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JANOS VÁRGA PROJECT

Eclectic Prog • Hungary


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Janos Várga Project biography
Former guitarist and star in the popular and early-strong Hungarian prog-rock band EAST, János Varga has extended his career to solo scales, through projects, collaborations and adventurous guest entries, all which should, mostly, be familiar to fans of his music and stature, plus worthwhile to discover for any rock collector. JÁNOS VARGA PROJECT certainly tops all his other projects and performances outside EAST, sounding fresh & modern, and casting automatically, of course, a main credit and a bright light on him. It's impossible not to relate János Varga with his old, "neo-classic" and steady-coursed band (but it's wise, instead, not to think of great similarities in the music), especially when the big praises given to them (at least in Hungary) easily reflect and help jump to the conclusion that Varga is a high-promotable and mature guitarist. Nevertheless, with only this thing in mind, JÁNOS VARGA PROJECT wouldn't be more than a prog-related affair. Having worked on a big project called "Wings Of Revelation", out of which they've released 2 CD parts plus a DVD, the band has its essential element in the music, evoking Varga's composing, interpretative and producing merits before clinching to particular styles and anything else, still having anyway a natural progressive balm, even if not in an entirely homogenous and pure way.

With fewer biographical notes and stories than you'd wish to find and read, and a healthy critic circling only around sponsor labels and important rock chronics, János Varga doesn't look after all like an entirely popular worldwide musician; this, fortunately, also makes him least inclined towards commercial outputs, though bit of this project's music follows that direction in a slight way. Most significant, anyway, is how he's mentioned as a crafted, zipping, resourceful guitarist - and how true that is. Out of around 10 or so projects he worked or was guest on (excluding the EAST albums), JÁNOS VARGA PROJECT seems one of his best efforts. Without nudging a very particular style, this project isn't ball-parking numbly either: it's mostly progressive, and moderately extensive! And, given this, János Varga is the key artist, topping with skills, if not with a lot of soul and modern vibe, balanced sustanentely with the work, as well.

On "Wings Of Revelation I and II", János Varga plays alongside István Király (drums), Zoltán Lengyel (piano and keyboards), Peter Hary (bass, chapman stick) and Szabolcs Nagy (keyboards), ...
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JANOS VÁRGA PROJECT discography


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JANOS VÁRGA PROJECT top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.08 | 14 ratings
The Wings Of Revelation
2000
4.06 | 8 ratings
The Wings Of Revelation II
2002
4.80 | 6 ratings
Elixir
2009

JANOS VÁRGA PROJECT Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

JANOS VÁRGA PROJECT Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.71 | 3 ratings
Live The Wings Of Revalation
2003

JANOS VÁRGA PROJECT Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

JANOS VÁRGA PROJECT Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

JANOS VÁRGA PROJECT Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Wings Of Revelation by JANOS VÁRGA PROJECT album cover Studio Album, 2000
4.08 | 14 ratings

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The Wings Of Revelation
Janos Várga Project Eclectic Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

3 stars This may be an instrumental progressive album that tinges on ambient at times, but there is no way that this called a relaxing album. In "Fight Of Mind" drummer István Király starts by setting a blistering pace, then Janos on guitar and Zoltán Lengyel on keyboards swap solos, trading off each other. The music keeps melding and moving, sometimes slowly and reflective while at others dynamic and powerful.

The use of different musical styles and rhythms, as well as different keyboard and guitar sounds, all driven along by powerful drumming, makes this an album that is exciting to listen to. It is never boring and while as an instrumental album it can be played as background music, the listener gets far more out of it if he pays careful attention.

There is little in the music to suggest its' origins, and this is a good place to start discovering just how good some of the prog music is that is coming out of Hungary.

Originally appeared in feedback #66, Feb 02

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 The Wings Of Revelation II by JANOS VÁRGA PROJECT album cover Studio Album, 2002
4.06 | 8 ratings

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The Wings Of Revelation II
Janos Várga Project Eclectic Prog

Review by BORA

4 stars Serious guitar slinging to be found here.

