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FROM.UZ

Eclectic Prog • Uzbekistan


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From.uz picture
From.uz biography
Formed in 2004 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan

The band's history is very simple. Session guitarist, Vitaly Popeloff, and his buddy, bass player (and novice producer), Andrew Mara-Novik, decided to play music together. They wanted to compose music that would bring the greatest pleasure to themselves, which could help to splash out emotions, to express their ideas and feelings.

The first experiments, with just two of them playing, did not suit their expectations. However, the search for like-minded people did not take too much time. Old friends, such as drummer, Vladimir Badirov, and composer/arranger (and actor), Albert Khalmurzayev (keyboards), came to support the new project. Everyone had his own experience, own taste and zeal, a personal vision of the world. The common connection was a sincere love of complex music, with high demands towards creativity and performance. The band agreed that the music would be instrumental and come from the heart, without aim for commercial viability. Their goal was to raise the level of quality of instrumental music. This only confirmed their wish to continue their collaboration. This is the birth of the band. It was through this experience (and experiment) that Fromuz has gauged their music against an audience in their homeland. Now, they are ready to share their music with audiences outside Uzbekistan, ready for other stages and the next step.

There is no individual author or leader in the group. Each composition is born with common efforts, by the method of attempts and experiments, by the flight of fancy and emotions. May be this is the reason why there are a few themes in each composition, tempo and rhythm fluctuating unpredictably. Frequently the compositions sound not only rich, but also complex in their structure. The band delves into anything from Jazz Rock/Fusion to Symphonic rock with ease sometimes within the same composition.The initial Release, Audio Diplomacy was released from 10T records in early 2007.


Why this artist must be listed in www.progarchives.com :
The Fromuz are highly skilled musicians creating some of the most unique prog in this decade. Any fans of Fusion but also those of instrumental Symphonic would enjoy this music.

See also: WiKi

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FROM.UZ discography


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FROM.UZ top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.93 | 112 ratings
Overlook
2008
3.62 | 82 ratings
Seventh Story
2010
3.91 | 118 ratings
Quartus Artifactus
2011
3.93 | 126 ratings
Sodom and Gomorrah
2013
3.86 | 21 ratings
The Asymmetric Rules
2022

FROM.UZ Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.59 | 65 ratings
Audio Diplomacy
2007

FROM.UZ Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.88 | 15 ratings
Playing the Imitation
2005
3.13 | 5 ratings
Inside Seventh Story
2010

FROM.UZ Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

FROM.UZ Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.55 | 4 ratings
No More...
2011

FROM.UZ Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Asymmetric Rules by FROM.UZ album cover Studio Album, 2022
3.86 | 21 ratings

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The Asymmetric Rules
From.uz Eclectic Prog

Review by nick_h_nz
Collaborator Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

4 stars [Originally published at The Progressive Aspect]

Just over a decade ago I discovered a band called From.uz who, perhaps unsurprisingly given their name, hail from Uzbekistan. They had just released an album called Quartus Artifactus, which I imagine is probably Latin for fourth artefact. Regardless, this was the fourth release from the band, and perhaps the best introduction to them I could have had as it gathered up tracks from the previous three albums and reimagined them. Certainly most of the tracks chosen for Quartus Artifactus I would probably agree to be their "greatest hits", and definitely they led me to investigate and inevitably purchase the band's three previous releases. Unfortunately, it appeared that, as I so often seem to manage to do, I discovered the band as they had already come to an end. Released in the same year as Quartus Artifactus was a single titled No More? and it did seem to be the case that there was no more? Until now! Somewhere between then and now, From.uz have lost the punctuation in their name, but their new album shows the band name in the familiar font, and now fashioned more simply as Fromuz. The new album - the first in a decade - is titled The Asymmetric Rules.

Fromuz have always been an eclectic band that have shown themselves willing to change things up for each new release, so I really was completely unsure what to expect from a new album, and even more so when it was so long since I had last heard anything from them. Their debut album was a live album where their sound might probably be best described as jazz-fusion - though more because it was as close as anything came to being the dominant style, rather than because it easily fitted that label. The following album, Overlook, would probably not be described as jazz fusion, but whatever it is, it is probably still my favourite release from Fromuz. However, The Asymmetric Rules definitely comes close to toppling it. This is a phenomenal come-back album, and quite possibly the best thing Fromuz have released yet. The first time I heard it, I was almost wrong-footed by the first song, which is surely the most conventional the band has ever sounded (for about two minutes) - but I really should have known better.

