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Blank Manuskript - Krásná Hora CD (album) cover


Blank Manuskript


Symphonic Prog

3.68 | 52 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

3 stars A powerful album of provocative art from this socially conscious band of Austrians. Akin to the spirit of communal prog from which sprouted the likes of bands like Amon Düül and Faust.

1. "Overture" (6:49) the first half of this deep thrombosis is a set up for a major Hammond solo. A break at the half way point allows an electric guitar to assert its gentle leadership over a competing piano before a stripped down guitar-supported vocal section--one that become very interesting and engaging when multiple voices join together toward a crescendo into a saxophone solo. (12.75/15)

2. "Foetus" (6:10) computer/radio/effected (muted) guitar, synth, and singing noises open this one. Oh! I get it! It's what music would sound like to a foetus from inside the mother's uterus! At the two minute mark the minor key arpeggio of a creepy nursery music box and bass drum weave together for a while before giving way to abrasive power chord strums from an electric guitar. Organ, drums and synth join in during the fifth minute. The final minute is instrumental mayhem broken up by the crying of the baby, arrived. Interesting conceptually but not musically. (8.25/10)

3. "Achluphobia" (15:35) The clinical name for the fear of darkness opens with gentle, quiet, spacious guitar picking and percussion play sounding like the spacious part of King Crimson's "Moonchild." This continues, though it slowly builds over a ANEKDOTEN "Hole"-like motif with additional instruments joining in and increased volume and intensity (and structure) from the electric guitar. High piercing synth also joins in, until at 5:30 their is a glottal stop before the guitar becomes more bluesy and Fender Rhodes electric piano throws in a few flourishes. I'm reminded of Alvin Lee and Ronnie Montrose, for some reason. Bluesy guitar continues to thrash around with gradually increasing intensity unitl 8:45 when it begins to strum a dirty four-chord pattern over which a male voice begins to sing sounding like a 1970s Heavy Metal British rock song. Full blues-rock guitar solo fills the eleventh minute as the bass and drums amp up in support. In the thirteenth minute an eerie but hopeful piano chord progression takes over. Acoustic guitar, percussion, and bass join in to make a nice AEROSMITH "Dream On" weave before church-like choir voices take over for a few seconds. Piano-based weave picks back up with drummer crashing cymbals every which way until the end arrives. (25/30)

4. "Pressure Of Pride" (3:38) horns and flutes help open this one establishing a nice nu-jazzy groove before chorus vocals ejaculate their message within. At the end of the second minute the groove smooths out and fills the soundscape as a full on jazz-rock onslaught ensues. This song reminds me of Catalan band ZA! and Finnish UTOPIANISTI project of Markus Pajakkala. (9/10)

5. "Shared Isolation" (9:55) opens with Spanish guitar and then flute in a duet before stopping to restart (using the established melody) as a full horn-supported jazz rock fusion instrumental at the 0:51 mark. Using the same melody, the keys, electric guitar, and horns all play with, within, and without the line and chord progression over the next two minutes with a solo or two from the guitar. Then a hi-speed sequenced synth arpeggio takes over before being joined by drums, bass, and slowly strummed electric guitar in a slow, plodding blues-rock foundation. A couple of guitars and synths take turns adding to or soloing over the top of this funereal groove. A bit of a ROBIN TROWER feel to this. In the beginning of the sixth minute the blues rock groove pauses for a PINK FLOYD "Time"-like vocal fill. These two motifs alternate twice over the course of the next two minutes--there's even a David Gilmour screaming guitar solo in there--before a bit of YES guitar bridges us into a chunky bass-driven section of blues-rock jazz jamming with wailing synth soloing over the top. (17/20)

6. "Alone At The Institution" (9:21) opening with an intricate multi-instrument full bad weave that takes on a bit of a feel of a Romani or klezmer folk feel to it--rhythmically as well as melodically. Like a Django and Stéphane song taken to a big band format. The horns, bass, and drums get to shine here (the keys would too were they not mixed a bit into the back) until delicately plucked jazz guitar takes the fore at the 4:00 mark. Bursting back into full band explosiveness, we end the guitar solo and bridge to a stripped down pulsing Mellotron flute chord over which a very soft, sensitive section is constructed--one which, it turns out, is just preparing us for a vocal. The vocal performance here is of a much higher skill level--sounding like early Jon Anderson with John Wetton's tibre and range in a Godspell setting. At 8:20 we transition back into a heavy recapitulation of the klezmer theme for the finish. Easily the best song on the album. (18.5/20)

7. "Silent Departure" (3:37) opens as a romantic chamber folk piece with viola proclaiming the melody over a picked electric guitar. Breathy male voice enters quickly to take over the lead from the viola as bass and percussion join guitar. Voice and viola trade leads while joining forces for the choruses over the course of the remainder of the song. Pretty folk tune but nothing to shout about.(8.5/10)

8. "The Last Journey" (8:34) A JEFFERSON AIRPLANE-like musical foundation with the breathy male singer over the top allows the band to stretch out into an almost beer-hall feel of freedom and mischievousness. The instrumental jam section in the middle is dull and lacking--and made worse by the long-held single chord sustained over the sixth, seventh, and eighth minutes. Do they think they're classical composers of the Minimalist movement? It does somehow end well. I'm not sure how. It's a mystery. (16/20)

Total time 63:39

While I found myself intrigued with this album upon first listen due to its wide varieties of styles and sounds, repeated listens have tempered my enthusiasm. Though full of interesting and nostalgic sounds and music, ultimately, the band's skills as instrumentalists and composers leads me to feel as if they have an album or two to go before they reach any kind of masterpiece status. Also, the vocal talents of the most oft-used lead singer sound too raw and untrained. Effects might help.

B/four stars; an excellent and welcomed addition to Prog World--recommended for your own determination.

BrufordFreak | 3/5 |


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