Firstly, don't let his long beard mislead you. He is not a ZZ TOP tribute artist, but he may ride a Harley. Well, I don't know really, but if he does, well, good on him!

Also, his surname is VARGA, Janos is Hungarian for John, therefore I'd expect to find him listed under "V", not "J" as currently is the case.

For those who are new to the game, VARGA was a founding member of the legendary Hungarian band EAST, who sadly, didn't get to record until they were compelled to compromise. They were inspired by SBB and practically Hungary's answer to that excellent Polish band. Still, a couple of their albums "Huseg" (translates as Loyalty) and "Sodom" contain elements of their better days in the '70s.

VARGA came back with his solo projects and the first one "Wings Of Revelation" is an absolute must have. This Part II of the same title is somewhat different. Probably due to a new and less adventurous keyboard player. This work has more to do with JOE SATRIANI than SBB influences.

Great guitar work throughout and I enjoy it very much from beginning to end, but whilst the album is definitely Prog, it's undoubtedly stretching the boundaries to excellent instrumental Rock.

This Part II deserves a solid 4 plus, but remains a poor cousin to Part I in comparison.

Interestingly, over the years VARGA has become a prominent leader whilst his former peer Anthymos Apostolis (guitar) of SBB has taken a back seat, mellowed out and fooling with keyboards and drums - something he should have kept private. Times are a changin'...

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 The Wings Of Revelation by JANOS VÁRGA PROJECT album cover Studio Album, 2000
4.08 | 14 ratings

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The Wings Of Revelation
Janos Várga Project Eclectic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars Janos Varga Project is a project established by who else, Janos Varga, the talented guitarist of Hungarian Prog legends East.In late-90's, while East were put somewhat on ice, Varga decided to form his own band with bandmate Istvan Kiraly on drums, along with keyboardist Zoltan Lengyel from After Crying.The trio recorded their debut ''The Wings of Revelation I'' at the Zafir Studios and released it in 2000 on Periferic Records.

Apart from the guitar section, Varga is also responsible from many of the keyboard parts of the album, leaving the place for the piano parts and synth solos to Lengyel.What was more or less known from EAST is easily recognizable on Janos Varga Project.Varga is an extremely gifted guitarist with a great, personal and ultra-flexible style, which allows him to perform a wide range of different styles.The pieces of this album are quite short and have some sort of resemblances with EAST's sound, albeit more modern and all instrumental.Plenty of them have lots of Space and Symphonic Rock tendencies akin to Varga's first group with a huge room for atmospheric synthesizer flights and a delicate and more melodic style of guitar approach.Some others though are on the Fusion side of Progressive Rock with nice piano solos, more passionate keyboard themes and a heavier guitar style.The highlghts of the album include Varga's impressive and sometimes technical guitar solos and some quite spacey and grandiose soundscapes created by this Hungarian trio.It is a nice surprise to realize that Varga is completely up-to-date with the prog activity, producing a very fresh album with a fantastic production.

Really cool release by the mastermind behind East.Far from any narcistic mood, ''The Wings of Revelation I'' is a very balanced instrumental Prog album with some very interesting ideas and accomplished performances.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

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 The Wings Of Revelation by JANOS VÁRGA PROJECT album cover Studio Album, 2000
4.08 | 14 ratings

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The Wings Of Revelation
Janos Várga Project Eclectic Prog

Review by BORA

5 stars Blown away - just superb!

If you can relate to instrumental, versatile and virtuostic Prog that's not compromised by forced vocals, then read on.

Only recently I bemoaned the fact that a once excellent Hungarian (then) trio, EAST have never had the chance to record an album. Well. not until they were compelled to turn commercial and add vocals and the following releases were largely forgettable.

Janos VARGA was a founding member of the original EAST, delivering long sets of thoughtful, bordering on hypnotic instrumental numbers, greatly inspired by SBB. I was one of the small number of people crammed into a tiny club week after week who were fortunate to see them then in the late '70s.

I left Hungary a long-long time ago and this album has found me absolutely by chance - and I am very grateful that it did. You know how it is. Sometimes only after the first few bars, you just know that you are onto something special. This album is one of those.