Like every album so far, Fromuz present for our entertainment an incredibly eclectic mix of styles, that seem to draw influences from all eras and genres. It is music without any firm sense of time, and that stops it from falling into the trap so many so-called retro prog bands encounter, where the music sounds dated, uninspired or unoriginal. The music of Fromuz draws from pop, rock, soul, funk, jazz, blues and classical. As well as feeling like music without any firm sense of time, it feels like it has no firm sense of place either, drawing inspiration and sounds from varying regions. All of this adds up to a combination that should sound like a complete mess (and quite possibly might for some listeners), but despite the stylistic leaps and jumps, never feels jarring or forced. I absolutely love the completely different directions Fromuz take in their compositions, often completely contrary to where I expect them to go. With Fromuz, I expect the unexpected, and to be delightfully surprised on my first listen to any release from them - but there was one aspect of this new album that was more surprising to me than any other.

While Fromuz began as an almost wholly instrumental band, No More suggested that vocals could play a stronger part in the band's composition, and The Asymmetric Rules shows this to be true. I definitely wasn't expecting there to be so many vocals on this album, and once I realised that was the case, I definitely wasn't expecting to enjoy them as much as I do. Generally speaking, when a (mostly) instrumental band introduces vocals, I find it detracts and distracts from what attracted me to the band in the first place. But the vocals on The Asymmetric Rules are great, and I actually can't imagine the album without them. Quite cleverly, the vocals also provide the asymmetry of the album, as the first lines of Round and Round are reflected in the final lines of No End. But rather than bookending the album with a nice sense of symmetry, there is still one final song to come. Wings of the Fast Lane is the longest track on the album, and has five distinct named passages, one of which is the title of the album. Of course, in what is surely a deliberate case of irony, Wings has greater compositional symmetry than the album it concludes.

Like previous Fromuz albums, the main tracks are all lengthy, but The Asymmetric Rules does have more shorter tracks than I am used to, or was expecting. The album is basically structured as five main pieces, and five shorter contextual pieces. The track listing shows this, too, as only the main tracks are numbered, and these are shown in larger type than the shorter tracks. This might lead some to think of them as filler, but I wouldn't be without them, and they are a huge improvement (to my mind) on the "similar" (but completely different) shorter tracks of Seventh Story. They also, depending on which songs you "attach" them to, provide either symmetry or asymmetry to the album. In my head, I think of Overture to No End as being one act or suite, with R-and-G Time being an interlude between that and the second act or suite, the epic Wings of the Fast Lane. But however you take it, this is an absolutely stellar return from Fromuz, and I sincerely hope it is not another ten years before I get to hear the next album.

[Post-script - it is only upon copying and pasting my TPA review here, that I see that I have missed a FromUz release from 2013, which I shall now have to seek out and listen to.]

 The Asymmetric Rules by FROM.UZ album cover Studio Album, 2022
3.86 | 21 ratings

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The Asymmetric Rules
From.uz Eclectic Prog

Review by alainPP

4 stars FROMUZ born in 2004, known with 'Overlook' in 2008 offered at that time instrumental technical prog on Crimsonian reminiscences, wanting to 'splash their own musical emotions'. After a lethargy of nearly 10 years, they return to amplify their musical research based on creativity and performance, accompanied by singing from now on. A much more modern 5th album, almost improvised, spurting out fanciful, dreamlike thematic pieces scratching the jazz-rock style, symphonic prog, fusion prog, metal prog and even classical music. Well-named eclectic rock for once, colorful I would say with eccentric excursions of guitars and other keyboards for an innovative sound.

Majestic "Overture", worthy of a film soundtrack, dantesque, ogling on the Bald Mountain; there is creative madness at the DREAM THEATER in there as on their piece of 'Six Degrees', eponymous piece in fact bringing "Round and Round" with the introduction of a vocal space, certainly rough, reminding me of that of Sylvain des KARCIUS. The break is twirling, technical, aggressive, jazzy-metal-prog! Long and dreamlike in line with Vitaly's tortured guitar of a dark KING CRIMSON; there is emotion, notes drawn upwards, the singular disharmonic voice can make you think of grunge metal, staggering until the grating end. "Air Dance, Part 1" for the 1st of three interludes and a crystalline guitar arpeggio launching "Universe" which lands on a voice-over from a station platform or airport in times of dictatorship; a violent riff, a jerky voice, we are far from the first drafts of the group, they have made their revolution by withdrawing ''De Fro and Muz''. A stronger variation at the start, a melodic rhythmic break in the middle eyeing the zappaesque follies. "Air Dance, Part 2" atmospheric arpeggio as an ear cleaner after this disconcerting violent title and "Darling" arises on brass in the background, martial air, taking; the rhythm reminds me of the work of 80's prog metal bands such as ALICE IN CHAINS before their progressive fusion was finally recognized; the 1st break on the rousing, dithyrambic hard, merging BOF of the 'Blues Brothers'. At 7 minutes the riff starts on a crescendo at 540 volts sustained.

