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SBB - Nowy Horyzont CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

3.86 | 176 ratings

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3 stars SBB has had a long, acclaimed career and they are one of the most important progressive groups from Poland. It is clear from the liner notes that they are Mahavishnu devotees, and they also state that they are already beyond this album at the time of its release, that their "spirit is already with their next album." They seem to stake out a sound here somewhere between fusion and space-rock. While the playing is good and some of the ideas nice I feel the album is not very consistent.

"Na Pierwszy Ogien" starts with some wild synth sounds before that band drops, a steady rhythm with trebly nervous leads on top. The guitar sound is a bit thin and the bass a little muddy. The drum fills are a real treat. The final minute is strange, the band stops and the song finishes with delightful solo piano, more impressive to me actually than what we heard before it. "Blysk" blasts off at a fast pace but is otherwise quite similar to the first track with highly treated guitar and synths exploring the landscape. I remain pretty underwhelmed I must say. Again the heavy stuff dies and the last minute of so features a short piano excursion. "Nowy Horyzont" gets significantly better. A really jamming opening section leads into a very quiet spacey acoustic guitar and keys interlude. Nice. After this it moves to a good instrumental section with a fusion of fiery guitar and key workouts, again the drumming is very tasty. The bassist knows what he's doing too but unfortunately it doesn't always come through in the mix. OK, sensing a pattern here as the closing changes to another piano solo. "Ballada o Pieciu Glodnych" is a spoken word piece that is a complete momentum killer musically, but perhaps if you understand the language it has value from that aspect. "Wolnoscz Nami" is the side long 20 minute cut. A dramatic drum roll intro ushers an acoustic guitar trying not to drown in some harsh synth blasts, then get very wild, very free form, with synth, piano, guitar, percussion all dabbling away. Wordless vocals come in and the mood is rather uneasy for a bit. The bass and drums come back after the six minute mark and we get a rare section of "normal" sounding symph prog, a bit Yes-ish but only a bit. After a section of near silence, the experimental sections starts around the 12 minute mark and you get some very Floyd-like psych madness before the drums come ripping back in at a fast pace paving the way for some aggressive guitar and synth licks. Out of nowhere drops a strange and heavy riff which slowly winds down to nothing for the 3 minute closing.which is..can you guess? A piano solo. It's a rather nice one that provides one of the more emotional moments of the album, a sad, longing mini tune.

These guys are great players but I honestly don't think this is a great album by any stretch. Tracks 3 and 5 are the good ones and even there I find them quite uneven in quality and without much discernible "soul" save the brief piano closers which are a nice touch. Yes some of the instrumental prowess is remarkable on its own by I need much more for a higher rating. I can see why the band themselves say right in the liner notes that they've already moved on in spirit from this album, this seems like a warm-up in every sense of the phrase. I bet some of their later albums are much more cohesive and engaging than this. I look forward to them, but this one is good at best, not great.

Finnforest | 3/5 |


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