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DANIEL ELISEEV PROJECT (D.E.P.)

Heavy Prog • Bulgaria


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Daniel Eliseev Project  (D.E.P.) picture
Daniel Eliseev Project (D.E.P.) biography
Founded in Sofia, Bulgaria in 2016

Guitar player, arranger and composer DANIEL ELISEEV grew up at a time when Bulgaria was part of the so-called communist Eastern Bloc, in these difficult times rock music was like a semi-legal way of expressing yourself and standing out of the communist system. When Daniel was 10 years old he listened to THE BEATLES, his mother loved to play their music, and he started to be interested in music. When he was 13 a friend gave him an acoustic guitar for one night, he was enchanted and arranged on the first three strings of the guitar a popular melody of a movie, then his musical adventure started.

Classic progressive rock played a huge role in his development as a musician, especially the albums Going For The One by Yes and Three Friends by Gentle Giant. He also got inspiration from GENESIS, THE MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA, KING CRIMSON, THE BEATLES, VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR, KANSAS, UK, RUSH, ALLAN HOLDSWORTH, STEVE HACKETT and ANTHONY PHILLIPS. And more modern favourite bands are ECHOLYN, THE FLOWER KINGS, ENCHANT, PORCUPINE TREE, STEVEN WILSON, CAIRO, TEARS FOR FEARS, FROST, SPOCK'S BEARD and MAGELLAN. Bulgaria is a country where progressive rock is not very popular. FSB is one of the most successful Bulgarian bands but 'it's not easy to be a non-commercial musician, you are like a lone wolf' Daniel says. Progrock concerts are rare but there is much more attention for world-known bands like DREAM THEATER, RIVERSIDE, STEVEN WILSON and STEVE HACKETT.

In 1995 Daniel started his professional carreer with the band AVALON and their eponymous debut album, followed by playing with the bands TRAVELHOUSE, ARX, INSIGHT, LED ZEPPELIN TRIBUTE BULGARIA, PROG-ROCK TRIBUTE BULGARIA, SEKTA, MODUS, SURBAHAR, TUBEFX and SAMODELIA. Since 2013 he focused on one side writing and producing his own author's music, and on other side in developing his own private music school Infinity.

In 2018 he released his first solo album under the name DANIEL ELISEEV PROJECT (D.E.P.) entitled "Night Shadow". In the autumn the first single will appear, and in the first half of the year 2020 the second album of Daniel Eliseev Project (D.E.P.) can be expected. Meanwhile, in parallel with the second D.E.P. album, he is also working on an entirely instrumental album, which will appear in 2020.

Bio by TenYearsAfter (June 2019)

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DANIEL ELISEEV PROJECT (D.E.P.) top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.89 | 29 ratings
Night Shadow
2018
3.58 | 6 ratings
Lost Humanity
2021

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DANIEL ELISEEV PROJECT (D.E.P.) Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Lost Humanity by ELISEEV PROJECT  (D.E.P.), DANIEL album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.58 | 6 ratings

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Lost Humanity
Daniel Eliseev Project (D.E.P.) Heavy Prog

Review by Steve Conrad

4 stars Sharp Left Turn

And Now for Something Completely Different

The new release from Bulgaria's DANIEL ELISEEV PROJECT (DEP) takes a hard left into music veering into post- progressive territory, at least to these ears. I had to go back to listen to Daniel's debut release under the DEP moniker, "Night Shadow".

Was I remembering correctly? Yup- excellent musicianship and many, varied vocal arrangements. That was an impressive start.

"Lost Humanity"

The sophomore release is no less impressive- clean, crisp production in which every instrument, every tick of the cymbals, tom-tom sound, every fretless and fretted bass lick, every one of the varied, honeyed guitar tones in which Eliseev excels, and the breathiness or brashness of the guest sax players- all are clear and discernible.

On "Lost Humanity" Daniel recruits an entirely new and equally gifted crew of guest musicians to bring his compositions to life. I'm hearing sophisticated jazz-fusion, (not nearly enough) heavy progressive music, and as I mentioned, the angular and repetitive features that make me think of post-progressive rock music.

Along with Daniel on all guitars and keyboards (as well as composition), these are also on board: - Antonio D'Amato / bass (1,4,5,8); - Jordan McQueen / drums (1,4-6,8); - Anatoli Peev / drums (2,3,7); - Marco Marocco / bass (2,6,7); - Venci Pavlov / bass (3); - Juan Ignacio Varella / saxophone (2); - Manuel Trabucco / saxophone (7); - Pepe Rodriguez / percussion (3).

