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ROZ VITALIS

RIO/Avant-Prog • Russia


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Roz Vitalis picture
Roz Vitalis biography
Founded in Saint Petersburg, Russia in 2001

ROZ VITALIS was created by composer and keyboardist Ivan Rozmainsky in 2001. Primarily it was one-man band. In 2003 ROZ VITALIS had become trio and included also Nadezhda Regentova (keyboards, voices) and Vladimir Polyakov (keyboards). In 2005 line-up experiences expansion. Now the band includes also Klara Metelkova (flutes, harmonica, vocals) and Yuri Verba (clarinet). Style of ROZ VITALIS is RIO/Avant-Prog/Symphonic Prog/Psychedelic/Space Rock. The main influences are LE ORME, GENTLE GIANT, KING CRIMSON, YES, ELP, SUPERSISTER, JETHRO TULL, DEPECHE MODE, AFTER CRYING. Music of the band was compared by prog-reviewers with GENTLE GIANT, UNIVERS ZERO, BRIAN HIRSCH, KING CRIMSON, TRIUMVIRAT, KRAFTWERK etc. In short, music of ROZ VITALIS can remind KING CRIMSON and GENTLE GIANT, but is keyboard-based, with rare female voices and electronic drums. It is "chamber electronic prog" rather than "rockish music".

The best recordings are the following. "Lazarus" (2003) - RIO with ethno and electronic elements. see reviews at www.progressiveears.com & www.proglands.com ; "Das Licht Der Menschen" (2004) - concept album including three 20-28-minute epics devoted to the "theological idea of Trinity". It is very polyphonic album, difficult for listening. "Enigmarden" (2005) - almost instrumental prog-music with flutes and clarinet solos. EP-albums "Painsadist" (2003) and "The Threesunny Light Power" (2004) also can be recommended. More early albums are characterized by low quality of recording. All albums are self-released ones.


Why this artist must be listed in www.progarchives.com :
The band makes original and interesting prog-music, which has a lot of progradios' rotations and good reviews at prog sites.

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ROZ VITALIS discography


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ROZ VITALIS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.32 | 22 ratings
L'Ascensione
2002
3.03 | 22 ratings
Lazarus
2003
3.89 | 19 ratings
Das Licht Der Menschen
2004
2.76 | 22 ratings
Enigmarden
2005
3.52 | 34 ratings
Compassionizer
2007
3.73 | 42 ratings
Revelator
2011
3.86 | 52 ratings
Patience of Hope
2012
3.71 | 27 ratings
Overcoming-Up
2014
3.82 | 92 ratings
Lavoro D'Amore
2015
4.14 | 165 ratings
The Hidden Man of the Heart
2018

ROZ VITALIS Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.50 | 6 ratings
Live Autumn '05 in the Ad Lucem Studio
2005
4.12 | 6 ratings
Live at Mezzo Forte, Moscow, September '09
2009
3.26 | 4 ratings
Live 2013-08-31 + Bonus
2014
4.00 | 6 ratings
Live in Kirishi
2016
4.07 | 14 ratings
At Last. Live
2017
4.16 | 12 ratings
Elephant Live
2018
4.16 | 12 ratings
Great Expectations Live
2019
4.07 | 19 ratings
Daybreaking Live
2020
4.12 | 12 ratings
Confortate gli Abbattuti Live
2021
4.09 | 11 ratings
20 Years - Alive and Well
2022

ROZ VITALIS Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

ROZ VITALIS Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 8 ratings
Lazarus Abridged
2009
2.31 | 7 ratings
The Selected of Enigmarden
2015

ROZ VITALIS Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 1 ratings
Excerpts from Early Demo Recordings 2001
2001
3.33 | 3 ratings
Painsadist
2003
3.09 | 4 ratings
The Threesunny Light Power
2004
5.00 | 2 ratings
Live At ESG-21, February 13th 2010
2010
5.00 | 3 ratings
Beyond the Limits of Spring. Live at Kitayskiy Letchik Jao Da, May 10th 2011
2011
5.00 | 2 ratings
Live Summer 2012
2012
4.09 | 3 ratings
Live At Saint Peter Prog Fest #5
2013
4.25 | 4 ratings
Live 14-11-14
2015
3.41 | 24 ratings
Psalm 6
2016
5.00 | 2 ratings
Amaryllis / What Are You Thinking About? (with Vespero)
2018
4.00 | 3 ratings
Mille Te Ne Cadranno Al Fianco
2019
4.60 | 5 ratings
Cadence and Cascade
2019
4.94 | 7 ratings
The Man Whose Wings Were Cut Off
2020
4.93 | 6 ratings
Crown
2020
4.67 | 3 ratings
Se Camminiamo Nella Luce
2021

