." To "Hmmn, Russian heaven?" was underway, providing the platform to eventually enjoy the other excellent pieces. There are some rather odd choices here but the philosophy is clear (and it's certainly not dogmatic Marxist!): unabashed variety overload (which the old Soviet censors would of clearly accused of "bloated capitalist bombast", come to think of it)! One thing is definite: this is certainly an interesting release that will astound, confound and ultimately fascinate the geographically unchallenged proghead. 4.5 once red stars
Review by Tarcisio Moura
4 stars After reading some glowing reviews on PA about this band I decided to take my chances and get the CD. Oh, thank God I did it! Those guys are really stunning! Their music is a kaleidoscope of sounds, a truly prog gem. All kinds of musical styles are here: symphonic, neo, jazz rock, fusion, acoustic, metal, art rock, folk, eletronic, classical, you name it! The difference of russian Gourishankar from dozens of others who do mix all kinds of stuff is the fact that actually their songs make sense. Although very intricated, the tunes are hamornic, melodic, pleasant and coeherent. In other words, itīs very original and elaborated, and still accessible. This quality surely puts them very apart (itīs easy to make a mass of complicated noises and call it creative music).

The musicians are simply astonishing masters of their respective instruments. Vocals are also very well done, passionable and convincing, with a freshness rarely seen lately. Production is superb, making 2nd Hands one of the most interesting and captivating prog albums Iīve ever heard in a long time. You have to hear to believe. Impossible to label, except for excellent music for the ears, heart, mind and soul. Iīm really looking forward to hear more from Gourishankar. Amazing! Highlights? All the tracks. Those guys are as good songwriters as they are players.

A must have for any prog fan.

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars First the good news. This is a very interesting band with a dynamic sound. Full of chops as far as the eye can see one gets the feeling that these guys warm up by ripping through covers of the most complex Crimson or DT numbers for fun. They can play their arses off to be frank. The presentation is lush and enticing. Limitless ideas are presented and in terms of playing prowess they are usually achieved.

The bad news? This is a decent album but it is no masterpiece. With respect to the exuberant enthusiasm of fellow reviewers throwing 5 stars at their feet I have to dissent because 2nd Hands, while OK, is also a bit of a mess. Musical "Attention Deficit Disorder" is my main charge. There are many important aspects that go into the making of a great album and the most important is lacking here. They have the musical prowess nailed and they have the sound and presentation down too, but they lack the compositional excellence and the cohesiveness needed for a 4 (or 5) star album. They present something of a musical Jackson Pollock here, throwing lots of pretty colors on the canvas without paying adequate attention to developing satisfying songs. They are bouncing off the walls with the shifts and changes. Great, you say? True, there are many who will love this. I found the album very exciting myself initially but the more you play it the more you realize it lacks foundation and dare I say warmth. The good ideas that they come across are never fully explored enough because the band move too quickly to the next chance for flash. This musical immaturity seems fresh out of the gate but quickly proves tiresome.

Just a few comments on some individual tracks: "Queer Forest" sounds amazingly like a later period Rush song to me, right down to the vocals that sound like the older aged version Geddy Lee. But as was noted by another reviewer it is almost comical how difficult it is to decipher the words when listening, you would swear at times it's another language even though it is English. "Taste a Cake" is a delightful piano breather that is all too short unfortunately. "Syx" is my favorite track that while still being a collection of flash snippets, somehow it comes together as one hell of an instrumental. The strings, flutes, and pianos add some much needed depth and traditional balance. ".End" is the closest the band gets to exploring one quadrant at a time to decent results. The balance of the music exemplifies what I see as style/flash over substance in the songwriting area-and I acknowledge that I will be in the minority on this-many will see the fireworks overload as a great thing.

With all that said this is not a horrible album. There is much to be excited about here for the future. These guys are very talented and I firmly believe they are capable of great albums. They simply need to be more focused musically, favor instrumental storytelling and melody over showing off, and get in touch with the idea of self-editing. Relax guys, you don't have to document every fiber of your mind's musical minutia on every track. Spread it out and explore more. As negative as this review is going to sound it really is not. I just thought this viewpoint needed to be expressed about the songwriting because I think many people here and elsewhere are giving them a pass on this important aspect. I expect these guys may blow my mind eventually but it certainly isn't with 2nd Hands. 2 1/2 stars.

