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Eclectic Prog

3.94 | 115 ratings

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4 stars Fromuz is a band from Uzbekistan (surprise, surprise) that have been active since 2004. The members are accomplished and established musicians in their local scene, but not that well known outside of their native country yet. This slowly started to change when they were signed by US label 10t Records a few years back, and their first official release Audio Diplomacy from 2007 got a fair share of positive reviews. Overlook is the follow up to this album, released in September 2008 by 10t Records.

In terms of style, Fromuz is probably closest to symphonic rock on this CD. A highly complex variation of it though, that has to be said. Still, multi-layered compositions with at times a plethora of melody lines and a distinct tendency towards atmospheric segments as the foundations of the sonic creations leads to that conclusion. This isn't symphonic in the manner of Yes or Genesis though - for starters it's an instrumental release; and this stuff is somewhat more complex and quirky at times too.

Synths and keyboards are all over the 5 epic compositions on this release, most times in multiple layers underscoring as well as floating above the main melody line; and quite often these instruments are an integral part of this one too. Providing floating atmospheric layers, dark ominous sounds, electronic rhythmic noises and sampled voices; it's a key instrument from start to finish on all tracks. The same can be said of the other instruments though; the guitar providing careful acoustic licks, atmospheric soloing, grim staccato riff pattern and majestic drawn out chords; the drums providing the basic rhythm, setting pace and adding quirky structures for the other instruments to play upon; and the bass guitar strengthening the impact of the drums, but also utilized to set up a basic melody underscoring the main one as well as given the space to roam free at times.

All the instruments are integral to the tunes, and it's only on rare occasions that one single instrument will be given a dominating role while the others set up the foundation for it.

What sets Fromuz apart from most other acts is the structure of their compositions. All the above elements can be found with other acts, but there's some additional diversifying elements to the sonic creations of this fine outfit from Uzbekistan. First and foremost, all their songs are constantly evolving. Quite often they will have one ore more central themes or motifs which they return to from time to time, but wandering explorations is a key element in these songs, and a dominating feature throughout. The tunes rarely stay within a segment, mood or atmosphere for long - they are forever changing and evolving, with many instances of abrupt breaks and major changes in pace, style and sound.

Further enriching features are extensive use of disharmonies and dissonant elements; effects used often in all songs here. They are carefully utilized though; the multilayered complex creations makes this release a taxing experience in itself; and adding long parts dominated by dissonant and disharmonic effects would probably have been too taxing for many listeners. So the band have chosen careful insertions of these elements, seeing to it that the compositions never overly use these artistic spices.

Add influences from jazz and metal to what is described above, and a tendency to create majestic segments with a large and rich sonic tapestry contrasted with grim staccato parts and lush atmospheric moments; and you end up with an adventurous album rich in details; and a somewhat taxing listen. This is a release that probably will make most of an impact for listeners already familiar with and enjoying complex music; especially if they like a symphonic foundation to boundary-expanding music. A strong release overall; with many fascinating moments.

Windhawk | 4/5 |


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