"Air Dance, Part 3" and the 3rd in the same line, which dares to exceed the minute. "No End" crazy is this title, mixing, linking symphonic influences from the Balkans from the start, I'm thinking of WOBBLER, KARFAGEN and more muscular with a festive air that BLACKMORE'S NIGHT could have created itself, daring to let go to Once. The jazzy-bossa nova trend can recall AL DI MEOLA or SANTANA for a while, ZAPPA again; it evolves attention to 6 minutes it sweeps hard, you will understand on reading. Electronic premises also appear as an opening to one of the most beautiful guitar solos of this beginning of the year. One of the three singers or the three at the same time have modulated their voice to blend it into the notes, beware this title is very good! "R-and-G Time" continues with a country piano typed saloon bar which will go out of tune, detune briefly avant-garde and colorful; then comes the piece "Wings of the Fast Lane" in 5 parts with an aerial intro on melting guitar; well I say it loud and clear, ZAPPA fans should come here to take a look, the unclassifiable title where I find the air of inspector gadget! The sound becomes progressive bluesy with a typical slide guitar and one could imagine the first emotions of the ZZ TOP; this guitar becomes redundant; sudden break for the last quarter which leaves with a nervous riff on the FROMUZ sound now and a singular touch with final ambient electronics, just enough to confuse even more.

FROMUZ is back in force, interludes combining the titles together, a voice to change the sound signature, insane breaks, colorful atmospheres, an album that raises questions with a remarkable opening musically speaking denoting with the rest. I find there the madness of a MOTORPSYCHO mixing different styles in the good sense of the term, I find above all a clean sound with modern progressive tendencies and that at the beginning of the decade is something important enough to be reported.

 Audio Diplomacy by FROM.UZ album cover Live, 2007
3.59 | 65 ratings

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Audio Diplomacy
From.uz Eclectic Prog

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

4 stars Some bands just forsake all that mysterious nebulous nonsense and simply throw it all out there in their band name. It doesn't get any clearer provided you're aware of top level domain abbreviations for nations of the world. And so it should be obvious that the band FROMUZ which started out as FROM.UZ is from Uzbekistan! From the capital city of Tashkent to be more accurate and this quartet has become one of Central Asia's most successful prog acts having not only dazzled the prog fans from the surrounding "Stan" nations but has been a significant player in the Russian prog scene as well as the rest of the world.

FROM.UZ was formed in 2004 by Andrew Mara-Novik (bass), Vitaly Popeloff (guitars), Albert Khalmurzayev (keyboards) and Vladimir Badirov (drums) whose fascination with classic prog acts such as King Crimson, Pink Floyd, Yes, Jethro Tull as well as classic rock, jazz and classical music, helped them decide to form their own band where they began to play live and honed their chops. These guys were serious about their prog and in no time learned how to throw all their influences into a blender and create their own sound. Having gained enough confidence in the 2005 concert that took place in the Youth Theatre of Uzbekistan the band participated in several similar events and quickly caught the attention of the entire region.

By 2006 the band had already caught the attention of 10T Records who signed them up and instead of recording a studio album, the band decided to release its debut as a live concert at the same Youth Theatre. In February 2007 the album AUDIO DIPLOMACY was released as a combo pack that included a CD and an accompanying DVD. Both contain the exact same audio only one has visuals and one does not! The band got it right the first time around with a masterful display of prog chops and creative delivery and although this is a live recording, it's impossible to determine as such since there are no audience sounds and the production is extremely professionally recorded not to mention these guys really know how to craft extended proggy jams that are just bursting with tons of creative mojo flowing from every jittery time signature change. The members occasionally exhibit extraordinary virtuosity in soloing.