Review by el böthy
3 stars You know how you are always in the look for the next big thing? Ah, no, not your case? well, excuse me... but it certainly is my case.

New comers The Gourishankarīs release 2nd Hand is certainly one of the most talked about debut albums in prog since quite some time, and there is a good reason for it. Varied, polished, dinamic; this band is the very essence of Eclectic prog! There are so many things going on, so many genres, metal, folk, polka, symphonic, art rock, new wave, techno, house..., doubtlessly, there must be something for everyone. And there is. There is.

Of course if there is something for everyone, there must also be something not for everyone here, right? Well, yes! And I can tell you what some of those things can be... ī80īs synths. Endless drama, the second track of the album, seems to be a New Order song (if they got a bit prog of course), and if not heard in a "right" situation, it can get quite irritating, I know I canīt always listen to it. But, if you indeed like this genre, you will love this song, and parts of other songs where these synths appear.

The musicianship is top notch. Each musician knows itīs instrument very, very good. Dream Theater is a clear influence, as is Rush, specially in the singers voice, but then again, which band, which genre, which song has not influenced The Gourishankar? Really, there seems to be a bit of everything ever played here. Every song changes hundered of times, melodies come and go, time signatures arrive just to be replaced a few seconds later. Now, this is both good and bad. If you are into that frantic ever changing music, where every second is squeezed in order to never have a dull moment, man, this is heaven for you! Now, if you are more of an atmospheric, mood fan, then this might not pleace you, as the constant changes leave little room for moods, and the music might even sound a bit cold for some. Mmm, maybe The Gourishankar arenīt that much of a band with something for everyone after all...

Personally I think this is a good debut, for any band, itīs not a masterpiece by any means, but itīs very good. Personally I feel like it needs a bit more of balance between the constant, rapid changes and some calmer, more atmospheric parts. Also, even thought many genres are mixed together, I see (nor hear) little innovation. Itīs not enough to play a thousend genres if you are not gonna do something new with them... but thatīs just me, and this is just the first of what I hope will be a pretty good discography by The Gourishankar.

Review by progrules
4 stars I bought this album because I heard a lot of rumours about this being a new Russian sensation. So that's intriguing of course, I like to check out new bands. I had to wait for it a while, everytime I went to the store it was sold out (another sign it had to be special). At last I had it and I can say this really is special. In the meantime progarchives had decided to catagorize it under eclectic prog and that's usually not my thing. I have a strong preference for neo, prog metal and also symphonic. Eclectic is usually a counterpart of these styles.

This must be an exception because besides it's interesting it also sounds quite nice. Special effect to me is the "steel" drum, appearing in most of the songs and is an important aspect of the sound. The compositions are also special. In eclectic it's often hard to find a strong melody (or is even absent at all) and that's why I don't like it. Gourishankar does give the song at least some recognizable melody though they are also using the dissonants (another eclectic element) regularly. But it's not disturbing to me, it will never be entirely my thing, I will not be buying too many eclectic albums in the future. Never mind, there is enough to be found in my favourite categories.

About the individual songs: my favourite tracks are Moon7 end ...End, really strong those two. The long one Marvellous choice was slightly disappointing to me. I most often favour the epics but I'm ambivalent about this one. Probably I expected more of it, it's not really bad or poor but ok. The rest is nice too so I give it 4 stars without hesitation.

Especially for those willing to try someting totally new.

Review by Menswear
4 stars My my, where to start?

So many roads in that album. If this album could be a city, it could be Paris: thousands of winding streets spreading around, making a horrible maze for the newbie that can easily be lost. This album is also a huge melting pot of soooo many genres, from light metal to fusion jazzy interludes by mind spins 5000 rpm to digest all that.

Dizzying. No less. With such a whirlind of sonical textures, ultra specialized bands like Andromeda have a new challenger. But The Gourishankar already wins in my humble opinion: they may be fast, they may have created an album fully loaded to the extreme (I mean it) but at least, they do it with panache and originality. This is where you get the core: The Gourishankar is a prolific band that doesn't lose one occasion to show you that they mean buisness. Again, a hard album to describe but here's the equation: (jazzy+ heavy) x hyperactivity + video game RPG = one mean headache.