ROZ VITALIS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Confortate gli Abbattuti Live by ROZ VITALIS album cover Live, 2021
4.12 | 12 ratings

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Confortate gli Abbattuti Live
Roz Vitalis RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars Over the years I have been fortunate enough to hear a great deal of music from Russia, who have some incredible progressive rock bands, and one of my favourites is definitely Roz Vitalis. Apart from the closing track, "Peace", which was recorded the year previously, this album was recorded in St. Petersburg on 27th February 2021. The line-up was Ruslan Kirillov (bass), Vladislav Korotkikh (flute), Ivan Rozmainsky (electric piano & synth), Vladimir Semenov-Tyan- Shansky (electric guitar, guitar synth) and Evgeny Trefilov (drums). One of the real joys of this instrumental band is the way they mix and blend the instrumentation, with everyone being given the chance to shine. The drums are quite low in the mix, but the picked bass (which provides a very hard strike) is very high, providing a counter melody for the other instruments to play against. The three melodic leads support each other, so while it may be guitar here, flute there, or keyboards, they all interweave to create music which has such complexity that it feels like modern classical.

Ivan utilises many different sounds, while it is not unusual for Vladislav to step away from proceedings, and this combines to ensure there is always plenty of space within the music. There is no feeling of compression or strain, rather that the musicians are allowing themselves and each other the room to fully express themselves. The music is incredibly melodic, yet complex as they allow themselves to bring in jazz and classical idioms while always progressing and challenging themselves while always taking the listener along for the journey. They have released a series of wonderful live albums over the years, and this is yet another which deserves recognition far outside their native city and country. If you already know the band then this is something you will enjoy, but for newcomers this is a wonderful introduction and a great way to discover one of the best bands to come out of Russia. Superb.

 Compassionizer by ROZ VITALIS album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.52 | 34 ratings

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Compassionizer
Roz Vitalis RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by DangHeck

2 stars Suggested to me by user felonafan, but sorry; I'm doin' this my way haha. I try to be systematic, especially when it comes to bands newer to me. So this, Roz Vitalis' fifth studio album, released 2007, is my first taste. The band is noted to be a Russian Avant-Prog group with expressions of Symphonic Prog, Psychedelic and Space Rock. Seeing their attributed comparisons to other bands as well as their better known influences, I can't say I wasn't excited to take a dip. I don't really know what my takeaway is, in general, after listening to just this album... Very unsure.

Compassionizer begins with the fading clang of a gong on "Tragic Fate". This song starts off spacy and ethereal with interesting, sparse percussion and soft string-like synth padding. Even in its sort of plastic percussion, this track, in its middle section is quite ear-catching. Certainly a cool intro. "Autumn of Hypocrisy", in comparison, starts off with an acoustic piano intro. The guitars here are very unusual, almost functioning as another percussion instrument. This song didn't have much to offer, though, unfortunately. Then, we have our title track, "Compassionizer", with sort of Western Saloon-style tack piano and our first taste of more noticeable guitar. Very unusual rhythms follow around minute 1. It's that sort of plastic drum sound that reminds me a tad of Zappa's synclavier music, though... far less exact. I'm not sure the human element is really adding anything interesting to this... cacophony. Thus far, not super impressed. I do know there must be something here, though... [I think I still feel this way. I think.] [I dunno, see below...]