Despite the same tracks on both CD and DVD, the DVD is about 12 minutes longer. The CD itself clocks in around the 75 minute mark and although i usually dislike lengthy sprawling prog albums that rely on jamming and improv for its modus operendi, i have to say that i do not get bored with AUDIO DIPLOMACY because nothing and i mean nothing outstays its welcome. In general the tracks provide nice proggy hooks, you know the kind that offer distinct catchy hooks but then progified by adding an ever changing rotisserie of time signature shifts, tempo changes, variations in dynamics and reprises of key elements that keep things from drifting into the great musical void. This is by no means an easy listening experience as you must be able to latch on to the overarching framing of the album but it's also rather loosy-goosy in how things unfold. The music can totally rock out or drift into placid moments of progressive electronica.

The track "Intro" which is over six minutes long starts things off with a series of electronic antics and clever creative interpolations before the guitar oriented prog kicks off the main sounds of the album. Hovering somewhere between Pink Floyd inspired space rock and heavier King Crimson prog of the "Red" era, FROM.UZ also incorporates jazzy segments, funk bass grooves, wild and unhinged electronic outbursts that can be startling as well as elements of classical music moments. There are also moments such as in the middle of "From FROMUZ" where the band just get really weird and delves into extremely experimental motifs as well as pure jazz bop. This is a band i've heard about for years but never explored but upon experiencing this amazingly well performed live debut i am extremely impressed with the band's ability to play at this level in a live setting so the studio albums must be spectacular! Highly recommended for those who love highly complex prog that changes things up often without resorting to extreme genre shifts in the vein of Mr Bungle or Estradasphere.

 Seventh Story by FROM.UZ album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.62 | 82 ratings

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Seventh Story
From.uz Eclectic Prog

Review by TenYearsAfter

4 stars This is a five piece band from Uzbekistan, between 2008 and 2013 FROM.UZ released 4 studio-albums and one live CD/DVD entitled Audio Diplomacy (2007). This review is about their second effort entitled Seventh Story from 2010, two years after their highly acclaimed debut album Overlook (2008).

On Seventh Story the band features two musicians who play on keyboards. The seven tracks can be divided into two sections. Three shorter ones that sound pretty atmospheric with acoustic guitar and vocals (like the opener Perfect Place and the final song Perfect Love) and wonderful classical orchestrations and Grand piano (like Bell Of The Earth). And four longer compositions that I would like to analyse piece by piece.

First the long Parallels (20 minutes) in which a lot of tension and dynamics (evoking a sound between Rush and King Crimson) featuring powerful electric guitar and spectacular synthesizer sounds.

Then the alternating Desert Circle (16 minutes): from soaring keyboards with howling guitar runs to a swinging rhythm with jazzy piano and acoustic guitar.

Next my highlight entitled Taken (18 minutes) with excellent work on keyboards (from tender piano to sensational synthesizer flights) and a heavy and blistering guitar solo, the climates shift from compelling bombastic to a tight rhythm with propulsive rock.

And finally the track Influence Of Time (close to 12 minutes) that again evokes Rush (to be more specific: YYZ) with strong shifting moods and great saxophone and wah-wah guitar.

I am delighted about my first musical encounter with Fromuz, an interesting band to discover, FROM UZbekistan.

 Sodom and Gomorrah by FROM.UZ album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.93 | 126 ratings

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Sodom and Gomorrah
From.uz Eclectic Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Uzbekistan band FROMUZ first appeared as recoding artists back in 2005 with the DVD "Playing the Imitation", and have been an active band unit ever since with a further DVD, a live CD and four studio albums to their name since then. "Sodom and Gomorrah" is their most recent production, and was released through the US label 10t Records in the fall of 2013.

FromUz is a band that have managed to intrigue me with all the material they have released to date, and "Sodom and Gomorrah" is no exception there. While the songs, or parts if you like, all are fairly short in length, there's still plenty of developments alongside minor and major shifts in intensity and expression to wrap your head around. The emphasis is symphonic progressive rock, flavored with careful dramatic and soundtrack oriented effects, with a select few Pink Floyd oriented passages perhaps underlining the slight emphasis on atmosphere on this production. And an album well worth lending your ear to if that sounds like a compelling blend.

