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Artsruni Cruzaid album cover
3.68 | 42 ratings | 12 reviews | 14% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2002

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Aditon (5:51)
2. Barev (4:51)
3. The Lost Symbol (6:10)
4. Cruzaid (Part One) (6:30)
5. Cruzaid (Part Two) (6:06)
6. Im Ser (6:18)
7. Anush Garun (6:37)
8. Call of the Wind (5:01)

Total Time: 47:24

Line-up / Musicians

- Vahan Artsruni / guitars, vocals
- Vahagn Amirkhanyan / electric guitar
- Arman Manukyan / flute
- Artur Molitivin / bass
- Levon Hakhverdyan / drums
- Lilianna Hakhverdyan / percussion

Releases information

CD Musea FGBG4446.AR

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
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ARTSRUNI Cruzaid ratings distribution

(42 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(14%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(50%)
Good, but non-essential (33%)
Collectors/fans only (2%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

ARTSRUNI Cruzaid reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Steve Hegede
5 stars "Cruzaid" is the latest release from ARTSRUNI. For those you unaware with this band, they began their career in 2000 and quickly gained a following both inside and outside of Armenia. After releasing a couple of demo CDs and playing many regional gigs, the band landed a contract with the French prog rock label Musea. "Cruzaid" features 8 tracks total. The term "Cruzaid", by the way, is a deliberate misspelling of the word "Crusade". To celebrate 1700 years of Christianity in Armenia, the band members decided on the positive-looking word as something that describes their history and heritage. But, for those of you who are not into religious-sounding CDs, there is nothing overtly religious in ARTRUNI's music. Instead, listeners will get treated to mostly instrumental music that combines the modern Italian-prog stylings of groups like FINISTERRE and STEREO KIMONO with influences from JETHRO TULL, modern jazz, and even Vic Wooten of Bela Fleck and the Flecktones. ARTSRUNI features a flutist, acoustic and electric guitar, bass, and drums. The flutist is the most noticeable member in the band, followed by the electric guitarist and bassist. The first track of the CD might sound deceiving to most listeners. What starts off sounding like soothing prog with touches of modern-jazz influences gradually picks up steam. And by the intro of the second track the compositions simply get better as the album unfolds. The Gunesh-sounding track "Cruzaid (Part 2)" is the strongest composition on the album and shows what this bands is capable of in terms of complexity. Overall, "Cruzaid" will definitely go on many Top 10 lists this year.
Review by Sean Trane
3 stars Mr Hegede describes well the music included here but I wished that this band (the only one from that fantastically mysterious land called Armenia) sounded ......more Armenian. I mean the armenians are very proud to be the first real christians and they should be but as a laïc person , I don't find this enthralling enough and I wished for a more personal approach using more of their folk music but avoiding the clichés. Keep trying lads.
Review by Prog-jester
3 stars Well, I expected more AREMNIAN sound. I was ready to hear doudook and other magnificient instruments, maybe Ethnic tunes or choir samples, but no - take JETHRO TULL, supply it with a bit of Metal and ordinary Rock. After all, nice, but sadly not- Armenian...Enjoyable, but samey to loads of other albums of that kind. Luckily, ARTSRUNI is marked by excellent melody sense (the opening track made me put away my work and concentrate on music when I was listening to them the first time!). Very good and pretty overlooked.Not the example of Armenian Folk Music, just a fine and well-recorded/produced/composed/played Prog-Folk record.Recommended!
Review by kenethlevine
3 stars After listening to Cruzaid about 5 times in a row I decided that Artsruni really suffers from the lack of a keyboard player, or at least this omission exposes some weaknesses in the group's sound. It contains WAY too much muscular demented lead guitars that the band seems to view as de rigueur, and that appear when they needn't, when perhaps a keyboard fill might work better. I'm not saying they couldn't have succeeded using this ensemble, but that their formula and arrangements accentuate what they are missing. If you are familiar with Kollar Atila's album "Musical Witchcraft", you have a sonic picture of what is going on here, and can perhaps make a judgement based on your own specific tastes.