The compositions here are tightly arranged and fuse a number of different styles effortlessly in due harmony. Psychedelic, Symphonic, Jazz-Rock, Heavy-Prog are all there. This band combines Gilmour's elegance. Latimer's feel with early Mahavishnu fireworks (soaring guitars and keys duels). Ditto for SBB's better instrumental moments along with Satriani's skills - all without a slightest hint of copying those peers.

VARGA's techniques - like good wine - have aged well and have become even better than before. Since it's his project, not surprisingly he tends to take the lead much of the time, but not eclipsing the other musicians who are also excellent. In reality, it's hard to believe that all this is delivered by a trio, the music is just so full and satisfying.

In places, there is a harder edge to the guitar works, sufficient to thump your chest with excitement, yet never aggressive, or trashy. That in itself is a rare skill that few highly skilled musos have achieved. The whole delivery is professional and not a forced attempt to do more than one is equipped for.

The conclusion is that in this release VARGA and team have surpassed his former inspiration of SBB and I can hardly wait to hear what else is on offer.

Welcome back good, old EAST in new clothes!

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 Live The Wings Of Revalation by JANOS VÁRGA PROJECT album cover DVD/Video, 2003
3.71 | 3 ratings

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Live The Wings Of Revalation
Janos Várga Project Eclectic Prog

Review by fmatah

5 stars This one of the most unknown masterpieces of progressive music! From the beginning to the end this concert is a sample of superb perfoming and originality. The live versions of the songs sound a lot better than the studio recordings. Probably the good musicians of the band help to improve the attractiveness of the themes. It's difficult to describe and compare the style of Janos Varga, he has some jazzy sounds but mostly is pure progressive energy. And he deals very well with the compositions, sometimes pure instrumental music beceme a little boring, but certainly here you don't miss any vocals, the music speaks by itself. The quality of the video is also oustanding, many cameras, sharp image and excellent sound. It's a pity that this awesome concert is really difficult to find, anyone must have it.

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 The Wings Of Revelation by JANOS VÁRGA PROJECT album cover Studio Album, 2000
4.08 | 14 ratings

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The Wings Of Revelation
Janos Várga Project Eclectic Prog

Review by octopus-4
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team

5 stars It's since a while that each time I give a try to something coming from the eastern Europe I find something amazing. Janos Varga is an excellent guitarist and composer, the sound quality is excellent. The music, sometimes jazzy, reminds to Canterbury but it's hard to classify. It's solar. The guitar leads but it's all well mixed, so when it gives space and alternates to the keyboards, as in Matching Souls, it does without interrupting the continuity. Bass and drums are well integrated in the ensemble. I won't comment each track, as this is one of the best albums that I have listened to recently.

While I'm writing there's "Hard Life" in my earphones. I'm at the second spin of this album and I can strongly recommend it to all the proggers. As I can't find anything imperfect or not fully enjoyable, I think it can have the top rating. Musical skill and technique don't always make good music, but this is the case.

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 Elixir by JANOS VÁRGA PROJECT album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.80 | 6 ratings

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Elixir
Janos Várga Project Eclectic Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

