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KHATSATURJAN

Symphonic Prog • Finland


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Khatsaturjan biography
Finnish outfit KHATSATURJAN was formed by long time aquaintances Jaakko Koikkalainen (bass, vocals), Atte Kurri (guitar, vocals), Ilkka Piispala (drums, vocals) and Ilkka Saarikivi (keyboards, vocals) in 2000, initially as a one-off project band assembled to play classical music in a rock setting then reformed one year later as they wanted to continue their musical endeavours, but now producing material of their own.

Towards the end of 2002 they made the mini-album Aramsome Sums, featuring 5 original compositions and two classical works performed in a rock band setting. This first ever effort by the band has yet to see an official release.

In 2004 they started recording their full length album debut, and in 2006 they were signed by Musea Records who subsequently issued this production, named Aramed Forces Of Simantipak.

Following the album release the band got them selves a locale for rehearsals, so that they could work together and develop as a band unit, which Khatsaturjan so far hadn't had the possibility to do. They also started the creative process for their next album at that point, and in 2010 their sophomore effort Disconcerto Grosso was released.

Musically Khatsaturjan takes their cues from bands like Genesis, Yes and Gentle Giant, and noted reviewer Vitaly Menshikov described their initial effort as the most amazing album of vintage Symphonic Progressive released since the heyday of this genre.

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Beast, Machine And ManBeast, Machine And Man
Musea 2015
Audio CD$14.86
Aramed Forces Of SimantipakAramed Forces Of Simantipak
Import
Musea 2006
Audio CD$13.00
$12.99 (used)
Aramed Forces Of Simantipak by KHATSATURJAN (2006)Aramed Forces Of Simantipak by KHATSATURJAN (2006)
Musea
Audio CD$43.47
Disconcerto GrossoDisconcerto Grosso
Import
Musea 2010
Audio CD$15.48
$277.74 (used)
Disconcerto Grosso by KHATSATURJAN (2010-03-29?Disconcerto Grosso by KHATSATURJAN (2010-03-29?
Musea
Audio CD$56.06
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KHATSATURJAN discography


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

3.96 | 35 ratings
Aramed Forces of Simantipak
2006
3.94 | 30 ratings
Disconcerto Grosso
2010
3.56 | 17 ratings
Beast, Machine & Man
2015

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

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

4.00 | 1 ratings
Aramsome Sums
2002

KHATSATURJAN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Aramed Forces of Simantipak by KHATSATURJAN album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.96 | 35 ratings

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Aramed Forces of Simantipak
Khatsaturjan Symphonic Prog

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

4 stars This is the second release by KHATSATURJAN from Finland, but the first official one since the self-financed Aramsome Sums (2002) is announced to be a demo. In fact, the band could have worked that one a bit more and have it released properly by Musea Records (who thought it to be slightly too short), but they decided to make a brand new album instead. Respect! Roughly a year was spent on mostly domestic recordings, without a producer outside the group. The album was finished in August 2005 and released by Musea the next summer.

"The classical influences still were an important starting point, and now we made bigger arrangemets, including also choir and strings", Atte Kurri told in his band biography. A prog magazine reviewer wrote of this nearly 68-minute work, that at times it sounds like early QUEEN, at times like FRANK ZAPPA, or ELP, Weather Report, Yes or Genesis. Yeah, the music is indeed bold and eclectic, loaded with delicious complexity and wide dynamics. The classically influenced details in both compositional structures and arrangements are skillfully stirred into the rock context. Listen to the harpsichord and violin in 'Advent Rise' for example. The massive epic titled 'The Mass' has a section in which harpsichord plays the tune of Georg Friedrich Händel, as if nodding to the band's beginnings when playing the classical music pieces was more central.

The vocals themselves (all four core members do them) may sound a bit amateurish, but the ambitious way they are used deserves applause. Khatsaturjan's adventurous prog combines some of the GENTLE GIANT eclectism, the playful wit of 10CC or KLAATU, and the pompousness of YES. [Sorry if I repeat myself from the earlier reviews.] The many-layered sound is quite keyboard oriented - but quite free of Emersonian bravado - and coated with vocal harmonies, but happily there are enough more peaceful and acoustic elements to avoid the sense of overload. Not a five-star masterpiece but an amazing and highly energetic prog album!

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 Beast, Machine & Man by KHATSATURJAN album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.56 | 17 ratings

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Beast, Machine & Man
Khatsaturjan Symphonic Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Finnish band KHATSATURJAN has a history that can be traced all the way to the year 2000, then initially formed as a band for a specific event only, but a short time later this one-event project settled as a regular band unit, releasing their first recorded material as en EP back in 2002. Four full-length studio recordings have been released since that point in time. "Beast, Machine & Man" is the most recent of these, and was issued by Musea Records in 2015.