Eight Varied Tracks

The vibrant heavy-progressive opening title track shows off what this band can do- heavy guitar chords, punchy rhythm section, shifting moods and tempos, and numerous textures in the lead guitar lines- Eliseev manages to make even the more menacing moments somehow liquid, honeyed, and yet captivating, whether toying with upper-register lines, or doing a mid- or lower-register workout.

However, each track after brings a different feel, yet also stays within the jazz-fusion, heavy-progressive, post- progressive realms. "Curved Path" shows off some elliptical jazzy guitar chords with wandering bass lines and that insouciant saxaphone really brings a vibe.

"Autumn Mood"

Delicate picked clean guitar chords with jazz voicings lead to some sweet lead guitar lines, and "Hidden Land" features some jangling clean guitar chords with some intricate and complex lead guitar over busy backing. This shifts to one of those near-menacing lead guitar lines over some bold and gutsy chords that then subside into held crunchy guitar chords to end.

"Shambhala"

Deep bass notes over tasteful tom-tom work leads to jazzy guitar chords with octave lead guitar notes, and this one to me seemed most strongly post-progressive in the nearly trance-like, repetitive, hypnotic feel. Daniel uses dark lower- register lead guitar lines, which build, swoop, and sing, then subside.

"Mirror World" opens with jangly guitar chords and sometimes an avant-jazz feel shows up. There's some tasty mid- range lead guitar that becomes pretty darn spry- Daniel can play and at least to me, never over-plays.

"Prayer for Life"

Moody keyboards open then clean jazzy chords and breathy sax lines. Sax and guitar sometimes play in unison lines, or trade off lead licks. I think the sax adds nice touches. And then the closing track, "In Search of the Truth" opens with what becomes sequenced synthesizer lines, some heavy guitar chords, and this one develops into the kind of heavy progressive sound that I really enjoy. D'Amato takes a cool bass guitar lead over clean jazzy guitar chords, and there are some pretty crunchy drum patterns. This one ends with a blast of energy.

My Reaction

I'm giving this one four stars since it's outstanding in so many ways- intricate compositions, flawless musicianship, excellent production. Personally I prefer DEP's debut and miss the vocals, plus I haven't (yet?) warmed up to the post- progressive realm of this genre.

Daniel and DEP- bring on the third album! This sharp left turn is impressive, yet I want to get back on the main highway.

 Lost Humanity by ELISEEV PROJECT  (D.E.P.), DANIEL album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.58 | 6 ratings

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Lost Humanity
Daniel Eliseev Project (D.E.P.) Heavy Prog

Review by TenYearsAfter

3 stars Guitar player, arranger and composer Daniel Eliseev grew up in communistic Bulgaria, when he was 10 years old he listened to The Beatles, his mother loved to play their music, and he started to be interested in music. When he was 13 classic progressive rock began to play an important role in his development as a musician, especially the albums Going For The One by Yes and Three Friends by Gentle Giant. This along his appreciation for Genesis, Mahavishnu Orchestra, King Crimson, The Beatles, Van Der Graaf Generator, Kansas, UK, Rush, Allan Holdsworth, Steve Hackett and Anthony Phillips. In 1995 Daniel started his professional carreer with the band Avalon, then followed by playing in numerous . Since 2013 he focused on one side writing and producing his own author's music, and on other side in developing his own private music school Infinity. In 2018 he released his first solo album under the name Daniel Eliseev Project (D.E.P.) entitled Night Shadow. I wrote on Prog Archives: 'Wow, what a debut album, so dynamic, varied, so many interesting musical ideas and surprising musical twist and turns, performed by outstanding musicians, highly recommended!' Due to the corona pandemic it took a while before Daniel released the successor, entitled Lost Humanity, early 2021. This second studio release of Daniel Eliseev Project is instrumental featuring 9 musicians from 5 different countries, Daniel plays all guitars and keyboards. The music was composed in the period 2016 - 2019, and the work on the album itself started in the summer of 2020.

I am impressed by Daniel his awesome work on the guitar, often powerful and heavy, but at other moments also mellow or even dreamy. The arrangements are tastefully and the climates alternate between dreamy, swinging, bombastic and heavy. Daniel his guitar meanders wonderfully through the pleasant shifting moods, supported by guest musicians on saxophone (on the tracks Curved Path and Prayer For Life) and percussion (congas in Autumn Mood). My highlights.

