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Direct Link To This Post Topic: Oaksenham - Conquest Of The Pacific
    Posted: November 25 2007 at 15:30
OAKSENHAM - Conquest Of The Pacific
 
I wanted to highlight this wonderful release by the Armenian band added by Ivan lately.
A wonderful release (highlight in this year for me), varied and beautiful, but I'll let the reviews here speak for themslves.
 
 
 

Latest OAKSENHAM reviews


OAKSENHAM%20Conquest%20Of%20The%20Pacific%20progressive%20rock%20album%20and%20reviews Symphonic Prog
(Studio Album, 2006)
Avg: 3.79/5
from 6 ratings
OAKSENHAM — Conquest Of The Pacific
Review by dante.dio (Dante)

4%20stars Well it's hard for me to give this album only 4 stars but I highly recommend it to anyone who can appreciate unique and outstanding progressive rock. Not every song on this album is truly amazing but certain tracks stand out as the best in my prog collection.

This obscure band from Armenia has identified themselves with "Conquest of the Pacific" as a group that cannot easily be compared to most others. Their music incorporates plenty of flute and traditional strings and horns. I would have to label their music as a fusion of prog-folk and prog-metal, although the prog-metal aspects are light and hardly dominate the other instruments.

Highlight tracks for me are "Water Spark" and "The Way Back Home". The flute plays a large role in both songs but the guitar riffs and "in-the-pocket" drumming make both tracks some of my favourite prog gems. In Water Spark, the flute carries the song through multiple musical themes; each one with a different mood. "The Way Back Home" features many overlapping voices from the traditional instruments and showcases a variety of musical concepts.

Conclusion: This band is definitely progressive and displays a wide variety of musical ideas throughout this album. The creative use of instruments and stellar composition make "Conquest of the Pacific" an album that should be heard by all.

Posted Friday, November 23, 2007, 23:55 EST
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OAKSENHAM%20Conquest%20Of%20The%20Pacific%20progressive%20rock%20album%20and%20reviews Symphonic Prog
(Studio Album, 2006)
Avg: 3.79/5
from 6 ratings
OAKSENHAM — Conquest Of The Pacific
Review by barp

5%20stars A superb example of instrumental prog!

Oaksenham aren't afraid to acknowledge that Gentle Giant were a great inspiration to them, they also display similarities to Gryphon, Camel and Jethro Tull (in their folk-prog phase). The great thing about this band is that they can wear those influences openly and build on them rather than simply trying to replicate the sounds of their musical predecessors. Despite the references to medieval forms and eastern European folk music this album sounds extremely modern and fresh, boasting crystal clear production. Full of energy and tricky time signatures the playing focuses on deft arrangements and ensemble playing with solos featuring guitar, flute, violin and organ predominately. Further colour is added with the use of harp, clarinet, cello, oboe, english horn, bassoon and french horn occasionally playing almost as an independent chamber orchestra alongside the core band.

I would thoroughly recommend this to anyone who enjoys imaginative instrumetal prog with medieval/folk leanings. Always wary of giving 5 stars, I have to say for me this album thoroughly deserves them. I hope we hear a lot more from this band!

Posted Thursday, October 25, 2007, 13:14 EST
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OAKSENHAM%20Conquest%20Of%20The%20Pacific%20progressive%20rock%20album%20and%20reviews Symphonic Prog
(Studio Album, 2006)
Avg: 3.79/5
from 6 ratings
OAKSENHAM — Conquest Of The Pacific
Review by Ivan_Melgar_M (Iván Melgar-Morey)
Special Collaborator Symphonic / Neo Prog Specialist

4%20stars The good old days when you could recognize a Symphonic band after two or three notes are gone, today we are before a generation of “Respectful Iconoclasts”, who have broken with the pristine sound of the past but show a lot of respect for the structures.

The most interesting cases come from the Eastern Europe countries, as the Nationalist Movement in the 19th Century, this musicians of Ukraine, Russia, Romania or as in this case from Armenia, add a lot of their own ethnic identity and even when you know they are playing Symphonic masterpieces, they have no problem adding Jazz or medieval sounds at their sole discretion.

OAKSENHAM is a very complex case, their debut album “Conquest of the Pacific” is influenced by Gentle Giant, to the point that they play two tracks from them (“Talybont” and “On Reflection”) but they do it in a fully Symphonic way, creating a problem for those of us in charge of cataloguing the new bands.

The album starts with “Anthem: The Unseen Land” a short track that places us in the center of the concept, short but enough to make their point.

“Water Spark” starts Jazzy with Folk touches with a flute solo, but this guys can’t be happy with something so simple, sudden Hard Rock interruptions of the guitar add a lot of emotion and aggressiveness to the music.