My vote on best rookie of 2007.

Monstrous meal for brontausaurus progressive hunger.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars 2nd Hands is the debut album from The Gourishankar or actually the second album, but The Grip which was their first album was not released internationally when it was released in 2003. The Grip has seen a proper release in 2008 though. A bit confusing but if you know The Grip then this album is a natural continuation of the style The Gourishankar initiated on that album.

The music that The Gourishankar plays is a bit hard to explain as they draw influences from many sources. A bit of Rush and a bit of Dream Theater mixed with all sorts of music styles is not far of though. This album is really an exercise in how many different riffs and ideas you can put into one song. From a technical perspective itīs a really impressive album, but strip aside the technical gymnastics and you have some songs that lacks a lot in substance. This is music I have to be in the right mood to enjoy. Most of the time when I listen to this music Iīm annoyed that they shift moods and style so often that I never really get a grip of what the song is about. Itīs like listening to Dream Theaterīs Erotomania ( Which by the way is an excellent song) for the duration of a how album. A bit too much if you ask me. They are a really impressive band so if they could get a bit more structure into their songs this would be great music. As it is now Iīm intriguied but not really happy.

The musicianship is astonishing to say the least. It seems like The Gourishankar masters all playing styles both when it comes to playing and composing. Lead vocalist Vlad MJ Whiner has a voice that reminds me of Geddy Lee from Rush but The Gourishankarīs music is much more complicated than anything Rush has ever made.

The production is a bit lame. Something is missing to give it punch but itīs allright and not too bad.

As mentioned already I feel The Gourishankar takes their mouths too full. Even though the music is very melodic itīs not especially memorable because of the far too many shifts in mood and style. Iīm not surprised that this album gets both 4 and 5 star ratings as it is impressive but this is just not my cup of tea Iīll still rate it 3 stars though for the astonishin musicianship and the many great ideas. I just hope that their next album will be a bit more focused and song oriented ( not too much of course). I donīt know why but I prefer THe Grip to 2nd Hands. Maybe itīs because itīs not as busy as this one.

Review by ExittheLemming
5 stars These Ain't No Rurals from the Urals

Why the insufferably wet and empty Dream Theater (sic) are mentioned so often in previous reviews escapes me. The latter are but a war crime against blank manuscript paper and if progressive metal is malleable enough for a football analogy, represent a gritty defensive Chelsea, while the Gourishankar must surely embody the free flowing and silky high tempo attacking soccer of Arsenal. (How ironic that the former are wholly owned by a Russian billionaire but considerably less so that their nickname is the Pensioners).

Such is the wide diversity of stylistic sources assimilated by these Soviets, that even in a fudged east-west translation, this heady pot pourri need not be subject to cross-border controls. We meet here on 2nd Hands nothing less than the invigorating fresh smell of disinfectant to rid the prog world of its stale odour of perpetual decay.

It's the welding of electronic dance techniques to challenging rock music that make The Gourishankar so unique and innovative. Although Porcupine Tree dallied with such a hybrid on some of their earlier output eg The Sky Moves Sideways, the results were often a diluted cocktail which I find less than intoxicating.

Moon7 - Even a quartet as illustrious as Al Di Meola, Danny Carey, William Orbit and Keith Emerson would be at a loss to come up with anything approaching this: Karn Evil 10 anyone? Jaw-droppingly good and almost borderline bi-polar in construction. I really wasn't prepared in the least for this and it's astonishing that writing this episodic and tangential can achieve structural rigour on such a scale. There are traces of Porcupine Tree in the guttural riffing and nonchalant transitions to poppier lyrical territory, Depeche Mode in the electronic viscera that pulses beneath the ribcage, Gentle Giant at their most wantonly abstruse and ELP at their most inspired. Around the world in 80 bars including a cruise to Latin America together with even more hooks than an amputee pirates convention. The haunting celtic tinged violin on Moon7 always brings a tear to this grudging Scottish lemming's eye. If instrumental rock music is ever gonna go anywhere, then it could do a lot worse that hail this particular taxi.