Curved Path (6:21) : First a dreamy atmosphere featuring a fusion guitar, then turning into a dark King Crimson inspired sound with blistering guitar and powerful drum beats. Heavy guitar work rules now. Halfway back to more atmospheric, and finally again a heavy King Crimson inspired sound, very dynamic and compelling.

Shambhala (6:42) : Now a slow rhythm with swinging bass and tasteful mellow guitar layers, then powerful blend of fusion and heavy guitar, and finally hypnotizing atmosphere. The changing atmospheres sound very flowing.

Mirror World (7:11) It starts with a mid-tempo that contains a lush guitar sound in again a varied and dynamic blend of fusion and heavy, the guitar work is outstanding, to me it sounds as a kind of Heavy Jazzrock. Finally the climate turns into dreamy.

In Search of the Truth (6:52) : The final composition is my favourite one, also because it features omnipresent keyboards. The catchy beat and propulsive guitar ' and keyboard sound reminds me of Jeff Beck, pretty exciting. Halfway the mood shifts to dreamy but in the end the heavy and dark King Crimson sound rules again, with blistering guitar, wow!

In comparison with the previous effort Night Shadow this new, entirely instrumental album sounds less elaborate, eclectic and keyboard minded. Because Daniel has chosen to deliver a Heavy Fusion, guitar-oriented album, if you are up to this musical approach this is a fine album to discover.

My rating: 3,5 star.

 Night Shadow by ELISEEV PROJECT  (D.E.P.), DANIEL album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.89 | 29 ratings

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Night Shadow
Daniel Eliseev Project (D.E.P.) Heavy Prog

Review by A Crimson Mellotron

3 stars 'Night Shadow' is the debut album by Bulgarian producer, guitarist, guitar teacher, and songwriter's newly formed progressive rock project (2017). The two main objectives before him upon the release of this album were to pay tribute to bands like Yes, Gentle Giant, Rush, Porcupine Tree, among others, while also collecting some of the most gifted and experienced Bulgarian rock musicians, and to dedicate this album to his mother. And he obviously succeeded in doing both pretty well.

Now, this album's qualities are obvious but the more impressive aspect of it all is the fact that Bulgaria is not necessarily known for its output in progressive rock, simply because there is so little of it. Still, bands like FSB and Pantommind get some credit but they are definitely not notable acts in the genre.

On 'Night Shadow' one can appreciate a collection of eight songs, spanning across 44 minutes of runtime. This is undoubtedly a progressive rock album with tints of hard rock, alternative, baroque music, and acoustic music.

Among the highlights of the album for me are the opening track 'Alter Ego', the title track, 'Pandora and Epimetheus', the adorable 'A Song for You', and the bombastic 10-minute closer 'The Journey Along'.

Overall, this is a very melodic rock album, really well polished and well produced, with fantastic guitar playing, making Daniel Eliseev himself the standout musician. The rest of the band do their job not worse. Harmonic vocals, great riffs, and lovely interplay between the keyboards and the guitars, all make this album an excellent addition to Bulgaria's progressive rock vault and a surprisingly good discovery for me!

 Night Shadow by ELISEEV PROJECT  (D.E.P.), DANIEL album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.89 | 29 ratings

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Night Shadow
Daniel Eliseev Project (D.E.P.) Heavy Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Bulgarian venture DANIEL ELISEEV PROJECT is, as the name implies, the solo vehicle of composer and musician Daniel Eliseev. Following more than a decade as a member and contributor to various bands and artists, he decided to create some music of his own as well, and towards the end of 2018 he self-released the project's first album "Night Shadow".

Daniel Eliseev Project strikes me as a venture that as of 2018 had a desire to mix and blend the classic era traditions of progressive rock with the modern era of this style of music, and by plan or accident with something of a focus on the music of Yes as a sort of a leading light in this process. With style elements ranging from folk music and jazz to hard rock and metal, explored within a progressive rock context, this is a band and an album that should interest those who have a wide taste for the more generally appealing varieties of progressive rock that has been made between 1970 and the early 2000's.

 Night Shadow by ELISEEV PROJECT  (D.E.P.), DANIEL album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.89 | 29 ratings

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Night Shadow
Daniel Eliseev Project (D.E.P.) Heavy Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Review Nº 287

As many of us know, we are often contacted by many groups and artists to review their new albums. But, as we all know too, we can't review all those albums. I understand that in a world like this, it's important to them to have an advised opinion to promote their new works. But, they must understand that is impossible to review all those albums.

