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ANDREW ROUSSAK

Symphonic Prog • Russia


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Andrew Roussak biography
Born on July 28th 1968 (Ufa, Russia)

July 28th 1968 saw the birth of Andrew ROUSSAK in the Russian town of Ufa, and from the age of 8 (1976) he started an education at a governmental music school, specializing on the piano. He was inspired by his mother and an uncle who were talented amateurs. Later on private tutoring was called for, and in 1991 his formal education ended. During his musical education Andrew was blown away the way Jon Lord turned Bach into rock music with his Hammond organ in Deep Purple, and by the keyboard pyrotechnics from Rick Wakeman (on "Myths And Tales") and Keith Emerson (on "Brain Salad Surgery").

Eight years later (in 2011), after playing in numerous bands and getting quite a lot of experience as a studio musician, ROUSSAK moved to Germany. He received a freelance status from the government and established himself as a professional musician. He still played classical music (Bach, Vivaldi and Rameau) but was also impressed by Dream Theater, Spock's Beard, and especially Neal Morse solo.

Andrew has been a member of several bands, and is currently the keyboard player in progressive metal outfit DORIAN OPERA, releasing the albums "No Secrets" and "Crusade 1212" featuring OLI WEISLOGEL on heavy guitars. He has also won several music prizes for his work with pop and rock music as well as composer prizes for new age productions he's been involved in. His musical actitvities range from musicals and opera to blues, boogiewoogie, hardrock and power metal (WITCHHOUSE and UNDERCOVER).

In 2008 Andrew released his forst solo album "No Trespassing", followed by the classical piano album "Blue Intermezzo" (Musea, 2010), and recently "Storm Warning" (2019). This new effort was entirely recorded in his home-studio, with high tec software, including the awesome rhythm-section. Only the vocals are done by guest musicians: MAX KOTTLER (from the music high school in Freiburg), NADIA AYCHE (professional vocal teacher) and SELINA WAIDMANN (also vocal teacher). Max and Selina are from the project UNITED SOUL OPERA. Most compositions contain lots of ultra-bombastic parts with exciting work on Hammond organ and Moog synthesizers, along sparkling Grand piano and often heavy electric guitar play. Other tracks are more mellow featuring splendid, classically trained female vocals.

Bio by TenYearsAfter (June 2019)

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ANDREW ROUSSAK top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.17 | 16 ratings
No Trespassing
2008
4.06 | 7 ratings
Blue Intermezzo
2010
3.71 | 74 ratings
Storm Warning
2019
3.57 | 16 ratings
Crossing the Line
2021

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ANDREW ROUSSAK Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Crossing the Line by ROUSSAK, ANDREW album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.57 | 16 ratings

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Crossing the Line
Andrew Roussak Symphonic Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars I first came across multi-instrumentalist Andrew when he was keyboard player with Dorian Opera, and recall reviewing his solo debut album all the way back in 2008. This is his third since then and although I did miss 2010's 'Blue Intermezzo' I did hear 2019's 'Storm Warning', but while that had some guests, we are now back to Andrew doing everything himself. 13 years is a long time in anyone's life, and when one is an active musician many changes can take place, and I am amazed at just how far Andrew has moved since the debut. There are seven pieces, two of which are instrumental (one of which is an adaption of a classical piece, which is something he had done previously), and as before he has been influenced by two keyboard players, namely Rick Wakeman and Keith Emerson.

It is in the lighter keyboard sections and piano usage where he comes across as the former, and the more bombastic where he comes across as the latter, but what also puts this ahead of his other works is the way the vocals and rock elements all come together. I have been critical of his singing in the past, but here it works perfectly with the music, which at times feels like a cross between 3 and Rick Wakeman's work with his rock band. I have been playing this album far more than I normally would when reviewing, and find I enjoy it more each time I listen to it. It is modern sounding, almost commercial at times, bringing in elements which are reminiscent of the 90's American prog scene while combining it with melodic rock and then throwing in some wonderful old-fashioned stylings. Less symphonic prog than crossover, or possibly even Neo, there is a lot on here to enjoy and for my ears is certainly the best album I have heard of his to date. His name may not be well known even with prog circles but this is a release which should change that.