Endless Drama - Never was a track so aptly named. A sleek and shiny pop exterior, but under the hood lurks a sly and sneaky groove in seven that avoids the inevitable listener fatigue of so much dance vocabulary from being trapped in a prosody of its own cyclic limitations. They even throw in a sprinkling of Porcupine Tree and (cough) Dream Theater here and there as if the message weren't clear enough: This is ROCK music that utilises dance ingredients appropriate to the sensibilities of its creators.

Queer Forest - A nod in the direction of Rush and their crunchy six string before we are regaled with a superb melody that will nag you incessantly forever hence. Features a glimpse of a shimmering and modulated guitar sound that even Robert Smith of the Cure would drool over. Has more meter changes tempo hikes, key modulations and sadistic unison passages than could be considered healthy for any god-fearing mammal.

Taste a Cake - Short and delightful piano waltz interlude featuring some subtly wry viola gravitas in the rear courtesy of Vladimir Rastorguev.

The Inexpressible Chagrin - (although the Gourishankar attempt to) Word to the wise lads, don't leave yourselves vulnerable to self fulfilling prophecies next time eh? A boiling and crackling interior not dissimilar to Depeche Mode with the improbably named Cat Heady lending an adroit paw at infusing sequenced synth parts with a suitably feline playfulness. Comrade Heady appears to be the author of the many slinky drum loops and bleepy percussion that percolates throughout this album and has electronic batterie ever sounded this organic?. I particularly like the singer's voice on Chagrin and Vlad MJ Whiner (you gotta love that handle) betrays no trace of an eastern European accent at any point. (Is he really a Ruskie then?) The main hook here is a delicious and irresistible synth motif which is deserving of industrial strength cuddles. Wonderful stuff. Nomy Agranson contributes a lovely weeping and throaty guitar solo redolent of some of Camel's better moments and the exquisite sax timbre from Dmitry Ulyashev is just tear welling joy. If that were not sufficient for you greedy critters then check out the capricious bubbling sequencer broth buried underneath and just luxuriate in the whole spiffy thang. Towards the close Ulyashev appears on breathy flute and the effect is such that the historical and contemporary do not collide, they EMBRACE. This might serve as an epithet for the whole undertaking.

Syx - Pizzicato strings on a jesting waltz plus a sturdy main theme stated on violin that shades itself in the awning provided by a looming Gentle Giant on the horizon. GG are a palpable influence here and the impression is reinforced with some jazzy medieval sax and clanging over-driven guitar chords. There are some beautiful analogue synth textures under the fingers of Doran Usher on Syx and the playing, interaction and articulation is stellar top drawer by all concerned. I always thought that Danny Carey was the best modern drummer I had ever heard (in probably the worst modern band) but this Heady Cat seems to possess an independence of four limbs that would put a spider's personal trainer to shame. There are some comedic 'slurping' synth patches that imitate Kraftwerk in places but rest easy, there ain't any of that Teutonic we make better robots than we do people malarkey here thank you very much. The sleeve neglects to advise me who plays the bass on 2nd Hands but whoever he/she/they may be, boy do they have a sumptuous and taut bottom end.

-(sigh)...Oh do grow up dear you're not a giggling schoolboy any more... -

- Sorry hun -

Special praise must go to the producer or engineer who preserved the natural timbres and dynamic colours of Cat's acoustic drum kit as this is notoriously hard to do when there is a welter of competing frequency band 'stealers' in the shape of guitars, keys, brass, vocals etc so the light and shade we get to enjoy in Heady's magnificent performance is to be marvelled at.

The detours and resulting scenery are uncanny. One minute a Bossa Nova groove with fusion sourced devilment then the next, a reggae skank as if attempted by a Mexican Happy the Man tribute band (I ain't kidding, much) Rippling piano and yearning violin again threatens to turn on the lemming waterworks during the closing reprise of the waltz rhythm, but this time revisited with a wistful remorse.