I applaud the spirit and adventurous approach Khatsaturjan applies to the art of creating progressive rock. There are mishaps and mistakes on this album, and there are details I find lacking in execution, but while one may focus on some weak points, this is also an album that, by and large, is mainly an intriguing one as well. While not a production that can be recommended to those seeking a flawless album, I'd say that those with a certain affection for an adventurous band that broadly fits into a symphonic progressive context might want to investigate this CD, and then especially those who enjoy listening to a band that does have some unexpected details in their repertoire.

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 Beast, Machine & Man by KHATSATURJAN album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.56 | 17 ratings

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Beast, Machine & Man
Khatsaturjan Symphonic Prog

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

4 stars In the spring of 2014 I came across the 'demo' release by this Finnish band and wondered why such a skillful group has remained so unnoticed. Also I was almost certain that they had called it a day. Happily I was wrong! It just took a longer time to record their latest album. I was kindly given all the missing albums, and I'm indeed glad to have the opportunity to spread the word. While KHATSATURJAN's earliest recordings may have more elements from the world of classical music, now it seems that with this 61½-minute album they have searched for sonic perfection. And probably conceptual perfection as well, but the textual level hasn't fully reached my mind yet.

The ambitious prog of this band is, in my honest opinion, very close to the highest international level when speaking of the more or less symphonic prog drawing influence from the 70's classics. The fact that all the three core members sing and play several instruments is actually very revealing. First, the vocal harmonies are an important part of the sound, and second, the music is very flexible in arrangement and in compositions. You can try and imagine a modern prog group in the vein of TRANSATLANTIC, BEARDFISH or UNITOPIA, with a pop-flirting, whimsical mentality of bands such as KLAATU and 10CC and the fast-turning eclectism of GENTLE GIANT.

Piano, organ and synths are all well present in the sound, which is coloured by cello and violin. The constant change between the acoustic and the electric concerns also the guitars. The individual vocals are good and clean, perhaps one reason for me to think of 10CC. They blend together marvelously, it's not the case of deep contrasts like with Gentle Giant's Derek Shulman vs. Kerry Minnear (of which the latter is happily closer to what you hear in Khatsaturjan).

The tracks are mostly around 6-8 minutes in length. The weakest song is without a doubt the shortest one, 'Wrong Kinda Socks', a rather banal rocker that could have been left out of the otherwise thoughful album. Nearly 12-minute 'In Pursuit of a Haunting Singalong' is a fine epic, but I feel that in the end it just fades out all of a sudden, making a slightly nuisant pause to the music's flow. Perhaps without these two negative remarks I'd be tempted to give this album a full rating.

Anyway, a truly recommendable album deserving international recognition. Check it in youTube or elsewhere, and be impressed!

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 Aramsome Sums by KHATSATURJAN album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2002
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Aramsome Sums
Khatsaturjan Symphonic Prog

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

— First review of this album —
4 stars KHATSATURJAN were a Finnish prog group active in the early years of this Millennium. Their albums are really hard to find, all I got is this one borrowed from Vantaa Library, marked as a demo even though it could qualify as a proper (but quite short) album too. What a pity that they didn't stay in our prog scene longer. The music is vintage 70's style symphonic prog, melodic and complex like e.g. Happy The Man. A hidden gem, actually!

The opening track is a tight, less than three minutes long version of Modest Mussorgsky's symphonic poem 'A Night on a Bare Mountain', a dramatic composition that inspired prog musicians already in the seventies (the American Fireballet). The vocals that arrive on the second track are shared by the whole group, and the harmonies sound good. Well, the pronunciation sometimes has some clumsiness but in a rather charming way. These musicians may not be excellent singers individually... The complexity and the vocal harmonies sometimes modestly approaches (the softer side of) Gentle Giant, but not in the manner of plagiarism. 'The Ultimate Nocturnal Transmissions' is a superb composition, comparable - with its vocal harmonies, classical elegance and jazzy flexibility - to the Irish FRUUPP (especially Modern Masquerades album). This atmospheric song clocks almost 8 minutes, only the slowed-down voice in the end is a bit unecessary.

'Cover Up the Overcup' is a playful little instrumental, very seventies sounding. The production by the band itself is not top-notch, but after all this is a demo release - amazingly brilliant as such. 'A Ballad of a Defector' features a minor role for cello played by the main keyboardist Ilkka Saarikivi. 'A March to the Scaffold' is again an instrumental with art music origins: a section of Hector Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique. The final track is a four-part epic 'Astral Cycles in Motiongrace'. In it one hears most clearly the humorous aspect of this band. I wouldn't be surprised to hear that Frank Zappa is among their influences.