 Crossing the Line by ROUSSAK, ANDREW album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.57 | 16 ratings

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Crossing the Line
Andrew Roussak Symphonic Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Andrew Roussak , this unfairly little known keyboard player released his forth solo album in 2021 named Crossing the line. I known his previous 3 works, debut from 2008 No trespassing who was more then solid, follow the piano album Blue intermezzo in 2010 and third Storm warning, all 3 were more then great to my ears. In between of his first album and third one he was the keyboard player of german progressive metal band Dorian Opera who released 2 albums . I am really glad that the new album is keeping the same attitude as the debut and previous one, solid compositions, keyboard driven progressive rock, almost all album is instrumental, combining symphonic parts with jazz/classical music passages, his style is very much in Rick Wakeman direction, a thing that I like a lot, and not in ELP direction.

There is as on previous albums pompous and bombastic orchestrations with very nice keyboards, sometimes he almost gone progressive metal, but without being a prog metal in the end. He explores almost everything is to be heared in prog rock zone, changes in tempo, lots of synth solos, nice breaks and moods, elaborated passages, and all is done by Andrew himself, including vocal parts.

Andrew's technique is quite impressive, he handle very well all keyboards, piano, synth with amazing ease, the virtuosic parts are all over the album. He alternates very well the neo prog sound with symphonic orchestrations, most of the time in 70's style prog, as I said very much in Rick Wakeman direction, a thing that I like for sure. Even the keyboards are the center of the sound , the guitar aswell has plenty of memorable parts. Forte pieces are opening Invisible Killer or the title track.

All in all, a fairly good album, I like what I've heard here and his music is needing a far more recognition, in same level with his first release No trespassing (not counting blue intermezzo here) or Storm warning, specially overall sound has that specific seventies-style keyboard-led albums. 3.5 stars for sure, a nice one. Nice art work aswell

 Crossing the Line by ROUSSAK, ANDREW album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.57 | 16 ratings

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Crossing the Line
Andrew Roussak Symphonic Prog

Review by Art Rock

4 stars Crossing the line is the fourth solo album by Andrew Roussak. I had the privilege to be an early reviewer of all of them, as well as the two albums he made as part of the band Dorian Opera. His previous solo album, Storm Warning from 2019, was always going to be a tough act to follow - for me, it was the prog album of the year. On his new album, he plays all instruments himself, where previously he still had often employed guest musicians (like Oli Weislogel on guitar on the previous album) - a remarkable tour de force! He also decided to do lead vocals on the four non-instrumental tracks, rather than using a number of guest vocalists as in the past. I'm a bit in two minds about that decision - I applaud the courage to do so, and quite frankly, the results are adequate, although in some passages lacking sheer power, but the charm of different vocals on various tracks, which worked so well on Storm Warning, is missing.

The six original songs that make up most of the album (all composed by Roussak himself) are style-wise rooted in melodic symphonic prog, with some excursions to hard prog, neo prog, and even album-oriented rock, solidly bound together by the virtuoso keyboard playing which is the highlight of each track. The self-penned lyrics (included in the album packaging, which is excellent by the way) are topical, referring to the pandemic, Wikileaks and fake news. My favourites from these six are the energetic instrumental Nation For Sale, and especially Just One Life Is Not Enough, with its changing moods and pace, and beautiful synthesizer solo.

