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Ahvak Ahvak album cover
3.73 | 79 ratings | 11 reviews | 32% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2004

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Vivisektia (8:30)
2. Bherta (8:25)
3. Regaim (2:41)
4. Ahvak (16:21)
5. Melet (2:53)
6. Hamef Ahakim (13:32)
7. Pirzool (0:58)

Total Time: 53:20

Line-up / Musicians

- Yehuda Kollon / guitars
- Ishay Sommer bass
- Udi Susser / keyboards, woodwinds, vocals, baglama, darbooka
- Roy Yarkoni / keyboards, piano
- Dave Kerman / drums, percussion
- Udi Koomran / computer

Releases information

CD Cuneiform Records 185

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
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AHVAK Ahvak ratings distribution

(79 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(32%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(39%)
Good, but non-essential (22%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

AHVAK Ahvak reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Certif1ed
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Technically very interesting, but musically patchy

Magnificent "World Music" sounds, with a clear and transparent production, solid, rolling bass, complex and dissonant modern-jazz harmony and a touch of late King Crimson with flecks of Zappa at his jazziest make for an intriguing blend of hugely enjoyable prog.

The overall sound is a tad familiar to anyone who has listened to a lot of free-form jazz and world music in general, and very occasionally the music errs towards the stilted and coldly calculated rather than the joyous and improvised, but Ahvak put enough originality and energy into this impressive debut to make it stand out from the RIO pack. There seems to be quite a large element of mid 20th century "classical" music lending a certain creedence to the music, with touches of Scriabin, Boulez and some of the lesser-known avante-garde composers.

Overall, the music arises from the dark side, with glimmers of light that just occasionally seem a little cheesey. The experimentations in texture are to be applauded, however, the melodic invention is very strong, particularly in the riffs, and detailled attention is paid to formal development, giving most tracks and indeed the album a dramatic unfolding that is quite refreshing.

Repeated listens reveal more each time, as this is is not music that shows itself immediately, and does require an appreciation of the many compositional styles to "get" fully. However, there is a degree of engaging immediacy which invites the listener to become involved on all levels, and late King Crimson, early Gong and ELP fans interested in branching out into something a bit different should find plenty to enjoy in the first 3 tracks at least.

The 16-minute title track however, starts to feel a little tired and short on ideas, and, since this is such a large portion of the album, loses the "Masterpiece" award for the album straight away. If you go for the constant workup to a climax, then relax approach, this might be right up your street, but I find this form somewhat wearying and predictable. That said, Ahvak's approach is a lot more creative than much music that I've heard in this vein, so if this sounds like your type of music, then I think you'll absolutely revel in it.

As a centerpiece, I would have expected a little more invention from the rest of the album, and Melet becomes the first point at which I find my interest wanes, after the extended fade-out of Ahvak, as it carries a sense of scale practice which feels distincly unmusical.

The 13 and a half minute Hametahakim redeems this, however, with an almost nostalgic flavour and more improvised feel thanks mainly to the flute. Formally, this has much of the feel of Ahvak in the atmospheric workouts and climactic sections, but the atmospheric sections are longer and more sensitively built up, with a pervading dark sense of humour making this the climax to the album, IMO.

Pirzool is a bit of an oddity and I fail to see the sense it gives to the rest of the album, but others may see it.

All in all, an excellent cultural voyage - as the music has strong Israeli flavours that transport you to an unsettled Middle East with ease.

The closest band I can think of for a true comparison is Thinking Plague, so if you're already a fan of the latter, this is essential listening.

Not for the faint-hearted who require a "tune" or a toe-tapping beat, but a veritable feast for those who hunger for challenging music.