End - Squirted liquid synth fades in and the feel is Martian electronic wedding march music? Once again the crafty irregular meter avoids the wearying monotony of this habitually hypnotic style and the band segues miraculously into a rousing verse and gloriously unforgettable chorus. Gawd I adore this record. There is a smidgen of UK's excellent debut album herein, particularly when the violin duets or harmonises with the lead synth and more yummy high cholesterol modulated guitar arpeggios redolent of Durutti Column. If rock and dance make strange bedfellows, this is a porn flick starring William Orbit and the entire female cast of Hair

Marvelous Choice - Quotes from the 'drum and bass' dance genre on the intro but nothing could surprise me any longer and some of the instrumentation and mood mirrors that of Melancholia era Inquire. I am sure Happy the Man would sanction a nod of approval to the implied harmonic device of predominantly arpeggiated accompaniment. Another memorable vocal melody framed in piano and joined by haunting strings and searing but subtle guitar. Almost akin to Wes Montgomery/George Benson guitar octaves on the jazzy bridge (if there is such a conventional beastie on this creation, more likely an interlocking network of Escher overhead tunnels). Next up, what happened if Mavis Bacon had played the organ on Tarkus? and this lengthy finale is truly symphonic in the strictest use of that term. In places it consigns most Philharmonics to tinny and cissy skiffle bands by comparison. Fades hypnotically to the end with what sounds like Mongolian throat singers put through a vocoder?

Very difficult to describe this band without coming across all girly gushy swoony : A UK Gentle Giant astride a Camel feeding from a Porcupine Tree? (even flippancy just doesn't do them justice, as the foregoing are starting points not destinations and no, the Gourishankar ain't Soviet rhyming slang)

Given the dearth of genuinely innovative progressive music being created right now, the Gourishankar must at least represent what the future might hold and I for one am really excited by this and just hope more of you can get to hear what is a noughties masterpiece. No contest.

Review by The T
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A fantastic, if flawed, Russian release.

The music, as said previously in countless reviews, lays somewhere in between progressive-metal, symphonic-rock, with touches here and there of space rock or even national rock. There are moments where the band are riffing it hard, sections that sound influenced by DREAM THEATER. Those elements are intertwined with structures that remind us of symphonic rock, a la THE TANGENT (another band that falls in the "eclectic prog" category as it defies categorization, though it sounds more symphonic than anything else). The use of pianos is mixed with the use of hammonds and spacey synthezisers, with the casual appearance of wind instruments here and there. At times we think PINK FLOYD, at times PORCUPINE TREE, even RUSH. That the band manages to mix all of these influences and still sound coherent is a testament to their abilities.

The playing itself is never restrained. The band never seems to rest (with the exception of the vocalist who actually -and thankfully- rests throughout most of the album), and the music is like a cascade of constant notes and details. The harmonic work is excellent, and it even starts with a misleading statement: the first few moments of the album are almost a cacophony, with pianos playing in a different key than the rest of the instruments which at the same time are also doing what they want. But this chaos gradually dissapears in favor of very harmonic music. What follows is more than an hour of precious arrangements and virtuosic displays.

The musicians are excellent all the way through. Only the vocalist seems like the odd ball here. His voice, quite, sweet if we can say that, is completely overpowered by the music and, even though it fits it, it can't quite add to it. It's like the vocals are there and don't bother, but they could be removed and the results wouldn't be different. Maybe that's why the emphasis in the album seems to be on instrumental sections.

Besides the vocals, my only other complaint about THE GOURISHANKAR is that, by trying to be too much, they somehow can't come up with an identity of their own. They sound like everything else but at times I fail to hear music that makes me say "that's THE GOURISHANKAR!".

The album is, nevertheless, a success. I give it 4 stars, and for a few minutes I was ready to give it the fifth one. Maybe their next work could be perfect. This is a debut album after all. and quite a debut.

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Errors and Omissions Team
4 stars Truly eclectic, there are not only changes between songs (every one of them is different, you won't be feeling treated badly by this artist), but you should also expect wide variety of paces, styles and genres within tracks. Two things are important for this way of doing music, you have to possess big capacity of brain, to imagine these things, to make them real. And second, you have to put it together. Goods songs full of ideas are good, but it's useless, when it does not hold together.