So, why I was interested in this new project? Sincerely, I was impressed with the way Daniel addressed me. Besides praising my work here, he praised the work of Progarchives. He said: "I am grateful to all the members of the PA who are working to keep the spirit of Progressive Rock still alive! Progarchives is the largest and most invaluable database for anyone interested in everything related to the so-called Progressive Rock (and not only)". And he is absolutely right.

Daniel grew up at a time when Bulgaria was part of the communist Eastern Bloc. Daniel listened to The Beatles and started to be interested in music. The classic prog rock had a huge role in his development as a musician, especially bands like Yes, Gentle Giant, Genesis, The Mahavishnu Orchestra, King Crimson, Kansas, Van Der Graaf Generator, UK and Rush. Bulgaria is a country where prog rock isn't very popular. The prog rock concerts are rare but there are some.

"Night Shadow" is the debut album of Daniel Eliseev Project (D.E.P.) and was released in 2018. The line up on the album is Daniel Eliseev (backing vocals, electric, acoustic and classical guitars, bass guitar, programming and keyboards), Konstantin Djambazov (lead and backing vocals and keyboards), Anelia Toteva (lead and backing vocals), Kalin Tonev (keyboards), Emil Mihov (viola da gamba), Sara Panosyan (violin), Pavel Stoychev (tambourine), Venci Pavlov (bass guitar and fretless bass) and George Varamezov (glockenspiel, fretless bass and drums).

For me, one of the standouts of this debut album is the vocal work. The clear, high vocals of Konstantin Djambazov are compelling. There is an attention paid to harmonies with lovely arrangements. There is an intricate vocal complexity with precision timing, harmonies, and stylings attempted with an amazing detail. Immediately comes to my mind my beloved Gentle Giant. And I think it isn't a coincidence. About the music, there are numerous invigorating instrumental passages led by the crisp, soaring guitar work of Daniel. The keyboard textures throughout the album are perfectly coordinates with all instruments. The rhythm section is masterful, drums and bass combining to set a forceful, yet never overdone foundation. In this case, it comes to my mind my beloved Yes. In this case, maybe it's a coincidence.

The first track "Alter Ego" is a great opener to the album. It has some great guitar and keyboard workings. This is a very progressive track very heavy and with some great guitar work. With this track we can clearly see what this album is all about. This is an excellent starting point to the album.The second track "Night Shadow" is the title track song. This is a more conventional track than the previous one. It sounds melodic and harmonic despite its heaviness. It has some nice jazz/fusion feel too. This is a track with some nice complex harmonies. The third track "Pandora And Epimetheus" has a mellow intro with some nice work by all members. This is complex track, very melodic and with some excellent vocal work, both male and female. The interplay between all musicians is excellent creating a fantastic atmosphere. The fourth track "Awakening" is completely different from the previous tracks. It's a short track with few more than two minutes. This is a soft and beautiful track, showing the other side of the band, the soft and mellow side. This is a very bautiful piece. The fifth track "Broken Consciousness" continues the mellower and acoustic sound of the previous track. This track has some very pleasant vocal work. Despite its mellowess it has some heaviness. This is another excellent progressive track. The sixth track "Hidden Voices" is a track that sounds very dinamic and powerful. This is another excellent track with great vocal work in Gentle Giant's vein. It shows the admiration of Daniel by that great classic prog band. The seventh track "A Song For You" is another mellow and soft piece. The vocals of Anilia Toteva are gentle and nice, giving some variety to the album, which is very welcome, I think. The eighth and last track "The Journey Along" is the great epic on the album. It's the lengthiest track on the album with almost ten minutes. This is an awesome composition that closes the album with a golden key. This is, in my humble opinion, the best track here.

Conclusion: From start to finish this album is a delight. This is an original album with an original sound, a wonderful surprise. It has great experienced playing, contrasting moments and great writing. This is an extremely thoughtful release with an emotional content to it. Besides be considered a heavy prog album, I think the eclectic mix of songs on "Night Shadow" should appeal to progressive rock fans of all types. I'm sure that the many musicians in D.E.P. have a lot of experience making music since this album sounds very mature for a first release. I'm really amazed with the professional quality of this debut. It's a project that should be discovered by those who wish to hear prog at its finest.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Night Shadow by ELISEEV PROJECT  (D.E.P.), DANIEL album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.89 | 29 ratings

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Night Shadow
Daniel Eliseev Project (D.E.P.) Heavy Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars When I was running Feedback fanzine a million years ago, I somehow came to the attention of a Bulgarian label who used to send me material to review and was aware there was a burgeoning and impressive scene over there which often included different influences than Western bands. So, when I was contacted by guitarist Daniel Eliseev who asked if I wanted to hear his debut solo album, I was certainly intrigued, as I no longer had any idea what was happening musically in his home country. If this is an example of the style of music being produced, then I need to discover more. Firstly, it needs to be understood that this isn't an instrumental album, even though one may get that impression from the cover, and secondly it is packed full of great songs. Real songs, with hooks and choruses, something which is often missing from this style of hard rock prog.

