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Compassionizer - An Ambassador in Bonds CD (album) cover

AN AMBASSADOR IN BONDS

Compassionizer

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

4.19 | 46 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Kempokid
4 stars Compassionizer, the latest music project related to Russian prog musician Ivan Rozmainsky, has been rather interesting to follow along so far. Their expansive, atmospheric compositions have felt so far removed from many conventions of progressive rock as a whole, and yet, there's nowhere else I'd really consider putting them either. The rich instrumental palettes that often evoke a range of deceptively intricate, complex soundscapes ended up making their first album, Caress of Compassion, a good album that often felt like an exploration into mysterious lands underpinned by a distinct melancholy. An Ambassador in Bonds is really the album that's sold me on Compassionizer however, as it demonstrates a strong sense of tonal variety without feeling like a total departure from the core sound established in order to facilitate this. While Caress of Compassion felt like it was exploring the endlessly large world around us and how overwhelming it can feel at times, this one feels far more personal and introspective, maintaining a a degree of darkness while also balancing this with a powerful sense of drive, optimism and ambition.

As a whole, I find that this album kinda lacks a sense of individuality between a lot of the tracks, clearly bringing forth a variety of instruments in each one, but remaining fairly similar in terms of what each song is trying to achieve. While this makes it a bit harder to pick apart specific moments too well, I don't mind either, as this works very nicely as a singular, cohesive experience anyway. That's also not to say that this is completely devoid of such qualities either however. Follow After Meekness sets the stage so well and reflects some core songwriting conventions Compassionizer utilises in their music. The track has a distinct ebb and flow to it, being unafraid to densely layer countless elements in such a way that there's a lot of nuanced interplay at hand, but also being able to take a step back and allow things to breathe, especially notable in the isolated harpsichord melodies that build upon themselves in a very satisfying fashion. Different Sides of Ascension is one of my favourite songs here for what it represents. It feels like the strong juxtaposition between the upbeat, pastoral atmosphere and melodies and the eventual uneasy sense of dread that engulfs everything in the song mirrors the creative experience in a lot of ways, and the give and take nature of it. Moments of amazing inspiration and greatness can feel followed up by self-doubt or bad circumstances, but what this song also highlights is that the beauty of that original spark remains just as powerful, with a constant sense of hope and passion being something important to hold onto. This sense of underlying beauty and optimism in even the darkest, bleakest sections of music here is ultimately what makes me appreciate this album as a whole so much, as it manages to feel so uplifting and empowering without feeling as if it's trying to mask challenging aspects of reality in art, it shows optimism without naivety, and I love that.

While the album as a whole finds itself following this pattern regularly, I feel like this emotional core focusing on an unflinching artistic drive is conveyed with enough power to warrant its length. Each individual track also contributes to the greater whole in the way that each one seems focused on capturing different points in the highs and lows in life. This is why you get tracks like part 2 of the title track feeling as impactful as they do. The central melody from the brass feels like it should sound very grandiose and majestic, yet it's filtered through this malaise, it sounds warped and wrong, as if it's a desperate attempt to reach a certain sound while feeling unable to actually achieve it. This tone is reinforced by the droning clarinet harmonies that are laden with minor imperfections and squeaks in a way that nothing else on the album is. As to not dwell too long on negativity, you've got an immediate jump into more energetic territory, but funnily enough, I am Sitting on a Pier cleverly lacks a strong sense of emotion for the most part. It's driven, sure, but it feels deliberately empty, as if it's moving forward for the sake of it, as if it feels obliged to, simple empty forward momentum, and as a result, this feels like one of the most impactful songs on the album that is strengthened by the way the remaining content of the album slowly introduces a warmer tone to complete the ultimately positive message that this pushes to the forefront throughout.

I feel like writing down my thoughts on this album have helped me appreciate it way more than I could have imagined . While this is texturally rather similar to Caress of Compassion, the meaning and message behind this, or at least what I gathered from it, feel so well-realised with this one. It of course doesn't hurt that the music itself sounds extremely solid, with its complexity bringing a lot of nuance into every facet of the album while sounding extremely elegant and tasteful in its presentation. It took a few listens for this to click with me, but I really love this and am looking very forward to whatever comes next .

Best tracks: Different Sides of Ascension, Follow After Meekness, I Am Sitting on a Pier

Kempokid | 4/5 |

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