Here, it sounds almost like collection of many short songs which were put together by glue of unnoticed transitions. Well, almost, at times. You have to literally expect the unexpected, almost prog metal like style pouring into strings / guitar solo. It's music that won't keep your brain rest, not even for short time. So it's for adventurous listeners only, those who want to think about music. With just listening, it would lose much of its magic I think. Also it's hard to decide, whether it is melodic, or not. Probably it is, but not in traditional way. Location, where they come from surely helped them to have different point of view, influences and style. Vocals are average and quite pleasant, nothing unfriendly, or just for someone. But these funky electronic sounds don't fit me here. But that's part of this eclecticity.

4(+) for this dish full of fruits of different origins.

Review by TheGazzardian
3 stars On first listen to the opening track, Moon 7, it is possible to think that the band is going too far out of their way to be overtly prog. The song is defined by sharp contrasts, constantly moving from one idea to the next with little to no warning. A single minute of this song has as many sections as some ten minute songs, and the song runs for ten minutes on its own. Trying to understand this song off the bat is like trying to catch a river.

Yet multiple listens reveal that The Gourishankar are not just showing off. Sure, they have crunchy guitars, melodic violins, bass sections, and much much more in this track - but it's not just to prove that they can. As you listen to the track multiple times, you realise that the band has a remarkable ear for melody and flow - that, once the many different movements don't all catch you off guard, they actually flow in exactly the right order, and sound incredibly pleasing to the ear.

Endless Drama is a bit less free-form than Moon 7. It starts with some techno-y synths, before guitars join in and we get our first dose of The Gourishankar's vocals. This style of song is actually much more common on the album - a combination of basically techno-y music, some heavy guitars, and heavily accented yet quite charming vocals. The sharp contrasts in mood still exist, (the thirty seconds from 4:15 - 4:45 are an excellent example, where it transitions from a key part, to vocals overtop of that, to vocals with heavy guitar, to playful vocals that remind of System of a Down to some degree, to female vocals, with each section having a different melody). So the constant changes still exist, but in this song, it settles more, and it repeats itself more.

Endless Drama is not the only song to be structured in such a way. Queer Forest, The Inexperessible Chagrin, and Marvelous Choice are all similar in style, although after Endless Drama, none of the songs change quite as frequently.

Taste a Cake is aptly named - it gives us a nice little dose of sweetness, with a great piano line, some low violins, and distant airy vocals at parts.

Syx is another sweet sounding instrumental song, opening with more piano and violin. It develops more gradually than some of the earlier tracks on the albums, which means that by two minutes, it's only had about four different sections. This one is a lively, upbeat track featuring the synths and the violins prominently.

End is a very synthesized track, even featuring drum loops instead of drums and effects on the vocals. This is another track where The Gourishankar display their ability to develop themes slower than they did on the first track.

In conclusion, the sound is very melodic with the occasional crunchy guitar. Synths play a huge part in the music, and the drums are occasionally done via drum loops. Guitars are rarely in the forefront. The music can be incredibly eclectic, switching from idea to idea so fast you get whiplash, but at the same time the also know how to build up a nice theme. Violins guest on several tracks and sound wonderful.

Highlights: The Inexperessible Chagrin, Moon 7, Endless Drama,

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars THE GOURISHANKAR are a band out of Russia who are obviously a talented group but whose music really failed to grip me.This almost comes across as a Prog by numbers release but hey considering this is a Prog site it will be up most people's alley. Over 71 minutes of constant tempo and mood shifts will attract most fans of this genre.

"Moon7" has some heaviness with lots of synths early on.The tempo and mood change often.Violin before 8 minutes then it settles right down after 9 minutes. "Endless Drama" opens with synths and a beat as the sound builds. It settles back again a minute in and vocals arrive around 1 1/2 minutes.The sound builds again but continues to shift. I actually don't mind the vocals after hearing fellow Russian band LITTLE TRAGEDIES almost ruin their album with those heavy Russian vocals. "Queer Forest" is constantly shifting and vocals come in after a minute. A Reggae vibe comes in out of the blue 4 minutes in followed by organ. "Taste A Cake" is a short piano and violin led tune. "The Inexpressible Chagrin" has an electronic beat a minute in.Vocals follow and sax comes in later before 5 1/2 minutes.

