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Ota Petrina

Symphonic Prog

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Ota Petrina Pečet album cover
3.81 | 23 ratings | 5 reviews | 18% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1983

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Hemingway (15:03)
2. Čas (Time) (5:05)
3. Odchod (Departure) (2:57)
4. Phalaenopsis (2:04)
5. Kopřiva (Nettle) (3:48)
6. Obálka (Envelope) (10:15)
7. Syn (Son) (1:25)

Total time 39:22

Line-up / Musicians

- Ota Petřina / vocals, guitar, flute, accordion
- Vladimir Padrůněk / bass
- Jan Neckář / piano, synthesizer
- Anatoli Kohout / drums

Releases information

Supraphon Labels (vinyl)
1113 3258
Vinyl, LP, Album

Thanks to AtomicCrimsonRush for the addition
and to marty mcfly for the last updates
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OTA PETRINA Pečet ratings distribution

(23 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(18%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(55%)
Good, but non-essential (18%)
Collectors/fans only (9%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

OTA PETRINA Pečet reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Prog Specialist
4 stars OTA PETŘINA is a Czech Symphonic band that takes the name of their vocalist and guitarist, who was the leader of the band since the dark days of the Sovietic control of Eastern Europe, who despite the hard conditions, managed to release "Super Robot" in 1978, an album that clearly defines the powerful mixture of Symphonic and ethnic elements from Eastern Europe.

Today we are going to review their second album "Pečet", which despite being from 1983, when the political conditions were less oppressive still presents us a dramatic and powerful sound typical of bands from countries where Rock was close to underground.The album starts with the 14+ minutes epic "Hemingway", can't talk about the lyrics because I don't get a word of Czech, but the voice of OTA PETŘINA is so dramatic and colourful hat the meaning matters very little (still will search for a translation).

His timbre is not spectacular, but the guy knows how to sing, has a very good technique with a moderate vibrato that adds emotion plus a great capacity to go from low to high ranges in fraction of seconds, crating shocking moments.

The work of the band is also outstanding "John Neckar jh" gives a nice support to the vocals with his soft piano and strong synth interruptions, while OTA adds a sometimes distorted guitar which added to the work of the rhythm section provides the Rock flavour. An extremely dramatic song that ends with a an aggressive instrumental section where the band shows us their skills, and a simply delightful .vocal section that closes the track in he vein of GENESIS in Supper's Ready". There seems to be an orchestra or at least a string section, but I don't know if it's synthesized, because they are not credited.

"Cas" is a Power Ballad with special emphasis in the word "Power", because the heavy guitar work of OTA PETRINA adds a new dimension to the orchestral music, like the encounter of two worlds, Classical and Rock, extremely beautiful.

"Odchod" is a short but frenetic song with ethnic elements that blend with the ´powerful Rock in a perfect way, explosive and vibrant from start to end, a create contrast with the soft "Phalaenopsis", in which OTA PETRINA presents himself as a virtuoso acoustic guitarist, if I had to find a word to describe the band would be versatility.

"Kopriva" is more a Folk tune with OTA PETRINA singing as a troubadour only supported by his acoustic guitar and whistle. flows gently from start to end, another beautiful melody.

"Obálka" starts reminiscent of PINK FLOYD, but soon they take a detour towards a dramatic and full of anguish song that I would be able to describe better if understood the album because this is the type of tunes that usually have strong lyrics, due to the energy and sentiment that the singer adds.

But around the middle, "Obálka" changes radically,.because the try everything and cross almost all the genres, from some sort of Avant to a Psychedelic nightmare, this is what Progressive Rock means.

The album ends with the soft and lyrical "Syn" that reminds me of PAVLOV'S DOG and French Chanson, again pure drama and strength with pain and anguish included, great closer even when a bit too short.

Would love to rate "Pečet" with 5 stars, because I enjoyed it from the first to the last note, but I understand is not their strongest work, and I believe they were able to do something even better, so 4 solid stars for a great album.

Excellent addition to Prog Archives, that proves we should search for more bands that defined the genre in different regions because we are missing real gems that never gained fame but presented us a real expression of Progressive Rock.

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Errors and Omissions Team
4 stars Iván already did hell of a job in his review (positive meaning). Indeed, really indeed. Even that conditions were getting a little bit better in 80s, this oppressive government felt that it's losing power, so certain albums took few years to get through censorship (and be released) and you couldn't even think about writing music about a lot of topics that were considered as "harmful" to communistic (socialistic) feeling.