Take for example the title cut, I find myself singing the chorus even when I'm not playing the album! This isn't supposed to happen! Singer Konstantin Djambazov comes across as a combination of Jon Anderson and Derek Shulman, while musically it is more towards Gentle Giant than Yes, although much heavier with guitars often at the fore. 'A Song For You' is totally different, starting with the sound of children playing and gently picked acoustic guitar, giving way to the warm female vocals of Anelia Toteva. Unlike many Bulgarian albums I have hard in the past, this comes across as a very Western release, and apart from the names of those involved it would be difficult to ascertain this came from Eastern Europe. From start to finish this album is a delight, a real discovery, and one which I have had difficulty getting past on my ever-growing lists as it is such fun to play.

The name of Daniel Eliseev, and the band Daniel Eliseev Project, may be new to many of you but it doesn't deserve to stay that way. Self-released, here is an artist who should be discovered by those who wish to hear heavy prog at its finest.

 Night Shadow by ELISEEV PROJECT  (D.E.P.), DANIEL album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.89 | 29 ratings

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Night Shadow
Daniel Eliseev Project (D.E.P.) Heavy Prog

Review by TenYearsAfter

4 stars "Good new from Bulgaria, very good news!"

Guitar player, arranger and composer Daniel grew up at a time when Bulgaria was part of the so-called communist Eastern Bloc, in these difficult times rock music was like a semi-legal way of expressing yourself and standing out of the communist system. When Daniel was 10 years old he listened to The Beatles, his mother loved to play their music, and he started to be interested in music. When he was 13 a friend gave him an acoustic guitar for one night, he was enchanted and arranged on the first three strings of the guitar a popular melody of a movie, then his musical adventure started. Classic progressive rock played a huge role in his development as a musician, especially the albums Going For The One by Yes and Three Friends by Gentle Giant. He also got inspiration from Genesis, The Mahavishnu Orchestra, King Crimson, The Beatles, Van Der Graaf Generator, Kansas, UK, Rush, Allan Holdsworth, Steve Hackett and Anthony Phillips. And more modern favourite bands are Echolyn, The Flower Kings, Enchant, Porcupine Tree, Steven Wilson, Cairo, Tears For Fears, Frost, Spock's Beard and Magellan. Bulgaria is a country where progressive rock is not very popular. FSB is one of the most successful Bulgarian bands but 'it's not easy to be a non-commercial musician, you are like a lone wolf' Daniel says. Progrock concerts are rare but there is much more attention for world-known bands like Dream Theater, Riverside, Steven Wilson and Steve Hackett. In 1995 Daniel started his professional carreer with the band Avalon and their eponymous debut album, followed by playing with the bands Travelhouse, Arx, Insight, Led Zeppelin Tribute Bulgaria, Prog-Rock Tribute Bulgaria, Sekta, Modus, Surbahar, TubeFx and Samodelia. Since 2013 he focused on one side writing and producing his own author's music, and on other side in developing his own private music school Infinity. In 2018 he released his first solo album under the name Daniel Eliseev Project (D.E.P.) entitled Night Shadow. In the autumn the first single will appear, and in the first half of the year 2020 the second album of Daniel Eliseev Project (D.E.P.) can be expected. Meanwhile, in parallel with the second D.E.P. album, he is also working on an entirely instrumental album, which will appear in 2020.

1. Alter Ego (5:27) : The album kicks off with powerful and dynamic Heavy Prog (Rush inspired) featuring Yes-like vocal harmonies, a captivating contrast with the exciting heavy guitar riffs and blistering guitar solo, topped with subtle Supertramp- like electric piano runs. An impressive start!

2. Night Shadow (7:06) : This track is more song-oriented with a blend of electric ' and acoustic guitar, and a strong vocal performance by Konstantin Djambazov. It sounds very melodic and harmonic, like Eighties Yes. Halfway a break with spectacular keyboard runs and heavy guitar riffs, then a tight mid-tempo with exciting heavy guitar solo, I enjoy the huge tension between the mellow and heavy parts. The bombastic final part delivers thunderous drums.