 Overlook by FROM.UZ album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.93 | 112 ratings

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Overlook
From.uz Eclectic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Just a month after ''Audio Diplomacy'' saw the light, Fromuz were among the bands to perform at the 2007 Baja Prog Festival in Mexico next to monster artists and acts such as Focus, Universe Zero and Jordan Rudess.The rest of the year they focused on writing new material and gig around the countries of former Soviet Union.The new album ''Overlook'' was eventually released on 10T Records in October 2008, recorded in three different studios, having Andrew Mara-Novik as the main producer and guitarist Vitaly Popeloff as the main composer.

With ''Overlook'' Fromuz move stylistically to another level, the one that includes only long, epic compositions with plenty of different movements.The album consists of five tracks with a length around 70 minutes, the shortest piece clocking at 11 minutes.Soundwise Fromuz haven't changed many things.Their music is a heavier edition of Progressive Fusion with orchestral and jazzy textures, quite complex, fascinating and technically efficient, featuring endless tempo changes, dense interplays and bombastic grooves.They borrow the improvisation of Jazz, the power of Heavy Rock and the virtuosity of Progressive Rock to offer an all instrumental amalgam full of changing climates and various soundscapes.Instrumentally the basic elements are Popeloff's jazzy solos and angular riffs, the highly technical rhythm section of Mara-Novik and Badirov and the modern keyboard lines of Albert Khalmurzayev with both flashy and more symphonic waves.The music is extremely tight with a nice balance between excessive soloing and structures themes, always dynamic and often furious.A few melodies and smoother passages breeze some fresh air among the complicated lines and the result is an often amazing and pretty solid work in the vein of LIQUID TENSION EXPERIMENT, DEREK SHERINIAN or 7 FOR 4.

Glad to see extremely technical musicians deliver nice, listenable material, because very often these kind of albums have let me down.''Overlook'' is not among them.It's solid and energetic Heavy Fusion with plenty of interesting ideas and impressive breaks.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

 Sodom and Gomorrah by FROM.UZ album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.93 | 126 ratings

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Sodom and Gomorrah
From.uz Eclectic Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars It seems that long-time band leader Albert Khalmurzaev is finally getting his name vaulted to the top of the marquee: "Music by Albert Khalmurzaev." What is most interesting to me is that this is the most melodic music I've heard from this band (I'm a proud owner and lover of 2008's Overlook, 2010's Seventh Story, and 2011's Quartus Artifactus). Whereas all of their previous work has breathtaking musicianship and highly interesting and unusual song constructs, this one plays and feels like something quite theatric--as if meant to accompany a film or stage production. Of course, it makes sense that this work should be theatric as it is a conceptual music drama of the famous Biblical story of Lot and Sodom and Gomorrah. Powerful and very 'visual', this music 'tells' a story very powerfully, very strongly, with great ability to suck in and carry the listener along through its 53 minutes without losing his/her attention. The Dick Dale-like "Folly or Fob" teases the listener with vocal samples--making one realize that there are, in fact, no vocals on From.UZ albums--something I, personally, would love to see them attempt to change in the future. Aside from this one flaw--a flaw that is very seldom allowed to stay in one's mind for very long so mesmerizing and pleasing are the instrumental performances and melodic hooks and twists, respectively--this is a highly engaging album of nd I don't know what happened with the band from 2011 to now, but the band has definitely made that final leap from what I considered a band of incredible musicians stuck in some on-the-verge music to a band of maturely restrained musicians performing the amazing compositions of an amazingly gifted visionary and composer. Congratulations From.UZ: This is the breakout album I've always been convinced that you were capable of and for which I've been waiting since I first heard Overlook five years ago.

Favorite songs: the incredibly powerful, "The Blindness, Wife's Prayer" (5:07) (10/10); the awesomely mood-setting opener, "Intro" (3:12) (10/10); the gorgeous yet eerily tense, "Prologue (3:24) (9/10); the surprisingly electro-poppy (like ABC or The Blow Monkeys), "City" (2:06) (9/10); the AETHER-like, "Lot" (4:54) (9/10); the appropriately busy and theatric, "The Orgy" (4:17) (8/10); the mesmerizing trip-hoppy, "Black Feast II" (3:42) (8/10); the appropriately dramatic, "The Escape" (2:04) (8/10), and; the finale, "To The Flames" (3:41) (8/10).

This is a 4.5 star album that I'm rating up for the fact that it's melodies stay with me after I'm done listening and for the fact that it gets better with each listen. Bravo, UZ! Bravo, Al K! Another addition to the pantheon of great albums from 2013!