Therefore, this album continues dark mood of previous album. Hemingway is about depression (I suppose, I understand lyrics, it's my native language, but I'm not exactly the best person to determine the meaning of poems. And what else than poems are such beautiful lyrics. Sadly, only small percentage of people will be able to enjoy them. Nevermind, we still have music. It's a long piece and I would almost say that it's epic consisting of few different parts that flows easily and fits without moment of hesitation into each other. Beautiful backing vocals here (but rare, very rare).

This album is again melancholic. I would call it Czechoslovakia depression - we were under occupation by Soviet armies and even conditions weren't like when we were occupied by Nazi regime in 1939-1945, we already were under socialistic principles for about 35 years in 1983. People lost their optimism long time ago and so they lost their hope that far left wing is the right way. I think it's important to understand that this was land of weird things, mysterious disappearing during nights, sudden arrests (because this singer sang about freedom, because this guitarist play in this band where singer sings about freedom) and the worst of it all - people knew it very well. But what could they do. I wonder if common Western guy/girl is able to understand it, but we are Progsters, we should be able.

This is why Pečeť (The Seal) sounds like it sounds, this is why themes here are dark ones. There was dark atmosphere, most of musicians here grew in these conditions (be it Nazi/ Soviet reign), so this was their life. Threfore, the best they could do was to explore them as best as possible. Fortunately, there is essence of beautifulness again.

Čas (Time) is some kind of homage to Ota Petřina's main body of work, pop songs. They were the most common form of music in this country. Not because it was the easiest to make, or that people wanted them, but because nobody would object. Rock was often banned (because it has been seen as capitalistic decadence, oh my dear), because it has been seen as some kind of rebbelion. This song isn't bad, is quite strong (I see, this is what Iván meant by "Power", hehe). There are Prog elements added (but not that many).

Odchod (Departure) suddenly changes entire mood (and tone) of this album. Dark, very dark work that deals with topic of leaving something that you called your home, but unfortunately, you can't stay there anymore. Should be interesting, it provides variety and isn't bad at all. It's short, but when you are leaving someone, it should be short. Some kind of metaphore.

Phalaenopsis shows Petřina's guitar work. He's quite good guitarist, even by my opinion not so well known (this is because he was mostly in shadows instead of going in the front). I welcome this kind of variety.

Kopřiva (Nettle) is about this plant and a girl that uses shampoo from them. I suppose it's metaphore about love.

Obálka (Envelope, it's actually connected with album's name, because envelope is sealed by seal), strong, but subtle song about solving life troubles. It's a long song and actually story of how to continue living, being happy, solving problems, about cowardness. Symphonic arrangments are absolutely stunning (when they are here). Flute joins and even it's nothing wild as Ian Anderson (it wouldn't fit here), it's perfectly fitting into mood this album so carefully created over the course of these almost 40 minutes, rather subtle and gentle than something wild and unleashed.

So powerful in a way that it strikes the very depths of my soul, less dark and even I at first thought I will give this only 4 stars, I somehow am not able to do such a thing.

And Syn (Son) is somewhat of a philosophical ending about topic of guilt. As usual, done in so beautiful way that even I'm Czech, I sometimes forgot that these lyrics are actually sad. Or aren't they ? Lyrics are always tough and I can be wrong.

5(-), for me, these two albums are even.

NOTE: Iván, let's make it public too. Your understanding of my country is remarkable, this for sure has something to do with you living in similar conditions, right ?

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Second album of Czech musician Ota Petrina is even more rare release than his debut, because it looks it was never re-released on CD till now. I am quite familiar with Eastern European prog scene, but I never heard this name before. After some researches I realised that even in his homec ountry he was a "best kept secret".

Now about music. From the very first sounds everyone familiar with Czechoslovakian music from 70-80-s will understand this artist depends there. It's very characteristic vocals, compositions and common atmosphere. But differently from many more mainstream artists, music on this album is strongly prog influenced.

Very atmospheric sound, filled with flute, acoustic guitar, soulful melodies. And light sadness so characteristic for almost all clever Eastern European music from 70-s and 80-s. Musically, I can hear strong early Genesis influences everywhere - in compositions structure, instrumental sounds, even acoustic guitar solos. Vocals ,even being very specific in it's sounding, is strongly influenced by great Polish musician Czeslaw Niemen.

I spent my teens listening similar music, so this sound is very usual and familiar for me. And it is not music only, more this atmosphere - love to life and disappointment, sadness and melancholy of free person living his life in jail. I hardly can understand Czech lyrics, but in fact I don't need it - I know (by my intuition) what he sings about. We have the same past, living in the land of grey suits and faceless human beings. It's all is in this music, and you don't need to understand language to feel it.