3. Pandora And Epimetheus (7:12) : First a mellow intro with soft fretless bass runs by Venci Pavlov, and subtle work on guitar and keyboards. Now the climate turns first into bombastic with powerful guitar, lush Hammond rhythm, and then into catchy beat with male and female vocal duet. The second part is Heavy Prog Extravaganza with lots of strong musical ideas: from a break with acoustic guitar runs, Mellotron violins, Hammond and a vocal duet to flashy synthesizer runs and a fiery guitar solo. The interplay between the musicians is awesome and I am blown away by the bombastic atmosphere featuring heavy riffs, lush Hammond and powerful guitar, top notch Heavy Prog!

4. Awakening (2:18) : After lots of Heavy Prog this composition is dreamy with warm classical guitar and nature sounds, then wonderful violin and a viola da gamba (rooted in Italy), simply beautiful.

5. Broken Consciousness (5:09) : The first part contains twanging acoustic guitar, a mellow mid-temp with pleasant vocals, song-oriented, embellished with viola da gamba and acoustic guitar. Halfway the mood shifts to an accellaration with sensational soli on guitar and keyboards, fuelled by excellent rhythm-section, wow!

6. Hidden Voices (3:50) : This one is a tribute to the distinctive Gentle Giant vocal harmonies, with tasteful synthesizer layers. Then an accellaration with spectacular synthesizer sounds and vocal harmonies, the music sounds very dynamic and powerful, with hints from Rush.

7. A Song For You (3:01) : This mellow piece is a personal song, dedicated to Daniel his mother, she died too early, the fairy tale-like atmosphere evokes an imaginery world, with voices of children, and celestial female vocals by Anelia Toteva. Daniel puts his emotion into the music with outstanding twanging acoustic guitar, and a few words, very moving.

8. The Journey Along (9:58) : This epic final composition begins with spacey synthesizer and sensitive electric guitar. The lots of shifting moods, between mellow and bombastic, the one moment acoustic guitar (twanging and flageolets), the other moment heavy guitar work (from propulsive riffs to biting runs) or sensational synthesizer flights, and a powerful Hammond solo, I love that distinctive sound! In the final part the music alternates between dreamy with a ticking clock sound and exciting heavy guitar (again Rush comes to my mind), topped with strong vocal harmonies. Finally subtle guitar work with the volume pedal and strumming acoustic guitar, slowly fading away, what an awesome and elaborate composition!

I am impressed by Daniel his first solo project, he delivers a very dynamic album with lots of exciting work on guitar and keyboards, strong vocals and inventive and varied musical ideas. He is surrounded by outstanding musicians. Highly recommended, especially for the Heavy Prog fans

 Night Shadow by ELISEEV PROJECT  (D.E.P.), DANIEL album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.89 | 29 ratings

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Night Shadow
Daniel Eliseev Project (D.E.P.) Heavy Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars The Balkan nation of Bulgaria is hardly the most prolific region of the planet that has produced a great number of musical exports so it's quite refreshing to hear an artist or two from this remote nook of the world just north of the much more visited Greece and Turkey. Perhaps the most famous musical export is the internationally lauded Bulgarian Women's Choir which more artistically is known as Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares which displays the intricate sophistication of a cappella polyphonic chant but of more recent notoriety is the progressive metal band Pantommind as well as the experimental metal band Smallman. Joining this small but veritable talented pool of musicians from this bucolic beauty by the Black Sea is the recently formed DANIEL ELISEEV PROJECT (D.E.P.) which formed in the capital city of Sofia.

Catching the prog bug after being blown away by albums such as "Going For The One" by Yes and Gentle Giant's "Three Friends," a young DANIEL ELISEEV felt the calling to drift into the prog universe which allowed him to assemble some of the best talent that Bulgaria had to offer and resulted in the DANIEL ELISEEV PROJECT (D.E.P.) which was formed in 2017. After two years crafting their labor of love, ELISEEV and his army of collaborators release this debut album NIGHT SHADOW which not only captures the zeitgeist of classic 70s prog bands but keeps things contemporary with just as much influence from bands like Haken, Riverside and Porcupine Tree. NIGHT SHADOW exhibits the compositional sophistication of classic era bands while sparkling with the sheen of modern day production values as well as incorporating a variety of disparate sounds from both past and present.