Wow. These musicians have really absorbed the great things of vintage prog - leaving the ELPish overblown grandiosity aside - and come up with a refreshing and beautiful work of art full of genius. Why and where they disappeared?!

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 Aramed Forces of Simantipak by KHATSATURJAN album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.96 | 35 ratings

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Aramed Forces of Simantipak
Khatsaturjan Symphonic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars At the dawn of the millenium came in life this bunch of young friends and musicians from Vantaa, Finland, initially producing rock adaptions of Classical pieces.A mini-album under the title ''Aramsome Sums'' with five original tracks and two Classical reworkings was Khatsaturjan's first studio attempt in 2002.From 2004 and on the Finnish quartet of Jaakko Koikkalainen, Atte Kurri, Ilkka Piispala and Ilkka Saarikivi started working on their first full-length release, abandoning the Classical adaptions and focusing on original compositions.The band was eventually picked up by Musea Records and their debut ''Aramed Forces of Simantipak'' saw the light in June 2006.

Borrowing elements from the Classic Prog era and using the perfection of today's techniques, Khatsaturjan came up with a harmonic, melodious and demanding album with strong YES, GENESIS and GENTLE GIANT influences, reminding a lot of SPOCK'S BEARD and BRIGHTEYE BRISON.This is an album closer to the likes of the vintage Progressive Rock fan (though it sounds nothing close to Retro Prog) than the lover of heavier modern releases.The musicianship is strongly based on careful vocal harmonies, piano interludes and paces, atmospheric synths, elegant guitars and a solid rhythm section with constant changes between light interplays, heavy vocal contents and some easy-going tunes.And there is also a fair dose of vintage keyboards used like the harpsichord, church organ and Hammond organ, played with a tendency towards the fields of Classical Music.The compositions are definitely well-crafted with even some string sections added for good measure, balanced between atmospheric and more technical themes, and having a very strong symphonic mood throughout.

The final taste of this listening is positive but at the end there is a feeling that Khatsaturjan did not add anything new to a scene already stuffed with groups trying to capture this magical 70's feeling.Yet their music is damn good to just pass by and ''Aramed Forces of Simantipak'' will fill plenty of your time with decent old-school Progressive/Symphonic Rock.Recommended.

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 Disconcerto Grosso by KHATSATURJAN album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.94 | 30 ratings

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Disconcerto Grosso
Khatsaturjan Symphonic Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Jazz-Rock/Fusion/Canterbury Team

4 stars This is one of the better albums I've heard from 2010--IMHO, definitely better than SKY ARCHITECT, HAKEN, DISTRICT 97, and BUNCHAKEZE. The songs are fuller, more interesting and melodic, very tightly performed, and more diverse, if sometimes familiar, with some exceptionally nice (and unusual) vocal work. Also, this music has enough unusual originality to it to make it much more interesting than the above-mentioned artists 2010 albums.

1. "A Rhyme of a Dime" (4:33) is a very theatric/Broadway-feeling song with multiple singers, many mood, instrumentation and tempo changes. Comparisons here to QUEEN are fitting and deserved. I like the flat, natural sounding NEKTAR/JAN AKKERMAN sounding electric guitar. The TERRY KATH-like vocalist takes a little getting used to, but overall, a decent song; "Bohemian Rhapsody"-like. 6/10

2. "Reality Escapade Saga" (6:07) begins like a very pretty STYX-song--guitars a bit simplistic, before they begin to show their true WISHBONE ASH-like fire at the 1:11 mark. Then to some post "Tormado", 90120-like YES vocal sections. So many shifts and changes! Yet, it still manages to come out a pretty decent song. I like the vocal harmony work here--as good as those of MOON SAFARI, IMO. Nice twin lead guitar work and bass solo. 7/10

3. "Herculean" (18:32) begins with soft piano arpeggios being gradually joined by several other instruments--some soloing--until the two minute mark introduces a complete shift in tempo and mood--very YES-like with its fast-paced melody lines, starts and stops, all being played by the band as a whole. Vocals don't enter until the fifth minute, while the song retains its YES-GENTLE GIANT pace and structures. Nice guitar and synth soli in the sixth and seventh minutes. Treated vocal adds to a frenzy feel before a SAGA-like rap introduces a shift into a jazzy interlude. 8:00 sees a return to GENTLE GIANTness, this time with some really melodic vocal lines. 9:10 sees the music drop out leaving a plaintive vocal playing over some slow minor key SATIE-like piano arpeggios. Things pick up again at 10:25. Nice music! A very cool, entertaining song--not unlike some of YES' early epics. 9/10