This band's embrace of diametrically opposed loudness and softness is a bit odd. I'm not sure it does them any favors at this point in time. "Elusive Goodness" is a return to the open spaciness, this time featuring what sort of sounds like a Wurlitzer in its middle section. I was expecting, at the start, to have some hope here, but it was just kind of boring and wavering. It's with some of the beginning sounds of "Wakatte Kudasai" that I would like to recommend another artist to those who are fans of this album: Michael P. Dawson. I'm realizing now, too, that a huge issue I have with this is the harsh mix of this album. It's just too much. Those aforementioned loud sections, and there's plenty of that on "Wakatte", are just too damn loud and unruly. All I can say. The apparently human contributions to the very plastic everything is yet again a weakness to my ears on "Annihilator of Moral Hazard". Another least favorite...

"Dances of Lost Opportunities" is an optimistic sort of something, despite the name. Not a whole lot happens here though... Like, too little. Then we have "Disruption". It seems, like with this track, when more guitar is introduced, that is their strength. Some real interesting things come out of the music. Not a whole lot happened here, though. But at least it was better than the last two tracks before it... Finally, we have "Train of Parting", a return to more acoustic piano. The obtuse electro-instrumentation comes in pretty shortly after the introduction. It's very quirky. But I'm just not drawn in at all. Super noisy around minute 5. Nothing there for me in that...

To be clear, a True Rate of 1.75/5.00. I'm not done with them yet. Ok... I am done. If what listeners find to be the best material for the band is the best they have to offer, in the least, it's just not for me.

 20 Years - Alive and Well by ROZ VITALIS album cover Live, 2022
4.09 | 11 ratings

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20 Years - Alive and Well
Roz Vitalis RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by nick_h_nz
Collaborator Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

4 stars [Originally published at The Progressive Aspect]

As is probably obvious from the title, 20 Years: Alive and Well celebrates the 20th anniversary of Roz Vitalis, which began as a studio project with electronic elements but has grown into an ever-changing chamber ensemble of talented musicians under the leadership of Ivan Rozmainsky. The band has increasingly become a live-focused act, and while there have been standalone singles released, their last full-length album (The Hidden Man of the Heart) was back in 2018. Between then and this latest live album, Roz Vitalis have thirteen releases, including five live albums ? each with a quite different quality. There are some bands where one or two live albums are enough, as there is simply not enough variation and innovation. Other bands I rarely listen to their studio albums, as they pale in comparison to their live albums, and too many is still not enough. Roz Vitalis is certainly one of those bands where I will never tire of hearing a new live album, such are the differences between them ? even when the setlists are similar. And when much of Roz Vitalis's vast catalogue of songs can only be heard on their live releases, I would simply be missing out if I didn't eagerly consume every new one as it is released. But, yes, this one is something special ? and if you've never listened to Roz Vitalis, it's a wonderful way to jump in and immerse yourself in the sometimes gentle, sometimes heavy, avant chamber prog of the band. The sound is often pastoral and almost folk- like, but there's a dark edge almost always lurking, and the band can transition from smooth and peaceful to sharp and angular with ease and to great effect.

The album begins with Daybreaking, one of the more recent Roz Vitalis compositions to be released (and, thus far, without a studio version), and one which quickly has become a favourite of many Roz Vitalis fans. It had its beginnings in an Ivan Rozmainsky piece, Too Late Awakening, which I think was first performed in 2017, and it is possible to track its changes over time, and various Roz Vitalis releases. While this is not my favourite rendition of Daybreaking, the more I hear it, the more I enjoy it. This is one of the pleasures of following the band, as older pieces can become something quite different and new. The most well-known example, albeit unlikely to be known by anyone not familiar with the band, would be Ascension Dream from the debut Roz Vitalis album, L'Ascensione, which has become more and more compact and concise over the years, but no less exhilarating. The first abbreviation of Ascension Dream a year after the release of L'Ascensione, on the Painsadist EP, and it's been evolving ever since. And given that while the band has always had avant leanings, the earliest Roz Vitalis compositions were far closer to progressive electronic music than the chamber prog they now play, it's really no wonder that the earlier compositions sound quite different when played live now.

