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Andrew Roussak - Crossing the Line CD (album) cover


Andrew Roussak


Symphonic Prog

3.57 | 16 ratings

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Art Rock
4 stars Crossing the line is the fourth solo album by Andrew Roussak. I had the privilege to be an early reviewer of all of them, as well as the two albums he made as part of the band Dorian Opera. His previous solo album, Storm Warning from 2019, was always going to be a tough act to follow - for me, it was the prog album of the year. On his new album, he plays all instruments himself, where previously he still had often employed guest musicians (like Oli Weislogel on guitar on the previous album) - a remarkable tour de force! He also decided to do lead vocals on the four non-instrumental tracks, rather than using a number of guest vocalists as in the past. I'm a bit in two minds about that decision - I applaud the courage to do so, and quite frankly, the results are adequate, although in some passages lacking sheer power, but the charm of different vocals on various tracks, which worked so well on Storm Warning, is missing.

The six original songs that make up most of the album (all composed by Roussak himself) are style-wise rooted in melodic symphonic prog, with some excursions to hard prog, neo prog, and even album-oriented rock, solidly bound together by the virtuoso keyboard playing which is the highlight of each track. The self-penned lyrics (included in the album packaging, which is excellent by the way) are topical, referring to the pandemic, Wikileaks and fake news. My favourites from these six are the energetic instrumental Nation For Sale, and especially Just One Life Is Not Enough, with its changing moods and pace, and beautiful synthesizer solo.

Then we have the album closer, an 11 minutes instrumental piece based on the Gavotte et six Doubles from the harpsichord suite Suite in A minor by French baroque composer Jean-Philippe Rameau. In general I am sceptic when it comes to prog rock renditions of classical music. Even though they are my two favourite music genres, their combination usually does not agree with me, even by bands as famous as Ekseption, Renaissance, Yes, and Emerson Lake and Palmer. On his previous albums, Roussak has shown that he can do this better than most, using compositions by Bach, Vivaldi, and Dowland. Here he goes a step beyond - I think this is the best modern rendition of a classical music composition I've ever heard.

Bottom line: although this album is a notch below Storm Warning for me, it is highly enjoyable, and should appeal to all lovers of keyboard-driven prog. I'd rate it 3-4 stars for the first six songs, but the epic closer is a five stars song. A solid four stars for the album it is then.

Art Rock | 4/5 |


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