5 stars Hungary's legendary guitarist János Varga (ex-East) continues his interstellar voyage with his latest release, having made a profound impression after his first 2 "Wings of Revelation" albums and a DVD release to boot. For those of you who remain unfamiliar with this superlative musician, shame on you! In fact, any serious guitarist should hungrily (no pun intended) examine the talents displayed on all his albums, "Elixir" being the latest breathtaking chapter in his storied career. Master of all stringed instruments , Janos arrays guitar-synths, acoustic, electric and bass guitars with rare composure , abetted by longtime East colleague István Király on drums and Zsolt Nagy on keys. As an added bonus, we find János Varga Jr on occasional drums and the amazing György Ferenczi on frenzied violin as a major guest soloist. This last instrument is a most welcome invitation as it conjures images of Mahavishnu Orchestra but in a spacier, jamfest way. The guitarist also handles a percussion computer program that sounds totally organic and liberally flavors all tracks with slick percussives, giving the drummers a lead rhythmic role that is dynamic at all times. With aromatic fusionesque titles such as "India", "East-West Express", "Caravanserai" and "El Dorado", one gets the immediate impression of luxuriant adventure, deep sonic voyages that transcend the ordinary routine which is the true essence of prog anyway. Varga's guitar style is an original hybrid of such heralded masters as Hillage, Hackett, Wynne, Akkerman, Latimer and MacLaughlin with a little Billy Gibbons tossed in for good ZZ Top measure. "India" hints at oriental spices, a modern, bouncy exercise that immediately showcases the tremendous controlled fury the man seems to peel off at random, with the celestial violin serenading the pathway to "the Emerald Beyond". The multiple and yet brief solos are all exhilarating, trading spotlights as if competing for some yet unheard nirvana. "El Dorado" is just slightly less frantic, distilling strong impressions of a once great Empire, rich Andean weavings that chill the soul, the violin ornamenting once again the proceedings. The 2 soloists waste little time in dueling madly, as if fueled by the "high" altitude. The third track, "Roses on the River" (I am translating from Hungarian) is where János gets to showcase first his acoustic talents as a platform for a monster , bluesy electric solo that will knock your socks off, all control and passion, candied with some unabashed romanticism (after all, we are dealing with Hungarians!). A rueful organ demonstration only adds some paprika to the sauce. The slick "East-West Express" is a rumbling travelogue, chugging along with a searing determination, a panoramic/cinematographic musical trip highlighted by a guitar locomotive that refuses to rest, tortuous, unrelenting, evocative and adventurous. "Respect for the Master" is a bold guitar-led proclamation recalling the classic epic themes from Western movies (a serious passion in Europe, by the way), where Varga simply shreds and rips like some mad gunslinger gone bananas, Ennio meets Jimi meets Carlos in some prog corral showdown. Here Varga really does hint at Gibbons as the rhythmic work is as delirious as the breakneck leads. "Caravanserai" evidently summons nomadic impressions, heavy on the rhythmic pulse of the desert, the guitar whirling under the torrid sun, parched fingers searching for some refreshing oasis and perhaps a little shady respite from the heat. János shows that restraint can be an expressive tool and the elegant acoustic guitar phrasings serve its purpose very well. Again, I must mention the brilliant programmed percussion that lays down a sonic tapestry that underlines the brooding temper of the sand dunes. "Round and Round" is a loopy affair, circular themes both rhythmically and within the soloing create a dizzying atmosphere, veering into some serious space prog, not amiss with the Gong/Mahavishnu/Ashra template, a style that rekindles previous efforts in the "Wings of Revelation" series. The guitar playing is blistering as expected; the man can play with the best anywhere. A neat Nagy synth solo only adds further deep galactic dimension to the score and the extraterrestrial violin also takes its share of the universe. "Pentaton Attak" is another typical foray into astral space rock, slithering violin and intrepid guitar conspiring to expand the sonic universe, dueling for attention and respect with little restraint or cute formalities. Varga solos with deft aplomb, bluesy one second and frenzied the next, while Ferenczi seesaws unforgiving and defiant. "The Proper Road" is closer to recent guitar adventures by Dutch band Odyssice, a guitar-led masterstroke that rekindles the lyrical spirit of Andy Latimer, oodles of expression and feeling emanating from the pickups, massive flights that sear the skies, soaring majestically as if inspired by the music gods. "Materialized Sleep" is the longest track here, clocking in a 7+ minutes, a slight hint of the famed Shaft them before delving into a dripping bluesy expanse that blooms slowly into a raging affair where scintillating wah-wah drenched lightning bolts and crispy crunching riffs contrast and collide with the spectral pools of serene calm. "Avowal" is the "viszont látás"(see you soon) for this accomplished recording, a soothing Santana-esque salute to the muses, a drop dead gorgeous melody played out on the now sweaty fretboard, a clear and present tribute to a sharp musical mind still scouring the depths of progressive rock music. Not a single weak track or filler here, a total aural orgy. As far as instrumental prog goes, this new offering as well as his past catalogue are a must have for any serious music fan. 5 genial tonics