Walking is another piece that will be familiar to followers of the many live releases of Roz Vitalis, but which has no studio recording as yet. It's a great wee number, and I really like it, but up next is one of the first of many treats that pop up on this album, Patience of Hope. As far as I'm aware (and I admit, I am too lazy to look back at the track listings of all the live releases in between), this title track to the 2012 Roz Vitalis album has appeared only once on subsequent live releases. It's really neat to hear some of these older compositions given a new lease of life, and this is certainly a very lively performance of the piece. The energetic and enthusiastic playing has me imagining the band all grinning wildly as they play this track. But even if Patience of Hope has not appeared on many Roz Vitalis live albums since the studio album of the same name, we can be assured it is not the first performance of it live, as the band have handily let us know in the track listing which of the pieces have their first appearance in a Roz Vitalis set. The following tracks, Recovery and For My Love They Are Adversaries are the two new ones, and it will be interesting to hear how they evolve over time ? as they surely will.

The first performance of Escaping From Myself appeared on last year's Confortate Gli Abbattuti Live, and is another energetic number. It's followed by another track from 2012's Patience of Hope album, but unlike the title track, this piece has appeared on many live releases since, and I'm absolutely fine with it having another appearance here, as Mother of All Rain is one of my favourite Roz Vitalis compositions, and it's easily one of my favourite tracks on this album. It has either an ugly beauty, or a beautiful ugliness, and I'm not sure which ? but whichever, I love it. It's followed by the aforementioned Ascension Dream, which is no doubt the favourite Roz Vitalis track of many, and for good reason. It's simply beautiful, and this is a wonderful performance of the piece. And then this is followed by another of my favourite Roz Vitalis numbers, Annihilator of Moral Hazard from 2007's Compassionizer album. This is my new favourite performance of the piece (previously being the extended version on 2019's Great Expectations Live), proving (just as with Ascension Dream) that it's not the size that counts, but how you use it, and an abbreviated version can be just as powerful and potent, and even sometimes more so. These three tracks, which comprise my favourite sequence on this album, all feature Philip Semenov ? the first official drummer for Roz Vitalis (from 2008 to 2018). This is another nice aspect of this release, as it features appearances of Roz Vitalis members of the past, and one brand new (AndRey Stefinoff).

After the title track of 2015's Lavoro D'Amore comes a run of four tracks from 2018's The Hidden Man of the Heart, broken only by a performance of Se Camminiamo Nella Luce (released last year as a stand-alone single, and the only studio release from Roz Vitalis in 2021, but previously appearing on a 2017 live release). Perhaps surprisingly, one of those four is not Psalm 6 ? one of the most well-known and well-loved Roz Vitalis compositions. Not that it is missed, as the four numbers that are played are exceptional. The Hidden Man of the Heart is often lauded as the greatest studio album from Roz Vitalis. If I'm being as objective as possible, even if it's probably not my favourite Roz Vitalis studio album, I can understand why. So, I imagine will new listeners after hearing these four tracks. They are amazing! The penultimate track is of the same vintage as The Hidden Man of the Heart, and received its live debut in concerts promoting that album; and the album ends appropriately with the closing number from Lavoro D'Amore, Ending. If you are new to Roz Vitalis, I can foresee only two outcomes, after listening to this twentieth anniversary concert: either you'll now be a fan, and want (no, need!) to listen to everything else the band has released, or you'll be bewildered as to how anyone could enjoy this odd music. If you've actually read this far, I hope it's the former. Here's to 20 more years!

 20 Years - Alive and Well by ROZ VITALIS album cover Live, 2022
4.09 | 11 ratings

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20 Years - Alive and Well
Roz Vitalis RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Kempokid
Collaborator Prog Metal Team

4 stars Roz Vitalis' focus on being largely a live band as of late is something I've been growing increasingly fond of the more I've delved into their material. Their rich, detailed sound palettes combined with the crystal clear sound really does often make the songs sound as if they could have been recorded in studio, but it always has that sense of spontaneity and live musicality that makes each release of theirs different sounding, even if the same base compositions are often used in multiple different places, they each manage to define themselves as something wholly unique and worth hearing, with this whole dynamic of the band feeling especially applicable to this one. Given the nature of this album essentially being a long celebration of the band's past, it makes sense that the album representing this would be as triumphant and clean as it was, with most of these tracks simply sounding like the best versions available in a lot of regards, especially if you're looking for an atmosphere that's a bit more on the uplifting side. This is also really one of those albums that I find quite difficult to talk about simply due to the fact that this does feel more like a big celebration of the band's music, redefining elements of their past work rather than crafting anything all too new in itself.

