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Apple Pie


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Apple Pie Crossroad album cover
3.81 | 121 ratings | 17 reviews | 21% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 2007

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. a) Overture
b) Once Upon a Time (8:21)
2. Sunrise (9:17)
3. Crossroad (7:57)
4. Nothing (3:42)
5. Temptation (4:40)
6. Escape (10:30)
7. Still got my Faith in You (4:02)
8. Solution (7:26)
9. Nothing Comes Everything (8:06)
10. Final (13:00)

Total Time: 77:01

Line-up / Musicians

- Vartan Mkhitaryan / lead & backing vocals, guitars, percussion
- Alexey Bildin / basses, backing vocals, saxophones
- Oleg Sergeev / keyboards, backing vocals
- Andrey Golodukhin / drums, backing vocals

Releases information

MALS 2007

Thanks to Cygnus X-2 for the addition
and to ProgLucky for the last updates
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Buy APPLE PIE Crossroad Music

APPLE PIE Crossroad ratings distribution

(121 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(21%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(41%)
Good, but non-essential (35%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

APPLE PIE Crossroad reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Prog-jester
5 stars Come on, cool down.They have deserve these 5 stars - just look the feedbacks in the Forum!And check the interview!

Another new gem on Russian Prog-rock scene, APPLE PIE plays very SPOCK'S BEARDian type of Prog Rock, both complex and accessible, from radio-ballads ("Still got my Faith in You") and funky stuff (the one I kinda a bit dislike here - sorry guys - "Temptation") to Symphonic Heavy Prog epics ("Escape", "Final"). CROSSROAD is APPLE PIE's SFAM - a concept story about doubts and choises, filled with wonderful melodies (Russia seems to be a birthplace of a melody as a phenomenon ;) ), tight musicianship, sincere lyrics and rather sane approach. Don't get me wrong - I like the weird stuff sometimes, but it's more enjoyable for me to spin a CD like this one instead of pushing down my throat another noisy pseudo-masterpiece ;)

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for Melodic Prog/Symphonic Prog/Neo Prog/Heavy Prog fans and others who interested. Looking forward to experience something new!

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Not being a fan of SPOCK'S BEARD, I must admit I had prejudices before listening "Crossroads" by APPLE PIE due to the references that mentioned them almost as clones of the USA band, but it is obvious that it's a pretty good album (And much enjoyable than any release of "Neal Morse" and company), the main problem is that seems the guys from Russia are still trying to find their personality.

The album crosses (As the name implies) from light Symphonic to Neo Prog, a bit of Hard Rock plus, some Funk and cute ballads, so I find "Crossroads" uneven, and missing some energy, they seem solid through extended passages but a few tracks ruin a good percentage of their achievements.

Most of the songs are obviously inspired in SPOCK'S BEARD but not enough to be called clones, because there's originality and freshness in the sound.

The main problem relies in a couple of weak tracks like "Temptation" which sounds as a failed James Brown impersonation and the two cute but extremely naïve ballads "Sunrise" and "Nothing" the last one makes me remember to a weaker version of PENDRAGON.

Also weak but already better is "Escape", which sounds like a very light Neo Prog track with some reminiscences of KING CRIMSON but without the brilliance. The rest of the songs are very solid and the vocals are good but not outstanding.

No way it's an essential masterpiece of Progressive Rock but if it wasn't for this tracks and mainly because "Temptation" I would had taken the chance for 4 stars, sadly this song ruins a good part of the many valuable moments of the record.

Three solid stars for an album which is over the average, and a lot of hope for the next release of a band that I'm sure will be much better if they decide what path and style to make their own trademark instead of wandering through different sounds and influences.

If you are able to buy it don't hesitate, despite the weaker tracks it's worth now and almost sure it will be more valuable as a collection item when they release more albums, but please stp copmparing them with other bands, they need an own personality and not to be known as SPOCK'S BEARD clones which is not the case.

Review by Rivertree
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Band Submissions
3 stars Russian Apple Pie for the masses ...

Nice debut from another new russian band - it seems this country actually is revealing a never ending stream of new progressive bands. 'Crossroad' is crossover consisting of 10 songs which were recorded in 2006. Neo Prog, Symphonic, Prog Related and Hardrock with a mix of ballads and rocking parts. I would say only half of the production really can be categorized as Prog. The band collects many ingredients from bands like SPOCK'S BEARD, TOTO, DREAM THEATER for example. This is skillful without a doubt.