"Syx" has a classical vibe early with piano, violin and more.This changes before a minute as it turns heavier. It settles with flute 2 minutes in and synths follow.The song keeps changing though as different instruments lead. "...End" has these intricate sounds that build.This is kind of cool.Vocals 2 minutes in as the sound gets smoother. Electronics after 5 1/2 minutes.Catchy stuff. Good song. "Marvelous Choice" is the over 18 minute closer. Electronics to open then the piano becomes prominant. Heaviness around 2 minutes then it settles back. Vocals after 3 minutes. Mellow stuff. Some vocal melodies come and go. It turns heavier before 9 1/2 minutes followed by a calm as the song continues to shift and change.

A good album but not a 4 star record in my book.

Latest members reviews

5 stars Unbelievable !! It's a masterpiece ! This band is really unbelievable. The music is very technical, but very melodic, and full of surprising ideas in rhythm development. You hear beautiful violin tunes and suddenly you hear rumba and in no time you hear wall of prog keyboards. You can never p ... (read more)

Report this review (#445543) | Posted by Katsuhisa | Tuesday, May 10, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Progressive in the literal sense, highly unique. This is a really, really crazy album. The downright eclecticism and insane variety that makes up these 8 tracks is incredibly confusing when you first spin this. I kept trying to predict what my star rating for the album would be, but it was impo ... (read more)

Report this review (#260590) | Posted by Eapo_q42 | Tuesday, January 12, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars We are actually in front of one of my favourite albums of all time, without exaggerating. There's enough musical ideas in here to make several prog albums. I wont go in detail with the songs, this album is really eclectic. From the 10 minute fusion style opener to the 18 minute closing track there a ... (read more)

Report this review (#256664) | Posted by Garlop | Friday, December 18, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars These guys are genius of progressive rock. Mix the best moments of Genesis,Yes,The Tangent,Flower Kings and similars and you will have this creation. Vocal parts are in the style of Enchant. Musicians are incredible instrumentalists. Long songs for your enjoying. Masterpiece. 5 ... (read more)

Report this review (#175849) | Posted by robbob | Tuesday, July 1, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars i dont sure why ppl call this prog, its look like electronic to me, not that i have something against electronic, its just that i dont see them as prog. the violin part on the song Moon7, reminds me a violin part from the track named dancing with kadafi by infected mushroom(for those who dont k ... (read more)

Report this review (#164766) | Posted by bluesynight | Sunday, March 23, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Iīve found this magical release right on the New Yearīs Eve and it was a really big surprise for me and a strong experience to listen to THE GOURISHANKARīs album 2nd Hand. This album is one big and unique adventure from the beginning to the absolute end ! Fantastic musical jurney through the ple ... (read more)

Report this review (#157436) | Posted by archivep | Wednesday, January 2, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Exciting CD from start to finish, it is unique, with huge range of musical influences well integrated into the band's original sound. One can meet here a progressive metal, symphonic, jazz-rock, fusion, latin, electronics and ambient elements mixed together. The band do it in they own way, not try ... (read more)

Report this review (#153227) | Posted by smarty74 | Friday, November 30, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The Gourishankar are an incredible Russian prog act. Their music is sublime - literally. It has complete and incredible mystery, like no other music ive ever heard before. It has such a deep, meaningful, spiritual sense to it. It often sounds like a jam with wierd effects, total electronic madness ... (read more)

Report this review (#140654) | Posted by Whacky | Wednesday, September 26, 2007 | Review Permanlink

3 stars VERY PROMISING BAND It looks like the tendency of doing Prog Rock is to mix or fusion as many styles and genres as possible. This is a good example. To be honest with you, if I had rated this album a few listens before probably I would've been the first one to give it less than 3 stars. Fortu ... (read more)

Report this review (#135880) | Posted by FranMuzak | Sunday, September 2, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars A very good mix of the old and the new This band from Russia has hit the mark. It has a very wide mixture of genres and styles on this album.All the songs are well composed. Each song works well outside of the context of the album and with the context. Most of these songs are instrumental but ... (read more)

Report this review (#124018) | Posted by progismylife | Wednesday, May 30, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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