The individual tracks might be a bit difficult to tell apart, but it never felt as if the album's point was really to focus on the individual experience of any individual song, with them instead flowing altogether in harmony to craft a single, much longer experience that doubles down on the atmospheric qualities of their music, all of which makes a decent bit of sense given the fact that this is yet another live album from them. While there might not be a ton I am able to say about this album, if there's only one Roz Vitalis album that you end up listening to, make it this one, as it feels like the best realised version of their sound so far, and is such a gorgeous take on their music in general, especially this version of Daybreaking. A must listen for fans of densely layered, yet beautiful music, as this still manages to strike that lovely balance of being so delicate and gorgeous while also having a seemingly endless amount of depth to it once you begin to dig that bit deeper.

 20 Years - Alive and Well by ROZ VITALIS album cover Live, 2022
4.09 | 11 ratings

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20 Years - Alive and Well
Roz Vitalis RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by DamoXt7942
Forum & Site Admin Group Avant/Cross/Neo/Post Teams

4 stars We can find ROZ VITALIS' wonderful appearance through this whole live album "20 Years ? Alive And Well", also the title says.

This 20th anniversary concert held on November 27, 2021 sounds not like somewhat explosive musical energies against Covid19 pandemic or related lockdowns but more of calm, relaxed, delightful pleasure for playing on stage or in person, at least for me. Their instrumental management on stage is really skillful and enthusiastic as well, but - not sure why - we cannot feel any tense atmosphere around them via this gig. They say in the press release that many compositions here were reworked on the base of new sound and new treatment, but that is not the only reason why we feel so. One of my favourite songs "Passing Over" carries mysterious texture, avantgarde vibes, plus smooth, soft, elegant movements, all of which ensure the audience that they are trying to open the tomorrow door for getting to another brilliant world. Regardless of such an obstructive circumstance all over the world, this lively live album mentions they play vivaciously with expecting fabulous future and life.

The concert could be filled with fantastic delight and certain satisfaction, 

 20 Years - Alive and Well by ROZ VITALIS album cover Live, 2022
4.09 | 11 ratings

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20 Years - Alive and Well
Roz Vitalis RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Heart of the Matter

4 stars According to their press release, this live album was recorded in the Roz Vitalis 20th anniversary concert, Saint Petersburg, November 27, 2021. Many of the compositions were reworked and given a new treatment, with important contributions by guests Yury Khomonenko (percussion), member of Roz Vitalis in 2011-2013, and Andrey Stefinoff (clarinet), playing with the band for the first time. Also the drums in five tracks were performed by Philip Semenov, who was the band's first official drummer (from 2008 to 2018). This release goes through Roz Vitalis' career achievements, including thirteen years as a regularly performing live band. This album includes both classic tracks and newer stuff.

The album opens with Daybreaking, an exquisite exercise in chamber rock, which moves from the initial keyboard transparent texture to a counterpoint passage punctuated by electric guitar & flute, and then to a more syncopated section building momentum before the resolution, which returns to the initial calm.

Escaping From Myself, after a baroque harpsichord intro, is a more traditionally "rock-oriented" track, with a great rhythmic frame constructed by percussion and bass, acid-jazz sounding synth, and spectacular soloing by the winds.

Summing up, we are in for a nice, relaxed, and for moments instrumentally impressive prog concert, with the best sound quality you may ask.

 Confortate gli Abbattuti Live by ROZ VITALIS album cover Live, 2021
4.12 | 12 ratings

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Confortate gli Abbattuti Live
Roz Vitalis RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Kempokid
Collaborator Prog Metal Team

4 stars Roz Vitalis is one of those bands in quite a strange position for me, one where I rarely feel as if I outright love any of their work, yet they're able to do enough interesting stuff that I feel as if they're almost always worth checking out when they drop something new. Furthermore, I'm quite a fan of the way they don't just release live albums reasonably often, but ensure that they're extremely well produced and mixed to the point where I'm sure you could almost mistake it for a studio project. Confortate Gli Abbattuti Live continues this trend rather nicely, with lots of your standard hallmarks of a live album by the band, with some wonderfully varied instrumentation and a strong sense of unity within, which is reflected effectively through the tight interplay between all elements.