The very opening track, "Adition", is Artsruni in a nutshell, a sprightly melody beginning on acoustic guitar with luscious flute and heavy bass and drum work, and a generally jazzy vibe, but once that is explored, the raunchy lead guitar steps in. Well played yes, and good for maybe a surprise or two on a 50 minute CD, but this motif just keeps reappearing and loses all novelty halfway through the disk. Nonetheless, some of the material is so strong that I am forced to hold my nose during a few of the solos and just appreciate everything else that is going on before, during and after. And on "The Lost Symbol", the standard approach actually works, thanks to stellar rhythm and judicious progression of the piece, such that when the insanity intrudes it is completely in context. While the title tracks exhibits all that is worst about Artsruni, even then admittedly not without merit, "Barev" escapes the rut and the two vocal tracks, "Im Sir" and "Call of the Wind" both benefit greatly from the additional instrument of voice, presumably in a very musical sounding Armenian.

While this CD won't send me on a crusade, it appeals enough to avoid sending me on a tirade, in spite of some weaknesses that can be corrected with a little more imagination and a little less machismo.

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Putting Armenia on the prog map

It is pleasing to discover prog from different parts of the world, and this is certainly the first time I have encountered a band emanating from Armenia. Named after band leader Vahan Artsruni, a gifted (occasional) singer and guitarist, this 2002 release is the sole Artsruni studio album available at present, although two live recording have also been released. The line up consists of no less than six musicians, split evenly between the rhythm section and the lead instruments of guitar and flute. The combination of lead and acoustic guitar and jaunty flute (played by Arman Manukyan) inevitably leads to comparisons with Jethro Tull, but overall the sound here is more diverse. The album is largely instrumental, with flute and guitar rotating the lead position.

Here we have eight tracks, all running to around five or six minutes. The opening "Aditon" seeks to cross all the styles adopted by the band as quickly as possible, the folk elements of flute and acoustic guitar being counterpointed by some incisive lead guitar. The following "Barav" sees flute taking the dominant role, the playing reminding me of the great Joel Schwarcz (of Continuum).

While the opening tracks are appealing for their clean sound and originality, the novelty begins to wear by the time we reach "The lost symbol", which is very much more of the same. The tittle track too, which is two distinct 6 minute sections, simply ploughs the same trough of flute and guitars, devoid of vocals or variance of sound. The second part, which appears in musical terms, to be unrelated to the first, emphasises the folk and traditional aspects of the band's sound a bit more.

It is track six, "Im Ser" before we get to hear Vahan sing for the first time, his soft European tones being introduced by some further fine flute. The song is more in the ballad style with weeping lead guitar eventually picking up the pace into a more orthodox rock number.

Inevitably, we have to compare a track to Jethro Tull at some stage, and "Anush garun" is as good a time to do this as any. The Anderson like playing of the flute combined with the various guitar styles and prominent bass here delivers a "Songs from the wood" feel. The album closes with "Call of the wind", the only other track to feature vocals. This time they are louder with strong accompaniment, creating a track which stands apart from its peers. For me, it is the least impressive of the songs, but it does at least offer a welcome diversity from the predictability of the bulk of the album.

In all, an album which has a number of fine tracks, but this is one of those instances where the whole is less than the sum of the parts. The single style and sound of the album are ultimately its downfall. We should not be over critical though, the musicianship here is very good, and the individual tracks rewarding.

Review by ClemofNazareth
3 stars Vahan Artsruni’s official debut got a fair amount of notice from progressive, fusion and world music sources when it released in 2002. And rightfully so, given that the accomplished musician hailed from that mysterious and exotic place known as Armenia, and showed promise of being an emerging new source of ethnically-inflected modern progressive folk music. In fact though Artsruni have released very little since this initial studio release and for the most part what is available is in the form of live recordings or studio snippets that can be downloaded from the artist’s web site.

As for this album, the musicianship is crisp, detailed and top-notch in quality, but if you’re expecting something that reflects a strong sense of Armenian culture or some sort of reinterpretation of local folk classics, you’ll be somewhat disappointed with what is presented on the record.