4. "Present Here and Now" (4:11) begins with a very MARC ALMOND-like sound and, yes, has a definite pop structure and orientation--a lot like early TEARS FOR FEARS. KEN HENSLEY-like organ work unfolds into a song that could have come from any early URIAH HEEP album. 7/10

5. "Dusk" (5:46) is a very nice song that begins in another early TEARS FOR FEARS feel before unfolding into more of a MOODY BLUES and YES song--all the while retaining some kind of originality. 7/10

6. "Claims of 'No Can Do'" (4:02) uses a very interesting unusual vocalist--kind of like PETER HAMMILL. At first he sings over some pretty piano arpeggios but when the band joins in it makes for a very pleasant, cohesive, if short, progressive rock song. 8/10

7. "The Tunnel" (16:02) is a little syrupy and simple (kind of STYX-ish)--again quite theatric as if meant for a Broadway musical--but is still a good song. Nice harmonized vocals to open the second section at the 2:45 mark. Guitar leads are much more interesting when doubled (two guitars soloing at the same time). Section 3 begins at the 4:05 with several layers of unusually combined themes and sounds: chant-like choral vocals, snaking minimoog, galloping electric guitar bass chords, electric lead soli. Reprise section 1 before the a very unpredictable and constantly shifting GENESIS section beginning in the seventh minute. Upon repeated listenings I get the feel as if this song is almost a mini-opera version of "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway"! (Not lyrically but musically.) Interesting! And, in the end, intricate. Just not cohesive or engaging enough to warrant more praise. 6/10

8. "Travels Led by Chance" (4:19) is a beautiful little pop song--almost JIMMY WEBB-CHICAGO style. Lovely! 8/10

Overall, a very nice collection of songs--one whose idiosyncracies and subtleties bring me back for repeated listenings and which makes me want togo back to check out the band's back catalog. 4 stars: not essential, but really an excellent addition to any prog music collection. One of the most interesting albums of the year; in my top 10 for 2010.

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 Disconcerto Grosso by KHATSATURJAN album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.94 | 30 ratings

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Disconcerto Grosso
Khatsaturjan Symphonic Prog

Review by Marty McFly
Special Collaborator Errors and Omissions Team

4 stars However, in general, second real deal (mean full length) Khatsaturjan's album is little bit worse than previous masterpiece. However to their courage should speak that they dares to explore new horizons.

On these 60 minutes, they have enough space to do so. There is small, few seconds long jazz interlude. There are Eclectic parts (referring to how Ecl. Prog groups sounds like).

There will be again long compositions (two even 16 & 18 minutes long, so it's quite impressive) and you can expect many changes of moods + long guitar solos.

But most of all, this good old melody element is here still (I call it Symphonic, because it reminds me Vintage groups from 70's, but as I was told, it actually isn't Symphonic Prog at all, only some elements).

This album is almost classical music experience, but for better understanding of this, please read previous review. These Swedish guys were being inspired again and it works, it works quite well and brings fruits of their labour. I can't even spell their names, but they're making music that takes breath on its own.

4(+), I'm not the only one here who loses breath, this album is becoming slightly worse towards the end, but nothing extremely bad, first let's say half is perfect.

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 Aramed Forces of Simantipak by KHATSATURJAN album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.96 | 35 ratings

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Aramed Forces of Simantipak
Khatsaturjan Symphonic Prog

Review by Marty McFly
Special Collaborator Errors and Omissions Team

5 stars Do you like Queen music but were afraid that they were not enough Prog to be masterpiece ? Well, this is your lucky day, because there is Khatsaturjan now, combining extremely melodic with Many elements ---> Renaissance like music, choirs, preludes a su-ludes (when we suppose su as suffix).

Or should I say Symphonic, as this is big concept project intended to be homage to 20th century composer, Aram Khachaturian and it is recommended to read his biography, listen to some of his works, but it's not compulsory. His story is quite sad, one of those underrated and banned persons in mankind history. It helps me to understand the music better.

However, music here is more complex than those of Queen. Of course, they weren't trying to be complex, band difficult to "understand", but they've been making good music anyway.

Aramed Forces of Simantipak is album that I dare to say will address almost everyone, but mostly those who enjoy listening orchestrated music. Even most of classical instruments are simulated, it's really mostly just feeling of orchestra, nothing real, because there are just standard Prog rock instruments.

Singing is good, language is English and this fact makes interesting analogy, when we assume that they are Swedish band singing about Armenian composer, who was at time part of Soviet realm, while singing it all in English.

Album is long and I'm glad for that, because the more of this music, the better. I don't think that there is one particular single strong track, they all are composition which can be separated, but when together, it makes solid block (no, not Soviet block please).

5(-), because after so many hours of listening, I still feel good when listening it. And of course, because of mentioned reasons.

Unique experience.

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