Being a live album by Roz Vitalis, you can simultaneously expect there to be a lack of purely new material here, yet also be confident in the fact that the music will all sound sufficiently different. This compositions here rings true to their studio and past live counterparts for the most part, but are all shifted and put under a different lens, with the improvisational material being guided by the chosen approach. This provides a much stronger opportunity for each track to sound interesting and distinct no matter how many times it's played, and serves to form the backbone of this album in the process. To my ears, this album feels far bolder and focused on melody than I'm used to from the band, with less time being dedicated to the long winded jamming or atmosphere than usual, definitely making it feel rather unique. Daybreaking is one of the clearest examples to be found here of this decision, still carrying a lot of the cryptic, mysterious vibe that's practically a mainstay of Roz Vitalis, but the guitar and bass are pushed way forward in the mix and given a lot of attention. Not only does this make for a rather fun, catchy track, but it also brings in a hint of that more heavy, avant-garde sound that I often wish the band would delve into more often. Donor further reinforces this sound through its own heavy, prominent bass that it revolves around for its rising intensity and climactic finish. The thing is that despite this, the band is able to maintain a strong sense of elegance to how things progress, it never feels rushed, just long enough to get across what it wants to and a bit more, naturally moving through its sections to craft a series of wonderfully textured soundscapes that I haven't really heard elsewhere.

Overall Confortate Gli Abbattuti Live is yet another good live album from Roz Vitalis that if you liked their previous work, you should also like this by all rights. The stronger focus on intensity and melody also go a long way to make this a very ear-catching listen and potentially the best starting point I've heard for getting into the work of Ivan Rozmainsky. If you're into the idea of somewhat more out there symphonic prog with a large variety of instruments (especially keyboards), give this album a shot, it's a great time.

 Confortate gli Abbattuti Live by ROZ VITALIS album cover Live, 2021
4.12 | 12 ratings

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Confortate gli Abbattuti Live
Roz Vitalis RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by DamoXt7942
Forum & Site Admin Group Avant/Cross/Neo/Post Teams

4 stars Good for mental and physical health under such a terrible pandemic situation. ROZ VITALIS have got started as a chamber rock project at first, but in this creation they play complete 'vital' rock on the stage. Their performance is filled with energetic eclecticism and diversity (heavy, jazzy, or artistic) seasoned with delicate symphonic flavour and edgy avantgarde spice. It's a pity there might be less audience in the venue than in the pre-pandemic era, but it sounds like the audience should get immersed in their vitality and vivacity. Russian fans could not wait for the day VITALIS appeared on the stage ? we can notice it without any suspicion really.

Very insightful this album takes the departure with one of their masterpieces "Premonition" that involves delightful opening matured with soft but tragic flute texture and grand earthy keyboard-oriented turf.  A mystic opening act calls for serious heavy rock movements stabilizing our inner minds. The latter moment has pretty calm but sticky melodic streams and modulating vibes. Quite theatrical. As the title says, in "Escaping From Myself" we enjoy a sensational sound trip especially in the middle part, leaning towards "Portable Madness" by Sensation's Fix. The very last synthesizer-based echoic lesion is awesome really. "Walking" has an atmosphere like we walk on a lane after the rain. This reminds me that we would be in the fresh air under the clear sky. Yes it refreshes us so clearly. The former part of "Child Song" is a kind of clean, pure song like children's heart but they have various emotions deeply in mind ? from the middle until the end slightly unsettled, disquieting air flows. Wondering if they would have a similar emotional situation.

Anyway they are using repetitive (and impressive) phrases so effectively here and there. "Donor" is one of my favourite songs, where kinda sensitive, charming phrase comes up repeatedly to us. This mysterious sound-touch reminds me of the similarity to Japanese nursery songs (they have no intention like this though). Uptempo, lively rhythmic bases and slightly ethnic melody lines ring our bells. The shortest track "Confortate Gli Abbattuti" is fantastic and elegant. The moment the elegance strings the upcoming song "Passing Over" is my love really. "Psalm 6" another iconic stuff of VITALIS is a great mixture of heavy minutes and lyrical feelings in the similar vein to Szentendre. Launches us sorta wondrous spurt. We are sure this gig held in March 2021 should produce a great day.