 Sodom and Gomorrah by FROM.UZ album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.93 | 126 ratings

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Sodom and Gomorrah
From.uz Eclectic Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars I had heard about this band from Tashkent, Uzbekistan but never heard their music. So one fine day, I was casually surfing around, having nothing better to do than listening to a few selections on progstreaming and I clicked on 'Sodom & Gomorrah', expecting very little and perhaps only casually giving them the benefit of doubt. Boy, was I in for a special surprise! My first foray into From.uz and I am kicking myself why I didn't look up these gents before! Within the opening seconds of the aptly titled 'Intro' I was whisked into a sandstorm of colossal melodies, bombastic playing and unexpected aural pleasure. The acoustic guitar- led theme is drop-dead beautiful while its immediately following electric cousin is brash, bold and brave. These gentlemen are killer instrumentalists, extremely gifted at their respective implements but heartened by some superb ideas. The music was composed by keyboardist Albert Khalmurzaev, who arranged a deliriously modern masterpiece based on the rather famous biblical story of eternal damnation and apocalypse. The style is highly reminiscent of soundtrack music and as such, contributes to evoking deep and personal images within each listener's realm of consciousness. I certainly am gung-ho for this kind of premise! In fact, this is not a collection of songs but rather a whole one piece slice of cinema music. It should be viewed as such! I found myself reminded of the now defunct French band Xang, a heady mixture of styles that emote deeply.

This is an all-instrumental extravaganza of the very highest order, there have been some very good ones lately (Carpe Nota, Progenesi, Edwin-Durant, The Inner Road, Mantric Muse etc') but these guys just smoke! Guitarist Vitaly Popeloff is masterful and inventive, showing considerable talent on both acoustic and electric instruments, liberally showering the arrangements with tight and bright solos with a huge palette of styles from Gilmourian flourish to more fusion/jazz-rock artists as well as some Satriani/Vai flurries. Bassist Andrey Mara-Novik bustles along forcefully, having a solid low end being ultra-important in an all- instrumental presentation. Drummer Badirov is well known and respected for fronting his own musical collective and he bashes with inspired determination and technical prowess, which this kind of music desperately requires. Albert is helped by second keyboardist Yevgeny Popelov, which gives the music such diverse colorations, a living breathing entity that is always compelling and thoroughly breathtaking, with searing melodies that I have been humming ever since'.

'Prologue' has eerie intonations, as if the devil himself was busy humming his anger in the next room, the bass, keys and guitars in metronomic unison, playing together in some Sinai sandstorm playground, stinging guitar and syncopated drums offer up some serious emotions. Totally brilliant! This exoticism is then morphed into an ultra-modern sheen on 'City', using current beat stylistics and a synthesizer melody that beckons the heavens, with a sensational guitar alliance. You swear you have heard this before, an eclectic mix of jazz, lounge, club and rock, all mixed together.

A Supertramp-ish harmonica introduces 'Lot',( according to the Bible, Abraham's nephew ) the connection quickly veering into Floydian territories with a Gilmourian flourish that will make David proud, easily as juicy as any PF piece, full of restrained gusto and evocative flair. The floating synth work combines perfectly with the strict rhythm. But it's the magical return of the original refrain heard on the opener that really stabs at the heart. This piece in particular has me mesmerized and constantly whirling in my brain. Before things get to comfortable, 'The Capture' kicks it into overdrive, a hard-rocking, bruising musical monolith that throbs fiercely, raspy guitars vying with searing leads (what a darn melody again) and torrents of keyboard adventure. The bass and drums veer into heavy jazz-rock territory, a raging quintet of insane musicians at their finest.

Forever challenging the listener to new horizons, the church organ gets to take a bow in 'Black Feast I', creating another distinct reference to ancient times but with a modern rock framework that is vibrant, fresh and totally exhilarating! Just enough to get ready for another highlight piece, the low-end propelled space rock anthem, appropriately named 'The Orgy', where the mood gets sensual and perverse as expressed by the lewd bass , the lascivious guitar screwing the horny keyboard onslaught hard and fast, just like she likes it! This piece should be x-rated, it's so suggestive and pernicious! Whew! Now before you get all puritan on me, the story of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha involves perversion and impenitent sin and their fall occurring with a proverbial manifestation of God's wrath. Nowhere is this best expressed by the sheer brutality of 'Folly Mob', where mechanical panting, an insistent synth alarm and an uncanny resemblance to classic Blue Oyster Cult meeting Magma- styled choir work , complete with a Buck Dharma like solo man the barricades! Blood on the rooftops, secured by a stellar Oriental synth segment straight out of the Mongol Invasions and then finished off by a crystalline acoustic guitar and harmonica lullaby! Absolutely irresistible!