The Beginning, Crossroad and Nothing Comes Everything are very convincing tracks in my opinion. The only weak point is: this Apple Pie tastes not very unique yet. The band sounds very british (respectively american) - english vocals are perfect. What I'm missing is the special russian note.

With all my respect for the musicians I hope they are getting a more independent profile for the future.

Review by erik neuteboom
4 stars In the Prog Archives biography I read that this is a Russian four piece band, founded in 2000 in the city Kursk. Well, if this band had made their album in the Cold War era, I am sure the USSR government had sent them away to Siberia because of 'obviously CIA sponsored activities', what an incredibly USA sounding prog this, somewhere between Spock's Beard and Dream Theater! But seriously, I am glad that I got the possibility to listen to this new Russian band because Little Tragedies, Infront, Lost World and Aviva proove that the Russian progrock scene is very prolific and delivers lots of outstanding prog, their albums are often to be found inside my CD player the recent weeks.

Apple Pie sounds very professional, modern, dynamic and varied on their debut CD entitled Crossroads. The title points at the fact that their music is a blend of several styles. Well the first track already showcases their eclectic and dynamic approach: first a spacey intro with a lush synthesizer sound, then twanging guitars and dreamy vocals, followed by compelling bombastic prog with propulsive guitar riffs and fiery guitar runs, culminating in a prog metal atmosphere featuring spectacular keyboards and finally howling guitar, supported by Hammond organ waves and powerful and adventurous drums, what an exciting prog! The other ten compositions also deliver alternating and dynamic prog: sensational synthesizer flights and blistering guitar, heavy Hammond waves and a sensation break with sumptuous keyboards and biting guitar in Crossroad, a swinging 'big band sound' (captivating blend of brass and fiery guitar), inspired vocals and a bluesy guitar solo in Temptation, a swirling climate with heavy guitar, a bluesy Hammond solo and raw wah- wah drenched guitar in Escape, acoustic rhythm guitar with gospel-like singing in Still Got My Faith In You, wonderful sparkling piano and acoustic guitar and great work on keyboards, guitar and saxophone in the alternating Nothing Comes Everything and tasteful interplay between keyboards and guitar and a final part with howling guitar in Final. Who dare to say that the current prog is boring or not adventurous, what a splendid and exciting new prog!

I disagree with the category Neo-Progressive, to me this sounds as a band that scouts the borders between symphonic prog and prog metal, I would suggest to name it New Heavy Progressive, like Riverside, Rush and Ayreon. Highly recommended and a big hand for Apple Pie!

Review by Menswear
3 stars Images and beards.

Do not confound with Magic Pie, althought they share a taste for Spock's beard work (geez). But with Apple Pie, you have to pour a lot of Images and Words, the mythical Dream Theater album that started a new fangled way in the 90's...sigh.

Sigh, indeed...

Being a (medium) fan of the Beard and Dream Theater, does having this album is worthwhile? At first, I thought:" What a convienent way, I'll save time by not listening to the old records, since those two are mixed up!". In case you're not familiar with sarcasim, I'm kidding here. You know me, when it comes to giving a tribute to personnal heroes, I keep a keen eye because soooo many albums just reeked. It's just so boring (and disappointing) to hear a band with lots of musical potential that just regurgitates their influences. Too bad Apple Pie falls in that category because I read some really good stuff about them.

I guess that if listening to a copy of 2 prog legends don't bother you too much, this album has lots of good hooks, tasty keyboard solos and a fairly good drummer. And also, I give credit to those courageous Russians that sings without the single trace of an accent!

It's not that is bad, but once again a decent album that fails to bring a fresh sound.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
4 stars Very, very good prog band from Kursk. For a first release this album is nothing short of excellence. Which does not mean it is perfect. In fact, most of the time this russian quartet does a fine symphonic prog rock with some beautiful melodies, intricated arrangements and a good, if not exceptional, vocalist. I surely donīt know how soeone labeled them neo prog: they are not! So forget any Rothery like guitar solo and the like. Their music is still hard to categorize since they are still struggling to find their own sound, even if they are in the right direction most of the time.

