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Roz Vitalis - The Hidden Man of the Heart CD (album) cover


Roz Vitalis



4.18 | 171 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
Special Collaborator
PSIKE, JRF/Canterbury, P Metal, Eclectic
4 stars Almost three years after the previous studio album "Lavoro D'Amore" which found the St. Petersburg, Russia based ROZ VITALIS, led by the accomplished and talented leader Ivan Rozmainsky, the band the band finally unleash their new studio album THE HIDDEN MAN OF THE HEART. Beginning with the EP "Psalm 9" which appeared in 2016, ROZ VITALIS started to take on a new, more focused approach to their compositional style. With Rozmainsky's keyboard melodies still taking center stage, "Psalm 9" emerged from a steady career of a heavily abstract style fortified with an infinite variety of complexities which gave the music a darkened underground feel, but somehow just missed from connecting to wider audiences.

THE HIDDEN MAN OF THE HEART continues the more streamlined approach of "Psalm 9" with more straight-forward melodic developments and although still firmly existing in the avant-prog side of the spectrum, actually slides on closer to a veritable symphonic prog presentation bringing such bands as Camel to mind. While classical music has always been the primary scaffolding of musical support, it's even more so on the ROZ VITALIS 3.0 sound which incorporates more bouncy grooves and easier to follow patterns of sound that somehow didn't quite coalesce correctly on "Psalm 9," but on THE HIDDEN MAN OF THE HEART, Rozmainsky and friends manage to tie it altogether creating a successful new chapter in the ROZ VITALIS canon. Two tracks from "Psalm 9," namely the title track and "Passing Over" have been reworked and are included on this one.

Once again ROZ VITALIS dishes out an ambitious slice of progressive rock with 14 tracks that last slightly over an hour with the expected keyboards, guitars, bass, drums, flute and an even greater role for the trumpet with sprinklings of other exotica such as mandolin, clarinet and a string quartet but on this one, the composiitons are much tighter and engage in well established songwriting techniques rather than meander into infinity and beyond. Such focus is most apparent on strong tracks like "Rhapsody Of Refugees" with it's ska meets rock driven groove and melodic keyboard runs augmented by a cavalcade of trumpet sounds. Each track is well written and the album flows quite well with a nice diverse palette of styles and techniques utilized.

ROZ VITALIS is one of those bands that always creates a concept about which they compose their music around and THE HIDDEN MAN OF THE HEART is no exception to this tradition. Usually based in the spiritual realm, this one delves into the psychological world of the spiritual and creative constituents of what makes up a human being whether it be tragic, ecstatic or just mundane. As always, the music is instrumental and takes the listener on the intended journey through the tones, timbres, tempos and dynamics alone with no vocalizations whatsoever. The music has much more poignant levels of emotional delivery. Whereas the older albums were riddled in esoterica and abstract journeys into the halls of sound, this one goes straight to the heart with the emotional tugs of violins, heavy distorted guitar chords or melodic melancholy in the form of beautifully developed classical piano runs.

On "Psalm 9," i had my doubts as to whether ROZ VITALIS could successfully make the transition from an abstract RIO/avant-prog band to the more accessible symphonic based progressive rock that is experienced on THE HIDDEN MAN OF THE HEART, but all my doubts have been put to rest as Ivan Rozmainsky along with his cast of six other permanent members alongside nine session musicians churn out some of the best music of the band's career. Don't get me wrong, i love the older more "out there" albums but i'm quite appreciative of this more streamlined and focused approach as well. The music is still quite complex, it's just that it revolves around more direct developments which allows a whole new level of listenership to join the party. Another substantial release from these astute Russians who show no signs of burning out any time soon.

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |


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