Then we have the album closer, an 11 minutes instrumental piece based on the Gavotte et six Doubles from the harpsichord suite Suite in A minor by French baroque composer Jean-Philippe Rameau. In general I am sceptic when it comes to prog rock renditions of classical music. Even though they are my two favourite music genres, their combination usually does not agree with me, even by bands as famous as Ekseption, Renaissance, Yes, and Emerson Lake and Palmer. On his previous albums, Roussak has shown that he can do this better than most, using compositions by Bach, Vivaldi, and Dowland. Here he goes a step beyond - I think this is the best modern rendition of a classical music composition I've ever heard.

Bottom line: although this album is a notch below Storm Warning for me, it is highly enjoyable, and should appeal to all lovers of keyboard-driven prog. I'd rate it 3-4 stars for the first six songs, but the epic closer is a five stars song. A solid four stars for the album it is then.

 Crossing the Line by ROUSSAK, ANDREW album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.57 | 16 ratings

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Crossing the Line
Andrew Roussak Symphonic Prog

Review by TenYearsAfter

3 stars Andrew Roussak was born in Russia, 1968, at his 8th he went to a governmental music school, specializing on the piano. During his musical education Roussak was blown away by Jon Lord turning Bach into rock music with his Hammond organ in Deep Purple, and keyboard wizards Rick Wakeman and Keith Emerson. Eight years later (in 2011) an experienced Roussak moved to Germany, and received a freelance status from the government and established himself as a professional musician. He still played classical music but was also impressed by Dream Theater, Spock's Beard, and especially Neal Morse solo. In 2008 Andrew released his first solo album No Trespassing, followed No Secrets (2009), the classical piano album Blue Intermezzo (2010), Crusade 1212 (2011), Storm Warning (2019) and recently (2021) Crossing The Line. I am only familiar with the album Storm Warning, I wrote about the music: "For those progheads who are into keyboard driven and also love harder-edged prog, I highly recommended this Andrew Roussak album!" On his new album Crossing The Line Roussak plays all the instruments, and also does the lead- and backing vocals.

On the first two (mid-long) compositions Roussak delivers an exciting and dynamic blend of classical, symphonic rock and Heavy Prog, featuring lots of flowing shifting moods, loaded with sensational keyboard pyrotechnics and heavy guitar work.

From mellow with melancholical sounding classical orchestrations or tender Grand piano to bombastic with Emersonian Hammond runs, flashy synthesizer flights and harder-edged guitar leads in Invisible Killer (only the English vocals sound a bit thin).

From dreamy to sparkling work on the piano and spectacular soli on the Hammond and synthesizer, fuelled by a powerful rhythm-section in Crossing The Line.

Then four tracks that sound more song-oriented, with often catchy beats but still featuring awesome work on the keyboards.

Against The Tide (fiery guitar and lots of synthesizer flights) and Nation For Sale (varied keyboard work, from spacey synthesizer runs to jazzy and swinging piano) are even in the vein of AOR.

Daily Lies (halfway blistering guitar solo) and Just One Life (sensational synthesizer solo) deliver great work on the Hammond organ, but in the more dynamic and bombastic parts the English vocals tend to drown, due to a lack of power and expression in Andrew his voice.

Finally the epic composition Suite En La Gavotte Et Six Doubles, an instrumental. First the distinctive sound of the harpsichord, followed by sparkling piano play, in a classical atmosphere, simply wonderful. Then the climate turns to more dynamic, with sumptuous outbursts featuring excellent work on varied keyboards, blended with powerful electric guitar. Halfway mellow twanging electric guitar in a slow rhythm, next freaky sounding synthesizer flights in a mid-tempo. This culminates in an exciting bombastic up-tempo with powerful Hammond, topped with propulsive drum beats and rock guitar riffs. Finally a tribute to Rick Wakeman with a spectacular synthesizer solo and swirling Hammond runs, blended with guitar and harpsichord, wow!

Again I am impressed by Andrew Roussak his keyboard pyrotechnics, and again the music alternates between exciting keyboard driven prog and tasteful AOR. But I don't think it was a good idea by Andrew to do the lead vocals himself, because on his previous effort Storm Warning the 3 guest singers did a good job, I miss these voices on this new effort.