I donīt really think Apple Pie is so much like Spockīs Beard. I was nver a big fan of this american band and I really like Apple Pie much more. That said I must point out that this CD is not totally smooth, a couple of songs spoil the overall sound. Temptation is too much a funk pastiche that is clearly out of place here, while the gospel Still Got My Faith On You laois any real spirit. If they had left out those two tracks this would be a 5 star rating, since the other tracks are absolutely winners. But donīt worry: both tunes are only a little over 8 minute in total, in an album that has 76 minutes of music.

The overall production is very good and the band members are very skilled. There are some great vocals harmonies here and there that I hope they explore more in the next releases. Iīm looking forward to hear more from Apple Pie. Recommended for any prog fan.

Review by progrules
5 stars Awesome. That's the first word I would like to address to this new Russian discovery. Boy, Am I glad I decided to buy this just because I heard this was supposed to be great. I remember I didn't really have time to listen to it in the store. I was actually very glad I found it because rare prog isn't everywhere around in the Netherlands. And this is the bands debut so they hadn't really made a reputation for themselves yet. So I bought it, listened a few times and it didn't matter what my mood was, you can play this any time, it just gets you in a good mood.

What's it like ? Well it's real neo prog with a touch of symphonic. The vocalist has a slightly mellow voice but absolutely not in an annoying way, it sounds really pleasant. The compositions are simply fantastic. These guys know how to write songs, perfect balance between vocals and all the instruments. It's all very melodic and that's the most important to me. (I suddenly realize there are a few songs with religious lyrics. Not hugely significant maybe but I didn't notice at first.)

This album contains at least 6 (!) terrific songs but the one that really stands out from those is Sunrise, an unbelievable superb track, that is really neo prog at its best to me. Super melodic with great guitar parts and an incredible brilliant composition. The other jewel is Final which is a grand finale a masterpiece deserves. Also Nothing comes everything, Escape and Crossroad are awesome songs. Well if that isn't enough for 5 stars I give up. Looking forward to the successor !

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Crossroadīs is the debut album from the russian band Apple Pie. Itīs really nice to see that the Russian prog rock scene is producing more and more professional sounding bands. Apple Pie sounds very professional even though Crossroads have a couple of flaws that keeps it from being excellent.

The music is very inspired by Spockīs Beard and Dream Theater ( Scenes From a Memory, Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence and there are numerous examples throughout the album where I think I have heard the riffs before. A song like Nothing is bit too close to Dream Theaterīs Another Day with the sax solo in the end and Temptation with itīs brass arrangement smells a bit too much of the James Labrie fronted Mullmuzzlerīs Beelzebubba song from the Keep It to Yourself album. Itīs not a complete ripp-off though. The music is very well played and composed and that saves this from being a bad clone experience. I have to mention that Crossroads is a concept story and Iīm sorry to say that itīs a really pathetic seaching for the meaning in life/ praise God like story and Iīm sick to my stomach whenever I listen to the lyrics. Still got my Faith in You is the worst example here with the gospel choir in the background.

The musicians are very well playing and itīs one of the most enjoyable things about Apple Pie. They are really good musicians.

The production is very good even though I miss the bass in the soundscape sometimes.

One of the previous reviewers nailed it very good when he wrote Images and Beards as a headline to his review. If Apple Pie wants more than 3 star ratings for making good compositions and playing them with conviction they need to make original music and keep away from the most obvious influences. I was even considering a 2 star rating because this is really not more than a good clone band, but on the other hand they are really good so Iīll go for a small 3 star rating.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The good thing I experienced with this band was that I knew nothing about the band and what sort of music they play. Once I listened to it for the first time, the music flew nicely and naturally into my mind. I only noticed that there were many changes in style and tempo throughout the music which I did not see the booklet at all until I spun the entire album. I re-spun the CD naturally because the first experience was quite nice with me, honestly. AT the second spin I then realized the biggest influence the band had: it's Spock's Beard. But it's knid like funny to me, as I was initially not a big fan of Spock's Beard even though I like their 8th album "Octane" after the front-man Neal Morse left the band for solo works. Having known the big influence, it did not stop me to re-spun the album again and again until I found more than 5 spins in its entirety. I enjoy the music, really.