 Compassionizer by ROZ VITALIS album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.52 | 34 ratings

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Compassionizer
Roz Vitalis RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by nick_h_nz
Collaborator Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

4 stars [A retrospective originally published at The Progressive Aspect in 2020]

With Roz Vitalis main man Ivan Rozmainsky releasing the debut album from a new project called Compassionizer, I felt it an opportune time to revisit its namesake. I recently wrote another nostalgic look back at an older album, with my thoughts on Anathema's Eternity. Now Roz Vitalis is unlikely to be as well-known as Anathema (and that's a shame, and another discussion entirely), but I'm sure every fan of Roz Vitalis has their own special and favourite albums from the band as, like Anathema, their mood and style have changed several times over the years. There are, however, pivotal and transitional moments, and 2007's Compassionizer is surely one of the more important of those.

Roz Vitalis was created by composer and keyboardist Ivan Rozmainsky in 2001, initially as a one-man band, and (to my ears) marred by sounding too synthetic and programmed. By the second full-length album in 2003, Roz Vitalis had become a trio, with the addition of Nadezhda Regentova (keyboards, voices) and Vladimir Polyakov (keyboards). The dark electronic music of this period has far more dynamics, and is experimenting with lengthier tracks, and rapid changes within them. By their fourth album, the trio had expanded to a quintet, with Klara Metelkova (flutes, harmonica, vocals) and Yuri Verba (clarinet), the addition of acoustic instruments marking a change in the band's sound. From this point on, Roz Vitalis sound to me as if King Crimson, Gentle Giant and a splash of Depeche Mode have been thrown into a blender without a lid, and whatever slips out the top is collated into an electronic avant-chamber symphony, with maybe a pinch of Art Zoyd. I mean that in the most positive way, as there's not a Roz Vitalis release I don't enjoy. For 2008's Compassionizer, Roz Vitalis was reduced to a trio once more, still with Yuri Verba, and now also Sydius (guitar).

The album opens with the initially spacey and Kosmiche Tragic Fate. I made the point in my review of Compassionizer's album, that compassion almost literally means to suffer with. As such, it's hardly surprising that the prevailing sound of this album is rather cold, rather than the warm fuzziness many people might assume when they see the word compassion. Tragic Fate reminds me a lot of keyboard-led RPI bands from the '70s, such as Corte dei Miracoli ? but twisted and distorted until they are tortured shadows of themselves. The drumming is programmed, but sounds like it's played (on real electronic drums), and is actually a real highlight! (I'm not often a fan of programmed drums, but there are times they just work, and this is probably the best use of them I've ever encountered.) The keyboards are delectably sinister, and I revel in the menacing atmosphere this opening track creates.

Some gorgeous piano begins the following Autumn of Hypocrisy. This is a great example of how Roz Vitalis take music of a classical nature, and infuse it with spacey textures and psychedelic layers. Menacing and cacophonic Crimsonesque tones are introduced, and the whole provides a lovely mix of atonal and dissonant parts with gentle and harmonic themes. Melody and disharmony clash and caress in equal measure. There's some jollity in the introduction to the title track, though it sounds as if a little forced and contrived ? which is quite genius. True enough, all hints of happiness soon disappear. By this third track, it is obvious that this is the most balanced Roz Vitalis release yet, and this is why it's such an important moment in their discography for me. Where previous albums went from one extreme to another, from more truly avant moments, to passages almost veering on boring, this album has made sense of the mess. It's still all over the place, but now in a more structured way. There is still plenty of experimentation, but the methodology behind it has improved, and the results are better for it.