My rating: 3,5 star.

 Storm Warning by ROUSSAK, ANDREW album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.71 | 74 ratings

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Storm Warning
Andrew Roussak Symphonic Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Andrew Roussak , this unfairly little known keyboard player released his third solo album in 2019 named Storm warning. I known his previous 2 works, debut from 2008 No trespassing who was more then solid, follow the piano album Blue intermezzo in 2010 and third this one Storm warning. In between of his fist album and new one he was the keyboard player of german progressive metal band Dorian Opera who released 2 albums .

I am really glad that the new album is keeping the same attitude as the debut, solid compositions, keyboard driven progressive rock, almost all album is instrumental, combining symphonic parts with jazz/classical music passages, his style is very much in Rick Wakeman direction, a thing that I like a lot, and not in ELP direction.

Roussak is helped by other musicians, 3 vocalists, and the guitar player is as on debut, the rest is made by Roussak himself. He is a multi instrumentalist and done a good job here, the album has plenty to enjoy, twisting and changing moods, all is here .

The compositions are bombastic, with quite great keyboard leads and solid musicianship, the perfect example is opening Enter Code, the rest of the pieces are also very strong.

All in all, a fairly good album, I like what I've heared here and his music is needing a far more recognition, in same level with his first release No trespassing (not counting blue intermezzo here), specially overall sound has that specific seventies-style keyboard-led albums. 3.5 stars for sure, a nice one. Nice art work aswell

 Storm Warning by ROUSSAK, ANDREW album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.71 | 74 ratings

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Storm Warning
Andrew Roussak Symphonic Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Russian born, Germany based composer and musician Andrew ROUSSAK first appeared as a recording solo artist just over a decade ago, releasing his first ever solo album on Russian label MALS. A second solo album appeared a couple of years later, then through French label Musea Records. With "Storm Warning" Roussak marks his return as a solo artist, this time opting to release his album through US label Melodic Revolution Records.

It is good to see that Andrew Roussak has returned as a recording solo artist, and for fans of keyboard driven, mainly instrumental symphonic progressive rock that incorporates elements from classical music, jazz and liberal amounts of organ driven groove style hard rock into compositions with a heart firmly placed in vintage era symphonic progressive rock...this is good news. An album easy to recommend to this specific audience.

 Storm Warning by ROUSSAK, ANDREW album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.71 | 74 ratings

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Storm Warning
Andrew Roussak Symphonic Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

3 stars It has been about ten years since I last wrote about keyboard player Andrew Roussak. Back then I was reviewing both his debut solo album and the debut from Dorian Opera where he was keyboard player, and I see that both of them have released an album I haven't heard, but now he is back with his third solo release. Andrew is a multi- instrumentalist, but he has brought in some additional guitarists on a couple of songs, as well as a couple of singers, but for the most part this is all Andrew. He is a keyboard player who is more Wakeman than Emerson, but way more Emerson than Jarre, and the result is an album which moves, twists and shifts like any good rock album should. The use of Hammond sounds will always make me sit and up and pay attention as that is one of the truly classic rock keyboard basics, and here he deploys it to great effect.

Keyboard-based albums can be boring affairs at times, even when there are other musicians involved, but here we have loads of rock songs which just have a keyboard base and often a keyboard lead. In many ways this is very reminiscent of Wakeman when he is in full rock mode, except not quite as bombastic. He has no problem with stopping on a pin and pivoting the sound to acoustic guitar, while the use of lead singers (sparingly) also points more to the caped crusader. This can be enjoyed the very first time of hearing, while it is also a grower and the more it is played the more there is to be discovered and enjoyed. Personally, I would prefer if he had kept the album fully instrumental, as I am not a huge fan of Max Kottler's vocal style, but overall this is an album which keeps the listener engaged throughout and if classic Seventies-style keyboard-led albums interest you then this is definitely worth discovering.