The introduction of opening track "1. a) Overture b) Once Upon a Time" (8:21) is basically unplugged thing (acoustically driven music) which sets its stage for the next segment with heavy prog style in the vein of Spock's Beard. It's quite a nice adrenalin-exploding track with its energetic style with changing tempos. The next track "2. Sunrise" (9:17) starts mellow with clear voice backed with acoustic guitar and stunning electric guitar solo. Yeah, the music is quite Spock's Beard, and I like it very well especially the one at the middle of the track where the music turns to move into heavier style with nice riffs with typical progressive metal style, combined beautifully with excellent keyboard work. The interlude is really rocking and it's hard for you who love heavy prog for not liking this beautifully crafted track.

The third track "Crossroad" (7:57) starts off beautifully with a dynamic drums work followed with energetic music in riff-based style. Yeah, you may call it still like Spock's Beard until you find guitar solo that sounds different than typical Spock's Beard music. The middle part of the song (interlude) there is a beautifulparts combining great guitar work and inventive keyboard solo. Bass guitar, as with previous tracks, play a distinctive roles during the track. It's an excellent composition. "Nothing" (3:42) is an ambient track with programming rhythm section. It brings back to an energetic - this time is NOT Spock's Beard - in "Temptation (4:40)" as the music is now using brass section with different singing style. Oh man .... This is a very nice music even though it sounds like a pop music. There is a very nice bluesy guitar work in the middle. It's so interesting!

"Escape" (10:30) sounds like a heavy prog music than a neo prog scene, much more driven with riffs and frequent tempo changes and style changes. With its long duration, I believe this one was destined to be an epic. The composition is nice and not like Spock's Beard. The interlude part with keyboard solo is really killing! " Still got my Faith in You" (4:02) is like a ballad to me, with an opening acoustic part combining acoustic guitar and vocals. The guitar work is really nice. "Solution" (7:26) starts with an energetic keyboard work that reminds me to the intro of Van Halen's "Jump". What follows is still another music with excellent composition - this time in the vein of SB even though Apple Pie has its own style.

The opening acoustic guitar solo that opens "Nothing Comes Everything" (8:06) is really cool and it's followed with beautiful piano work. This instrumental work moves the music beautifully from mellow parts in the beginning and goes into complex one. It flows seamlessly to the concluding track "Final" (13:00) with inventive keyboard work that reminds me to Gentle Giant.

Overall, I have to admit the beautiful composition these guys have made - creating an energetic music with nice harmony, frequent style and tempo changes. There are many influences from Spock's Beard. It's a highly recommended album. Keep on proggin' ...!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by Warthur
3 stars I have to admit that I haven't really had much experience with Russian prog bands, so I can't say how well Apple Pie represents the Russian prog scene, but their debut album (and so far only album!) Crossroad sounds as American as... well... Apple Pie! The stylings of US prog greats like Dream Theater, Spock's Beard, Salem Hill, and perhaps a little Kansas infuse the album, and whilst on the whole it doesn't quite hit the spot for me the band show a lot of potential and I'd say that if they ever get around to producing more material, they might end up creating some really neat results.
Review by siLLy puPPy
3 stars APPLE PIE was one of those bands that looked far away from where its members were raised. This band was formed by Vartan Mkhitaryan in the city of Kursk, Russia which is located not too far from the Ukrainian border in the southwestern part of Russia. While many bands from the former Iron Curtain have emerged since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, many have adopted some of the homegrown folk elements and other styles unique to the Slavic nations however others totally looked westward for inspiration and if the name doesn't give it away immediately, it's obvious that APPLE PIE looked to the USA for its inspiration.

And by that i mean that APPLE PIE created the perfect fusion of Neal Morse era Spock's Beard with that unmistakable style of symphonic prog including Mkhitaryan's dead ringer vocal style for Neal Morse along with the occasional bombastic heft and technical wizardry of Dream Theater. In some ways on this debut release CROSSROAD, the band sounds a bit like Transatlantic which found both Neal Morse and Mike Portney cross-pollinating their respective bands' styles into lengthier knotty whirlwinds of sonic prog splendor so as i'm listening to this i keep thinking they should have named themselves Trans-Siberian Railway! But that would miss the point when your shtick is to imitate your other-side-of-the-world prog heroes!