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 Live The Wings Of Revalation by JANOS VÁRGA PROJECT album cover DVD/Video, 2003
3.71 | 3 ratings

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Live The Wings Of Revalation
Janos Várga Project Eclectic Prog

Review by erik neuteboom
Prog Reviewer

3 stars

Janos Varga is the founding member and guitarplayer of the legendary Hungarian progrock formation East that made several albums in the first part of the Eighties, their LP Hüség (1982) is considered is their best effort. Then Janos was very active in several musical projects and in the late Nineties he founded the Janos Varga Project. He released the albums The Wings Of Revalations I (2000) and II (2002) and in 2003 the Janos Vargo Project DVD entitled Live The Wings Of Revalation

For more than 70 minutes of running time we can enjoy a good band and very varied music (from rock and blues to New Age and symphonic prog) with, of course, the focus on Janos Varga his guitar: a tight beat with rock guitar and a spectaculair guitar-synthesizerduel in Fight Of Mind, soaring keyboards and sensitive guitar with volume pedal in Prayer, a bit sultry climate with twanging guitar in Mysterious Stars, propulsive guitar riffs with fiery guitar in Welcome To The Jungle, warm classical guitar in the alternating Our Long Dance, howling guitar runs in Power Of Love, Our Long Dance, Islands (wonderful percussie sounds) and All I Can Give. The two keyboard players often deliver exciting solos on especially the synthesizer (with frequent use of the pitchbend) and the interplay with Janos is outstanding, like the rhythm-section. My highlight on this tasteful and varied DVD is the final composition Memento, it has a very good build-up: first a spacey intro, than a part with swinging Stick bass, then the music becomes more and more lush and compelling with fiery and raw guitarplay, a propulsive rhythm-section, the psychedelic undertone fits perfectly to the WWII horror images on the screen, very captivating and impressive how Janos succeeds to blend music and visuals!

This is an interesting DVD, it will please the guitar minded progheads with a varied taste. My rating: 3,5 stars.



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 The Wings Of Revelation by JANOS VÁRGA PROJECT album cover Studio Album, 2000
4.08 | 14 ratings

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The Wings Of Revelation
Janos Várga Project Eclectic Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

5 stars There was once an incredibly talented guitarist who belonged to one of the great secret prog giants from the arid eighties, the legendary Hungarian symphonic prog group East. In fact, their seminal masterpiece "Hüség" (Warmth) is one of the pillars of our beloved genre, as it had everything going for it: great compositions, original instrumentation while using the usual culprits (gt,k,b, drs and vocals) and ballsy attitude to boldly go against the current 1982 grain. Besides featuring the splendid drumming of István Király, the lead guitar slot was also ably manned by the hirsute Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top fame clone János Varga. So many years later, these two Magyars decide that the time is ripe to unleash the first chapter of their "Wings of Revelation" and what a revelation it is! My esteemed and revered colleague sinkadotentree and I have conspired secretly to get this essential artist onto our site (a gross negligence with 2 albums and a DVD already released, now corrected) and now, you all get to discover this marvelous music.(Thank you presents will be accepted!). So what's the big deal? Some of the finest vintage instrumental music anywhere, is on display here with some charismatic playing that doesn't really clone the Hacketts or Gilmours, mainly because János Varga has a slightly harder and faster style that oozes originality as well as passion, closer perhaps to Hillage actually. With Zoltán Lengyel of After Crying fame on keyboards, the trio really searches out some spiritual expanses where they can stretch their considerable talents, verging almost on guitar fueled space-rock but not at all in the Ashra, Björn Lynne or Eloy vein. On "I Must be Going", the mood is etched into the memory banks right from the get go with a blistering take-off into the upper reaches of the progressive stratosphere, with billowing electric clouds slashed by the opening bristles over his strings, caressing those chords with unrestrained vibrancy and exotic flair. Lengyel's slithering synths are positively beyond belief, displaying throughout some virtuoso playing as well as adding some dense background colorations. Another stellar highlight is "the Joy of Starting" which, besides giving the impression you may have heard this before, shines like a beacon of supreme ecstasy with a gripping guitar flight, handing the lead over to a scintillating Moog solo and then both musicians paralleling the melody with Wishbone Ashian dexterity. Jaw dropping! "Mysterious Stars" is led by a mesmerizing bass line with Varga slathering a series of almost mythical arpeggios, synthesizers bubbling uncontrollably and Király keeping time like a true rhythmic beast. A tempestuous guitar foray slings this into the ether, an incandescent version of Steve Hillage but just as evocative. "Matching Souls" offers a glimpse of Lengyel's unlimited mastery of the piano, with some twanging guitar backings and a fat six string lead that has a definite John McLaughlin tinge to it. Yeah! That kind of reference, especially when Lengyel does a superb Jan Hammer synthesizer solo replication! When both choose to play catch, tossing leads back and forth, the result is utterly spectacular! "Sunrise" is a floating breeze that is so expressive, you could almost imagine Carlos Santana playing this, it's such a controlled frenzy. I can't even continue describing how good this album is, saturated in such abundantly bold assurance and even upon first listen, a sure bet gold medal candidate. Welcome to the Pleasure Dome! The DVD is a live rendition of this colossal first chapter. John, we have lustily begun the conversion process. An intrepid five hot paprikas.