But that’s not all, around the middle it turns atmospheric and mysterious with some creepy laughs and organ eruptions, simply brilliant. At some point they come closer to gentle Giant but with a controlled dissonance, a track that has everything, pure Progressive Rock at it’s best.

“Elfy” is a short acoustic track mainly played with flute, violin and guitar, like a Neo Classical approach that takes us back to the Symphonic territory, nice reliever.

“The Way Back Home” starts pompous with bagpipes (probably synthesized) that lead to a hard rocking guitar section and then to a Classical interruption where the flute dialogues with the rest of the instruments while Vardan Gasparyan keeps working with his guitar, it’s almost like a collision between the Classical and modernity, simply outstanding. Vahagn Papayan deserves a special mention for his solid bass work. Another strong Prog easy to enjoy despite it’s complexity.

Before I comment the next two tracks “Talybont” and “On Reflection” I must say I’m not a Gentle Giant fan, as a fact I can’t stand most of their work because o the vocal dissonances, but OAKSENHAM gives this two songs a special treatment, the Medieval sound is present but more in a Renaissance style, if I had heard this tracks by OAKSENHAM before than the Gentle Giant version, I would probably had understood GG better.

“Time Out” starts cacophonic and shocking, the collision between flute and violin with the electric guitar is dramatic, but then they change the mood for a more acoustic Orchestral sound full of Horns and wind instruments, another complex track that is worth listening.

Now it’s time for the central theme, the epic “Conquest of the Pacific” which is divided in five parts:

I.- “Jester’s Pipe” starts absolutely Medieval in the Troubadouresque tradition, the contrapuntist performance of the Flute (that takes the lead) with the violin first and the guitar plus keyboards later is brilliant, a special mention to Ashot Korganyan who adds the perfect percussion to keep the atmosphere, a very hard task for any drummer.

II.- “Merlin’s Jig” is a beautiful song again with the lead of the flute by the virtuoso musician Valery Tolstov perfectly supported by the Koryun Bobikian in the violin and harp, flows gently from start to end, a mixture of delicacy and complexity that really takes the breath.

III.- “Across the Atlantic” starts reminiscent of Serge’s Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf, not my cup of tea because lacks of the originality the band has shown along the album, but again a radical change shows us they are ready to shock the listener, from Chamber Music they jump to some sort of Medieval Hard Rock and then to pristine Symphonic with Anna Adamyan making an excellent performance with the keys, specially because before OAKSENHAM she never played Rock, only classical, but a talented musician can adapt to this changing environment.

IV.- “Ocean’s Web” starts dramatic and mysterious but then turns towards a Symphonic mood “a la Focus”, never leaving behind their typical sound, simply outstanding.

V.- “Golden Hind” is probably the strongest section of the epic, Anna gets crazy with the keyboards experimenting all possibilities and the rest of the band simply follow her, again the Gentle Giant influence is more than obvious, but in a Symphonic style, great way of closing a solid album.

Rating them is no problem, I believe “Conquest of the Pacific” is not a perfect masterpiece but without any doubt a great addition for any Prog collection, so giving them less than four solid stars would be unfair.

I hope they keep releasing this kind of music because the experience is refreshing.

Posted Sunday, October 21, 2007, 02:34 EST
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OAKSENHAM%20Conquest%20Of%20The%20Pacific%20progressive%20rock%20album%20and%20reviews Symphonic Prog
(Studio Album, 2006)
Avg: 3.79/5
from 6 ratings
OAKSENHAM — Conquest Of The Pacific
Review by erik neuteboom (erik neuteboom)
Special Collaborator Symphonic Prog Expert

3%20stars This is the debut album by the Armenian six piece band Oaksenham (including players on keyboards, violin and flute) that consists of experienced musicins who played in pivotal Armenian formations and founded Oaksenham in 2001. The additional guest musicians use a wide range of instruments, from harp and bassoon to oboe, French horn and clarinet. While reading about all those instruments and the tracklist that contains two Gentle Giant cover and a piece with music based upon Ian Anderson (Jehtro Tull), I got a strong idea about the music by Oaksenham. And indeed, Oaksenham their instrumental ‘conservatory prog’ is a tasteful and melodic blend of Classic Prog (like Gentle Giant, Yes and Jethro Tull) and classical -, chamber – and folk music. It reminds me of bands like Gryphon and the After Crying: the one moment a powerful bass, Hammond and fiery guitar are blended with French horn, clarinet or trombone, the other moment you hear flute and harpsichord or a harp intro, followed by a slow rhythm with Hammond organ runs, sensitive electric guitar and flute. I am delighted about the composition Water Spark in which a captivating contrast between heavy guitar riffs and a folky flute, accompanied by organ runs, twangin gguitar, flute and powerful bass, what a lush instrumentation! Not every proghead will be pleased with this kind of music but if you love music like Gentle Giant, Gryphon and After Crying, this band is worth to check out. My rating: 3,5 stars.