 Storm Warning by ROUSSAK, ANDREW album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.71 | 74 ratings

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Storm Warning
Andrew Roussak Symphonic Prog

Review by TenYearsAfter

4 stars 'Good news for the fans of keyboard driven prog!'

Andrew Roussak was born in Russia, in 1968. At the age of seven he started a classical piano training at school, inspired by his mother and an uncle, they were skilled amateurs on the piano. But Andrew was not only focussed on classical piano, he was also blown away by the way Jon Lord transformed Bach into rock on his Hammond. And by the virtuosic keyboard pyrotechnics from Keith Emerson and Rick Wakeman, especially on the Hammond and Moog synthesizer. When he was sixteen Andrew started playing in bands, blending his classical education (like Bach and Vivaldi) on piano with modern progressive rock (from ELP, Yes, Gentle Giant and Genesis to UK). In 2001 he moved to Germany and continued his work as a professional rock musician: he released the solo albums No Trespassing (2008) and Blue Intermezzo (2010), two albums with the prog metal band Dorian Opera, and he was involved in lots of activities in bands and projects (musical, opera, blues, boogie, hard rock and power metal). In 2019 Andrew released a new solo album entitled Storm Warning on which he plays all instruments (using high tech software in his home studio), Andrew only invited guest musicians for the lead vocals and guitar soli in some tracks.

During my first listening session I got more and more excited, and gradually I was carried away to Keyboard Prog Heaven, what an exciting sound. And I love the ultra-bombastic climates. Most tracks contain up-tempo beats, fuelled by a powerful and dynamic rhythm-section, incredible that the drums and bass are created on the computer!

Exciting Hammond work and spectacular fat Moog flights in Enter Code.

Awesome interplay between keyboards, guitar and the rhythm-section, a break with spacey synthesizers and flashy synthesizer flights in Bringing Peace And Progress (often Japanese band Gerard comes to my mind).

From sparkling Grand piano and a Jobson organ sound to dazzling synthesizer runs and heavy guitar play in Regata Storica.

From again those sensational dazzling keyboards runs to spacey synthesizers, from thunderous drums, heavy guitar and sensational synthesizers to dreamy with surprising sparkling electric piano solo, and 'AOR meets ELP' with a swirling Hammond solo and heavy drums and guitar in the exciting and alternating titletrack.

And from an ultra-bombastic atmosphere with Hammond, heavy guitar riffs, thunderous drums and flashy synthesizer runs to a compelling slow rhythm with a Kashmir-like orchestral sound, topped with blistering guitar and opera-like female vocals in Malta Sketches.

The other three tracks each contain a more mellow climate with lots of strong musical ideas, emphasizing the impressive writing skills of Andrew.

Between dreamy with acoustic guitar and soaring keyboards, and more bombastic with heavy guitar riffs and Emersonian synthesizer work in Left Alone Outside. This is topped with pleasant vocals from Max Kottler and a sensitive guitar solo from Oli Weislogel. This track sounds like a dynamic blend of AOR and symphonic rock.

A dreamy climate with tender piano and warm vocals from the outstanding, obviously classically trained Nadia Ayche, then a wonderful and sparkling Grand piano interlude and finally another moving electric guitar solo by Oli Weislogel in Chasing Shadows.

The final composition Can She Excuse My Wrongs delivers lots of variety. First dreamy with the distinctive harpsichord sound, then an up-tempo beat with Hammond (rock meets classical, like Rick Van Der Linden with Ekseption and Trace) and spectacular synthesizer flights, fuelled by powerful drum beats. Finally a surprising a capella part, then joined by delicate harpsichord runs, and in the end coloured by Hammond and Moog. Wow!

For those progheads who are into keyboard driven and also love harder-edged prog, I highly recommended this new Andrew Roussak album!

This review was recently published on the Dutch progrock website Background Magazine, in a slightly different version.