Review by Sagichim
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Well i can definitely understand the people giving this album 5 stars and i can understand the people giving this only 2 stars. I gues i'm kind of caught in the middle here. from one point of view this is totally progressive music, experimental, new and the playing is phenomenal. But from another point of view the music is not memorable and kind of goes above my head. Ahvak music can be classified as free modern avant-garde jazz music, chamber that falls perfectly under the big wings of RIO. This reminds me a lot of Univers Zero and Present. RIO fanatics and people who likes the one extreme end of prog rock should grab this and cherish it forever, there is so much to discover it never ends. The music is so well played too, i especially like the bass, so eclectic and does have a great sound. Drums by the master Dave Kerman are simply amazing complex wild stuff. The songs seem to have no main theme or idea, they just evolve from one minute to the other leaving you with no memory of what just happend now. You can never really guess where they are going to go next. It's hard for me to really enjoy this since this is all to abstract for my taste, i can never say the music is bad or unchallenging because of course it's always nice to hear some top notch playing but swallowing everything is a bit too much for me. Overall good music, very challenging, amazing musicians and a must have for the RIO fans or the bands i mentioned before.

Although this isn't my cup of tea i would like to see more of that coming from my country israel, which are definitely short of that kind of music.

Review by Mellotron Storm
5 stars It just doesn't get much better than this. Electric chamber music with some acoustic moments all under the control of engineer Udi Koomran and his computer. This makes it difficult to know what i'm hearing at times. Udi has worked with a lot of bands over the years including PRESENT. Dave Kerman adds his drumming and percussion skills, he also helped Udi produce it. AHVAK means "Dust" in Hebrew. UNIVERS ZERO is the band I kept thinking of the most while listening to this incredible album over this past week.

"Vivisektzia" sounds so amazing a minute in with the percussion, angular guitar and flute that follows. So much going on here.Drums join in before 2 1/2 minutes and more angular guitar. Incredible ! An eerie calm follows as spoken words come in. It kicks back in before 6 minutes with piano leading the way. Pounding drums and what sounds like mellotron before 8 minutes. What a track ! "Bherta" kicks in before a minute with a great sound.The tempo starts to shift back and forth wildly. "Regaim" is very acoustic like early UNIVERS ZERO. Lots of piano and flute.

"Ahvak" is a monster. Heavy drums pound slowly to open as strange sounds come and go. It kicks in before 3 minutes with some really good bass. Just a fantastic sound ! Frequent tempo shifts follow. Spoken processed words 4 1/2 minutes in. Check out the sounds rising and falling inside the soundscape a minute later. Brilliant. Here we go again after 7 minutes as the mood and tempo continue to change. Spoken words 11 minutes in. Killer sound after 14 minutes. "Melet" features some beautiful and intricate guitar to open as other sounds start to come and go. Cool song. "Hamef Ahakim" kicks in quickly then settles just as fast. Drums, angular guitar and flute follow as it picks back up. It turns dark before 3 minutes. It's like the sound is going in circles after 6 minutes. A calm a minute later. It's building to an uptempo sound with drums leading the way, more guitar too. "Pirzool" is a short track with samples and strange sounds.

This is the best album that i've heard that's come out of the country of Isreal. I am so impressed, I wish everyone could hear this album.

Review by Sinusoid
2 stars It held promise, but fell way short of my hopes and expectations. Israeli group Ahvak's lone self-titled effort (as of 2010) is very unique in the sound department. It's like a cross- pollenation of ''standard RIO'' (possible oxymoron here), Middle Eastern sounds, modern classical and hints of metal here-and-there. And there's absolutely no denying the technical abilities of the participants; all are very skilled players. It even has the oddity of crediting a member with ''computer''. If only I could enjoy this album...

That's the major setback here; I can't enjoy this no matter how impressed I am with the performances. AHVAK is the type of album that you play, and once you put the album away, you can't remember a thing you just heard. The themes here are not memorable at all, and the connecting of these themes sounds rather awkward and clumsy. ''Bherta'' and ''Hamef Ahakim'' have slight traces of a memorable theme, but that's stretching it.

I can't give this any lower than two stars simply because the music is original (or at least I haven't heard anything like this before). The promise of a very unique sounding album became overshadowed by the lack of anything coming together compositionally. This is sure to win over prog fans with eclectic tastes or those with a keen RIO background. Even then, approach this one cautiously.