 
 
 
 
 

1. Anthem: The Unseen Land (0:47)
2. Water Spark (6:25)
3. Elfy (1:30)
4. The Way Back Home (9:28)
5. Talybont (2:46)
6. On Reflection (4:40)
7. Time Out (3:59)
8. Conquest Of The Pacific (I. Jester's Pipe) (3:09)
9. Conquest Of The Pacific (II. Merlin's Jig) (2:48)
10. Conquest Of The Pacific (III. Across The Atlantic) (6:16)
11. Conquest Of The Pacific (IV. Ocean's Web) (6:07)
12. Conquest Of The Pacific (V. Golden Hind) (8:01)

Line-up/Musicians

- Vahagn Papayan / bass
- Anna Adamyan / keyboards
- Valery Tolstov / flute
- Koryun Bobikyan / violin
- Vardan Gasparyan / guitar
- Ashot Korganyan / drums & percussion

Releases information

2007 CD Musea 4727

 
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http://www.oaksenham.com/index.html
 
 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 25 2007 at 15:37
Awesome release, thanks for reminding, Assaf! Good Lord, I need to write LOADS of reviews!..
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 25 2007 at 22:51
This is really a fabolous album, i recently discovered it and was impressed by the music, but please could you clarify my doubt, this album was released this year, or in 2006??
 
Another excellent recommendation!!

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 25 2007 at 22:58
Originally posted by memowakeman memowakeman wrote:

This is really a fabolous album, i recently discovered it and was impressed by the music, but please could you clarify my doubt, this album was released this year, or in 2006??
 
Good question....
In their website there's an unclear note:
 

Conquest of the Pacific (2006)
Musea 2007, France
Fragments

 
I am not sure what to think... So far I thought this was released in 2007, but....
 
 
 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 25 2007 at 23:12
Originally posted by avestin avestin wrote:

Originally posted by memowakeman memowakeman wrote:

This is really a fabolous album, i recently discovered it and was impressed by the music, but please could you clarify my doubt, this album was released this year, or in 2006??
 
Good question....
In their website there's an unclear note:
 

Conquest of the Pacific (2006)
Musea 2007, France
Fragments

 
I am not sure what to think... So far I thought this was released in 2007, but....
 
 
 
 
Thanks Assaf, i just read Ivan`s bio and he wrote that the album was recorded in 2006, but released in 2007, thigs are clearer then Big%20smile

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 25 2007 at 23:30
great sh*t


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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 26 2007 at 04:59
So should the relese year be changed on OAKSENHAM's page? Guess so...
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 26 2007 at 20:54
Originally posted by Prog-jester Prog-jester wrote:

So should the relese year be changed on OAKSENHAM's page? Guess so...
No, as Guillermo said, it was released in 2007, even though it was recorded in 2006 and PA goes by release date. (the same thing will apply for the Soft Mountain release, for instance).
 
 
Anyway, no more takers for this album? It's quite wonderful, you're missing on a gem.
 
 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 26 2007 at 21:07
I'm all over it. it will be on my list for best of 2007.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 20 2008 at 18:05
BUMP
 
 
 
Just wanted to revive this for more people to get to know this band and album.
 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 21 2008 at 14:36
Listen to their music here - http://www.oaksenham.com/pages/music.html
 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 27 2008 at 00:04

Go and listen people!!


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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 27 2008 at 06:14
Awesome album,I simply can't get enough of it.


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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 27 2008 at 17:44
Hi Avestin! WOW is this CD amazing. I discovered it while listening to the new mp3s on the front page of this site a couple months ago. I was so ABSOLUTELY BLOWN AWAY by the song "Water Spark" that I immediately went onto to the web to search all the prog sellers to find it. Only ONE seller had it in stock so I bought it up FAST. When I got the CD, I listened to it and was even further BLOWN AWAY. This CD is probably my favorite of the year. Right up there with Phiedeaux's "Doomsday Afternoon", La Torre Dell'Alchimista's "Neo" and Black Bonzo's new CD. This CD is fantastic and really should be heard by anybody that enjoys classical progressive rock with a folk and metal edge. I love all the classical instruments.

Edited by dalt99 - January 27 2008 at 17:57
Best of 2006 that I've heard:
PFM-Stati Di Immaginazione
Zenit-Surrender (Best "unknown" album)
Oaksenham - Conquest of Pacific
2007:
Phideaux - Doomsday Afternoon
La Torre Del Alchimista - Neo
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 14 2009 at 15:41
I'm late to the party, but after hearing various recommendations regarding this album, when it became available for download on eMusic, I quickly swooped in and downloaded it.  Let me say that I was not disappointed.  This really is some great instrumental music, and I imagine that there are many who are not familiar with this lesser known band.  Kudos to Assaf for his earlier recommendation.
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