To be sure there are some cultural signatures in the music, particularly in Arman Manukyan’s flute and the various light percussive inflections. But the meat in this music comes in the form of Artsruni’s acoustic (and Vahagn Amirkhanyan’s electric) guitar playing, and these both come off as much more jazz/fusion works than any kind of culturally-infused folk arrangements. In particular the chords on “Barev” sound very familiar to me but I can’t quite place them; and the two-part title track is a bit too fast-tempo and guitar-heavy for what I expected of the album. The second half of the title track does show eastern influences in the electric guitar inflections, but overall this could just as easily have been a few guys in Atlanta, London or Paris recording and I’m not sure I would have noticed much difference.

The latter part of the album is actually much more interesting and unique than the first few tracks though, and these are the songs that are really the saving grace of the disk. “Im Ser” features some of the same guitar-god soaring electric guitar passages as some of the earlier tracks, but it also has a number of tempo transitions that sneak up on the listener and serve to keep this from being simply background music. “Anush Garun” sounds a bit like a more earthy working of “The Lost Symbol” in some respects, and the very intricate flute arrangements and highly eastern-leaning electric guitar on this one are a treat. This is much closer to what I had expected when I bought the disk.

The closing “Call of the Wind” is a bit of an aberration as it includes vocals from Vahan Artsruni which were a bit unexpected. But he has a decent voice and this is still largely an instrumental affair except for the opening and closing minutes. But I wouldn’t rank this as one of the stronger works on the album.

I’ve had this CD for a couple years now and have to admit it doesn’t get played much. The initial rush of interest in a modern act coming out of Armenia faded pretty quickly after I picked this up and spun it a few times, and especially after not seeing much released to follow up the debut. But this is a very decent recording and a solid three star effort. Just don’t expect something that overwhelms you with exotic, ethnic charms – this is a well-executed studio session from several very professional musicians, nothing more, nothing less.


Latest members reviews

3 stars I am pretty sure this is the second band from Armenia I have encountered in PA. That other band was excellent. What was the name again ?........... Oaksenham !! Their debut album was excellent. Artsruni is not far behind that standard. Artsruni is listed under the Folk Prog label. Which type ... (read more)

Report this review (#258913) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Saturday, January 2, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Very impressive, to say the least. Being Armenian myself, I may be biased but I think these guys can really put together some great melodic and folky prog. The guitarist, Vahagn Amirkhanyan is a masterful and precise player, comparable to Steve Hackett or Andy Latimer. He just plays beautifu ... (read more)

Report this review (#84690) | Posted by aramg | Monday, July 24, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars It is the progressive collective first in my collection from Armenia. What can I tell? Superb. Based on an electroguitar, an acoustic guitar and a flute, musicians create epic, perfectly arranged prog-rock. Undoubtedly, it is possible to find analogies to creativity of musicians. Most likely - Je ... (read more)

Report this review (#82420) | Posted by Serb | Sunday, July 2, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars A great album mixing several influences.They're Armenian, so you'll find folkish melodies, but non only. Take a bit of Jethro Tull, some jazz-fusion, some heavy metal (yes metal, expecially for the electric guitars) and surely some folk music, and you'll obtain a very well played set of mostly in ... (read more)

Report this review (#73646) | Posted by Hyppo | Friday, March 31, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This album oozes talent and musicianship with every track. Due to the abundance of influences it is easy to assimilate ARTSRUNI music with better-known bands, but once you step away and embrace the music for what it is you will begin to discover your new favorite progressive rock band. Don't ... (read more)

Report this review (#29001) | Posted by | Thursday, September 2, 2004 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is one of my favourite CDs. It contains all the elements I enjoy in music. The bass player is outstanding ,as indeed are all the players on this disc. The CD also contains some beautiful guitar solos. However, it is the extensive use of flute which makes this a special CD . This band ha ... (read more)

Report this review (#29000) | Posted by platform | Thursday, April 1, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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