Nice guitar work, dreamy R. Wiedermann strings orchestra's arrangements, Czech bass legend Vladimír Kulhánek on support - great evidence what was Eastern European art-rock in early 80-s.

My rating - 3,5, rounded to 4.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
4 stars The follow up to Ota Petřina's "Super Robot" in 1978 was released in their home country of Czechoslovakia in 1983. While not as powerful an experience for this reviewer, the album "Pečet",has a lot to offer any fan of symphonic prog. The Czech art rock band is fronted by the visionary genius of Ota Petřina who sings and plays some innovative guitar. Vladimir Padrůněk continues to impress on this second effort on bass, Jan Neckář's keyboard skills are as incredible as the last release and Anatoli Kohout's drumming is played at an exceptional standard. The one drawback that makes this less powerful than previous is the lack of cohesion in the structural framework, and the short songs that feel like filler material. I was hooked with the "Super Robot" concept and found that all pieces had a seamless thread running through them, but "Pečet" is more of a group of songs that are individualised by distinct styles. Once again Petřina's vocals are at times off balance with the notes of the music, but this makes the songs endearing, the imperfections are compelling.

This album boasts a fantastic opening track that is a mini epic running like a multi movement suite of sections blended into one track, the glorious 'Hemingway'. The lyrics are in Czech, but as was the case with the debut there is something tantalising about Petřina's voice. The vocals have a sad tone and maybe alienating to some listeners but the melancholy mood evoked is intriguing. The sustained synth pads and grand piano slices of Neckář are beautifully executed, at times haunting and at other times uplifting. There is a string quartet that creates a definitive ambience and these light passages are counterbalanced by the dark undertones of distorted guitar splashes. This is the best track on the album, and is perhaps OP's greatest triumph. A wonderful start.

'Čas (Time)' is next and is far more subdued than the epic previously, allowing a sliver of breathing space, from the intricate musicianship. This track is full of heavy rock guitar work that pierces the fabric of classical orchestration.

'Odchod (Departure)' is a fast tempo burst of sound that is dominated by flowing keys and angular guitar riffs but I would have liked this to go on for a few more minutes rather than the next two tracks.

Another 2 minute track, 'Phalaenopsis', follows which is gentle and smooth with acoustic flourishes and slow patient time signatures.

'Kopřiva (Nettle)' is also acoustic with a lovely melody and calm singing to create a warm relaxing mood.

'Obálka (Envelope)' is a 10 minute mini epic with strong keyboard sections that builds gradually to a crescendo. The staccato keyboard motifs are stunning, I feel that Neckář is an underrated keyboard wizard. A plethora of diverse styles are tapped into with classical, symphonic, psychedelica and heavy rock interplay, meticulously orchestrated into a cohesive whole. Once again the band seem to excel more on the lengthy tracks then the shorter pieces. This is the second highlight of the album.

'Syn (Son)' is the album closer, the shortest and acts as an epilogue, but once again it feels half finished as it is so short. In conclusion I think 'Pečet' has some very strong material such as the two lengthy tracks in particular, but there are also a lot of short songs and it seems the band are unaware that their strength lies in instrumental breaks that move in a myriad of directions. Diversity is one thing but this did not hang together as well as the debut. The sadness refected on the album is akin to the times in Czechoslovakia, a time of opression and turmoil, and it is a beautiful thing that this band are able to convey this feeling with two evocative albums. These are fine art rock albums and it is great that these lost gems are gaining some recognition.

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars Ota's second and final album sees this Czech musician following the same path as his first record. That melancholic flavour is still strong as he sings in his native language in that Art Rock style.

Again i'll use the English song titles provided on this site. "Hemingway" is the over 15 minute opener and my favourite. It's kind of strange which is maybe why I like it so much. A calm before 5 minutes and i love the atmosphere 9 minutes in. It kicks in at 10 1/2 minutes. "Time" is an interesting song as well. The guitar cries out after 2 1/2 minutes. Nice.

"Departure" becomes intense around a minute including the vocals. This reminds me of FLOYD. "Phalaenopsis" is short with acoustic guitar melodies throughout. "Nettle" is mellow with reserved vocals. Some whistling late. "Envelope" builds to a passionate sound. It settles with flute before 3 1/2 minutes. Atmosphere 6 minutes in then the vocals return. "Son" is ballad-like. Yikes ! Not a fan.

A good album that will no doubt appeal to many.

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