Review by Conor Fynes
3 stars 'Ahvak' - Ahvak (6/10)

For fans of the brand of avant rock proudly flagshipped by acts like Univers Zero and Art Zoyd, Ahvak should be an exciting prospect. Based in Israel and brought to life with the drive of Thinking Plague drummer Dave Kerman, Ahvak's blend of avant-garde rock and jazz fusion should make for a familiar and welcome sound to fans of any of the aforementioned bands. Falling in between the playfulness of Zappa, the oppressive rhythmic tendencies of RIO and the instrumental virtuosity you would expect from any band that dares go beyond the traditional call of progressive rock, these guys demonstrate a lot of potential on their first album, a potential sadly held back by patchy compositions and a dry take on experimentation.

For all of their musical variety and spontaneous shifts, Ahvak's individual compositions don't have a great deal of unique colour to them. Of them, the opener "Vivisektzia" feels like their most realized and full-rounded piece here, a sporadic and wobbling composition that travels across the map from uneasy ambiance to noisy chaos. Another surprising highlight is"Regaim", a jarring, atonal interlude that pays respect to the modernistic style of Morton Feldman and Bela Bartok. The title track "Ahvak" is arguably the most ambitious piece on the album, built around a slow, gloomy motif that reminds me of the legendary Zeuhl band Shub-Niggurath. On these and the other tracks (possibly excluding the closer "Pirzool", a puzzling minute of muffled yelling that feels unnecessary), there are interesting ideas aplenty. Melody is never a priority for Ahvak. The compositions are dense, often skirting the unfamiliar boundary between jazz, rock and classical music. Ahvak never cease to let up the experimentation, and while this consistent weirdness should keep attentive listeners on their feet, it lacks a satisfying sense of surprise. Without some much-needed recurring themes and motifs to ground and feed the listener, the music comes off as sporadic and patchy, and can be prettty difficult to get into as a result.

Ahvak's playfully eerie atmosphere is one shared by many bands of their ilk. The composition of the work offers plenty of room for the musicians to experiment at their leisure, and the textures used may come across as cartoonish or silly to those not often exposed to this corner of music. Even so, these lighthearted traits are only deceptively so, as the atmosphere or 'vibe' is almost always unsettling. It's often engaging, but never emotionally so. Like so many bands that fly under the progressive rock banner, Ahvak have plenty of technical skill and artistic ambition, but their dry approach keeps it from ever hitting me on a gut level.

Latest members reviews

3 stars Ahvak are a avant-prog rock band that first met on an internet prog rock forum in Israel, but did not get serious with making music until drummer Dave Kerman, went to Israel to join the band. To date, their self-titled album, released in 2004, is their only release, which is a shame since the ... (read more)

Report this review (#930125) | Posted by Orsaeth | Friday, March 15, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Ahvak self titled album, is the best Prog-Rock album from Israel. The album is made of seven tracks, 5 of them stand out: Vivisektia, Bherta, Ahvak, Melet and Hamefahakim. The entire album is hard to understand, and a lot of rehearing is needed to fully enjoy the album, each time discovering new ... (read more)

Report this review (#629615) | Posted by yosimoshe | Friday, February 10, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars While you probably won't find Ahvak on most "best new prog bands" lists due to the very challenging and uncommercial (even by prog standards) nature of their music, they are certainly one of the most exciting bands to grace the RIO/prog scene in a long time. They may not introduce an ... (read more)

Report this review (#72109) | Posted by Pafnutij | Friday, March 17, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Introduction: ---------------- When this album came out, there was quite hype around it in its homeland, Israel. Finally, a fine product released in an international label - it has to be *something*. Bad, good - I didn't know, at the time. But I did know that I would have to give it a try. ... (read more)

Report this review (#32876) | Posted by | Thursday, November 18, 2004 | Review Permanlink

4 stars In this album, Israeli band Ahvak manages to create something rarely seen in RIO or prog- rock in general. This album manages to put the emotionality of the music before its complexity. The result is an album which stimulates the mind as well as the heart. The haunting, screaming theme of the t ... (read more)

Report this review (#32875) | Posted by | Saturday, October 2, 2004 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Ahvak's debut album is a fine export from Israel, a pleasent surprise which shows great care and dedication, rich musical imagination and deep technological knowledge. It sets high standards which very few local bands will be able to surpass. Nothing on this album came easily - Every second is ... (read more)

Report this review (#32874) | Posted by uribreitman | Saturday, October 2, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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