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 The Wings Of Revelation II by JANOS VÁRGA PROJECT album cover Studio Album, 2002
4.06 | 8 ratings

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The Wings Of Revelation II
Janos Várga Project Eclectic Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Janos Varga has added a full time bass player to the band(Peter Hary) who plays chapman stick on 3 tracks as well. Like their debut this one has a lot of variety, and the synth / keyboard work is on every track but one. The one difference from the debut is that the guitar has taken a bigger role. I have to hand it to Janos for offering up so many guitar styles and tones once again, and the synths really do make this and the previous record sound better.

"Freedom" has a great beat as the guitar breaks in and out throughout. There is a heaviness to this one that comes and goes. Janos really rips it up,especially after 5 1/2 minutes to the end of the song. "Shadows And Lights" is the longest track and it's title is significant. There are several different guitar styles used by Varga, from the beautiful, gentle guitar to open, to the almost soaring melodies that follow,to the fast paced intricate melodies after that, to raw sounding 4 minutes in, to pure shredding 7 1/2 minutes in. In between we are treated with some beautiful keyboard and synth work that joins it all together. Just an amzing track. "The Released Spirit" opens with an uptempo guitar and drum melody. Synths join in around 1 1/2 minutes. The guitar and synths trade solos 3 minutes in. Great sound 4 1/2 minutes in as atmospheric guitar soars while the odd-metered drumming is all over the place. "The Power Of Love" is a laid back,melancholic tune with piano and bass, while the guitar slowly grinds away. Synths and drums 1 1/2 minutes in as the guitar gets louder and soars. Nice song.

"With Heart And Soul" is a mid-paced tune with heavy guitar and drums. Synth melodies 2 minutes in replace guitar briefly. This song reminds me of Satriani until after 4 minutes when it becomes Floyd-like spacey with crying guitar. Nice. Back to original melody 6 minutes in. "Our Long Dance" opens with acoustic guitar with keys coming in. Light drums are added before synths take over 2 minutes in. Guitar then comes soaring in while drums pound. It ends with acoustic guitar like it began. "Islands" features percussion and synths that provide a mid-paced, catchy rhythm. Guitar 2 minutes in. "Momento(a)" is all about the solo, intricate guitar melodies. "Momento(b)" opens with some darkness and a haunting atmosphere as the guitar melodies have stopped. Some really good chapman stick lines are joined by drums then atmospheric guitar 2 minutes in. The song does brighten somewhat 5 minutes in. Very cool track. "Candles" opens with gentle guitar with background synths.The guitar starts to soar but it's restrained, almost sad.

Another solid 4 star record from these Hungarian masters. Tough to pick one over the other though. I'd just get them both and let the music carry you away.

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Thanks to Ricochet for the artist addition.

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