Bursting into action with the opening "Alter Ego," the apparent Haken references emerge with feisty heavy progressive guitar riffs duking it out with virtuosic keyboard workouts that ultimately lead to the high octane vocal dynamics of Konstantin Djambazov whose comparisons with Yes' Jon Anderson do ring true however if you ask me, he sounds like a combination of Anderson along with maybe Don Henley of the Eagles since he has more grit to his voice. One of my pet peeves in heavier prog is that bands craft technical workouts with substandard vocal contributions but in the case of D.E.P. it's obvious from the get go that that is not the case here. Composed of the typical prog rock instrumentation of guitar, bass, keyboards and drums, D.E.P. also utilizes some lesser known instruments to great results. The viola, violin and acoustic classical guitar parts are divinely integrated into the heavier sounds to offer a wide range of dynamics along with a few more exotic sounds from the glockenspiel and guest vocalists.

The beauty of NIGHT SHADOW is how well D.E.P. constructs tracks that sound like Haken's heavier prog antics but decorated with extremely demanding complex harmonies and counterpoints quite clearly inspired by Gentle Giant's most revered works without sounding derivative in any way. The tracks develop easily accessible melodies for the most part and only then once properly nurtured spiral into more off-kilter time signature workouts that implement rampaging guitar riffs, sizzling virtuosic solos and keyboards that unleash the Keith Emerson inspired juggernauts. Another nice touch is the extensive use of the fretless bass which employs a rich tapestry of microtones to be exploited for maximum effect. Generally speaking, the tracks start out slow and soft and lead their way to a more explosive climactic conclusion. Only the opener explodes onto the stage and never slows down.

The middle section of the album is much softer than the two tracks that bookend the album's 44 minute run. The short acoustic guitar track "Awakening" is more of an intro for the following "Broken Consciousness" which displays a veritable smorgasbord of softer and heavier passages with Djambazov's vocal style hitting new strides as he effortlessly keeps up with the jittery time signature passages. Perhaps the only surprise and somewhat of a let down is the track "A Song With You" which features Anelia Toteva on vocals. While a beautiful song that focuses on her feminine charm, it doesn't seem to jive with the rest of the album and would've been best left for an album of similar stylistic approach. It lacks the diverse dynamics of the other tracks.

The grand finale and my favorite track of the album comes in the form of the near ten minute behemoth "The Journey Along" which delivers all the prog goods. An atmospheric moody intro on keyboards with a wailing guitar slowly creeping in, an instantly pleasant melodic hook with just enough avant-angularity to give it an edge and plenty of dynamic shifts into classical guitar and then heavy hard rock riffing attacks. It's the kind of track that takes you on a musical journey in instrumental explosiveness before the vocals ever start nearly three minutes in. The vocals and classical guitar parts are exquisitely slightly off pitch from each other and the remaining band members never miss a beat as they drop in and out of the overall schematics, showing the talent on board this one which resulted from ELISEEV hand picking some of Bulgaria's musicals from already established careers. To top it off, the production is flawless and every instrument finds its proper place and the music speaks for itself never relying on gimmicks.

This one is excellent! My only complaint is how the album loses momentum with the misplaced "A Song For You" but other than that minor quibble the DANIEL ELISSEV PROJECT delivers a highly accomplished debut and should be on every progger's radar as this is only the beginning and a sign of great things to come. To me it sounds like D.E.P. picked up where Haken decided to drop the ball after the band abandoned the overt prog leanings on "The Mountain" and went for a more conventional heavy prog sound, however despite all the references to Yes, Gentle Giant, Haken, Porcupine Tree and the rest, most importantly is that the D.E.P. emerges with a fully formed band sound all their own and one that finds no flaws of instrumentalists or vocalists not ready for prime time. While Bulgaria may not be the world's largest producer of great prog bands, this small nation of roughly seven million sure delivers the quality emerging from within its borders. Bravo!