'The Blindness' comes with thunderclaps amid the dense storm of unforeseen doom, huge bursts of synthesized squalls appear on the horizon, pushed along by electric guitar winds and tectonic drums. For whom the bells toll, the cowering voices appear as a sub- plot amid the lurid organ layers, more choir work. On the imperial 'Black Wedding' a thumping bass-synth announces a splendorous new melody, sounding much like a cimbalom (treated guitar and synth effects), the epic and the modern collide in total harmony, creating a surreal sensation of attending some dark union, malevolent and austere. Howling choirs appear to initiate another go through, the bass this time more insistent and the clanging melody heightened by the repetition. Third time magic and the now familiar melody is now firmly entrenched in one's mind!

'Black Feast II' is the return engagement of the previous part 1, another tic-tac metronome of kismet and anguish, deeply beautiful yet disquieting and scary. The rash, almost Frippian guitar rumbles forward with colleagues firmly in tow, a Larks Tongue in deep Aspic reminder, that segues into the menacing 'Procession', a highly interesting hodge-podge of sampled sonics , as if surfing a radio dial, with saxified insanity, some R'n B effects, Brufordian thumps and a section that is straight out of the classic Crimson King catalogue. This in turn segues into Elvis samples and more horror movie sonic scenarios in 'The Escape' where the main theme is repeated once again, a theme for the ages that will give you goosebumps. This chaotic arrangement leads straight into the final catastrophe, aptly titled 'To The Flames', whereby the sinning cities are destined to obliteration, desperately screaming souls all instantly incinerated! Judgement day had arrived!

The whole thing just sparkles from beginning to end, no weak moment, no turgid second to distract the listener. Just pure, unadulterated enjoyment, a perfect definition of what a progressive rock album should be! Easily the biggest unexpected surprise of 2013, a iconic piece of symphonic prog I intend to venerate for a very, very long time. At least until the next doomsday event arrives in our neighbourhood! In my current top 5 for 2013, easily!

5 Pillars of Salt

 Overlook by FROM.UZ album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.93 | 112 ratings

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Overlook
From.uz Eclectic Prog

Review by maryes

3 stars In their first album"Overlook", the band FROM-UZ, cause at least two different impressions, In first place... a great exercise of virtuosity, due to magistral development of various themes in a single track, a true demonstration of the musicians skill and inspiration ! But in second place... each song don't evokes ( at least to me ) a good impression due to the fact of each theme inside in a single track in most or even in all 5 tracks don't create a continue idea ,such is the abrupt form of these excellent musical sequences . This fact makes their audition extremely complex and not pleasurable. In fact the disk in most of times don't sounds like a really eclectic prog and seems more like a R I O band. Due the great inspiration in the themes and the flaw in merge this themes adequately. My rate is 3 stars !!!
 Quartus Artifactus by FROM.UZ album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.91 | 118 ratings

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Quartus Artifactus
From.uz Eclectic Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars FROMUZ is perhaps the best known progressive rock band operating out of Uzbekistan, a country once a part of the Soviet Union that now has a substantial history as an independent nation. Fromuz was formed back in 2005, and since their debut effort "Audio Diplomacy" they have four full-fledged albums to their name, of which "Quartus Artifactus" is the most recent and most massive, I might add, as this production contains two CDs and a DVD.

This fourth artifact from the Uzbekistan act Fromuz takes the band full circle to some extent, as this production is made with the same approach as most of their other releases are: a live recording supplemented with a DVD documenting the concert itself. One might even suspect them of doing the same as a band like the Canadian act Rush, who have used live albums to mark the end of each of their musical eras. Be that as it may be, for fans in particular the alternative, semi-acoustic arrangements used on this album will be the most important reason to purchase and explore this triple package. Most songs work fairly well explored in this context, and some are revitalized and arguably better than the original ones. Like the three albums previously released by this band, "Quartus Artifactus" is a high-quality release, and one easily recommended to existing fans and newcomers alike, the latter in particular if they would like to explore an eclectic, hard to define band, operating within a fusion/symphonic/folk framework on this occasion.

Thanks to Garion81 for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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