To put it bluntly, this album is about as derivative as it can possible get. If you told me this was a long lost Morse album or even a Spock's Beard archival release, i'd totally believe it was. In fact i keep wondering if this band is just a pseudonym for a Morse project it's so convincing! I mean everything about this resembles a Morse album. It has a mutltiide of tracks that sprawl on to over 77 minutes of play time. It takes cheery pop hooks and crafts them into massive prog workouts with alternating atmospheric acoustic guitars segments morphing into heavy rock where jagged guitar riffs find keyboard antics jumping around like loose fireworks and then resolution with dreamy soft spoken bliss bombs and then a few deviations into some sort of weird unrelated style of music.

On CROSSROAD you will be treated to an amazing display of musicianship especially when the Dream Theater references are left off their leash. Vartan Mkhitaryan provides lead vocals, guitars and percussion. Alexey BIlden plays bass and saxophone. Oleg Sergeev provides keyboards and Andrey Golodukhin is the drummer. This quartet really has done their prog homework and delivers an impressive deliver of symphonic prog with a few metal elements bursting into the scene at key moments but mostly this one is on the mellower side with soft passages leading up to the noisier climaxes. In addition to the dominant Morse and Dream Theater influences, APPLE PIE does offer doses of Flower Kings, Pink Floyd and the surprising jump blues jazz of 'Temptation' which shuffles more like the Diablo Swing Orchestra minus the operatic diva, so the album's not an entire ripoff by any means.

While it's easy to be too critical of a band taking too many liberties of borrowing another band's stylistic approach to the point where it sounds like an eerie clone, i have to remember that APPLE PIE formed in a fairly isolated part of Eastern Europe and i'm positive the bands they worship have never set foot anywhere near where they are from as even Moscow is hundreds of kilometers away. It sounds like this band would be more of a treat to see in a live setting and provides the next best thing to a prog hungry part of the world that gets forgotten on all those prog festival circuits. CROSSROAD is indeed an impressive album musically speaking as all the members have mastered their craft in a most admirable way but they at this point anyway have failed to find their own identity which is a problem for me at least. Definitely a band that has a lot of potential and this album invites me to explore their second album which actually finds guest musicians like Derek Sherinian joining in. As for this one, it's really good but not what i'd call essential.

3.5 rounded down

Latest members reviews

4 stars When I heard for the first time Apple Pie, it was because I read very good comments about the band and they are from Russia, so I wanted to hear some neo prog music from that country to see the results. The outcome? Incredible, it's a very good album with excellent music passages in different ... (read more)

Report this review (#1034537) | Posted by Memo_anathemo | Saturday, September 14, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars We have lived up to that exciting moment when Russia's progressive music gradually comes out of hiding. Example of Apple Pie, I hope, will prove contagious. Published in Russia a fresh plate received excellent press in Europe and has all chances to get loose on the full program - in certain circl ... (read more)

Report this review (#267553) | Posted by sargassov | Tuesday, February 23, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Dream Theater + Neal Morse / Spock 's Beard = Apple Pie For those who like labels, Apple Pie is a shot of the best things I ever heard in the Neo-Prog, does it sound like bands that want to imitate the keyboards of Marillion. While mixing the sound of the bands mentioned above, such as the ... (read more)

Report this review (#226124) | Posted by nandprogger | Sunday, July 12, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars These guys prove how much the emergent russian prog scene is inspired and skilled. I won't tell that 90's'Russian musical scene wasn't gifted, and in fact I'm not apt to judge of it because I don't know much about it, but I have to say that the new russian groups are amazing! Along with Disen G ... (read more)

Report this review (#153961) | Posted by Urs Blank | Monday, December 3, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars So What makes it a great prog rock album? Chops? Check. The songs are guitar driven and when there are solos, the man plays right out of his heart and not out of a Gilbert or Petrucci instructional video. With absolutely superlative phrasing and intonation this guy steals the show whenever ... (read more)

Report this review (#121794) | Posted by eugenicscum | Saturday, May 12, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I've this album for about a week. It is a friend who recommended me "Crossroad" and it is in my turn to suggest it to you hard. That's true similarities with Dream Theater and Spock' s Beard are sometimes obvious however them do not upset. Habitually I listen to my cds with headphones to be co ... (read more)

Report this review (#120110) | Posted by spacefolk | Sunday, April 29, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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