 Night Shadow by ELISEEV PROJECT  (D.E.P.), DANIEL album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.89 | 29 ratings

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Night Shadow
Daniel Eliseev Project (D.E.P.) Heavy Prog

Review by mohaveman

4 stars Wow. I am really glad I happened to read a review of NIGHT SHADOW, a 2018 release by Bulgarian musician Daniel Eliseev, and checked it out on Apple Music. It is hard to believe this is a debut album, at least I think it is. This is a highly polished effort consisting of a great mix of heavy, eclectic, and even some folk- like progressive music. Mr. Eliseev has assembled a stellar cast of musicians and he helms the Project with his outstanding guitar work. So what does it sound like? Well, I am hearing some heavy Haken, King Crimson, and, possibly because of the vocalist's range, a lot of Drama era Yes. I can't really pick out any favorite songs yet, as I am still in the process of processing the sum total. But no weak moments, for sure. This release will be on heavy rotation in my car for awhile. Looking forward to Mr. Eliseev's next effort!
 Night Shadow by ELISEEV PROJECT  (D.E.P.), DANIEL album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.89 | 29 ratings

BUY
Night Shadow
Daniel Eliseev Project (D.E.P.) Heavy Prog

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

4 stars First of all, thank you to Daniel for sending me his CD to preview.

The Heavy Prog band know as "Daniel Eliseev Project" (or d.e.p.) was founded by Daniel Eliseev from Bulgaria in 2017, during which time he got together a line-up of musicians to help him record his first album called "Night Shadow", which was released in 2018. The album consists of 8 tracks which all span a total time of 44 minutes. Daniel provides most of the guitars, some keyboards and some backing vocals throughout the album, but also utilizes other musicians on various tracks. Most of the lead vocals go to Konstantin Djambazov who also plays some of the keyboard solos. Most of the drums are handled by George Varamezov. Other musicians appear on other single tracks also.

"Alter Ego" begins with a definite heavy sound mostly driven by guitars and keyboards. The sound is complex, yet melodic with definite progressive elements. Vocals start after a minute with a melody that jumps around in a wide range while a the background alternates to a softer sound to a heavy sound, yet melodically remaining complex and some very nice and different harmonies through the layered vocals and instruments. The guitar work is a s great as you want it to be with the right amount of heaviness. The title track "Night Shadow" comes next. This one has a nice progressive jazz/fusion feel to it. Again the vocals jump around in a crazy wide range with non-standard melodies. Some of the background vocal layers are processed with nice effects. At 4 minutes, progressive passages take us into a guitar solo with a faster, yet still smooth tempo.

"Pandora and Epimetheus" is a much more complex and progressive track with a combination of male and female vocals, tricky rhythmic patterns and changes in tone, meter and structure. There is a really nice synth solo at the 5 minute mark that morphs into a guitar solo. "Awakening" is a short 2 minute track that features an acoustic guitar and chirping birds. Later, a viol (or viola da gamba) and violin join in to make a nice sound. "Broken Consciousness" continues with a mellower, acoustic sound with laid back vocals and some nice harmonics in the background vocals. The melodies are still progressive and there are some short, heavier passages, but it mostly stays in a laid-back mood until a more upbeat guitar solo takes over.

"Hidden Voices" utilizes an electronic, almost droning sound and processed vocal layers that bounce all over the place in a playful manner, sounding very much like "Gentle Giant" including the progressive folk style. It's actually quite a nice surprise. "A Song for You" features Anilia Toteva on lead vocals. Starting with a pensive, acoustic guitar introduction, her vocals are a nice switch up to add to the variety on this album. The music continues with it's sparse guitar and voice sound with occasional harmonic vocals. The melody still remains on the complex side, staying away from any standard style. The album ends with "The Journey Along", the longest track at almost 10 minutes. It begins with atmospheric synths supporting a slow guitar solo, first electric, then switching quickly to acoustic, and then to a heavy guitar riff that brings in the other instruments. The tone switches back and forth, complex vocals finally come in and the Heavy Prog sound is back. It takes a special vocal talent to sing these complex melodic lines that have some crazy intervals. Next, there is a great solo section that alternates between guitar and synths, then a music box sound from a glockenspiel takes center stage until the bass brings the vocals back in. After a while, the heavy sound comes back in, things intensify, and the vocalist continues with his vocal acrobatics. Again, this track has quite a variety of moods throughout, but it till sounds concise.

This is a surprisingly great album for a debut effort, and lovers of not only the heavier prog sound should listen to this, but also those that love music that is a little challenging, that don't mind some variety. Those that loved the Gentle Giant sound should also check this out as the music ventures into complex progressive folk from time to time. This album proves that Daniel is not a one trick pony when it comes to his guitar playing, there are many styles here, and they are handled quite well. He's got some amazing compositional skills also. The constants here are top-notch musicianship, complex melody lines, progressive non-standard rock, and crazy vocal intervals that would throw off even some of the most talented singers. This is definitely an album worth checking out. 4 bright stars.

Thanks to rdtprog for the artist addition. and to Quinino (w/ TenYearsAfter) for the last updates

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