Compasionizer shows real musical maturity from Roz Vitalis, in terms of the composition, instrumentation and production. It's the first truly great album from the band, which is not to dismiss what came before, but simply to emphasise what a truly great step up this album represents. If anyone ever asks what Roz Vitalis album to listen to first (not that anyone ever has, so criminally overlooked this band is), I would always suggest Compassionizer. It's an accessible route into their quite unique sound. There are many bands I could mention (and I already have done in this review), but ultimately Roz Vitalis sound like none of them, and no-one else but themselves. What I especially like about Roz Vitalis is the way they create a more minimalist sound than a lot of bands they might be compared to. Their use of empty space gives a sense of fragility that really enhances the music. While not often delicate in sound, the music can sound delicate in nature, and it's quite beautiful. I'm fairly confident that some people who don't enjoy it, will find the music of Roz Vitalis cold, sterile and hollow, and I guess to a degree I could agree with those descriptions ? yet for me they work as positives, and not negatives.

Despite Ivan Rozmainsky having his fingers in many musical pies, Roz Vitalis continue to release great pieces of music. If you've not yet acquainted yourself with the band, then Compassionizer is a great place to start. This was the last album made by Roz Vitalis as "electroacoustic chamber ensemble", as from 2008 they exist as "a full-blown rock-band" (in speech marks, as this is how the band is described on the Roz Vitalis Bandcamp page), so if the sound of this album doesn't fully grab you, try one of the more recent releases. Objectively, it would probably be hard to argue it as the band's best release, but listening to music is all about subjectivity, and often what is best and what is a favourite can diverge substantially. For me, Compassionizer remains my favourite Roz Vitalis album, and I can't see that changing any time soon.

 Overcoming-Up by ROZ VITALIS album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.71 | 27 ratings

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Overcoming-Up
Roz Vitalis RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Devolvator

5 stars "Overcoming - up" is actually quite a successful attempt to modernize the earlier legacy of Roz Vitalis, only in the spirit of newly acquired experience. In my opinion, it worked more than well! The album is the most futuristic opus of the group's entire discography. In addition, the recording seems to be devoid of guitars, both acoustic and electro. For all my love for music, it is rather difficult to describe purely instrumental rock, but I will try anyway. The album opens with a rather multi-layered and powerful composition after which the album is named. The rhythm section is very typical for early Weather Reports, along which Rick Wakeman strolls at a leisurely pace. An amazing and quite energetic combination. It seems that here the group managed to combine the incompatible, or simply successfully interpret the borderline state. The next piece ? "Madrigal". I don't know if this track is a reference to the legacy of Yes, but it definitely has the atmosphere of the progressive rock of the late 70s. A lot of beauty, flight, high sadness. As in the entire album, the keys are pronounced here, which I think is not surprising. It was followed by "Journey of Possible Forgiver", although it sounds more like "The tour may not take place". This is where special effects come into play. And now the listener can hear the sound of water and birdsong, which is intertwined with percussion improvisations and keyboard inflections. In "Serene Light," the band pays homage to second half 70s prog rock with its overall blissful atmosphere in the spirit of Genesis and Barclay James Harvest. What follows, in my opinion, is the main track of the album "Thorns of Forgiving" - an ideal component for prog music, both in duration (7 minutes) and in its "filling". The powerful rhythm section and "vortex" component of the keyboards and percussion come into play again. I know what the musicians meant when they came up with the name, but it is definitely not like anything, this is an attempt to give birth to a certain avant-garde style of its own, at the junction of musical trends. The album also has in its arsenal the "mini-opera" "Claws of Winter (Blizzard Paths)" - which is better to hear at least once in order to get the most complete picture of the boundless possibilities of this group. And the disc closes with "Overcome by Uplift" - a quiet, almost cosmic lullaby, directed somewhere boundlessly upward. Particular attention should be paid to the cover of the disc. Strange, but true: this is just an upside-down photograph of the "Big House on Liteiny" in Saint Petersburg, taken with a film camera. In the early 30s in the USSR, the building of the OGPU-NKVD ? the secret police organization ? was located here; this was an agency of special extrajudicial executions. And it is not clear why the leader of the group, Ivan Rozmainsky, being a religious person, combined this photo with religious symbols. And, nevertheless, we have one of the successful and coolest covers in the history of modern Russian prog-rock (created by Vladimir Kabanov)! In the best traditions of the 70s, it is "served" to the listener without any additional identification marks.
Thanks to felonafan for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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