 Storm Warning by ROUSSAK, ANDREW album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.71 | 74 ratings

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Storm Warning
Andrew Roussak Symphonic Prog

Review by CeeJayGee

5 stars I gave this album a try after it appeared in the PA top albums of 2019 without knowing anything of Andrew Roussak or his music. For the second time this year (the first was Climbing The Air by On The Raw) I found myself listening to an album that was immediately enjoyable with a structure and complexity that requires multiple listens (I am currently on my 9th repeat listen and I am thoroughly enjoying the experience). Andrew Roussak is a fine composer, pianist and multi-instrumentalist. The music is symphonic with a fusing of classical piano and rock keyboards with an occasional jazz edge. I was reminded of other fine contemporary keyboard composers such as Andy Tillison and some of Lalle Larsson's work as I listened. There are also some fine guitar solos. Four of the eight tracks are instrumental. There is a lovely female led ballad. Another track concludes with a soaring female vocal. There are two tracks with male vocal both used sparingly and the second a male choral conclusion to track with a baroque edge to it. I shall be checking out Andrew Roussak's earlier work on the strength of this release. A Wonderful album and deserving of five stars.
 Storm Warning by ROUSSAK, ANDREW album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.71 | 74 ratings

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Storm Warning
Andrew Roussak Symphonic Prog

Review by Art Rock

5 stars CD reviews are a rarity for me, but I'll make an exception for Andrew Roussak (born in Russia and living in Germany), whose recording career I've been able to follow right from the start - ever since we met on internet around 2006. Last week he released his third solo album ("Storm warning"), after his eclectic debut "No trespassing" from 2006 (commercial release 2008) and the piano album "Blue intermezzo" from 2010 - during that period he also released two albums as member of the prog metal band Dorian Opera ("No secrets" from 2008 and "Crusade 1212" from 2011). I have reviewed these four albums before on various sites, my judgement varying from "good" to "excellent".

Well, here he is once more after eight years of relative silence as far as studio work is concerned. If you get the chance to listen to his new album (an 8 minutes trailer is available on YouTube), a fair warning: the first minute of electronic sounds is not representative. After this intro, we get full-blooded symphonic prog, which although influenced by the 70s' giants of the genre, sounds fresh and up-to-date. Except for one track, all compositions are by Roussak himself. He also plays all instruments, not just the keyboards, except for three stunning guitar solos by Oli Weislogel, who also played on his debut album.

The two lead-off instrumental tracks ("Enter code", "Bringing peace and progress") rock with the best of them and feature as expected excellent keyboard work. "Left alone outside" is a great prog song, with guest vocals by Max Kottler. Another brilliant instrumental track with amazing keyboard wizardry ("Regata storica") follows - my favourite track on the album, and one of the best prog instrumentals I've ever heard. "Chasing shadows" changes the mood, a lovely ballad with vocals by Nadia Ayche, Largely piano-driven, a brilliant guitar solo by Oli Weislogel adds just that bit of spice. "Storm warning", the title song, is another instrumental, maybe just a bit less impressive than the first ones - but still very good. In the next track, like in some of the tracks on his previous albums, Roussak shows his affection for classical music. The Dowland composition "Can she excuse my wrongs" gets converted to a full-blooded prog track with another awesome display of keyboard pyrotechnics. The short vocal lines are uncredited, but they are actually by Roussak himself, and with false modesty noted in the credits as "backing vocals". The album closes with a three-part suite called "Malta sketches", with guest vocals in the final part by Selina Weidmann. The recording is excellent, with great definition of instruments and vocals. Good cover, good packaging with sufficient information (albeit in small letters...), but no lyrics.

So, what's the verdict? I considered the debut album promising ("Great musicianship, but a bit too much variation in style and mood"), the second album top notch ("all 12 tracks are very much worthwhile and make a wonderful collection - it really works well as an album"). Well, the third one blows the previous two out of the water. A delight from start to finish. One of the best prog albums I've heard for a long time.

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

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